Del Mar native Garrett Stubbs wins Bench Award bestowed to nation’s top catcher

Senior catcher Garrett Stubbs was awarded the prestigious Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate catcher, it was announced recently by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission.

Stubbs, a Del Mar native and graduate of Torey Pines High School, joins 2005 Trojan Jeff Clement as the second catcher out of Troy to win the award. USC is the first school to have two award winners. He is also the third Pac-12 catcher all-time to take the honor.

“I am excited and humbled to be selected for this prestigious award,” Stubbs exclaimed. “Bringing this honor back to USC and its storied baseball program, which my team returned to prominence this year, means a great deal to me.”

Stubbs, who was recently drafted by the Houston Astros in the eighth round, has racked up the postseason honors, as he was named ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-American, Baseball America First Team All-American, Gold Glove honoree, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Pac-12, Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-West Region.

He finished the year leading the Pac-12 by throwing out 52.8 percent of would-be base stealers (28-of-53). The senior only had three errors in 468 chances all season, while tallying 68 assists. He picked off six runners and was only credited with four passed balls. Offensively, Stubbs was second on the team with a .346 batting average. He drove in 25 runs as the team’s No. 2 hitter in the lineup and started 59 of the Trojans’ 60 games on the year. The speedy catcher also led the team with 20 stolen bases.

In the Trojans first NCAA Regional appearance since 2005, Stubbs was outstanding for the Trojans, catching all 38 innings over four games, including one 11 inning contest. He led the team with a .563 batting average (9-for-16) in the regional, with four runs scored, two doubles and three RBI. He was named the Lake Elsinore Regional MVP, along with being named to the All-Regional team.

Stubbs has a career fielding percentage of .996, with only five errors in 1132 chances. He possesses the unique ability to call games, and third-year head coach Dan Hubbs looked to Stubbs to call pitches throughout the season.