Miami Outfielder Catches Golden Spikes Watch List Spot

University of Miami outfielder Carl Chester was among those 55 players named to the watch list for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award honoring the nation's top amateur player, USA Baseball announced Wednesday.

A native of Longwood, Fla., Chester batted .336 for Miami in 2016 and was one of just four players to start all 64 games, as he helped lead the team to the College World Series for the second straight season. Chester finished the year with nine doubles, two home runs, 29 RBI and a team-high 16 steals.

USA Baseball unveiled its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Wednesday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2017 season. The 40th Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 29 in Los Angeles.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation's top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

"We are excited to kick off the fortieth year of this prestigious award with the announcement of 55 members of the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "We cannot wait to follow these athletes closely during the course of the baseball season before ultimately recognizing one premier athlete to join the remarkable group of winners we have had in our history."

A Baseball America Preseason All-American, Chester compiled a .426 on-base percentage and led the team with 15 sacrifice hits in 2016.

The junior slugger, who was selected in the 38th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of high school, was named the 2016 Coral Gables Regional Most Outstanding Player after batting .357 in three games. He hit .500 in the team's NCAA Super Regional win over Boston College.

Chester has 19 doubles, seven home runs, 54 RBI and 27 steals in two seasons with the Hurricanes. Chester became the fourth Hurricane to earn Preseason All-America recognition when he was honored by Baseball America in late January; senior Johnny Ruiz and juniors Jesse Lepore and Michael Mediavilla were recognized by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in December.

Chester would become just the second Golden Spikes Award winner in program history; Pat Burrell won the award during his junior year of 1998. David Thompson was a semifinalist for the award in 2015, while Zack Collins earned semifinalist distinction in 2016.