Kansas State Baseball has Talent to End Season in Omaha

Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; General signage before the first game in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; General signage before the first game in the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas State Baseball squad is 12-4 currently and if they can keep up the intensity, could find themselves vying for a shot at a baseball national title.

The Big 12 schedule is yet to reach the Kansas State Wildcat baseball team. The BatCats sit at 12-4 on the early season with notable wins against Ohio State and the #4 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.

This Wildcat team has the talent to do some hefty damage in the Big 12 and another conference title in baseball could find its way back to Manhattan.

In fact, the early success for Brad Hill’s squad has me pretty excited about a possible trip to Omaha, NE and a spot in the College World Series.

The Wildcats aren’t nationally ranked, yet. However, a solid start to the Big 12 season could change that pretty dang quick.

Offensive Leaders

Three Wildcats could finish the season with double-digit home run totals, and that’s not an easy feat to accomplish in the college game. Steve Serratore (4), Quintin Crandall (4), and Jake Scudder (5) could all do that.

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Two of those three also lead the Wildcats in RBI. Scudder (21), Serratore (19), and Cameron Thompson (13) as well, are tops in that category. Thompson also leads the team in batting average hitting at a .389 clip and stolen bases going 7 for 9.

Don’t forget about the bench depth either. Three bench players have registered more than 30 at bats so far and all of them are hitting at .270 or higher.

Hanz Harker has started in 9 of his 14 games played. He’s slashing .324/.425/.559. As a team, K-State is hitting an astounding .292 and has scored 118 runs. They are also holding opponents to a .241 batting average.

Defensive Mistakes Minimal

Defensively, K-State commits minimal errors, totaling 18 on the year. That’s good enough for a team fielding percentage of .970.

Crandall, unfortunately, leads the team with 8 miscues. Jake Wodtke is second on the team with 5. Wodtke, though, is tied for 3rd on the team in chances with 76, so his 5 errors aren’t really that much, relatively speaking.

The opposition faced, thus far, is a little worse on the whole, as opponents are fielding at a .950 clip.

The Wildcat pitchers and catchers have also done a fantastic job of minimizing stolen bases. All told, Wildcat batteries have held all teams faced to only 8 stolen bases in 11 attempts.

The percentage is high, but it’s the number of attempts that really jumps off the page at you. In comparison, Wildcat base runners are 20 for 25 in stolen bases. That’s getting it done on the base paths.

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching …

Parker Rigler is the clear-cut ace of the staff. His 2-1 record, coupled with a 1.80 ERA, is by far and away, tops on the staff (of course, having a no-hitter helps). He also leads the team in strikeouts with 18 and is holding hitters to an unheard of .186 batting average.

Aside from Rigler, Brogan Heinen is also doing well for the pitching staff. His ERA of 3.54 is respectable, but his .214 batting average against is very impressive. He also has tallied the strikeouts as well fanning 16 opposing hitters.

The trouble spot is the bullpen. Six Wildcat hurlers have ERA’s at 4.50 or higher. K-State pitchers, as a whole, also walk A LOT of hitters. Either the traditional way or by plunking them, they are allowing too many men to reach base.

23 hit batters and 68 total walks is never good. That’s essentially 95 free passes, either the hard way or the harder way.

The good thing, though, is that the team ERA is only at 3.78, while opposing pitchers are pitching to the tune of a 5.86 to the BatCat hitters.

The Road to Omaha

All of this right now sounds like a recipe for success in the Big 12. The pitching will have to work on the walks and limit base runners, but if the offense and defense continue to be productive, I see no reason why the Wildcats can’t ambush the Big 12 and pave their way to Omaha.

Next: Wildcats Exorcise the Demons, Head to Sacramento

Brad Hill and Co., have really got a great, talented ball club on their hands, and right now, Hill and his staff are doing everything right.

Keep an eye on these Diamond Cats, folks. I have a feeling we’re in for a great ride!