Archive for the 'College Baseball Statistics' Category

Northern Sun Team Statistics


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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

NCAA Baseball Logo

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:


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


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


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

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.


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.


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.


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

D2 Baseball Individual Stats – NSIC Leaders 4/1/09

NCAA Baseball Logo

In addition to the NCAA Team Statistics that I just published, the NCAA produces individual statistics for comparing the performances of each Division 2 college baseball player.

Here are just a sampling of categories that are well represented by players from the Northern Sun Conference:

Batting Average – the NSIC has 8 of the top 100 leaders in overall batting average with Tony Mueller still leading the Conference despite what was a somewhat disappointing series against Crookston.


Runs Scored per Game – The Northern Sun has 6 of the top 100 run scorers.


Slugging Percentage – 8 of the Top 101 – notice Jay Bresnahan in every hitting statistic


On Base Percentage – Northern Sun represented by 9 of top 100 including 3 of the top 10 in the country


Victories – Pitchers are well represented as 6 pitchers now have 5+ wins – Tim Scott has opened a 2 win lead


Strikeouts per 9 Innings Pitched – 7 of the top 87 pitchers in the country, including a Crookston pitcher which surprised me


D2 College Baseball – NSIC Stat Comparison

NCAA Baseball Logo

Last week I introduced comparison’s 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

There are a couple things to note about this week’s comparison –

  • I’ve now included a column after each statistic showing the change (delta) for each team from the previous week.  If the number is in (red) then it means that the team lost ground compared to all other NCAA D2 baseball teams.
  • This week there are 229 Division 2 schools in the statistics
  • Last week the NCAA didn’t include Southwest Minnesota State so the Change/Delta column for them is meaningless


Based on these numbers we can see the following –

  • SMSU is off to a hot start and leads all other D2 schools in batting statistics.  Of course, they’ve played fewer games than most and the teams they played (like UMD- ranked 214th in ERA, Charleston – ranked 199th and St. Michael’s – ranked 184th) have bad pitching staffs so it’s a little misleading.
  • Winona State improved in every category – amazing what 4 games against Crookston will do for your stats
  • There were a lot more red numbers than black this past week

Big Friday Update – D2 Baseball Happenings

B&W Baseball

There are lots of updates to pass along today in the world of Division 2 college baseball and the Northern Sun Conference –

  • Yesterday I reported on the first release of NCAA Statistics and how each of the Northern Sun teams ranked in regards to all other D2 college baseball teams.  In addition to team rankings there are national rankings of individual players.  There are a number of Conference players that are ranked highly in comparison to all Division 2 athletes:
    • Tony Mueller of Winona State has been electric as both a hitter and pitcher.  The freshman from La Crosse, WI holds the following national rankings:
      • #2 in Batting Average (.574)
      • #16 in Triples/Game
      • #28 in Slugging %
      • #1 in On Base %
      • #123 in Earned Run Average
      • #28 in Hits Allowed per 9 innings pitched
    • Jay Bresnahan of Minnesota State is nationally ranked in many offensive stats:
      • #10 in Batting Average
      • #14 in Slugging %
      • #11 in On Base %
    • Joey Benke of St. Cloud State has been very good in many of the same categories:
      • #45 in Batting Average
      • #41 in Slugging %
      • #12 in On Base %
    • David Deminsky of St. Cloud State is #2 nationally in strikeouts/9 innings pitched

We did get to see some action played yesterday in the cold as Concordia and Minnesota Duluth got in a doubleheader in Minnetonka, MN.  This season has gone from bad to worse for the Bulldogs who dropped both games.  Concordia manhandled Duluth by scores of 12-7 & 12-1.  Two Dozen Runs Power CU Sweep of UMD

  • Duluth pitchers surrendered 24 runs, 15 walks, 3 hit batters and 8 doubles in 12 innings pitched.  Their Team ERA went from a worst in conference 9.63 to 10.63.  They are on pace to shatter the team record for worst season ERA of 8.20 which was set in 2006.
  • The Bulldogs have now lost 8 straight games which ties the team record for consecutive losses.  The losing streak kicked off with a historic 34-1 loss to SMSU which set numerous records on both sides.  They next play a 4 game series against Wayne State this weekend which doesn’t help their efforts to avoid setting a new mark for futility.
  • The Cole Hytjan HBP watch is on.  The senior pitcher hit 2 more batters yesterday and is now just 1 hit batter away from tying the all-time Duluth season record for hit batters in a season (10).

