LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky junior left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed has been named one of three finalists for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award, it was announced by USA Baseball on Tuesday afternoon.
Already honored as the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and as a first-team All-American, Reed was named one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which is annually presented by USA Baseball to the nation’s top amateur player for the last 36 seasons. Reed joins Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto and LSU right-hander Aaron Nola as finalists for the award, which is selected from a committee of more than 200 voters.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed completed one of the most historic seasons in college baseball history in 2014, leading the nation in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211), while ranking as Southeastern Conference leader, and fourth in the nation, in pitching victories (12). Reed hit .336 with 18 doubles, one triple, 73 RBI, 49 walks and a .476 on-base percentage. Reed finished with a 2.09 ERA in 16 starts, working 112 innings, allowing 98 hits and 29 walks, striking out 71.
Reed is seeking to become the third all-time SEC player to be named a consensus national player of the year, joining Dave Magadan (1983) and David Price (2007). There are five major national player of the year awards in 2014: Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Golden Spikes Award, the Baseball America College Player of the Year, the American Baseball Coaches Association Player of the Year and the Dick Howser Trophy.
In his three-year career, Reed has charted a .306 average in 172 games, with 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI, with a .559 slugging and a .415 on-base percentage. On the mound, Reed has a 19-13 record with a 2.83 ERA in 248 innings, allowing just 53 walks and striking out 174.
The SEC Player of the Year, Reed has rewritten the UK record book during his career. In UK’s single-season records, Reed ranks first in homers, third in RBI, fifth in total bases, sixth in slugging, second in walks, 13th in on-base percentage, ninth in hit by pitches (14), fifth in ERA, second in wins, third in winning percentage (.857), third in starts and third in innings pitched. In UK career history, Reed ranks second in homers, second in RBI, eighth in total bases, 12th in at-bats, 12th in walks (99), 11th in sacrifice flies (nine), 10th in hit by pitch (26), third in ERA, 10th in wins and 11th in innings pitched.
The three players were named finalists after receiving the most votes during the semifinalist balloting round. During that round, 23 student-athletes received votes, including Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State) and Ben Wetzler (Oregon State) who tallied votes through the voting committee’s write-in option. After the three finalists, Wichita State’s Casey Gillaspie finished fourth in voting, followed by Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State), Aaron Brown (Pepperdine), Kyle Freeland (Evansville), Sam Travis (Indiana), Connor Joe (San Diego) and Michael Katz (William & Mary).
Following the presentation of the award on July 17, all three finalists will be celebrated at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles as part of the 2014 Rod Dedeaux Award Dinner. Hosted by the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the dinner will honor the Golden Spikes Award finalists, the Rod Dedeaux Award winner and the Rod Dedeaux USA Baseball Coach of the Year award winner.
In 2007, USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball, and it follows the same model again in 2014. After working closely with sports information directors and amateur baseball media across the country to determine watch lists and the top-performing athletes, a list of 21 semifinalists was sent to the GSA voting committee last week. The three players that received the most votes advanced to the finalist round, and beginning today, the committee will have the opportunity to vote for the winner.
Fans will once again be able to vote for the 2014 award by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com and selecting their favorite finalist. Voting for fans and the voting body ends at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, June 13.
Reed helped lead UK to its second NCAA Tournament berth in the last three years in 2014, with UK finishing with the sixth-most wins in program history. UK finished its campaign as the runner-up in the NCAA Louisville Regional, with its tourney finish marking tied for the best in UK history, also done in 1988, 2006, 2008 and 2012.