UK's Thomas on Johnny Bench Watch List

Micheal Thomas

Kentucky's Micheal Thomas has been named to the midseason watch list of the Johnny Bench Award, presented annually to the best catcher in college baseball, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Friday.

Kentucky's Micheal Thomas has been named to the midseason watch list of the Johnny Bench Award, presented annually to the best catcher in college baseball, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Friday.

Thomas is one of three catchers from the Southeastern Conference on the watch list, joining South Carolina's Grayson Greiner and Florida's Taylor Gushue. The Elizabethtown, Ky., native is hitting .344 with seven doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI as a senior for No. 19 Kentucky. He ranks third in the SEC in both home runs and RBI and fourth in slugging percentage (.555).

Prior to this season, he was a career .281 hitter with just 13 doubles, 10 home runs and a .435 slugging percentage.

Thomas is also a defensive standout, having allowed the fewest stolen bases (14) in the SEC among full-time catchers.

"Micheal is what college baseball is all about," said UK assistant coach Keith Vorhoff, the Cats' catching coordinator.

"In my 12 years coaching, I haven't come across a better story. Micheal was a true walk-on in our program and has worked incredibly hard to improve his body, athleticism, and skills. He sat for three years, waited his turn, took advantage of every opportunity, and brings a legitimate blue-collar personality to our team that makes everyone in the program better, including coaches and staff."

The watch list will be narrowed to semifinalists on May 15 with the finalists announced on June 3. A final vote will occur during the College World Series and the award presented at the 17th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 26.

Kentucky (24-13, 7-8 SEC) will face off with Texas A&M in a crucial three-game series, starting Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET in College Station, Texas.

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