The college baseball season got underway last weekend, and the Jayhawks started off the year in perfect fashion, winning all three of their games. In the opener they beat Middle Tennessee State 7-3 to give head coach Ritch Price his 300th win at Kansas. The win was also Kansas's first season opening win since 2009 when Shaeffer Hall tossed a no hitter to begin the year.
Playing their second and third games in Nashvile, Kansas rallied to beat Bowling Green 3-1 and then stayed in front of Belmont all game to down the Bruins 2-0 (possible NCAA basketball tournament preview?) as Junior Thomas Taylor pitched 8.1 scoreless innings.
Now that you know what they've done so far, let's meet the Jayhawk baseball team.
Kansas was predicted to finish last in the Big 12 by Baseball America, and after last year it's not terribly hard to see why. They lost some good talent off last year's team (which wasn't very good to begin with), but some good players do remain.
Not only is he probably the best player in the lineup, but Senior Zac Elgie should also be your favorite. After three years playing first and DHing, He's moved across the diamond to the hot corner. Elgie had just a .339 OBP last year but tied for the team high with 7 home runs (which is also pretty good period considering the bats that were used last year) but Elgie's greatest trait is that he is a North Dakota native and I played against him a couple times in high school.
Shortstop Ka'iana Eldredge was on the All Freshman team last year, and was one of the best prospects in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League last summer. Eldredge played both 2B and catcher last year, and with his ability to both hit and play either up the middle or perhaps behind the plate, Eldredge could be a hot name in the 2013 MLB Draft.
The other catcher, Alex DeLeon, is off to a good start this year, and last year was fantastic. I can't think of many teams in the entire country, much less the Big 12, that wouldn't love a .320/.409/.557 line from its starting catcher.
If newcomers are your thing, Freshman Connor McKay was an UnderArmor All-American coming out of Colorado last year and he hit leadoff in his first career game, so that gives an idea of how talented he is and how good the coaching staff thinks he can be.
The most intriguing pitcher is probably Tanner Poppe, who after two years in the rotation is moving to the back of the bullpen. Poppe's fastball has hit 95 fairly consistently this year, and at 6'5" he should get a pretty long look in the draft this June.
KU's best starter will likely be Junior Thomas Taylor. Taylor only throws in the high 80s-low 90s so I wouldn't worry too much about this being his last year in Lawrence. He reportedly has improved his fastball a bit however, as well as flashing a much better breaking ball. He struck out almost a batter an inning last year but his improvement has already shown with his 8.1 shutout inning effort against Belmont.
The Jayhawks might not win too many Big 12 games this year, but they have some very intriguing young talent to build on and some very good reasons for you to get out to the ballpark this spring.