Cal first baseman and Maria Carrillo High School grad Andrew Vaughn joined the list of college baseball’s all-time elite Thursday when he was named winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top amateur player.
The sophomore becomes the first winner from Cal and the first from the Pac-12 to win the prestigious honor since UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer in 2011.
Vaughn’s massive season at Cal, where he hit a conference-leading .402 with 23 home runs and 63 RBIs, enabled him to beat out finalists Brady Singer from Florida, Kody Clemens from Texas and Casey Mize from Auburn, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Detroit Tigers in the Major League Baseball draft two weeks ago.
Vaughn, who as a sophomore was unavailable for the draft, is the only player among the four who plays for a squad that did not make the NCAA postseason tournament.
Vaughn’s 23 home runs tied the Bears’ single-season record set by Xavier Nady in 1999. In addition, Vaughn’s .819 slugging percentage this season is the best in Cal history.
Vaughn, a Santa Rosa native, is also the first Golden Spikes winner from Northern California since San Jose’s Pat Burrell took home the award for Miami in 1998. Vaughn was only the second finalist ever from Cal, joining ex-A’s infielder Lance Blankenship, who was a runner-up in 1984.
It’s just the latest honor for Vaughn, who was the Pac-12’s player of the year after being the conference’s freshman of the year last year.
Vaughn will return to Cal next season and, if he’s looking to make history, another big season might help him become the first two-time Golden Spikes winner.
Vaughn’s name has been on a watchlist for the Golden Spikes award for much of the season, along with Casa Grande grad Spencer Torkelson, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for Arizona State University who won the NCAA home run title with 25.
Torkelson was the only freshman on the award’s semifinalist list earlier this year but did not make the cut to the final four.
As it stands, Vaughn joins some other big-name players to take home the honor, including Giants catcher Buster Posey, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and former Giants Tim Lincecum and Will Clark.
Louisville’s Brendan McKay won the award last year and is currently a minor league first baseman in the Tampa Bay Rays system.