DURHAM, N.C. – Missouri State junior third baseman Jake Burger was one of 55 players named to USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List on Wednesday. A unanimous 2017 preseason All-America choice, Burger is the fourth Bear in the last five seasons to be considered for the honor, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Burger, a consensus All-America choice in 2016, led the Bears in batting (.349) and RBIs (72) last spring and ranked second nationally in home runs (21) to earn a spot on USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team over the summer. He was also named the top defensive third baseman in the country last year as one of nine NCAA Division I standouts selected for the ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Gold Glove Team.
The Chesterfield, Mo., native checked in at No. 27 on Baseball America's College Top 100 Prospects list prior to the start of the season and claimed 2017 preseason All-America recognition from Collegiate Baseball, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Perfect Game USA and D1Baseball as well.
Burger, who was a midseason addition to last season's Golden Spikes Award watch list, joins Nick Petree (2012 and 2013), Jon Harris (2015) and Tate Matheny (2015) on a distinguished list of former Bears considered for the honor over the last five years.
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation's top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.
A total of 16 different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2017 preseason watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference lead the way with 13 representatives each, while the Pac-12 Conference has seven. Florida, Stanford and TCU lead all schools in representation with three players each. Florida State, Houston, LSU, North Carolina, Oregon State, South Carolina, UNC Wilmington, Vanderbilt and Virginia all had a pair of athletes identified on the watch list.
Starting on March 27 and ending April 2, fans will be able to nominate their favorite players for the Golden Spikes Award prior to the reveal of Midseason Watch List on April 12. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 39 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
Fan voting will continue to be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2017, starting on May 31 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com. On June 14, USA Baseball will announce the finalists and voting will begin that day and last until June 23.
The winner of the 40th Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 29, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
Last year, Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
The anticipated timeline for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award announcements:
• Wednesday, February 15: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list
• Monday, March 27: 2017 Golden Spikes Award fan nominations begin
• Sunday, April 2: 2017 Golden Spikes Award fan nominations end
• Wednesday, April 12: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list
• Wednesday, May 31: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting begins
• Friday, June 9: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, voting ends
• Wednesday, June 14: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting begins
• Friday, June 23: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists, voting ends
• Thursday, June 29: 2017 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Riley Adams, C, Jr., San Diego, West Coast Conference
Luken Baker, RHP/IF, So., TCU, Big 12 Conference
Elliott Barzilli, IF, Sr., TCU, Big 12 Conference
Tristan Beck, RHP, So., Stanford, Pac-12 Conference
Andrew Beckwith, RHP, Sr., Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt Conference
Seth Beer, OF, So., Clemson, Atlantic Coast Conference
Quinn Brodey, OF, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12 Conference
J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Jr., North Carolina, Atlantic Coast Conference
Jake Burger, IF, Jr., Missouri State, Missouri Valley Conference
Dylan Busby, IF, Jr., Florida State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Griffin Canning, RHP, Jr., UCLA, Pac-12 Conference
Carl Chester, OF, Jr., Miami, Atlantic Coast Conference
Wil Crowe, RHP, Jr., South Carolina, Southeastern Conference
Joe Davis, C/IF, So., Houston, American Athletic Conference
Joe Dunand, IF/IF, Jr., NC State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Colton Eastman, RHP, So., Cal State Fullerton, Big West Conference
Alex Faedo, RHP, Jr., Florida, Southeastern Conference
Stuart Fairchild, OF, Jr., Wake Forest, Atlantic Coast Conference
Nick Feight, C, Jr., UNC Wilmington, Colonial Athletic Conference
Michael Gigliotti, OF, Jr., Lipscomb, Atlantic Sun Conference
Luis Gonzalez, LHP/OF, Jr., New Mexico, Mountain West Conference
Hunter Greene, RHP/IF, HS-Sr., Notre Dame High School,
Dalton Guthrie, IF, Jr., Florida, Southeastern Conference
K.J. Harrison, IF, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12 Conference
Adam Haseley, UT, Jr., Virginia, Atlantic Coast Conference
Keston Hiura, OF, Jr., UC Irvine, Big West Conference
Colton Hock, RHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12 Conference
Tanner Houck, RHP, Jr., Missouri, Southeastern Conference
Kel Johnson, OF, Jr., Georgia Tech, Atlantic Coast Conference
Jeren Kendall, OF, Jr., Vanderbilt, Southeastern Conference
Zach Kirtly, IF, Jr., St. Mary's, West Coast Conference
Alex Lange, RHP, Jr., LSU, Southeastern Conference
Royce Lewis, IF/OF, HS-Sr., JSerra Catholic High School,
Brendon Little, LHP, So., State JC of Florida, Suncoast Conference
Nick Madrigal, IF, So., Oregon State, Pac-12 Conference
Jake Mangum, OF, So., Mississippi State, Southeastern Conference
Corbin Martin, RHP, Jr., Texas A&M, Southeastern Conference
Brendan McKay, LHP/IF, Jr., Louisville, Atlantic Coast Conference
Brian Miller, OF, Jr., North Carolina, Atlantic Coast Conference
Brian Mims, IF, Jr., UNC Wilmington, Colonial Athletic Conference
Glenn Otto, P, Jr., Rice, Conference USA
Kramer Robertson, IF, Sr., LSU, Southeastern Conference
Seth Romero, LHP, Jr., Houston, American Athletic Conference
Jayson Rose, RHP, Jr., Utah, Pac-12 Conference
Clarke Schmidt, RHP, Jr., South Carolina, Southeastern Conference
J.J. Schwarz, C, Jr., Florida, Southeastern Conference
Colton Shaver, C/IF, Jr., BYU, West Coast Conference
Evan Skoug, C, Jr., TCU, Big 12 Conference
Kevin Smith, IF, Jr., Maryland, Big 10 Conference
Pavin Smith, IF/OF, Jr., Virginia, Atlantic Coast Conference
Peter Solomon, RHP, Jr., Notre Dame, Atlantic Coast Conference
Trey Truitt, OF, Jr., Mercer, Southern Conference
Taylor Walls, IF, Jr., Florida State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Evan White, IF, Jr., Kentucky, Southeastern Conference
Kyle Wright, RHP, Jr., Vanderbilt, Southeastern Conference