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TCU Baseball: Kansas State Friday Preview

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Mitchell Traver takes the mound against a struggling Wildcat team. And we have to ask; is Cody Jones a five tool player and perhaps the leading candidate for "Big 12 Player of the Year"?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After shutting down a really good Dallas Baptist team on Tuesday; the Frogs travel to the Little Apple this weekend to take on a struggling Wildcats team that, on paper, should be playing a lot better than their record. While not a dark horse in the sense that their football team is, Kansas State was supposed to be a competitive, post-season type team that could’ve maybe squeezed in a 4th or 5th spot in the Big 12 standings.

For TCU, a sweep will be nearly essential if they don’t want to lose any more ground to Oklahoma State--who’ll likely pick up a sweep themselves this weekend against Kansas.

Friday’s Matchup

Name

Record

ERA

K/9

BB/9

RHP Mitchell Traver

5-0

0.99

8.56

1.99

RHP Colton Kalvus

1-2

3.89

5.00

2.89

We’ll get to Alex Young on Sunday; but the other big piece to TCU’s Nation leading ERA of 1.98 is Mitchell Traver. The behemoth power-righty possesses the 6th best ERA in the country at .99--just four spots better than Alex Young. Traver, who by his standards thus far, had kind of a mid-season dip, was back the electric tour de force he was right out of the gate when he took over Tyler Alexander’s weekend role last Friday against Texas Tech.

Traver should continue that tonight for two reasons; (1) Kansas State hasn’t won a conference series all year and (2), going off of that; they’re a team that’s batting the 2nd worst in the conference with a .253 team BA. To put it in perspective, Clayton Dalrymple is K-State’s best hitter and he’s hitting .298. The Wildcats do run the bases well, however--and rank third in the Big 12. Given Traver’s apprehension thus far with his pick-off moves and fielding, Kansas State could benefit from this deficiency.

It doesn’t get much easier for the Wildcats on the mound, either. TCU will face the team with the 7th best ERA in the Big 12 (3.98).Interesting enough,  it looks like the Wildcats are shifting around their normal rotation, and will probably throw their best pitcher, Nate Griep (RHP) against Preston Morrison in Saturday’s game.

Tonight, we’ll see our first guaranteed righty vs. righty matchup (though we’ll more than likely see two) of the weekend with Colton Kalvas taking the mound. Going off of this, what gives TCU the ultimate edge is that aside from their (TCU) amazing pitching, the Wildcats are likely going to start three right handers this weekend. That means TCU’s team leader, and the Big 12 leader in BA (.372), Connor Wanhanen will start in all three games. And like we’ve talked about, the Frogs are just better when he’s the lineup.

Keeping up with Joneses: I don’t want to beat Cody’s narrative into the ground, at least not until post-season time; but this is one of the most exciting players in the Big 12. Depending on how you allocate power; Cody Jones is a five-tool player--hitting for power, fielding, arm strength, speed, and hitting for average. Given that the Big 12 leader in home runs has 8, Jones’ 2 homeruns  can probably put him in consideration for being a power threat, not to mention: his OPS+ is a more than respectable .925. I’m not just saying this because he’s departed from the team, I truly don’t hold a grudge; but Cody Jones is the Hulk to 2014 Boomer White’s Bruce Banner. Knowing how valuable an asset Boomer was last season, Cody Jones deserves serious Big 12 Player of the Consideration. And in the words of my man from Greenbow, Alabama; that’s all I have to say about that.

Prediction:

Frogs win Friday. Like last week, just to a much lesser extend, I think the Wildcats’ best chance are in the Saturday game. Not because of Morrison’s pitching style this time, but because Kansas State will more than likely throw their best arm that day. But if I were them, I’d throw Griep Sunday.

TCU wins 7-3