UW Baseball National Rankings, First Quarter

The NCAA decided to be punctual this year, releasing the first round of college baseball stats well ahead of schedule (read: on time-ish for once). Statistical analysis that includes all 291 Division 1 teams at this point in the season has little weight or value, as everyone has been padding their respective schedules for the most part with a favorable OOC schedule, or figuring out who their best players are by using multiple starting lineups etc. There are a few exceptions though, and the data can be useful in determining what the team is doing well, and where they need to improve.

Here is what stood out in the National Baseball Ranking Summary (Div-I > '11-12 > thru 03/04/12 > Washington):

  • 37 - Washington is tied for No. 37 in W/L % with eight other teams, including our next opponent Cal Poly (Edit: Cal Poly lost Tuesday, and are now 9-4). Washington is #43 in the collegesplits.com power rankings, and Cal Poly is #45. What's really amusing so far this year is how much respect UW is getting from all five major polls. In the Perfect Game top 50 alone: #36 UC Irvine (who we beat handily if you watched the series) and #26 Cal Poly, yet no Washington to be found. No respect, from anywhere, besides a couple tweets about how impressive our young core of talent is. UW is a Pac-12 school, sitting unranked with a 9-3 record and quality wins. That is ludicrous, with the record, stats and talent this team has. On the other hand, I can't blame anyone for not remembering anything besides Tim Lincecum.

  • 61, 105 - UW is hitting .302 as a team No. 61 nationally, the Oregon ducklers .282, No. 105 nationally. Defense comparison in the next bullet. I completely understand some hesitation in ranking Washington; it's going to take more than a great start to change the national perception, and the program around. Yet, somehow, the Phil Knight University *ucks get 1 more win, 10 atm with some admittedly better pitching (but not by much if you ask me), and jump right in to the middle of the top 25. No waiting around and slowly rising, especially in the coaches poll. Ya know what it reminded me of? Every coach voting for Oregon at the slightest chance, trying to curry favor from Nike like a medieval King's Court...If you look at the Oregon National Ranking Summary (same as above for UW, instead select Oregon...) and compare it to Washington, nothing stands out that makes them look any better than UW. They throw lots of strikes and strikeouts from two main pitchers, and can hit some doubles. We have better team offense and defense, they get the advantage by a hair with pitching, even though we have better depth on the bump. Other than that, the two teams look very similar. When they come to town in two weeks I really hope the bats light 'em up.

  • 4, 49 - This one shocked me at first, but after deliberation I understand my initial reaction. When the Dawgs have committed errors, they were obvious and/or boneheaded, and usually had a big affect on the outcome of the game. That being said, we have played great defense actually in hindsight, posting a very good 0.986 Fielding % with only 6 errors, good enough for No. 4 in the nation. Ducks have a mediocre .974, No. 49 in the land. The next bullet is what I don't like about our defense, and why I was shocked with the top 5 overall ranking...

  • 282, 262 - The Dawgs have only turned 3 double plays all year, No. 282 in the land in double plays per game, and No. 262 in total double plays. This is a direct result of Pehl at 2B and Forgione at SS. If Ely and Afenir started at 2B and SS respectively that number would be drastically higher. Meggs is bucking a major cannon law of small ball by starting bats and subbing in defense later at those two positions, rather than D first and pinch-hitters when needed; this is the subject of a piece I've been working on....

  • 2 (or 5) - Closer Joshua Fredendall, as of March 4th, is No. 2 in the land with 5 saves... Funny thing is the Official UW Baseball Stats page has him with 4 saves, which would make him No. 5, tied with nine other pitchers. It appears the scouts are the only ones watching Fredendall right now; if he keeps pitching this way he won't stay under the radar for long. He is dominating, and has a legit shot to break the season save mark at UW.

  • 6 - Aaron West throws strikes. Walks are bad, and West is No. 6 in the land in allowing walks per nine innings, averaging .53 per game, only giving one free pass in 17 IP over 3 starts so far. This directly helps the next stat...

  • 32 - West allowed one run all summer, and is continuing right along with the whole "only allowing 1 run the entire season" theme. His 0.53 ERA is good enough for No. 32 in the land. You know how many pitchers are in D-I alone?! I'm very curious to know how many nationally ranked teams have an Ace in the top 50, who has only given up 1 run, 1 walk and 11 hits so far, while throwing in the low-mid 90's, in addition to a stud closer with the same velocity...

  • .232, .236 - UW has held opponents to a .232 batting average, while Oregon is at .236. Not much better, but if they have a top 15 pitching staff, where are we?

I'm not complaining with the Oregon comparisons; merely using them as a great measuring stick, with the ducklers doing pretty much the same thing we have from preseason until now. No preseason hype, off to a hot start, and have a few quality wins under their belt. Only difference? We have 2 more losses, and they both were by one run only, 10-9 and 8-7. Those must roughly translate into the difference of not being ranked in the top 50 at all, to being ranked #13. Two runs allowed more; I can't find any other reason why.

Go Dawgs!

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