[ED: Much appreciated, Thile. I added a picture and some words, and then I frontpaged it.]
The Rebels (27-14, 8-8) approach a crucial series this weekend in a road trip to Starkville [ED: What sick sonofabitch has our baseball team travelling to Starkville during Double Decker?] and I was finally able to look at some numbers to get an idea as to just how this team has performed thus far. Earlier this, the question had been asked, what has new hitting coach Cliff Godwin meant to our team? Where have we improved, offensively, this season. Back then, I looked at some individual numbers, as well as some team stats, if I remember correctly. But now I think we have a big enough sample to look at our team stats more accurately.
I have not yet got to the individuals, though.
Sorry, this is stats heavy (#nerd), and I did not redefine anything from last year so if you have any questions, comments, or criticisms, let me know in the comments section. One last thing, when I use the term currently for 2012, that is through April 23rd.
We are currently second in the SEC in batting average, at .315, closely trailing UK at .316. Let's look at that little closer. I wish I had the time/effort/inclination to look at home/away and put the ball park and schedule factors into play, because I think we play in a pretty favorable park, but UK really plays in a bandbox, as we all know. I have our OPS at .833 (107 OPS+) which is 3rd behind UK (.891/115) and Florida (.839/108). Last year, we were at .770/98 which places us 7th in the SEC and just under average at .787. Our OBP has increased from .360 to .390 from '11 to '12. Slugging has increased from .410 to .443. We scored 5.53 runs per game last year (8th); we are at 6.35 runs per game this year (4th); while the SEC produced 5.78 runs per game last year and is producing 5.73 runs per game this year.
Really, we've improved across the board offensively.
Plate discipline has improved too. We are currently #1 in K's per plate appearance at 12.73% with the league average at 15.78%. This is probably the biggest difference IMO - last year we were 17.12% and 10th in the SEC (15.78% coincidentally enough). I already mentioned OBP, with wOBA we are also currently second at .370 with UK at .390 and a league average of .348. Last year we were 8th at .337 and below the SEC at .344. Interesting, to me, at least, was our ISO power numbers have not changed any, .128 last year (SEC .126) and this year (SEC .120); so perhaps a little better against the league. We are getting 1 HR ever 49 AB this year (2.03%), 1 HR every 40 AB last year (2.48%). One last thing, I've got to look closer into is the Runs Created metric I have calculated. I have us at 99% efficient this year, up from 95.5% last year.
It seems like the biggest surprise so far has been out pitching staff. Last year, we lost our whole rotation through the draft, and as documented earlier, we only returned around 90 innings of experienced pitching. We finished 2011 seventh in ERA at 4.23 (92 ERA+) and currently stand sixth, but with an ERA of 3.42 (104 ERA+). So I think if that holds, we have actually had a better pitching staff. It also appears that it may, we are currently second in Defensive Independent stats at a 2.63 ERA (State leads at 2.57). We have struck out more batters so far this year, at 8.8 K's per 9 IP compared to 7.45 last year. We have also been less wild, only walking 2.3 BB per 9; 2.8 BB+HBP per 9, 3.4 BB, HBP, & WP per 9 whereas last year we were 3.3, 3.8, and 4.5 respectively. Accordingly, our K:BB ratio has gone up from 2.3 K:BB last year to, 3.8 K:BB this year.
Our batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is currently .314 and the league average is .308. South Carolina has the lowest at .262 and State has the highest at .330. Last years ours was quite a bit lower at .299 with the SEC at .317. Arkansas was the lowest at .280 and UK was the highest at .361. It will be interesting to see as I start to look at some individuals on our team.