A.J. Reed on 30-man Golden Spikes watch list

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The NCAA leader in homers, slugging and OPS, and the Southeastern Conference leader in wins, Kentucky junior left-handed pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed has been named one of 30 players on the updated midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, it was announced by USA Baseball on Thursday afternoon.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed is one of 30 players on the updated midseason watch list for the Golden Spikes Award, which is annually given to the top player in collegiate baseball by USA Baseball. Reed joins SEC standouts Grayson Greiner (South Carolina; C), Chris Ellis (Ole Miss, RHP) and Aaron Nola (LSU; RHP) on the 30-man watch list.

Reed leads college baseball in homers (20), slugging (.786) and OPS (1.272), owning more homers himself than 195 total schools in the nation. Reed also leads the SEC with his 8-2 record in 12 Friday-night starts, ranking among the SEC leaders in ERA (2.20) and innings pitched (82). Reed paces the SEC in RBI (62), while ranking fourth in the league in average, after entering last week leading the circuit in the triple-crown categories. Reed is seeking to become the first, and only other, triple-crown winner in the SEC since Rafael Palmeiro in 1984.

USA Baseball officials will announce the list of semifinalists for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award 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.

Last year, University of San Diego infielder, Kris Bryant, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).

Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007).

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

Name, Position, Class, School (in order of last name, new players bolded)
Caleb Adams, OF, Junior, Louisiana Lafayette
Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
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, EHP, Junior, UNLV
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
Mike Franco, RHP, Junior, Florida International
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
Connor Joe, IF, Junior, San Diego
Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
Jordan Luplow, OF, Junior, Fresno State
Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, Florida Gulf Coast
Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, Louisiana State
Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
Josh Prevost, RHP, Senior, Seton Hall
A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
DJ Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
Drew Weeks, OF/IF, Junior, North Florida
Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco

A.J. REED NOTES

HITTING
* Leads the NCAA in homers (20), slugging (.786) and OPS (1.272).
* All 20 homers have come in 36 games against weekend opponents, hitting .393/.512/.911 on the weekends, with 10 doubles, 20 homers and 52 RBI.
* Has reached base safely in 43 of 47 games in 2014.
* Is hitting .319 (30-for-94) with two strikes.
* Has hit .375/.515/.750 with nine doubles and 10 homers with runners on base.
* Has hit .407/.566/.815 with four doubles and six homers with runners in scoring position.
* Leads the team with a .431 (25-for-58) average with two outs, adding 25 two-out RBI.
* Has nine walks to lead off innings and a total of nine two-walk games. .
* Owns club-highs in 17 multi-hit and 17 multi-RBI games.
* Has five games with at least four RBI and six games with at least three hits.
* In his 12 starts on the mound, has hit .459/.600/1.000, with five doubles, five homers and 18 RBI, owning a 9-6 walk-strikeout ratio.

MONTH-BY-MONTH HITTING SPLITS
February (9 games): 424/.487/.763, 3 2B, 6 HR, 17 RBI
March (19 games): .345/.519/.569, 2 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI
April (16 games): .412/.569/.784, 7 2B, 10 HR, 26 RBI

HOME RUN BREAKDOWN
* Leads the NCAA with 20 homers, owning three more home runs than the closest player.
* Entered the week owning more homers than 202 schools in college baseball.
* Has 12 homers in 21 games of SEC play alone, which is more than nine other league schools.
* Has hit a homer and earned the win on the mound three times, owning a total of five homers in his 12 pitching starts.
* Has six homers vs. left-handed pitching, with 10 of his 20 bombs coming away from Cliff Hagan Stadium.
* 15 of his 20 homers have been hit to leftfield, left-center, centerfield or right-centerfield.
* Has hit homers in three consecutive SEC games twice in 2014, including a school-record streak of five straight league games.
* Has hit homers in consecutive games five times, with three two-home run games.
* Has six homers in his last nine games.

PITCHING
* Has wins over No. 1 Virginia, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Florida, at Texas A&M and at Tennessee.
* Has worked nine quality starts in his 12 series-opening assignments, working at least six innings in 10 starts and at least seven innings in nine starts.
* Had a streak of working at least six innings in nine consecutive starts.
* Has made 26 consecutive series-opening starts on the mound.
* Lone two losses on the year came in a 3-0 result at Alabama, a game where he hit into a bases-loaded triple play and had a game-tying homer robbed, and vs. No. 12 Ole Miss, when the UK defense allowed five unearned runs to score in his first three innings.

MAKING HISTORY
* Is the first player in the SEC to hit 20 or more homers since Auburn first baseman Hunter Morris led the league with 23 in 2010.
* With 20 homers, became the eighth player in program history with 20+ home runs in a season and the first since Ryan Strieby – the 2006 SEC Player of the Year – hit 20.
* Ranks third in UK career history in homers (37) and RBI (157).
* Ranks fourth with a 2.97 career RBI, working 218 innings over 42 games.
* Ranks third in UK single-season history in homers (20), eighth in RBI (62), second in slugging (.786) and ninth in on-base percentage (.495).

TRIPLE-CROWN CHASE
* Entered last week leading the SEC in the three triple-crown categories, seeking the become the SEC’s first – and only – triple crown winner since Rafael Palmeiro in 1984.
* Currently leads the league with 20 homers (eight more than the closest player) and 62 RBI (11 more than the closest player), while ranking third with a .358 average, just behind Will Allen (.359) and Auston Bousfield (.368).

IN THE SEC STATS
* Leads the SEC in homers (20), RBI (62), wins (eight), total bases (136), on-base percentage (.486) and slugging percentage (.786).
* Ranks third in the SEC in average (.358), second in runs (52), second in walks (33), ninth in hits (62), fifth in innings pitched (82.0) and 10th in ERA (2.20).


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