#13 Kansas State Baseball 2014 Preview

Kansas State Wildcats

Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
#13 Kansas State Baseball 2014 Preview
Kansas State Team Page


Kansas State is coming off a great 2013 season, where they went 45-19 and won the Big 12 title.  The Wildcats hosted a regional, which they won, and won the opening game of the Super Regional with Oregon State before dropping the next two games and were eliminated. This season a lot of production returns, including a pair of returnees who declined to sign pro contracts after being selected in the top 25 rounds.  With the production back, Kansas State should have another great year.

2013: 45-19, 16-8
2013 Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Coach: Brad Hill

Field Players:
Kansas State will be lead by their field players this season.  The Wildcats return all four starting infielders off last season’s team, each of whom hit over .300.  Middle infielders Austin Fisher and Ross Kivett hit .361 and .360 respectively last year. Fischer hit two home runs and drove in 38 runs, while Kivett had three home runs and 39 RBI’s.  At the corner infield positions, Shane Conlon and RJ Santigate also return. Conlon, the team’s first baseman, led the team in home runs last year with seven, while hitting .341 with 28 RBI’s.  Santigate occupied the hot corner and hit .324 with 29 RBI’s. Catcher Blair DeBord, who hit .327 with 37 RBI’s and had a .993 fielding percentage, committing only three errors last year, also returns.  All three of the outfielders from last season’s team are gone, but Kansas State has some players ready to step up. Mitch Meyer saw some solid playing time last season last year, but the majority of his starts were at DH.  Meyer should take over as a full time starter in the outfield.  He hit .281 with four home runs and 34 RBI’s last year and followed that up by hitting .342 with four home runs and 34 RBI’s during the summer in the Texas Collegiate League.  Clayton Dairymple is also back after playing in 34 games, hitting .343 with six RBI’s. A pair of junior college transfers, Max Brown and Nate Hale, should see quality playing time in their first season on campus after putting up big numbers in junior college. Adding depth will be infielder Lance Miles, who hit .241 in 2013, outfielder Kyle Speer, and juco transfer Brooks DeBord, the younger brother of Blair.

Jake Matthys will lead the returnees on the pitching staff after going 9-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 34 appearances as a freshman.  He had nine saves and opponents hit just .205 against him. Juniors Nate Williams and Matt Wivinis will join Matthys.  Williams was 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 appearances, with seven starts, while Wivinis was 6-2 with a 4.72 ERA in 21 appearances, including 14 starts.  Blake McFadden should be a part of the starting rotation after starting 13 games last year, going 6-3 with a 4.97 ERA.  Freshman Jordan Floyd could be a candidate to be a starter after being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 25th round of last June’s draft, but declining to sign.  Senior Jordan Moore, along with sophomores Jordan Witcig, Landon Busch, and Levi Mavhoris will provide bullpen depth.  Moore and Mavhoris went 4-0 and 5-0 respectively, both appearing in over 20 games, while Witcig and Busch both held batters to averages under .200.

Who to Watch:
The junior college transfers in the outfield will be key. With all three starters gone from last year, they will be counted on early.  Max Brown hit .378 with four home runs and 31 RBI’s last year, while Nate Hale hit .367 with 35 RBI’s.  Hale did a great job getting on base, drawing 64 walks and posting a .511 on base percentage.  Both should see a lot of playing time and be big boosts for this Wildcat team.

Final Projection:
Kansas State has the talent to post an even better year in 2014. The Wildcats have a tough opening series at Cal Poly, but the schedule after that is in the Wildcat’s favor.  Experience is key in making runs in the postseason and Kansas State has that. If the Wildcats can decide on a starting rotation and get production out of the outfielders, Kansas State could make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, and be a sleeper to make it to Omaha.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Ross Kivett, IF, 261
Hits: Ross Kivett, IF, 94
Home Runs: Shane Conlon, IF, 7
RBIs: Ross Kivett, IF, 39
Runs: Ross Kivett, IF, 57
Stolen Bases: Ross Kivett, IF, 26

Wins: Jake Matthys, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Matt Wivinis, P, 76.1
Strikeouts: Nate Williams, P, 54
Saves: Jake Matthys, P, 9

Madness 2014 Baseball Draft Rankings:
#55 Ross Kivett


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