Archive for the 'College Baseball Statistics' Category

Northern Sun Team Statistics

NSIC Logo

The NCAA has started publishing their Division 2 baseball statistics for the 2009-10 season which gives us a great way to compare the different teams within the NSIC against each other and see how they stack up nationally.  NCAA Statistics Tool (Choose Division II and then lots of selections to get to the Northern Sun list).

Here’s how the teams rank among all 225 D2 baseball programs:

Batting Average

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St. Cloud State leads all Northern Sun teams with a team batting average of .354 which ranks 12th in all of Division 2 baseball.  Augustana and Minnesota State also look like they are having very good years at the plate.  Every other team in the Conference ranks in the bottom half of D2.  We’ve previously chronicled the problems at the plate for perennial power Wayne State.  Even with a strong weekend at Bemidji they still rank in the bottom 20% (although the Monday games aren’t in the stats).

Most of the other hitting categories are very similar.

Stolen Bases Per Game

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Another measure to look at is which teams are creating scoring opportunities and using stolen bases to put pressure on the defense and pitchers.   As you can see, it’s a lot of the same teams but this statistic is obviously a measure of how often you are on base too which shows up in the batting average.  It may be more useful to look at which ones are different such as Mary which has a low batting average but a much higher steal ranking and Bemidji State who has a decent batting average but looks like they hardly ever steal.

Earned Run Average

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I said early on in my preview that Minnesota State was going to be in good shape with their pitching and that shows up as they are ranked 11th nationally (and 8th nationally in hits allowed/game).  Among the other top teams, St. Cloud State is pitching well as are Winona State and Wayne State.  Mary’s pitchers are doing very well which is a surprise.  Augustana is sitting at 4-0 in the Conference standings but it looks like they are going to be fighting the opposite issue of Wayne State this year (good pitching, average hitting).  Minnesota Duluth is much improved compared to last year when their pitching at the beginning of the year was awful. 

Fielding Percentage

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The Northern Sun Conference sports 4 teams ranked among the top 20 teams in D2 baseball in regards to fielding.  Once again we see St. Cloud State and Minnesota State near the top of the rankings showing that these teams are solid in all phases of the game.  Southwest Minnesota State is a bit of an enigma since they’ve played few games so far but being last in fielding and middle of the pack in other categories doesn’t bode well for a team that made the NCAA Regional Tourney last year.

Individual Stats

It should be noted some great rankings so far among NSIC players –

  • Zach Rowles of Minnesota State is 10th nationally with a .508 Batting Average
  • Mary’s Andy Leer leads the country in Triples per Game
  • Wayne State’s Nick Bidroski is 6th in the country with a .607 On Base Percentage
  • Minnesota Duluth’s Tyler Erickson is 20th in Stolen Bases per Game
  • St. Cloud State Freshman Shawn Riesgraf is 17th nationally with a 1.19 Earned Run Average.  Their are 6 NSIC pitchers in the top 50 including 2 from Mary
  • Josh Voth of Wayne State is 2nd in Walks Allowed per 9 Innings as he only allows .43 per full game

Conclusions

While these make for interesting analysis, they are somewhat meaningless from the standpoint of comparing teams since every team plays different levels of non conference schedules.  Last year at this time St. Cloud State was also near the top of every Conference ranking and finished outside the Top 6 NSIC teams.  I do think their early schedule was much improved this year.

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Minnesota State – 2010 Preview

Minnesota State

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Minnesota State.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and make a prediction about where I expect the 2010 team will finish.

Minnesota State – 2009 Results

The Mavericks were picked to finish 2nd in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 2009 and that’s exactly where they finished.  They ended up 1 1/2 games behind the eventual champion, Wayne State.  The team then advanced to the Northern Sun Postseason Tournament where they lost their first game before reeling off 5 straight wins to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Central Regional (Minnesota State Wins NSIC Tourney).  The flamed out in 2 straight NCAA Tourney games but it was still a very productive year and they finished with a 38-17 record in coach Matt Magers first year as the manager.

The team ranked in the top half of most statistical categories within D2 baseball and among Northern Sun teams.  They were 4th in the league in batting, 3rd in ERA and 3rd in fielding.  One glaring weakness was their stolen bases where they ranked 2nd to last in the league.

Continue reading ‘Minnesota State – 2010 Preview’

NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Season Just 2 Months Away

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The weather is starting to get much more winter like in the upper Midwest but in reality that signals the onset of another season of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball.  For teams in the Northern Sun Conference the first games start February 4th when Concordia, Minnesota Duluth and Southwest Minnesota State all play at the Metrodome.  The official start date of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball this year is once again February 2nd.