The weather and now flooding continue to wreak havoc with scheduled games.  The following changes to schedules have already been announced for this weekend:

  • Speaking of Duluth – their weekend series against Wayne State has been moved from Duluth to Nebraska.  Not too surprising – maybe the Conference should reconsider their scheduling process and let northern teams play more Conference home games later in the season?  Wayne State to Host Duluth
  • The weekend series between Northern State and SW Minnesota State has been moved from Aberdeen, SD to Marshall, MN.  SMSU-NSU Series Moved
  • St. Cloud State’s series against Mary has been postponed to a later date due to the floods.  In it’s place, the Huskies have added a pair of games this weekend against Wisconsin – Superior.  SCSU-Mary Games Postponed
  • Minnesota Crookston was forced to move their scheduled weekend series from Crookston to Winona State’s home field.  Golden Eagles Games Switched

In other news, the St. Cloud State University Chronicle published an interesting story about 2 of the Huskies starting pitchers, David Deminsky and Tim Scott, and how they went from summer league opponents to teammates this year.  Opponents to Teammates – SCSU’s Undefeated Starting Staff

D2 College Baseball – NSIC Stat Comparison

NCAA Baseball Logo

This week the NCAA started publishing statistics for all Division 2 college baseball programs so we can start comparing how teams in the Northern Sun Conference compare to other programs nationally.  NCAA Statistics Site

There were 213 teams that are included in this week’s comparison’s as some teams haven’t fully reported their statistics.  One of the schools not included was the Northern Sun’s Southwest Minnesota State.  The statistics included were for games through 3/22/09.

Here is the national ranking for how each Northern Sun team compares when slotted against 213 other D2 programs –


Team BA = Team Batting Average, Slug % = Team Slugging %, K’s/9 = Strikeouts per 9 innings played, SB/Game = Stolen Bases per game, Field % = Team Fielding %

Some things we can gather from this analysis –

  • First of all, it’s still hard to get a fully accurate picture as strength of schedule is not factored into the numbers
  • St. Cloud State seems to be dominating the Conference with strong batting, slugging, ERA, fielding and the #1 strikeout ratio in the country
  • Minnesota Duluth has had strong hitting and terrible pitching to date.  Their team ERA is now at 9.63 (hard to believe there are 8 programs worse).
  • Winona State has a team batting average that’s quite good but they hit a ton of singles.  Their slugging % shows that they aren’t hitting for extra bas hits hardly at all.
  • 9 of the 12 teams rank higher in Team BA than they do in Team ERA
  • There are quite a few teams in the Conference that don’t strike a lot of batters out compared with their peers
  • Most of the teams are in the middle for Stolen Bases – not much at either end of the spectrum
  • Wayne State is surprising in that they are middle of the pack in most stats and near the bottom of D2 in fielding and are yet a Conference favorite.  I do think their tougher schedule is a primary reason.

Northern Sun – Strength of Schedule Analysis


Today marks the beginning of Conference games for the 13 Division 2 college baseball teams of the Northern Sun Conference.  One of the comments on this blog (thanks Wow) brought up the topic of Southwest Minnesota State’s easy schedule so I thought I’d look into it.

For the most part, the 13 teams in the Northern Sun have a Conference schedule made up of 4 games against 8 different teams for a total of 32 games (there are 2 exceptions as Upper Iowa and Northern State have an extra pair against each other for some reason).  This means that most teams “don’t” play 4 other teams each year which can lead to significant differences in your schedule difficulty depending on who you do and don’t play.

The key to analyzing the difficulty is to accurately gauge how tough of an opponent each team is.  In the NFL you see this done a lot during the off-season by using the previous year’s results as a gauge for future year performance.  That would be impractical as the Northern Sun didn’t exist in its present form last year plus the changeover on a college team provides significant differences in team quality from year to year.  Therefore, I relied mostly on things like the preseason coaches poll and non-Conference results to give each team a quality factor.

How I did this was pick a team I thought represented a middle of the pack team to compare off of.  The team I chose was Winona State.  I then thought about how Winona would do over the long haul against each other team and came up with the following table –


How you read this is that if Winona played Augustana, Bemidji or Duluth (all teams factored at .65) that my guess is that Winona would win about 2 of 3 games against them.  Winona would win 4 of 5 against Mary & Northern and every game against Crookston.  They would win 1 of 3 against Minnesota State, SMSU and SCSU.

Now the key to the exactness of this exercise is whether you believe in the weighting I give each team.  That said, everyone knows that if your schedule has Mary, Northern and Crookston on it as opposed to Wayne & Concordia that you probably should win more games.

Using the factors above I then measured every teams schedule against their Conference opponents for the season to get the following strength of schedule (this does factor out Upper Iowa and Northern’s extra games) –


What this shows is the relative strength of schedule for each team based on my factors.  It is not designed to predict wins & losses.

Using this we can say that indeed Southwest Minnesota State followed by Upper Iowa have the easiest schedules.  When looking at the detail of SMSU’s schedule you’ll see that they play all 3 of the weakest teams and don’t play Concordia or Wayne State.

Of the top 3 teams predicted in the preseason coaches poll, Minnesota State looks like they have the toughest route.  Their schedule is 5 games harder than SMSU and 3+ games harder than Wayne State.

If people have strong opinions about the factors to use it would be easy for me to rerun the results now that the spreadsheet is built.

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