DURHAM, N.C. – USA Baseball has named Duke junior outfielder Griffin Conine to its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list as announced by the organization Friday. The award, which recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country, will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 28 in Los Angeles.
The honor follows Conine’s four first-team preseason All-America nods after Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball and Perfect Game/Rawlings all recognized the Weston Florida, native. Conine is the first Blue Devil named to the Golden Spikes watch list since right-hander Michael Matuella in 2015.
Fifteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2018 preseason watch list. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with 15 representatives, while the Atlantic Coast Conference boasts nine selections, and the Big 12 and Pac-12 Conferences have six each.
This past season, Conine collected his first career All-ACC honors after leading the Blue Devils in slugging percentage (.571), on base percentage (.437), RBI (56), triples (2), home runs (13), total bases (117) and walks (40). Conine was the first Blue Devil to total 50-plus RBI in a season since first baseman Nate Freiman (62) in 2009. He was also the first Duke player with 10 or more home runs in a season since Jake Lemmerman (10) in 2010.
Over the summer, Conine earned the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Robert A. McNeece Award, given to the league’s top pro prospect as voted on by Major League Baseball scouts. In 45 games with the Cotuit Kettleers, Conine hit .326 with 58 hits, 11 home runs, five doubles and 31 RBI. He was selected to the CCBL All-Star Game and garnered West Division MVP honors as well.
Conine and the 31st-ranked Blue Devils travel to Nashville, Tennessee, next week to open the season with a three-game series at No. 15 Vanderbilt Feb. 16-18.
2018 Golden Spikes Award Watch ListName, Position, Class, School, ConferenceChris Acosta-Tapia, OF, Sr., Oklahoma Wesleyan, Kansas CollegiateJohnny Aiello, 3B, Jr., Wake Forest, ACC
D.J. Artis, OF, Jr., Liberty, Big South
Luken Baker, 1B/DH, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Joey Bart, C, Jr., Georgia Tech, ACC
Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Jr., Clemson, ACC
Alec Bohm, 3B, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Kris Bubic, LHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Michael Byrne, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Tim Cate, LHP, Jr., UCONN, American Athletic
Griffin Conine, OF, Jr., Duke, ACC
Trey Cumbie, LHP, Jr., Houston, American Athletic
Gianluca Dalatri, RHP, So., North Carolina, ACC
Tanner Dodson, UT, Jr., California, Pac-12
Colton Eastman, RHP, Jr., Cal State Fullerton, Big West
Jeremy Eierman, SS, Jr., Missouri State, Missouri Valley
Tyler Frank, SS, Jr., Florida Atlantic, Conference USA
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Jr., Stetson, Atlantic Sun
Steven Gingery, LHP, Jr., Texas Tech, Big 12
Ethan Hankins, RHP, Sr., Forsythe Central High School
Zack Hess, RHP, So., LSU, SEC
Sean Hjelle, RHP, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Nico Hoerner, SS, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12
Tyler Holton, LHP/DH, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Niko Hulsizer, OF, Jr., Morehead State, Ohio Valley
Jonathan India, 3B, Jr., Florida, SEC
Julian Infante, 1B/DH, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Jared Janczak, RHP, Jr., TCU, Big 12
Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic
Nolan Kingham, RHP, Jr., Texas, Big 12
Jackson Kowar, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Shea Langeliers, C, So., Baylor, Big 12
Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Sr., Mountain Ridge High School
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12
Jake Mangum, OF, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Jake McCarthy, OF, Jr., Virginia, ACC
Shane McClanahan, LHP, Jr, South Florida, American Athletic
Drew Mendoza, 3B, So., Florida State, ACC
Casey Mize, RHP, Jr., Auburn, SEC
Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC
Tyler Pittmon, IF, Sr., Antelope Valley, California Pacific
Tristan Pompey, OF, Jr., Kentucky, SEC
Patrick Raby, RHP, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC
Cal Raleigh, C, Jr., Florida State, ACC
Alfonso Rivas, 1B, Jr., Arizona, Pac-12
Ryan Rolison, LHP, So., Ole Miss, SEC
Braden Shewmake, 2B, So., Texas A&M, SEC
Brady Singer, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC
Nick Sprengel, LHP, Jr., San Diego, West Coast
Travis Swaggerty, OF, Jr., South Alabama, Sun Belt
Brice Turang, SS, Sr., Santiago High School
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, So., California, Pac-12
Steele Walker, OF, JR, Oklahoma, Big 12
Matt Wallner, UT, So., Southern Miss, Conference USA
Zach Watson, OF, So., LSU, SEC
About Golden Spikes Award
Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first-ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2017 Golden Spikes Award winner was Brendan McKay from the University of Louisville. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Andrew Benintendi (’15), Kris Bryant (’13), Mike Zunino (’12), Trevor Bauer (’11), Bryce Harper (’10), Stephen Strasburg ('09), Buster Posey ('08), David Price (’07) and Alex Gordon (’05). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Tim Lincecum (’06), Pat Burrell (’98), Mark Kotsay (’95), RobinVentura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Horner (’78). For more information, please visit GoldenSpikesAward.com. Fans can follow the Golden Spikes Award on Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.
About Rod Dedeaux Foundation
The Rod Dedeaux Foundation was formed to continue Rod’s spirit by supporting youth baseball and softball programs in underserved areas. Currently, inner city organizations are fighting for survival as public funding is drying up, coupled with the game’s waning popularity with children in Urban areas. Through the efforts of the Foundation, youth receive more than just uniforms and renovated facilities, they receive a sanctuary from challenging environments and a support system specifically designed to build character and academic support to enable underprivileged youth to achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit DedeauxFoundation.org.
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, Premier12 and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. The organization is responsible for the continued proliferation and health of the sport, and leads a number of amateur initiatives including PLAYBALL and Pitch Smart. USA
Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit the organization’s official websites: USABaseball.com, PLAYBALL.org, PitchSmart.org, GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseballShop.com.