AUSTIN (KXAN) — A season for the record books just got a little bit more memorable for Texas Longhorns first baseman Ivan Melendez.
The nation’s college baseball leader in home runs was honored with another postseason award, perhaps the most prestigious of them all when USA Baseball gave him the Golden Spikes Award on Friday. The award honors the best amateur baseball player in the country, and given the year Melendez had to help the Longhorns make it to the Men’s College World Series, there’s no doubt he was the country’s top player.
He’s the first-ever Longhorn to win the award in its 44 years. Arkansas pitcher Kevin Kopps won the award last year.
“Ivan Melendez put together a season to remember for baseball fans,” said USA Baseball’s Paul Seiler. “He became one of the most feared hitters in college baseball this year thanks to consistent and staggering power numbers, and he made every at-bat a must-see event.”
Melendez’s 32 home runs not only broke a Texas record for most in a season but also broke the national record set by Kris Bryant in 2013 just two years after BBCOR bat restrictions went into effect. Melendez also led college baseball in RBIs with 94, a .863 slugging percentage and 214 total bases. He finished in the top-10 in several other offensive categories such as on-base percentage (.508), hits (96) and runs scored (75.) He ended the season with a .387 batting average.
Melendez was not only a consensus All-American, but he was also the consensus player of the year with distinctions from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, Baseball America, D1Baseball.com and Perfect Game.
The redshirt junior was drafted in the 16th round by the Miami Marlins last year but opted to stay another year in Austin. Current draft prospects rankings have him all over the map. Baseball America has Melendez at No. 51 on its list of top draft prospects while MLB Pipeline has him at No. 115. The MLB Pipeline rankings are much more critical of Melendez’s defensive ability, giving him a 40 out of 80 grade, while Baseball America grades him at a 55 out of 80.
The 2022 MLB Draft is set for July 17-19 and several college and high school players will be picked by professional teams in a 20-round event.