Wichita, Kan. - The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced Tuesday, June 5, the list of three finalists for the 2007 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award delivered by AT&T. Florida State’s Buster Posey was one of three finalists nominated making him the first sophomore to be in the running for the award given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. The award is presented annually at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet as voted on by the national voting committee which is comprised of sportswriters, sportscasters, Division I coaches and scouts.
Posey made the transition from shortstop to catcher as a sophomore to fill unanticipated void behind the plate after the departure of two catchers on last year's roster. A year ago, Posey was the Seminoles starting shortstop where he started all 65 games for the Seminoles and was named a freshman All-American. The Leesburg, Ga., native finished the 2006 season second on the team with a .346 batting average and 85 hits.
In his first season behind the plate, Posey helped the Seminole pitching staff post a team ERA of 3.57, good for third in the ACC. In starting all 62 games at the catcher position, Posey threw out 40.9% of potential base stealers as well as leading the team in pickoffs with six. Posey finished the season with the highest fielding percentage among starters posting a mark of .994, committing just three errors in 478 chances. As a team, Florida State finished the season with the best overall fielding percentage in school history at .975.
The sophomore right hander also had a productive year at the plate as he finished second on the team in hitting with a .382 average (94 hits in 246 at-bats). He led the team with 65 RBI’s and 31 two-out hits. Posey currently ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in five offensive categories including batting average, runs batted in per game (1.05), hits per game (1.52), runs scored per game (1.06) and doubles per game (0.34). Posey, a native of Leesburg, Ga., set season career-highs this year in batting average, runs scored, hits, doubles (21), RBI’s, slugging percentage (.520) and on base percentage (.453). He registered a hit in 51 of 62 games in 2007, while recording multi-hits in 32 games.
Joining Posey as a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award are Mississippi State’s Edward Easley and Georgia Tech’s Matt Wieters.
A final vote among the national selection committee will occur during the College World Series. All three finalists and their coaches will be invited to Wichita for the 10th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Wichita.