ECU’s Chris Holba has been named to the 40-man midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, USA Baseball announced Tuesday afternoon. The right-hander is the third player in program history to be named to the midseason watch list joining Jeff Hoffman (2013) and Evan Kruczynski (2016).
Holba, one of two American Athletic Conference players on this year’s list, has started eight games posting a 7-0 record with 44 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. He has allowed seven runs (all earned) on 40 hits while sporting a 1.33 ERA and combined on a pair of shutouts.
The St. Louis, Mo. native earned the first of two AAC Honor Roll accolades on Feb. 26 after tossing seven scoreless frames in ECU’s 12-0 series clinching win over then No. 6 UNC at Boshamer Stadium. He allowed four base runners on the day (two singles, two walk) and struck out eight batters in his outing. On March 5, Holba took home his second consecutive weekly honor after pitching seven scoreless frames in the Pirates’ 9-0 win over Saint Joseph’s in the 15th Annual LeClair Classic finale. He allowed three this, fanned eight without issuing a walk. On April 4, he was a midseason First-Team All-America selection by Perfect Game.
Holba, who has tallied five quality starts, has worked into the seventh inning four times and the eighth frames once with a season-high 7.1 innings at Washington in game one of a doubleheader on April 6. He has six or more strikeouts in five outings, has walked one or fewer batters five times and has not allowed more than one earned run in six contests including a stretch of three-straight games.
In all, Holba is the fourth Pirate to be considered for the prestigious award joining Corey Kemp (2008 preseason), Hoffman (2013 midseason, 2014 preseason) and Kruczynski (2016 midseason).
On Monday, May 21, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award. The list of semifinalists will then be sent to a voting body consisting of baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of semifinalists. On June 6, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting for the winner will begin that same day.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2018. Beginning with the semifinalist announcement and continuing through the finalist round voting deadline, fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite player on GoldenSpikesAward.com.
The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown 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.
Last year, Louisville’s Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include 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), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
The anticipated time line for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award announcements is as follows:
Monday, May 21: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins
Sunday, June 3: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
Wednesday, June 6: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
Friday, June 22: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
Thursday, June 28: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation