2013 Season Outlook: Catchers
Feb. 5, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. - With the start of the 2013 baseball season a week away, KUAthletics.com is previewing the Jayhawks position-by-position. This edition takes a look at the KU catchers, who could determine how far the Jayhawks can go.
One of the biggest wild cards going into the season for the Kansas baseball team is its catching unit. The Jayhawks return three veterans to the position, which looks nice on paper, however, only senior Alex DeLeon has started more than five games behind the plate in his collegiate career.
KU's coaching staff plans to move junior Ka'iana Eldredge, who started 43 games at second base last season, behind the plate and use him as the No. 1 catcher. Eldredge possesses a lethal throwing arm, which head coach Ritch Price hopes can slow down opponents on the base paths. However, he has only caught a handful of games since high school and had his struggles during the fall and the trip to the Dominican Republic.
DeLeon figures to split time between first base and behind the dish, backing up Eldredge. The senior has been more offensive-minded than Eldredge during his career. Price is hoping he can return to the form of his sophomore year, when he batted .320 with six homers and 23 RBIs.
Junior Tom Hougland is short on game experience, but has made tremendous strides defensively the past two seasons. Should DeLeon or Eldredge struggle, the junior could see some starts as the catcher.
Freshmen Jay Nessler and Nick Sweatt will look for playing time behind the plate and as designated hitters. Both young catchers put up impressive offensive numbers in high school and will look for their shot at the college level.
Head Coach Ritch Price
On KU's catching situation:
On junior Ka'iana Eldredge:
On senior Alex DeLeon:
On the catchers behind Eldredge and DeLeon:
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.