IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior Jake Adams has been named one of 25 semifinalists for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, it was announced Wednesday by USA Baseball. The honor is given to the top amateur baseball player in the United States and is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.
The Brandon, South Dakota, native is one of two players from the Big Ten Conference (Maryland’s Brian Shaffer) among the semifinalists. There are six players from the ACC, five from the Pac-12, four from the SEC, two from the Big Ten and Big 12, and one from the Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Southern, and Sun Belt conferences.
Adams, the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year and the only unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, is tied for the NCAA lead with 27 home runs in his first season of Division I baseball. He is also first in home runs per game (.47), third in total bases (174), fourth in slugging percentage (.747), and seventh in RBIs (70).
The first baseman has started all 58 games for the Hawkeyes and he leads the Big Ten Conference in home runs, RBIs, hits (79), slugging percentage and total bases, while also ranking second in runs (52), sixth in batting average, 12th in on-base percentage (.422), and 14th in doubles (14). Adams is hitting .339, having hit safely in 44 games and reached safely in 50 contests. He has 26 multi-hit and 16 multi-RBI games this season.
Adams has shattered Iowa’s single-season home run record of 22, which had stood since 1986, and he is tied for the single-season Big Ten Conference record. He has four multi-home run games, including a three home run game at Kansas State on March 19, where he went 3-for-4 with four runs and seven RBIs.
Adams’ presence in the middle of Iowa’s lineup helped guide the Hawkeyes to the first Big Ten Tournament title in school history and the program’s second NCAA Regional appearance in three seasons. Iowa has won 38 games, the fifth-most in a single season in program history.
USA Baseball officials will announce the finalists for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award on June 14. To select the finalists, the list of semifinalists is sent to a voting body consisting of past Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and select current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total. As part of the selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of semifinalists. Voting will be open until June 9.
Fan voting will once again be part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2017. This announcement officially marks the opening of voting for amateur baseball fans from across the country on GoldenSpikesAward.com — the online home of the award, powered by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM).
The live presentation of the 2017 Golden Spikes Award will be announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter on June 29. The finalists and their families will be also honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Awards Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club Los Angeles.
USA Baseball recently announced a 10-year partnership extension with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation that provides the marketing and sponsorship rights surrounding the Golden Spikes Award to fund its mission to support youth baseball and softball programs in underprivileged areas.
Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis took home the prestigious award in 2016, joining a group of recent winners that includes Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), and Buster Posey (2008).