USA Baseball has announced the five finalists for the 30th annual Golden Spikes Award, presented to the top player in college baseball. For the first time since the list of finalists was narrowed from nine to five in 1997, two sophomores made the cut–Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez and Texas outfielder Kyle Russell. Alvarez was joined on the list by Vandy teammate David Price, a junior lefthander. The other two finalists were Florida State junior second baseman Tony Thomas and Florida senior first baseman Matt LaPorta.
The player of the year field is very competitive this year, as all five nominees have strong cases. So do Arizona State slugging first baseman Brett Wallace, Virginia righthander Jacob Thompson and Charlotte righty Brad Mills, but there wasn’t room in the crowded field for everyone. There are no slam dunks this year.
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