Baylor baseball sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers was named to the 2018 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, the Greater Wichita Sports Commission announced Tuesday. The annual honor goes to the nation’s top catcher in division one college baseball.
Batting .270 with six runs, 10 hits, two doubles, two home runs, five walks and six RBI in nine games this season, Langeliers already gathered several preseason honors as he adds to his list of 2018 accolades. He is on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List, in addition to receiving preseason All-America honors from D1Baseball.com (first team), Baseball America (second team), Perfect Game/Rawlings (second team) and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) (third team). The quartet of preseason All-America accolades mark the first BU player to earn three or more in a single preseason since at least 1998. The program also has back-to-back years with preseason All-Americans (Troy Montemayor in 2017 and 2018) for the first time since 2004 and 2005.
One of three from the Big 12 on the list, Langeliers was the first freshman in Baylor baseball history last season to earn Freshman All-America honors from three or more different publications as he was honored by Baseball America, the NCBWA, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball.com and Perfect Game/Rawlings.
The Keller, Texas native was named to the 2017 All-Big 12 second team and Big 12 All-Freshman team as well. During the 2017 season, he hit .313 with 43 runs, 66 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 38 RBI, 114 total bases and 24 walks. He also threw out 26 base stealers at a 44 percent rate with a .991 fielding percentage in 55 starts. He set the BU freshman catcher home run record and was one shy of tying the program's all-time freshman home run record (Max Muncy, 11, 2010).
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 16, 2018. 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 4, 2018. 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 21st Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 28, 2018.
While Bench is remembered for his offense, he may have had the greatest impact behind the plate. He was the first receiver to use a protective helmet in the field, popularized catching one-handed and kept his throwing hand behind his back to protect it from foul tips.
Bench’s career honors include: National League Rookie of the Year (1968); National League Most Valuable Player (1970, 1972); World Series Most Valuable Player (1976); 14-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner. In 1980, he set an endurance record by catching 100+ games for 13 consecutive seasons. Bench was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 1989 with the fourth highest percentage of total votes cast.