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Feb. 16, 2016

2016 Golden Spikes Award Watch List

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia pitcher Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) and catcher Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) have been named to the preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list, announced Tuesday by USA Baseball. The list consists of 50 players in amateur baseball.

Virginia is one of six schools who have multiple players on the list, joining Florida, Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.

Jones went 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 18 starts in 2015. He worked an ACC-high 115 2/3 innings, striking out 113 and limiting opponents to a .226 batting average. Jones worked at least six innings in each of his last nine starts and struck out seven or more in five of those games. He also has been named to the preseason All-America squads of D1Baseball (first team), Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game (second team) and Baseball America (third team).

A Third-Team All-America selection by Louisville Slugger and the NCBWA in 2015, Thaiss led the team in batting (.323) and home runs (10) while also finishing second on the team in RBI (64) and hits (82). He played in 67 of the Cavaliers’ 68 games. Thaiss was named a 2016 Second-Team Preseason All-American by D1Baseball.

Starting on April 11 and ending April 17, fans will be able to nominate their favorite players for the Golden Spikes Award for the first time ever prior to the reveal of Midseason Watch List on April 20. The semifinalists list will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow the amateur game closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 38 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

Fan voting will continue to be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2016, starting on June 1 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at On June 13, USA Baseball will announce the finalists and voting will begin that day and last until June 25.

The winner of the 39th Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 30, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Ranked as high as No. 4 nationally in the preseason, the reigning national champion Cavaliers open their 2016 season on Friday (Feb. 19) at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Myrtle Beach. UVA plays Kent State (4 p.m. Friday), Appalachian State (4 p.m. Saturday) and No. 23 Coastal Carolina (1 p.m. Sunday) before returning home opener next Tuesday (Feb. 23) against VMI.

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