2014 Team Preview: Outfielders

Feb. 12, 2014

K-State Athletics

While the K-State infield features familiar faces, the Wildcat starting outfield for the 2014 season will be the exact opposite.

The biggest losses from the 2013 season to 2014 are in the outfield. All-Big 12 players Jared King and Tanner Witt along with the reliable Jon Davis have moved on. However, the new year brings new opportunities for some Wildcats to fill the (outfield) gaps.

One player expected to step up is junior Mitch Meyer. The Stilwell, Kansas native batted .289 (36-for-128) with five doubles, five triples and four home runs last season, but those numbers have strong late-season indicators that show Meyer is ready for the challenge this season.

Meyer had a .340 batting average with seven extra-base hits against Big 12 opponents last season. Within that stretch, Meyer hit .429 (15-for-35) with 13 RBI during a nine-game hitting streak last May. Also during Meyer’s nine-game hitting streak, the Wildcats had seven wins.

After finishing the K-State season on fire, Meyer carried his hot hitting into summer ball. With the East Texas Pump Jacks of the Texas Collegiate League (TCL), Meyer hit a team-best .376 (44-for-117) with four home runs and 34 RBI. He even picked up a TCL Player of the Week honor in early July after collecting 13 hits in eight games.

Meyer split his time between right field and designated hitter with K-State last season, but this season he expects to spend most of his time in the outfield.

Another candidate for the outfield starters is Clayton Dalrymple. The sophomore played in 34 games as a true freshman, primarily as a late-game substitution or pinch hitter, and batted .343 (12-for-35) with six RBI and two stolen bases. He did pick up three starts, including two in center field and one in left.

The Coppell, Texas native enjoyed a strong fall camp this past offseason as he earned the Wildcat Ironman and Hustle awards, showing hard work every day of camp and improving the most among K-State position players.

Other candidates for playing time in the outfield are a pair of juniors who have made it to the 2014 season in different fashions. Kyle Speer, a native of Manhattan, played in 23 games last season, including seven starts as the designated hitter and two in right field. The left-handed Speer has logged 55 games in his K-State career.

Junior transfer Max Brown arrives in Manhattan after spending the last two years at Bellevue College in Washington. The North Bend, Washington native hit .339 in his freshman season at Bellevue – and then hit .378 with 21 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases in his sophomore campaign.

Brown, who was named 2011 KingCo 3A Player of the Year in high school and Pacific Association Division All-American in 2013, competed with the New Zealand national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers (Brown’s father was born in New Zealand).

Another pair of transfers to provide depth includes junior Nate Hale and sophomore Brooks DeBord. Hale played junior college baseball at Cochise College in Arizona, batting .367 with 9 doubles, 3 triples, 35 RBI and a .511 on-base percentage in his sophomore season. DeBord, younger brother of catcher Blair DeBord, spent his freshman year at Hutchinson Community College. He played in 45 games for the Blue Dragons in 2013, scoring 20 runs and posting a .409 OBP.