In fact, while there’s a lull in activity around the Christmas break, teams will be starting up their practice sessions in just a little over a month as most of the players will be cutting their holiday break short to head back to campus for the official start of the practice season on January 10th:

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Upcoming Features:

Between now and the start of the season the Northern Sun Baseball Blog will be gearing up in the following ways –

  • Team Previews – Throughout December and January you will see me go into some depth on each of the contending teams in the Northern Sun Conference (not sure I’ll do them all).  My plan is to especially focus on interesting statistical factors from the 2009 season and discuss which key players are no longer on each team and how that might impact their success going into 2010.  Look for the kickoff article on Augustana in the coming week.
  • Coach Interviews – In January & February I’m hoping to hold live phone interviews with Northern Sun’s head coaches to discuss the upcoming 2010 season and broader questions about the state of Division 2 college baseball.  This will hopefully provide a better set of responses than our first set of e-mail interviews produced last February.  We’ll see how many coaches can make time for this but I know a number of them are following the blog so hopefully they can spare 15 minutes for this new segment.
  • Predictions – Right around the first anniversary of this blog (February 1st) I will issue my prognostications for the upcoming season.  Of course, that said, I did predict that Minnesota State would win the Conference last year and while they did well, I’m 0-1 in picking the top team.
  • NCAA D2 College Baseball Happenings – While my focus remains on the Northern Sun Conference I will certainly report on topics of interest all around Division 2 College Baseball.
  • New Design? – One thing I’m also considering is a new look and feel for the blog using a different WordPress template with a wider format.  Same great content – new bold look?

As is usual, I’m certainly open to feedback and suggestions from readers on content or questions they’d like to see on this blog.

Conference Doubleheaders – 9 innings & 7 innings

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As news starts to flow about the upcoming 2010 NCAA Division 2 baseball schedules for teams of the Northern Sun Conference one little tidbit caught my eye as a big change for the upcoming season.

I noticed it in the announcement of Bemidji State’s 2010 schedule and wrote it off as a mistake but then it was specifically called out in St. Cloud State’s press release –

All conference games this year will be played with one 9-inning game followed by a 7-inning doubleheaders. 

Wow!  This is actually a big change!

Impact of new rule:

  • Each team is scheduled to play 16 Conference doubleheaders.  Assuming they get all of their games in, this adds an extra 32 innings of play during the season or the equivalent of 4.5 more 7 inning games over the season.  The NCAA is mandating that all Division 2 baseball programs transition from 56 maximum games in 2010 to 50 maximum games in 2011.  By adding these extra innings at least it will mute a little of the NCAA’s mandate.
  • An extra 4 innings each weekend adds up to 14% additional innings played.  This will stretch each teams pitching staffs a bit more and force managers to make tougher decisions.
  • Most importantly, I think it might have a strategic impact for head coaches as they make decisions on who to start each game.  Do you pitch your #1 guy in a 9 inning or 7 inning game?  Most college pitchers don’t throw 9 innings so you may be better off saving your top guy for a game he can go the distance.  At the same time, it also means you have to consider match-up issues with what the other coach is planning.
  • Finally, this could certainly impact a bunch of Northern Sun records.  I would expect that 14% more innings should lead to a lot more chances to break individual records in the books now.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Stories From Around NCAA College Baseball

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Time to catch up on stories from around NCAA college baseball as school approaches. 

