The Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List was officially unveiled this past week, and featured numerous alumni of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series who are contention to win the honors as the best player in all of college baseball.
Dylan Crews, Nolan McLean, Braden Montgomery and Tommy Troy were all named, and each are having seasons worthy of being considered for the prestigious award.
Crews’ success has been well documented at multiple points during his junior season at LSU, as he continues to be on a trajectory towards being selected with the first overall pick in the upcoming 2023 MLB Draft. Crews is a favorite to win the Golden Spikes, as he leads all of D1 baseball with a .510 batting average in what’s likely its best conference, the SEC. He had a streak of four consecutive games with a homer earlier this year, and just recently had a 26-game hitting streak snapped, instead drawing two walks last Tuesday against Nicholls.
McLean remains a viable two-way player, although he hasn’t taken the mound for Oklahoma State since March 24, when he struck out seven batters over four innings of scoreless work. The former Dirtbags star has continued to shine at the plate since, however; the one-time Baltimore Orioles draft pick is hitting .292 on the season with eight homers and 25 RBI.
One of only a handful of underclassmen on the Spikes short list, Montgomery has earned it, as he too has continued to show progress as a two-way player. Whereas McLean’s future may arguably be on the mound, however, for Montgomery it’s at the dish, and the sophomore has done little to take away from that consensus with his performance there thus far. In 28 games, he’s hitting .364 with eight homers and 29 RBI, and has racked up 12 multi-hit contests already
Troy, a consensus first-rounder, is a teammate of Montgomery’s at Stanford who has overcome an early season foot injury to get right back on track and in contention for the award. Thanks to a stretch over his last five games in which he’s gone 13-for-22, Troy is now hitting a stunning .424 on the season, but has also shown some of the pop that have scouts coming out to see him; he’s hit two homers over that stretch as well.
Edwin Toribio, 3B — College of Central Florida
Toribio has gone the JUCO route, and has kept his name in contention for both being selected in the MLB Draft or being a priority transfer for a four-year school after a big year at The College of Central Florida.
The big-bodied infielder is hitting .411 with 15 homers and 58 RBI in 42 games, with three of those bombs coming on April 4 in a 3-for-4 showing with five RBI.
Joey Spence, 1B — Notre Dame
Congratulations are in order for Spence, who recently hit his first NCAA home run at the University of Notre Dame. The sophomore, who was drafted in 2021 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but elected to honor his commitment, hit a two-run shot in his lone at-bat against Northwestern on April 4.
Derek Bender, C — Coastal Carolina
Bender has quietly made a name for himself this season at Coastal Carolina, playing alongside fellow FSS alum Orlando Pena. Another former standout with the Dirtbags, Bender hit three homers over both games of a doubleheader, giving the sophomore ten on the season. He’s hitting a robust .396 on the year, and is also currently on a six-game hitting streak.
Eric Snow, IF — South Florida
Like Toribio, Snow shined at the 2021 Main Event, and is now also playing in Florida, albeit at USF. A freshman, Snow has earned everyday playing time with consistent performances at the plate; he went 3-for-3 in his most recent game against Tulane on April 7, hitting a homer along the way to help up his average to .339 on the year.
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