The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced a new name for the 20th Anniversary of the national collegiate catcher of the year award and released the official watch list on Tuesday. Previously known as the Johnny Bench Award, the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award will continue to honor the nation’s top division one collegiate catcher as voted on by head coaches and sports information directors. Following a great 2018 season and strong start behind the plate in 2019, New Mexico State’s Braden Williams was named to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Watch List.
Williams arrived to NM State in 2018 where he appeared in 29 games with 21 starts behind the plate. The Irving, Texas native played a big role in the team’s first-ever Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. Williams started all five games and played every inning of the WAC Tournament at catcher for the Aggies.
In 2019 the senior has played in 19 games, with 18 starts behind the plate. The catcher has a .986 fielding percentage with 122 putouts and 19 assists. So far this season, Williams has also thrown out 11 of the 13 attempted steals (84.6 percent).
Seventy-nine catchers were nominated for the 2019 Buster Posey Award. Since the award is given annually to the top Division I collegiate catcher, the list is set to be updated to include other candidates until May 6, 2019.
The watch list is to be narrowed down to the semifinalists that are announced on May 17, 2019. Ballots are to be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists, which are announced on June 3, 2019. A final vote among the national committee is set to occur during the College World Series. All finalists are brought to Wichita and the winner is announced at the 22nd Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2019.
Georgia Tech catcher, Joey Bart, was named the catcher of the year last June, 2018. Alex Holderbach of Eastern Kentucky University and Reynaldo Pastrana of Marshall University were the other finalists for the award.
The New Mexico State baseball team is back in action with another WAC series at home with the team playing host to Grand Canyon, April 5-7, on Presley Askew Field.