Davis, Eshelman Named to Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List
DURHAM, N.C. – Cal State Fullerton sophomore right-hander Thomas Eshelman and junior two-way player J.D. Davis were named to the Golden Spikes Award 50-man midseason watch list by USA Baseball on Thursday, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Cal State Fullerton was tied for the most nominees on the midseason watch list with eight other teams including Florida State, Oregon State and Virginia.
Eshelman appears on the midseason watch list for the second consecutive season. He was a semifinalist for the award as a freshman in 2013. Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede and Aaron Nola of Louisiana State were also semifinalists in 2013 that made the 2014 midseason watch list.
Eshelman is currently 5-1 as the Friday-night starter for the Titans this season with a 1.43 ERA. The Carlsbad, Calif. native leads the nation with a 48:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He leads the Big West Conference in walks allowed per nine innings with a 0.14 mark, which also ranks second in the nation.
Eshelman is also tied for first in the conference with two complete games and leads the team with 63 innings pitched. The sophomore's 0.75 WHIP leads the Big West Conference and ranks ninth in the nation. He leads the Titans with seven quality starts and went 26 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
As for Davis, the junior was also named to the preseason watch list and leads the Titans with a .349 batting average. His .541 slugging percentage also leads the team and ranks fifth in the Big West. Davis has also started in all 28 games for the Titans this season.
He is coming off a nine-game hitting streak, a team-high, and has reached safely in 10 consecutive games.
Along with the bat, Davis has also served as the hammer in the back end of the bullpen for the Titans, leading the team with four saves in five opportunities. He's 1-0 in six appearances for the Titans. He had his best outing on Tuesday when he shut down UCLA for two innings, holding the Bruins hitless while striking out three.
The Titans have produced three Golden Spikes winners in the program's history: Tim Wallach (1979), Phil Nevin (1992) and Mark Kotsay (1995).
The watch list will continue to be a "rolling" list until May 27 -- when the semifinalists for the award are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live in Los Angeles on July 17.
Twenty-three new players were added to the list since its initial release on Feb. 14, joining 27 others from the preseason watch list. The Southeastern Conference led all conferences in watch list players, placing nine on the midseason update, while 17 different NCAA conferences had at least one athlete on the list. The Atlantic Coast Conference had six athletes on the list.
USA Baseball officials will announce the 30-man watch list for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award on Thursday, May 8. USA Baseball will then release the semifinalists on Tuesday, May 27. The list of athletes will then be sent to a voting body consisting of Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2014. Tuesday, May 27, marks the day when amateur baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names.
Important 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Friday, Feb. 14: 60-man preseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, April 10: 50-man midseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, May 8: 30-man watch list, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 27: Semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters to select three
Friday, May 30: Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 3: Finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 13: Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 17: Golden Spikes Award presentation
The complete 2014 preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School
Brady Aiken, LHP, Senior, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) HS
Brian Anderson, IF, Junior, Arkansas
Brett Austin, C, Junior, NC State
Tyler Beede, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt
Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
Austin Cousino, OF, Junior, Kentucky
J.D. Davis, OF/RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton
Tyler Davis, RHP, Junior, Washington
Chris Ellis, RHP, Junior, Mississippi
Joey Epperson, OF/IF, RS-Senior, UC Santa Barbara
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
Erick Fedde, RHP, Junior, UNLV
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
Blake Fox, LHP, Sophomore, Rice
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
Clinton Freeman, OF, Sophomore, East Tennessee State
Jeff Gardner, OF, Senior, Louisville
Aaron Garza, RHP, Junior, Houston
Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Junior, Linfield
Ian Happ, IF, Sophomore, Cincinnati
Seth Harrison, OF, Senior, Louisiana Lafayette
Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
Ross Kivett, IF, Senior, Kansas State
Ryan McBroom, OF, Senior, West Virginia
Daniel Miles, IF, Junior, Tennessee Tech
DJ Miller, IF, Senior, Delaware State
Corey Miller, RHP, Senior, Pepperdine
Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, Florida Gulf Coast
Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, LSU
Mike Papi, OF, Junior, Virginia
Mark Payton, OF, Senior, Texas
Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
Kyle Schwarber, C, Junior, Indiana
Kade Scivicque, C, Junior, LSU
Austen Smith, IF, Senior, Alabama
D.J. Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
Ryan Thompson, RHP, Senior, Campbell
Trent Thornton, RHP, Sophomore, North Carolina
Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
Luke Weaver, RHP, Sophomore, Florida State
Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco