The Golden Spikes Award has been awarded to the best amateur college baseball player since it was introduced in 1978. On Friday, Texas Longhorns’ first baseman Ivan Melendez became the 44th player to win College Baseball’s most prestigious award. Melendez is the first Texas Longhorn to win the award and the fourth Big 12 player to win the award, joining Alex Gordon (Nebraska) in 2005, Jason Jennings (Baylor) in 1999, as well as Robin Ventura (Oklahoma State) in 1988.
It is no surprise that Melendez is your 2022 Golden Spikes Award winner. In a season where Melendez surpassed Kris Bryant, who also won the award in 2013, as the nation’s single-season home run leader with thirty-two, Melendez put on an offensive display that we had never seen in college baseball history.
As if leading the nation in home runs was not enough, Melendez led the nation in RBIs (94) and had a slugging percentage of (.863). Melendez also broke Texas’ single-season home run record when he hit his 29th home run of the season in the Big 12 Championship Game.
To go along with winning the Golden Spikes Award, Melendez was a unanimous selection for Big 12 Player of the Year, leading the way in batting average (.421), home runs (28), RBIs (85), on-base percentage (.531), slugging percentage (.941) and an OPS (1.472). Melendez also played very well on the defensive side at first base with a .998 fielding percentage. When the Big 12 awards are announced, Melendez may have a chance to cement his name into record books once more as he is currently on pace to win the Big 12 Triple Crown, which has only been accomplished once in conference history.
A Dick Howser winner, given out to the nation’s best college baseball player, and the Perfect Game National Player of the Year, Melendez joins an elite group of players that won the Golden Spikes Award and were first-round draft picks such as Adley Rutschman (2019), Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
This impressive season from Melendez is one of the reasons why the Longhorns were able to return to the College World Series for the 38th time in program history. As much as the Longhorns would love to have Melendez return for his senior season, this might have been the last time we see Melendez in the Burnt Orange and White, as the MLB Draft will be here next month.
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