Wednesday May 16, 2012UF Baseball's Mike Zunino Named Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist
University of Florida junior catcher Mike Zunino (Cape Coral, Fla.) was named as one of the 12 semifinalists for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com announced by The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission on Wednesday. He is the only Southeastern Conference player on the list.
The 2011 SEC Player of the Year, who was one of three finalists for the 2011 Johnny Bench Award, Zunino is enjoying another solid campaign for third-ranked Florida (38-15/16-11 SEC) and paces the club in six different offensive categories: total bases (127), RBI (49), doubles (22), homers (14), sacrifice flies (7) and slugging percentage (.645). He rates second on the squad in batting average (.320), hits (63) and stolen bases (8-for-9) and is third in runs scored (40) and on-base percentage (.379). Defensively, he has thrown out 14 runners attempting to steal and has registered a .993 fielding percentage with three errors in 411 chances. According to the most recent SEC statistics for overall games, Zunino is first in slugging percentage, total bases, doubles and round-trippers and rates second in RBI.
The Johnny Bench Award semifinalists are (in alphabetical order):
Derrick Chung, Sacramento State
Zachary Fisher, New Mexico State
Tucker Frawley, Coastal Carolina
Mitchell Garver, New Mexico
Tyler Heineman, UCLA
Joe Hudson, Notre Dame
Jeremy Lucas, Indiana State
Josh Ludy, Baylor
Jeff Melillo, Rutgers
Kevin Plawecki, Purdue
Jeremy Schaffer, Tulane
Mike Zunino, FLORIDA
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 on June 4. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the NCAA College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 28.
Benchs 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.