As reported yesterday by Baseball America's National Writer for college baseball Aaron Fitt, Andy Sawyers will be the next hitting coach for the Kansas State Baseball team:
Andy Sawyers is returning to Kansas State as hitting coach. Spent 2 years on Brad Hill's staff there before joining Texas A&M's staff.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) July 16, 2014
Yes, Sawyers is returning to Manhattan after four years in College Station. He left Manhattan right before the season started in 2011, to rejoin the Aggie staff. Yes, Sawyers originally came to K-State from Aggieland in 2008, and, in a weird twist, again replaces a coach who left for the Magnolia State.
Sawyers brings a wealth of Big 12 experience with him including both stops at TAMU, K-State, and Nebraska (where Sawyers played his junior and senior years of college). He is also no stranger to Kansas, besides his stop at K-State, he was also head coach at Hutchinson Community College for two seasons.
Known for his small-ball tactics, Sawyer put up impressive numbers at K-State in his two years here, and in his first season in College Station. The Wildcats led the Big 12 in both batting average and steals in both of his seasons in Manhattan, hitting .323 in 2010 and .317 in 2009. Also, the Cats stole 149 bases in 2009 to break the school record (which is still held) and tallied 120 steals in 2010 to rank currently as the fourth highest season total in school history. His first season at TAMU saw similar numbers, leading the league in hitting percentage en-route to a Big 12 title.
Sawyers also coached some of the best hitters in recent K-State history. Nick Martini led the league in both batting average (.416) and on-base percentage (.509) during his Big 12 Player of the Year 2010 season. He also coached fellow 2010 All-Big 12 First Team selections Adam Muenster and Carter Jurica, as well as a slew of Second Team and HM honorees. He was also involved in early coaching and recruiting many members of the 2013 Big 12 Champion Wildcats.
Sawyers also helped coach K-State to its first two trips to the NCAA tournament, which has set the foundation for all future program aspirations.
Finally, you will not notice much of a change in style from the current play which brought us that title. Sawyers oversaw departing coach Mike Clements at Texas A&M while Clements was there as a volunteer assistant. Yes, K-State's last two hitting coaches, and three of its last four, have come directly from College Station. So, thank you Aggies.
This is a solid, if not exactly flashy, hire for Brad Hill, and an obvious attempt to bring back the same type of baseball that K-State has been quite successful at employing. Someone asked the other day about bat changes since his departure, and while the change occurred in 2011, Sawyers style is actually more suited for the dead-bat ear in college baseball. Also, K-State has never been a "big-bat" team that has guys who hit lots of homeruns. K-State can;t get those guys, but can get the smaller, faster guys who are willing to wait for something to hit, get on base, then run aggressively on the base-paths. So while this is not a "homerun" hire, it definitely is a solid "shot-to-the-gap" hire.