The Kentucky baseball season may have been cut short this spring, but one prominent news outlet saw just enough to know the Wildcats have one of the top young talents in the nation.
This week, College Baseball News named Kentucky freshman infielder/outfielder John Rhodes a national co-Freshman of the Year, making him the first UK newcomer to be named a Freshman All-American from a national outlet since Zack Thompson in 2017.
The publication previously named him a third-team All-American last month.
A native of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, Rhodes ranked second nationally in doubles this season with 10, twice as many as any other rookie in the SEC. He batted .426 overall in 61 at bats with 11 runs, 26 hits, 10 doubles, a triple, a home run, 19 RBI and five hit by pitch. He slugged .672 as part of an 1.157 OPS. The .426 average was the highest for any UK player with at least 50 at-bats since Jeff Abbott batted .445 in 1994.
The 6-foot, 200-pounder was one of the top hitters in the SEC, regardless of class. He ranked sixth in the SEC in total hits and 10th in RBI, led all SEC freshmen in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, doubles and total bases and ranked second in slugging percentage.
Rhodes’ biggest moment came when he clubbed the first home run of his career for a walk-off winner vs. Murray State on March 4. In just 17 games he already had nine multi-hit games and six multi-RBI games while logging a career-high three hits three times.
We won’t get to see the talented newcomer again until next spring, but it’s apparent the Bat Cats have a good one in Rhodes.