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Andrew Benintendi Wins Golden Spikes Award

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Arkansas' star center fielder wins the sport's biggest individual prize. The "Heisman of college baseball" as Dave Van Horn says.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to argue that Andrew Benintendi did not just put together the greatest individual season in Razorback history. Go through Arkansas' history books, and you'll see players who hit more home runs in a year or had a higher batting average or stole more bases, but none have put up elite numbers in all those categories, won almost every major award available, and did so with 2015-era bats and balls. And led the Hogs to Omaha, just to put a cherry on top of it all.

Benintendi was recognized with the Golden Spikes Award Tuesday evening, which Dave Van Horn recently described as "the Heisman of college baseball." Check out the list below of previous award winners. That's some nice company.

We'll miss seeing at Baum Stadium. People will talk about his 2015 season for years to come. Here's the full press release from UA:

Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi was awarded one of the highest honors in collegiate baseball Tuesday evening when he was named the 38th recipient of the Golden Spikes Award during a live presentation on SportsCenter at ESPN’s Los Angeles studio.

The prestigious Golden Spikes Award is the fourth national player of the year honor for Benintendi, who leads the country with 20 home runs on the year after guiding Arkansas to its eighth College World Series appearance in program history in 2015. The sophomore is the third SEC player in the last four years to capture the Golden Spikes Award.

Along with consensus All-America first team honors, the Cincinnati native has been named the Baseball America National Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and the recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy. He was also named the program’s first SEC Player of the Year.

When the College World Series comes to a close this week, Benintendi is in line to be the third player in SEC history to lead the league in home runs and batting average, joining Mississippi State’s Rafael Palmeiro in 1984 and Kentucky’s Jeff Abbott in 1994 as the only players to accomplish the feat.

Benintendi’s combination of power and speed made him the first Division I player with 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases since Western Kentucky’s Wade Gaynor in 2009, and the first SEC player to accomplish the feat since Vanderbilt’s Dominic de la Osa during the 2007 season.

In the best baseball conference in America, Benintendi leads the SEC in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage and walks, and is the only player in the nation to rank in the top 25 nationally in every category.

Recently selected by the Boston Red Sox with the seventh overall pick in the MLB Draft, Benintendi is the third-highest drafted player in program history behind Jeff King going No. 1 overall in 1986 and Kevin McReynolds at No. 6 overall in 1981.

The Golden Spikes Award has been presented by USA Baseball since 1978 to honor the top amateur baseball player in the nation. The award is sponsored by Major League Baseball and is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.

Benintendi's Trophy Case

Golden Spikes Award

Dick Howser Trophy

Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year

Baseball America National Player of the Year

Southeastern Conference Player of the Year

Golden Spikes Award Winners

1978: Bob Horner Arizona State University

1979: Tim Wallach, Cal State Fullerton

1980: Terry Francona, University of Arizona

1981: Mike Fuentes, Florida State University

1982: Augie Schmidt, University of New Orleans

1983: Dave Magadan, University of Alabama

1984: Oddibe McDowell, Arizona State University

1985: Will Clark, Mississippi State University

1986: Mike Loynd, Florida State University

1987: Jim Abbott, University of Michigan

1988: Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State University

1989: Ben McDonald, LSU

1990: Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College

1991: Mike Kelly, Arizona State University

1992: Phil Nevin, Cal State Fullerton

1993: Darren Dreifort, Wichita State University

1994: Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech

1995: Mark Kotsay, Cal State Fullerton

1996: Travis Lee, San Diego State University

1997: J.D. Drew, Florida State University

1998: Pat Burrell, University of Miami

1999: Jason Jennings, Baylor University

2000: Kip Bouknight, University of South Carolina

2001: Mark Prior, University of Southern California

2002: Khalil Greene, Clemson University

2003: Rickie Weeks, Southern University

2004: Jered Weaver, Long Beach State University

2005: Alex Gordon, University of Nebraska

2006: Tim Lincecum, University of Washington

2007: David Price, Vanderbilt University

2008: Buster Posey, Florida State University

2009: Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State University

2010: Bryce Harper, College of Southern Nevada

2011: Trevor Bauer, UCLA

2012: Mike Zunino, University of Florida

2013: Kris Bryant, University of San Diego

2014: AJ Reed, University of Kentucky

2015: Andrew Benintendi, University of Arkansas