Sophomore Travis Watkins
March 7, 2014
WICHITA, Kansas - East Carolina sophomore Travis Watkins is one of 72 catchers named to the official 2014 Johnny Bench Award Watch List presented by BaseballSavings.com and the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
The Bench Award, which is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, is a rolling list that will be updated to include other candidates until May 5, 2014.
Watkins, a two-time nominee, is one of 10 underclassmen on the initial list and one of six catchers from Conference USA. The Concord, N.C., native has started seven games for the Pirates behind the dish in 2014 batting .333 (7-for-21) with four RBI and a stolen base.
During his rookie season, Watkins earned C-USA All-Freshman Team honors after batting .267 with four doubles and 16 RBI. He started 34 of 44 games posting eight multi-hit and two multi-RBI games.
Watkins is the fifth catcher in program history to be named to the watch list following Jake Smith (2006 winner), Corey Kemp (2007-08 semifinalist), Jared Avchen (2010) and Zach Wright (2010-12). He is also just the third Pirate to be named to the watch list twice in his career joining Kemp and Wright.
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 15, 2014. 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 3, 2014. 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 17th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 26, 2014.