Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sam Nasci: Mizzou Baseball, Sabermetrically

Entering the final three weekends of the college baseball regular season, let’s look at Mizzou Baseball from a little bit of a different standpoint: sabermetrics. Since it is difficult to compare all college players since these stats are not widespread, I will allude to MLB players to give a bit of perspective of what these numbers mean. I know it is almost comparing apples to oranges, but I need to put this in some kind of perspective.

Isolated Power (ISO) measures how much raw power a hitter has, or how effective they are at hitting for extra bases. The Tigers do not have a single hitter that would be even considered at an average level in the Major Leagues. It is calculated by doing extra bases/at bats. MLB average hovers around .140.

Dane Opel, Mizzou’s leader in this stat, has an ISO of .129. His production this year is very comparable to that of Cardinal outfielder John Jay circa 2011, who had an ISO of .122.

Some of you may say, 'oh Sam, don’t compare these numbers, as these guys aren’t MLB players'.  But then you look at South Carolina’s LB Dantzler. His ISO of .317 is just one point off the pace Miami Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton set in 2012, which led all of baseball. Mississippi State’s Hunter Renfroe is highest in the SEC from what I can see (not going to go through every player in the conference), at .396.

Here is the ISO for each team in the SEC:

South Carolina
Mississippi State
Texas A&M
Ole Miss

Opel just needs to work on his K’s. His BABIP (batting average on balls put in play) is at a very high .387; a number that nobody on the Cardinals would have had him beat on in 2012 (John Jay is closest at .355).

To this point in the season, Mizzou has a win percentage of .385, but they are playing at a better rate than that. The Pythagorean expectation figures out what a team’s winning percentage should be based on how many runs they have scored and given up. According to this, Mizzou should be at .418 instead, which would give them another win or two this year.

This upcoming weekend the Tigers will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M. Log5 is a formula that figures out the probability of a team winning a game based on their winning percentage. Taking into account both SEC and nonconference games, this weekend the Tigers will have a win probability of 38.5% heading into Friday night. If this formula proves true, the Tigers will likely take one game in this series, but that’s why we play the games.

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