Liberty outfielder D.J. Artis is one of 55 players listed on the 2018 Golden Spikes Award watch list. The list, which was announced this afternoon by USA Baseball, begins the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for 2018. The 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 28 in Los Angeles, Calif.
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 in consideration for the award throughout the season.
Last year, Louisville's Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners which includes Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
Considered one of the most dynamic leadoff hitters in collegiate baseball, Artis has already been selected to two preseason All-America teams for 2018. The outfielder was named to both D1baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) teams. In addition, he was selected the Big South Conference Preseason Player of the Year by the league's coaches.
Last season, Artis was named to three All-America teams following a stellar sophomore season. The outfielder garnered selections to the D1baseball.com All-America second team and the Baseball America and NCBWA All-America third teams.
The 2017 Big South Player of the Year, Artis, who also earned all-conference first team honors for the second consecutive season, finished the year second in the nation with a .532 on base percentage and as the national leader in walks with 62. Artis' base on balls total eclipsed his own single-season program record of 52 walks, which he set in 2016. In addition, he led the Big South Conference with a .359 batting average and 58 runs scored, while finishing second with 23 stolen bases.
Artis, who patrolled center field for the Flames, also completed 2017 among the conference leaders in hits (ninth - 65), RBI (ninth - 45) and slugging percentage (third - .552). He collected 13 doubles, two triples and six home runs.
The Greensboro, N.C., native was named the Big South Player of the Week three times in 2017. He was tabbed the league's Player of the Week for March 20, April 24 and May 1. Artis finished the year with tied for the team-lead with 19 multi-hit games, nine of which were three-hit contests, and had 11 multiple RBI games.
Artis and the Flames will open their 2018 season a week from today, when they host the VCU Rams at Liberty Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.