BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – LSU’s Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes were announced on Wednesday as two of the three finalists for the 2023 Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball.
This year marks the 45th edition of the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur baseball player in the nation who best exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship.
Florida Gators’ pitcher, Jac Caglianone is the third finalist.
The winner of the Golden Spikes Award will be announced on Sunday, June 25 during a special presentation on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. CT, leading into Game 2 of the College World Series finals.
“USA Baseball is honored to name Jac Caglianone, Dylan Crews, and Paul Skenes the finalists for the 2023 Golden Spikes Award,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “All three of these athletes are beyond worthy of this recognition, thanks to both their terrific play on the field and their tremendous character off the field. The winner of this award will join a long list of established and successful baseball players, and we look forward to crowning the recipient of the 45th Golden Spikes Award later this month.”
Crews is among the nation’s best all-around stars, as the junior was recently named SEC Player of the Year for the second straight season. Crews has reached base in all 61 of LSU’s games in 2023, which included a 26-game hitting streak. He is near the top of the national leaderboard in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (second, .573), runs scored (second, 87), and batting average (third, .432).
The junior also leads the SEC in batting average, hits (95), on-base percentage, runs scored, and walks (61) while posting a spotless 1.000 fielding percentage in centerfield. In addition to winning SEC Player of the Week honors on three separate occasions in 2023, he was also named to the conference’s Community Service Team.
Crews, who earned Baton Rouge Regional MVP honors after helping the Tigers advance to the Super Regional, is making his seventh appearance on a Golden Spikes Award list, having been named to the preseason, midseason, and semifinalist lists in each of the past two seasons.
SEC Pitcher of the Year Paul Skenes has had one of the best seasons on the mound in recent history. Following the conclusion of NCAA Regionals, the junior right-hander leads all NCAA pitchers with 179 strikeouts – 41 more than the pitcher with the second-most strikeouts – in 99.1 innings pitched. In addition, Skenes sits at the top of the national leaderboard in strikeouts per nine innings (16.22) and WHIP (0.79).
He has been at the front of the Tigers’ rotation on their run to the NCAA Super Regional, going 11-2 with a 1.90 ERA, good for the fourth lowest in the country. Skenes also leads the SEC in nearly every statistical pitching category, including batting average against (.171), ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins. He has allowed three or fewer runs in all but one start in his first season at LSU, including 10 outings permitting one or zero runs.
The three-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team member joins Crews as LSU’s first Golden Spikes Award finalists since Alex Bregman in 2015.
Crews and Skenes become the 11th and 12th LSU players to be named Golden Spikes Award finalists, tying Miami (Fla.) for the most all-time by a single program. This is the eighth time in the award’s history that a school boasts multiple players as finalists and the second time that LSU has accomplished the feat. In addition to placing Crews and Skenes as finalists this year, the Tigers also had two representatives in 1994 (Russ Johnson and Todd Walker).
Additionally, this is only the third time in the award’s history that all of the finalists come from the same conference, with the SEC being responsible for all three instances. In both 2015 and 2021, all of the finalists represented SEC schools, including LSU’s Bregman.
Both Florida and LSU boast one winner in the 45-year history of the prestigious Golden Spikes Award. LSU’s Ben McDonald earned the award in 1989 before becoming the first pick in that year’s MLB Draft and spending nine seasons in the majors. Mike Zunino was the Golden Spikes Award winner in 2012 for Florida prior to being selected third overall later that year. He has spent 11 seasons in the big leagues and currently plays for the Cleveland Guardians.
Historically, Golden Spikes Award winners have gone on to have tremendous success in the Major Leagues. Of the 44 previous winners, six have earned Rookie of the Year honors, including Kyle Lewis in 2020. Additionally, three have won the Cy Young Award, three were named MVP, and 11 have won a World Series championship as a player or manager, combining for 18 championships. Twenty previous winners have also been named to at least one All-Star Game roster as a player or manager, combining for 61 total selections.
A final ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel and USA Baseball staff, and the previous winners of the award, totaling a group of more than 150 voters.
From Wednesday, June 7, to Monday, June 12, the voting body will cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com.
(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)