Six baseball players from the Big 12 Conference have been named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list. Sixty players are on the current watch list. USA Baseball officials will reduce the list to 30 semifinalists, which will be announced on May 28. The Golden Spikes Award recognizes the best amateur baseball player in the country.
Making the watch list from the Big 12 are starting pitcher Jonathan Gray and Matt Oberste, the league’s leading hitter so far this season, from Oklahoma, Jared King from Kansas State, Oklahoma State’s Jason Hursh, ace reliever Corey Knebel of Texas and Trey Masek of Texas Tech.
Gray, a junior right-hander, has an 8-1 record as a starter this season and an earned run average of 1.20 in 12 starts. In addition to leading the conference in hitting, Oberste also is the league leader in hits (73), home runs (10) and RBI (48), on-base percentage (.493) and slugging percentage (.749). King, a junior infielder for K-State, is tied for fourth in the Big 12 in total bases (88), third in RBI (40) and slugging percentage (.543).
Knebel is Texas’ closer and one of the best in the country. He has eight saves and an ERA of 2.68 this season in 37 innings. Opponents are hitting only .168 against him.
Oklahoma State’s Hursh has posted a 4-3 record in 11 games this season with a 2/61 ERA. Masek, a junior, is 4-1 on the year in nine starts and is third in the conference with a 1.41 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of 2.04.
The three Golden Spikes Award finalists will be announced on June 4.
Two Big 12 players have won the award in the past: Alex Gordon of Nebraska (currently with the Kansas City Royals) in 2005 and Jason Jennings of Baylor in 1999) There have also been eight Golden Spikes finalists from the Big 12.