The Sunflower State has two catching candidates on the watch list for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award.
Both Eldredge and DeBord are seniors. DeBord was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award last season, when he hit .327 for the season and drove in 37 runs on a Kansas State team that led the Big 12 in hitting in 2013 with a collective .322 batting average, one of the best in the country. The Kansas State catcher’s batting average is down this season from a year ago. In 27 games for the Wildcats DeBord is hitting .258 with 24 hits in 93 at bats and 10 RBI.
DeBord started 60 of the Cats 64 games at catcher in 2013 and has appeared in 26 of K-State’s 37 games this season.
Eldredge is a career .233 hotter at Kansas, but this season the Hawaii native is batting .282 in 33 games for the Jayhawks. He has started 171 games in his four seasons at Kansas and owns a career fielding average of .972.
Two former Big 12 catchers have won the Johnny Bench Award: Kelly Shoppach of Baylor in 2001, and J.T. Wise of Oklahoma in 2009. Shoppach played un the major leagues with five different teams from 2005 to 2013,
The watch list for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award will be trimmed down to a group of semifinalists that will be disclosed on May 15, and the finalists will be announced on June 3.