  • As a follow up to my last story about the NCAA banning composite bats (NCAA Rule Changes) the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) did approve the plan to put a temporary ban on composite bats – PROP Approves Action on Composite Bats
  • I wrote some last year about the demise of college baseball at D1 schools Vermont and Northern Iowa.  In fact, colleges across the country have eliminated 227 different sports teams in the past 3 years.  This summer, the University of Wisconsin La Crosse made a similar threat to shut down their D3 baseball program.  Fortunately, the school allowed boosters to fund raise the $50k needed to save the program for now which has happened.  You can read about the effort and publicity that saved UWL baseball here – Save UW La Crosse Baseball Site
  • Something I missed back during the D2 College World Series was this blog by a Dowling pitcher about his experience during the event.  It is quite well written – “This morning was truly an awakening of the senses, as it was surely the first and best day of all our baseball careers to date.”  You can find it here – A Pitcher’s Perspective
  • Finally, I saw this interesting piece from the Collegebaseball360 Blog.  As the father of a pitcher and a youth baseball coach I’ve long been concerned about pitch counts.  Many of you may have heard about the 25 inning D1 playoff game between Texas and Boston College – Texas closer Austin Wood received a lot of well deserved national attention for his 13 inning effort in the Longhorn’s 25-inning win over Boston College in the Austin Regional. However, Wood was not the same after that outing that saw him throw nearly 140 pitches. In his two combined Regional outings Wood totaled 15.0 IP with 2 hits, 4 BB, 17 strikeouts and no runs allowed. However, in his six appearances after the famed 13-inning outing here are the lefty’s numbers: 11 IP, 16 hits, 10 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, with a 6.54 ERA. Wood made his nation-leading 41st appearance of the season when he toed the rubber for the last time in the final game of the CWS vs. LSU.  CWS – Before & After.  Boyd’s World Website does a good job of calling out schools that abuse pitchers here – D1 Pitch Count Watch

D2 College Baseball – NSIC Stat Comparison

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Each week I am providing a comparison of how each Northern Sun Conference college baseball team compared to each other and every other NCAA Division 2 baseball team.  This is using statistics that will be published each week by the NCAA.  NCAA Statistics Site

I’m using a comparison of some primary hitting, pitching, running & fielding statistics for my comparison.  Each number shown is the team’s rank among the 229 Division 2 college baseball teams and the difference in where they compare from last week so you can see if they are improving or declining compared with other teams.

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Based on these numbers we can say –

  • Northern Sun teams has a good week with strikeouts – all but 2 teams gained in the D2 comparisons on K’s/9 innings pitched
  • On the flip side, all but 2 teams dropped in fielding (although the drop wasn’t very big in most cases)
  • SMSU still leads the nation in Batting Average and Slugging %.  That’s impressive as I had assumed they’d drop off as they got a larger cross sample of games played.
  • Wayne State, Upper Iowa and Mary had the best increases on the hitting side this week all gaining double digits in the hitting categories

While these statistics are somewhat interesting we are now into our 4th week of data so I thought it might be more interesting to look at the trends for each team in the major categories of Team Batting Average and Team Earned Run Average to see how they’ve been trending over the 4 weeks of Conference play.

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The following allows you to see how each team has been trending compared with the other 229 Division 2 college baseball teams.  Teams with big trends one way or another:

  • Augustana has been declining rapidly in batting average.  They clearly need to pick it up at the plate if they are going to make the top 6 in Conference.
  • Minnesota Duluth has also seen a huge hit to their team batting average.  When combined with their mediocre pitching it’s been a recipe for poor results.
  • Upper Iowa has gone the other way and has seen their team batting average improve significantly over the past 4 weeks.  This has coincided with them getting back into the mix in the race for a spot in the NSIC Tourney.
  • Winona State’s pitching has gone from quite bad to at least okay.  They did play a tougher non-conference schedule than most and have played some easier Conference games which explains some of that.
  • Overall, many teams have seen a remarkable sameness from week to week which gives you a pretty good idea that it probably won’t be changing much over the remainder of the season.

D2 College Baseball – NSIC Stat Comparison

NCAA Baseball Logo

Each week I am providing a comparison of how each Northern Sun Conference college baseball team compared to each other and every other NCAA Division 2 baseball team.  This is using statistics that will be published each week by the NCAA.  NCAA Statistics Site

I’m using a comparison of some primary hitting, pitching, running & fielding statistics for my comparison.  Each number shown is the team’s rank among the 229 Division 2 college baseball teams and the difference in where they compare from last week so you can see if they are improving or declining compared with other teams.

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Based on these comparisons we can see –

  • It helps your statistics if you play Minnesota Crookston.  Upper Iowa made strong improvement in every category.
  • SMSU continued to lead the top 2 hitting categories in D2 – they still have a smaller sample size than most and their strength of schedule is questionable but that’s impressive given they played 2 games against Minnesota State.
  • Winona State saw big gains on the pitching front
  • Most NSIC teams dropped in Team Batting Average (except for Upper Iowa as noted, SMSU and Mary/Northern who didn’t play).
  • It’s interesting that there’s not necessarily a correlation between Team ERA and Strikeout ratios.  Duluth is #218 in ERA and #20 in K’s while Augustana is the reverse. 
  • Concordia improved to #1 in the country in fielding but that hasn’t done that much good in winning games lately


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