USA Baseball marked the beginning of the college season this week by releasing its 55-player watch list for the Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday.
A pair of UNC juniors–starting pitcher JB Bukauskas and centerfielder Brian Miller–were included as part of the group.
Bukauskas–who went 7-2 with 111 strikeouts last season–is expected to anchor the Tar Heel pitching rotation in 2017, using his powerful fastball-slider combination to make fools out of opposing hitters.
Miller, meanwhile, will take over in center field after former star Tyler Ramirez was drafted by the Oakland Athletics last June.
The speedster out of Raleigh should also bat in the lead-off spot once again for UNC, after leading the team in 2016 with a .345 batting average and 21 stolen bases.
Given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country, the Golden Spikes Award has been won in the past by MLB stars like Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
This year’s watch list consists of players from 16 different conferences, with the ACC and the SEC leading the way with 13 representatives apiece.
From March 27 to April 2, fans can nominate their favorite players for inclusion prior to the announcement of the Midseason Watch List on April 12.
A voting body consisting of media members, former USA Baseball coaches and press officers, select professional baseball personnel and the 39 past winners will also help determine the award’s semifinalists.
The finalists will be announced on June 14, with fan voting determining the winner on June 29.
For the full Golden Spikes Award watch list, click here.