We haven't had much in terms of baseball coverage around here recently, and at 13-15, I suppose it's not too difficult to understand why. But if you're near Lawrence, there's nothing quite like a warm spring day, a hot dog, and a baseball game. Besides that, the Jayhawks do have some exciting players to keep an eye on.
SS Matt McLaughlin leads the Jayhawks on offense, hitting .330 on the year. Additionally, he is in the top-10 in the Big 12 in on base percentage at .438.
However, as a team, the Jayhawks are last in the Big 12 in batting, with a team average of just .231. Of players with 50+ at-bats, McLaughlin is the only one hitting over .260. To complicate matters, Kansas has a serious lack of power at the plate, with just five home runs so far on the season. For comparison, the next-worst mark is Baylor with 17 home runs. The Jayhawks don't get on base and don't hit for power, which explains the dearth of runs scored, 32 total runs behind the next lowest scoring team. Average that out over the 15 games they've played, and that's right at 2 runs per game.
How the Jayhawks are anywhere near .500 considering the offense is credit to the pitching staff - I guess. Overall, KU pitching ranks last or next to last in the Big 12 in ERA, BAA, Runs Allowed, Hits Allowed, and Earned Runs. KU pitchers do have the third lowest BB/9, however.
But somehow, KU has hovered around .500 all year and only has two losses by more than five runs. So how is it Kansas has been competitive? Individual performances.
SP Taylor Turski is third in the Big 12 in BAA (batting average against), with opponents hitting just .173 against him. Turski is 2-2 in six starts this year with a 2.55 ERA.
SP Sean Rackoski has also been effective. In 7 starts, he is 3-3 with a 3.28 ERA, holding opponents to a .243 BAA.
CL Stephen Villines has been good but not great so far this year. Villines is tied for third in the Big 12 with 6 saves. Overall he is 1-2 in 15 appearances with a 4.30 ERA.
The Jayhawks are 1-6 against Top 25 teams, with the lone win coming at #3 TCU. Texas isn't a Top 25 team this year, but does sport a winning record, and the Jayhawks just took 2 of 3 from the Longhorns last weekend in Lawrence. It looks as if the Jayhawks may be able to compete with teams in the Big 12, which could make for an exciting conference tournament come May.
Top 25 teams in the Big 12 are #3 TCU, #6 Texas Tech, and #16 Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks just took 2 of 3 from Texas, and are coming off a Tuesday night victory over fringe Top 25 team Missouri State.
Kansas (13-15, 3-3) will travel to West Virginia (15-10, 4-2) for a weekend series April 7-9.