Saint Louis Billikens Catcher James Morisano Named to Johnny Bench Award Watch List

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

SLU catcher James Morisano has been named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list for the second straight season.

It’s been a great year so far for the Saint Louis Billikens baseball team, which sits at 11-1 through the first couple weeks of its non-conference schedule. Some more great news came out of the Billiken baseball program on Thursday, as junior catcher James Morisano was named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list. The Johnny Bench Award is given annually to the best catcher in college baseball, and its previous recipients include current major-leaguers such as Buster Posey, Kurt Suzuki, and Mike Zunino. This is the second straight season that Morisano has been named to the watch list.

Morisano, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder from Staten Island, New York, emerged as the Billikens’ primary starting catcher last season, starting 42 games behind the plate. He’s continued in that role thus far through 2017, starting at catcher for seven of the Billikens’ first 11 games while serving as the designated hitter in another three. Through his first 40 at-bats, Morisano has a .350/.469/.625 slash line with three homers and 10 runs batted in.

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Morisano’s two predecessors behind the dish for the Billikens, Grant Nelson (ninth-round selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013) and Jake Henson (21st-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015), were also named to the Johnny Bench watch list and obviously went on to have professional careers. With the success that he’s had this season and the pedigree that’s now been developed with the SLU catching position, Morisano looks like a possible MLB Draft candidate this summer.