Feb. 17, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame junior outfielder A.J. Pollock has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2009 Golden Spikes Award, as announced Tuesday by USA Baseball. The award is presented annually to the premier amateur baseball player.
Pollock is one of 50 players named on the watch list, which includes three players from the BIG EAST. The watch list will be cut to 30 semifinalists on May 26, and the five finalists will be announced on June 2. The winner's name will be announced on July 15 on an award show via live telecast from St. Louis in conjunction with the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Weekend Festivities.
Pollock enters the 2009 season as one of the top all-around hitters in the country. Last season, he led Notre Dame with a .352 batting average, 15 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 42 RBI and 28 stolen bases. A two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week selection, Pollock led the Irish in batting, hits (76), doubles (tied), total bases (109), sacrifice flies (7), stolen bases, at bats (216), games played (tied, 55) and games started (tied, 55).
Pollock was the first Notre Dame player to lead the team in hitting, stolen bases and strikeout ratio in the same season since Steve Stanley in 2002. He struck out just 10 times in 216 at-bats last year and his ratio of one strikeout to every 21.6 at-bats is the eighth-best ratio in school history. His .362 career batting average ranks ninth all-time in Notre Dame history (minimum 2 years, 2.5 AB/game).
Pollock exploded onto the national scene this summer following his MVP performance in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. He finished the regular season on the Cape leading the league in hits (61), doubles (15) and slugging percentage (.556). He ranked second in batting average at .377 -- a clip that remained above .300 all summer long -- as well as second in extra-base hits with 20. Pollock also ranked third in on-base percentage (.455) and runs scored (35). He smacked four home runs, drove in 25 RBI and stole 11 bases. Pollock started in center field as a West Division All-Star, going 2-for-3 at the plate, including a solo home run. He proved to be the perfect leadoff hitter for Falmouth, relying on his ability to make contact and put the ball in play, striking out only 24 times in 162 at-bats.
Pollock was named third team all-BIG EAST as a freshman in 2007 before earning a first team nod in 2008. He has already been named first team preseason All-American by Baseball America, second team by Collegiate Baseball and third team by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Pollock has also been named to the Wallace Award Watch List and listed as the 39th overall prospect, 16th collegiate prospect and top overall prospect from the BIG EAST Conference for the 2009 MLB Draft by Baseball America. Pollock was also ranked as the seventh-best prospect from the Cape Cod League by Baseball America following his Most Valuable Player season this past summer. He was most recently recognized by Baseball America as the 10th-ranked player from the junior class.
Past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006), David Price (2007) and last year's winner Buster Posey (2008).
Pollock and the rest of his Notre Dame teammates open the 2009 spring season on Feb. 20-22 with the BIG EAST vs. Big Ten Challenge. The Irish will face Ohio State (Fri., 7:30 p.m. in Dunedin, Fla.), Illinois (Sat., 7:30 p.m. in Bradenton, Fla.) and Purdue (Sun., 1:00 p.m. in Clearwater, Fla.).
2009 Golden Spikes Watch List