Four players with ties to teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League have been selected to be part of the initial watch list for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award. The award is presented by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission to the top catcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Overall, 46 players are part of the watch list. To be eligible for the end at the end of the 2012 season, a player must have served as the starting catcher for his team in 75% of their games played. The full watch list can be viewed at WichitaSports.com
Daniel Klein (Glens Falls 2011), Kansas State
Jake Saylor (Coop. 2010/MV 2011), Cincinnati
Tom Murphy (Oneonta 2010), Buffalo
David Roney (Oneonta 2011), Wofford
Kansas State University senior Daniel Klein (Glens Falls 2011) was a PGCBL All-Star Game participant last summer. The defensive-minded backstop threw out 10 runners attempting to steal and recorded a .992 fielding percentage with 237 total chances. Last spring, Klein helped the Kansas State Wildcats to the NCAA tournament. He started 34 games and batted .302 with two home runs and nine RBI. One of his two home runs was an inside-the-park home run against in-state rival Kansas. Defensively, the Hutchinson C.C. transfer committed only three errors in 281 chances (.989) and he threw out 17 runners attempting to steal.
University of Cincinnati senior Jake Saylor (Coop. 2010/MV 2011) spent parts of two summers in upstate New York as a member of both the Cooperstown Hawkeyes and the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. Saylor was part of the first-ever Cooperstown squad in 2010; a team that won 21 games and made the league playoffs. Last summer, the Paradise Valley C.C. transfer drove in six runs in 11 games for Mohawk Valley. As a junior at Cincinnati, Saylor made 47 starts and he drove in 20 runs. The Bearcat backstop threw out 19 runners attempting to steal. He accrued a .985 fielding percentage with only five errors in 333 defensive chances.
University at Buffalo junior Tom Murphy (Oneonta 2010) continues to pile up honors. Murphy is part of USA Baseball’s preseason watch list for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award, he is a Baseball America 2012 Preseason All-American and he is the Mid-American Conference Preseason Player of the Year. The UB junior was the MAC Player of the Year as a sophomore. He batted .384, clubbed 10 home runs and pocketed 44 RBI. Behind the plate, Murphy threw out 19 runners attempting to steal and the backstop led all of the regulars on his team with a .981 fielding percentage (309 chances, six errors). Murphy, during his time with the Outlaws, was the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the 2010 All-Star Game.
Wofford University senior David Roney (Oneonta 2011) was part of a league championship squad last summer in Oneonta. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native cracked 28 hits in 30 games and drove in 10 runs for a side that recorded 29 victories in 44 regular season games. Last spring, Roney appeared in 54 games for the Southern Conference’s Wofford Terriers and he made 50 starts at catcher. The backstop led the team in walks (28) and he smashed four home runs, including a grand slam. Behind the plate, Roney put together a .988 fielding percentage which was second on the team by just .001. He committed only five errors in 400 chances and threw out 19 runners attempting to steal.
An updated watch list for the Johnny Bench Award will be released on May 7. Nine days later, the semifinalists will be announced. The finalists for the Johnny Bench Award will be named on June 4. The award will be handed out on June 28 at the 2012 Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.
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