WICHITA, Kan. – Oral Roberts catcher Matt Whatley was one of 15 semifinalists for the 2017 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
The Claremore, Oklahoma, product has hit a career-high nine home runs and 46 RBI this season, while posting a .294 batting average. He has started 47 of 51 games played behind the plate and been perfect in the field by not committing an error in 450 total chances. The junior also has thrown out 46 percent of potential base stealers in 2017.
Catchers on the watch list were nominated by their schools. Statistics to compare them were pulled on May 9, 2017. One key criteria in determining the semifinalists is that they must be the starting catcher for their team in 70% of the games. This year there were several offensively strong nominees that did not meet the criteria to move forward in the selection process.
Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 5, 2017. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 20th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29, 2017.
Whatley and the Golden Eagles close the regular season over the weekend in Macomb, Illinois, before hosting The Summit League Championships May 24-27 at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
Full List of Semifinalists
Riley Adams, University of San Diego, JR
David Banuelos, Long Beach State University, JR
Joey Bart, Georgia Tech, SO
Ben Breazeale, Wake Forest University, SR
Brent Diaz, Louisiana Tech University, JR
Troy Dixon, St. John's University, SR
Grant Koch, University of Arkansas, SO
Renae Martinez, University of Oklahoma, SR
Adam McGinnis, Western Illinois University, SR
Dominic Miroglio, University of San Francisco, JR
Joey Morgan, University of Washington, JR
Daulton Varsho, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, JR
Travis Watkins, East Carolina University. SR
Matt Whatley, Oral Roberts University, JR
Hunter Wood, Western Kentucky University, SR
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