University of Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi has been named the 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner, USA Baseball announced. The Golden Spikes Award is given annually to the amateur baseball player who best displays "exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship."
Benintendi beat out three other finalists for the award: Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer, and LSU shortstop Alex Bregman. All four finalists came from the SEC, college baseball's powerhouse conference.
"Andrew Benintendi, Alex Bregman, Carson Fulmer, and Dansby Swanson represent everything we know and love about amateur baseball," said USA Baseball CEO, Paul Seiler in a statement. "These four finalists are excellent ambassadors for the game and have represented their universities exceptionally well on and off the field. Ultimately, Andrew's season stood out above many deserving candidates, and we are honored to present him with the Golden Spikes Award this year."
Benintendi, a 20-year-old sophomore, hit .376./.488/.717 with a Divison I leading 20 home runs in 65 games for the Razorbacks this spring. He also stole 24 bases in 28 attempts and drove in 58 runs. Benintendi hit only .276/.368/.333 with one homer and 17 steals as a freshman last year.
The Red Sox selected Benintendi with the seventh overall pick in this month's First-Year Player Draft. He was draft-eligible as a sophomore because he turns 21 within 45 days of the draft. Arkansas has already been eliminated from the College World Series, so Benintendi is now to free to sign with the Red Sox.
The Golden Spikes Award is basically the baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Here are the last 10 winners, which include plenty of names you'll recognize:
2014 - 1B/LHP A.J. Reed, Kentucky
2013 - 3B Kris Bryant, San Diego
2012 - C Mike Zunino, Florida
2011 - RHP Trevor Bauer, UCLA
2010 - C Bryce Harper, College of Southern Nevada
2009 - RHP Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State
2008 - C Buster Posey, Florida State
2007 - LHP David Price, Vanderbilt
2006 - RHP Tim Lincecum, Washington
2005 - 3B Alex Gordon, Nebraska