Senior catcher Brett Frantini (Minooka, Ill.) and 42 others have been named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, honoring the country’s top NCAA Division I catcher and named after the Cincinnati Reds Hall-of-Famer.
“It’s good for Brett and it’s good for Northern Illinois baseball to be on the Johnny Bench watch list,” said head coach Ed Mathey. “Brett is being recognized for his defensive capabilities and what he brings to the table on a daily basis behind the plate. I’m very happy for him and I’m very happy for Northern Illinois baseball.”
Frantini, a native of Minooka, Ill., has started 10 games at catcher for the Huskies and has been the Huskies anchor behind the plate. From his post, Frantini has thrown out five runners trying to steal base in 2012.
At the plate, he has five hits, two doubles, one run and two walks. Heading into the season, Frantini started 75 games at catcher for the Huskies, carrying a .266 career batting average and a .342 on-base percentage.
He also hit five home runs, eight doubles and 31 RBI entering 2012.
He is one-of-two catchers from the Mid-American Conference named to the prestigious list. Buffalo’s Tom Murphy, a preseason Golden Spikes Watch Lister is the other. The Oakland A’s Kurt Suzuki and the San Francisco Giants Buster Posey are amongst the past winners of the annual award presented since 2000.
The award is to honor those athletes that serve as a team’s starting catcher in at least 75 percent of the games. Nominees that end up playing primarily another position, such as designated hitter, or those that split their time with another catcher in a 50/50 situation will be disqualified from semifinalist selection.