May 12, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky fifth-year senior catcher Micheal Thomas has been named to the Gregg Olson Award Watch List, which honors college baseball’s breakout player of the year, it was announced on Monday night.
A native of Elizabethtown, Ky., Thomas is on the 80-man watch list, given to the top breakout performer in the nation and named in honor of former Auburn pitcher Gregg Olson. Thomas is one of six Southeastern Conference standouts on the 80-player list, joining Will Allen (Ole Miss), Auston Bousfield (Ole Miss), Andy Cox (Tennessee), Jon Keller (Alabama), Dillon Ortman (Auburn) and Andrew Stevenson (LSU).
Thomas has hit .299 in 2014, with seven doubles, one triple, seven homers and 42 RBI, owning a .471 slugging and a .390 on-base percentage. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound right-handed hitter has caught 46 of UK’s 50 games, including 25 consecutive starts behind the plate, dating back to March 26 vs. Xavier. Thomas ranks 12th in the SEC in slugging, 12th in runs (40), fourth in RBI, sixth in homers. Among SEC catchers, Thomas ranks third in RBI and second in homers, checking in third in runners caught stealing (12).
The breakout 2014 season for UK’s everyday backstop came a season after he earned the everyday job behind the plate. Thomas hit .239 as a junior, with three homers and 21 RBI in 49 games. Overall in his career, Thomas has hit .266 in 125 games and 91 starts, with 13 doubles, one triple, 11 homers and 67 RBI.
The award is named in honor of the former America League Rookie of the Year, Olson, who earned two-time All-America honors and was a first-round draft pick at Auburn, after a debut season with mixed success. Semifinalists are slated to be named, May 20 and the finalists are scheduled to be announced on June 6. The winner of the 2014 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Neb., at the College World Series.
Kentucky (30-20) returns to action on Tuesday with its final non-conference game of the regular season, traveling to face host Murray State at Paducah’s Brooks Stadium, with first pitch at 7 p.m. ET.