If Kansas baseball improves its offense, which struggled at times last season, senior shortstop Benjamin Sems will be right in the middle of it.
The Jayhawks, who were eighth in the Big 12 in batting average and slugging percentage, will look to Sems to help set the tone for their offense in 2020.
The left-handed hitter was second on the team in batting average, as he hit .305 in 197 at-bats as a junior.
As a result, he was named to the All-Big 12 second team and the conference named him to the 2020 preseason All-Big 12 team.
He showed an ability to get on base as well. Sems drew 31 walks, which was second on the team behind then-junior catcher Jaxx Groshans.
The Boston Red Sox drafted Groshans in the fifth round of the 2019 MLB first-year player draft.
So, Sems had the highest batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage along with the most hits, runs batted in and walks of any returning player.
Given the frequency in which he gets on base and his efficiency on the base paths, Sems could see himself batting at the top of the lineup to start the season.
With his production last season, Sems also earned the opportunity to bat higher in the batting order. Last season, he either hit fifth or lower in the order. The higher he bats in the order, the more chances he will get to make a difference.
What’s more, he played 36 games in the Cape Cod League after the season and hit a respectable .271 in 118 at-bats.
Given the status of the Cape Cod League for premiere college baseball players and future MLB players, his performance is a promising sign for Kansas going forward.
“He had an outstanding junior year, and then went out and played very well in the Cape Cod League this summer," manager Rich Price said in a Kansas Athletics press release. "If he continues to grind, he should be a top-10 round MLB draft pick this summer.”
Sems will have a chance to start his senior campaign strong in the coming weeks as Kansas baseball will play its first game Feb. 14 against the Belmont Bruins.