LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky two-way star AJ Reed has been selected as the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner, given annually to the top amateur player in the nation by USA Baseball, making Reed a unanimous pick as the national player of the year, it was announced on Thursday in Los Angeles during ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Reed’s clean sweep of the 2014 national player of the year awards includes the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Baseball America College Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year and the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year awards. In addition, Reed was named the Southeastern Conference Male Athlete of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-handed pitcher/first baseman, Reed now becomes the third all-time SEC player to earn unanimous national player of the year honors, joining Dave Magadan (1983) and David Price (2007). Reed is the sixth SEC great to win the Golden Spikes Award and the first since Florida catcher Mike Zunino.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed edged three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto and LSU right-hander Aaron Nola, the 2014 SEC Pitcher of the Year.
Reed charted one of the top seasons in the history of college baseball in 2014, finishing the year as the NCAA leader in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211). He became the first player in SEC history to lead the conference in homers and pitching wins, while going 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA on the mound and was the first player in league history to hit over 20 homers in the BBCOR era.
Reed finished the year with a .336 average – narrowly missing the second triple crown in SEC history – with a conference best 23 homers and 73 RBI. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.476), total bases (164) and walks (49), while adding 60 runs, 18 doubles and one triple. On the mound, Reed was UK’s Friday-night ace for a second straight campaign, posting the second-most wins in Kentucky history, while starting 16 games. He hurled 112 innings, walking just 29 and striking out 71.
A consensus first-team All-America selection in 2014, Reed finished his record-setting UK career with a .306 average in 172 games, slugging 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI. On the mound, Reed finished with a 19-13 record and a 2.83 ERA in his 46-game UK career, tossing 248 innings.
The Golden Spikes Award has been presented by USA Baseball since 1978 to honor the top amateur baseball player in the nation. The award is sponsored by Major League Baseball and is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. The award began with a list of over 200 candidates for the award, before a 60 man preseason watch list was announced on NCAA opening day. The list was whittled from 50 to 30, before the semifinalists were announced on May 27 and the three finalists announced on June 3, with voting concluded on June 13.
The first pick of the second round in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, Reed has hit .311 (32-for-103) in his professional debut in the New York-Penn League. Reed, the NY-Penn League Player of the Week, has belted nine doubles and three homers in his first 28 games, with a .415 on-base percentage and 22 RBI, sporting a 17-16 walk-strikeout ratio.
Golden Spikes Award Winners
1978: Bob Horner Arizona State University
1979: Tim Wallach, Cal State Fullerton
1980: Terry Francona, University of Arizona
1981: Mike Fuentes, Florida State University
1982: Augie Schmidt, University of New Orleans
1983: Dave Magadan, University of Alabama
1984: Oddibe McDowell, Arizona State University
1985: Will Clark, Mississippi State University
1986: Mike Loynd, Florida State University
1987: Jim Abbott, University of Michigan
1988: Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State University
1989: Ben McDonald, LSU
1990: Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College
1991: Mike Kelly, Arizona State University
1992: Phil Nevin, Cal State Fullerton
1993: Darren Dreifort, Wichita State University
1994: Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech
1995: Mark Kotsay, Cal State Fullerton
1996: Travis Lee, San Diego State University
1997: J.D. Drew, Florida State University
1998: Pat Burrell, University of Miami
1999: Jason Jennings, Baylor University
2000: Kip Bouknight, University of South Carolina
2001: Mark Prior, University of Southern California
2002: Khalil Greene, Clemson University
2003: Rickie Weeks, Southern University
2004: Jered Weaver, Long Beach State University
2005: Alex Gordon, University of Nebraska
2006: Tim Lincecum, University of Washington
2007: David Price, Vanderbilt University
2008: Buster Posey, Florida State University
2009: Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State University
2010: Bryce Harper, College of Southern Nevada
2011: Trevor Bauer, UCLA
2012: Mike Zunino, University of Florida
2013: Kris Bryant, University of San Diego
2014: AJ Reed, University of Kentucky