Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Average About the author, Boyd Nation


Publication Date: September 9, 2003

Value in Normalcy

This week, I added an (almost) full set of hitters' and pitchers' stats over in The Filing Cabinet. They're searchable, both by player names or teams and by leader categories, and should be tons of fun for the statistically interested among you. I'd love to hear about requests for additional functionality (or the inevitable bugs), so let me hear from you.

In honor of this big heaping pile of numbers, I want to take a look at a question I've wondered about for a while -- what does the average college player look like? (Well, I know he's probably white and medium-sized with slightly odd hair, but that's not what I mean, and you know it.) I've put together a study to try and create composite statistical images of both the average hitter and average pitcher for Division I in 2003, and then I've identified a player whose numbers are the best fit to that composite. Now, in doing something like this, you have to make up some definitions. What I've done is to take the team totals for every team possible (I'm missing two teams entirely [Grambling and Lipscomb, in case you were wondering] and a handful of other teams don't report the full set of statistical categories) and take a normalized average for a 54-game season (the average D1 team played 54 regular season games last year). These are weighted before they're averaged, so a team playing 45 games is counted the same as one playing 60 games; you could do it the other way, but I think this gives us a clearer picture of the average player.

Now, in this society, "average" is something of a pejorative (I blame Garrison Keillor, myself, but I'm sure he, in his post-modern Minnesotan taciturnity, doesn't mind), but, to a baseball team, average has definite value. The concept of replacement value doesn't make much sense in college ball, where you can't trade for an upgrade or call someone up from the local high school in mid-season, but every year teams lose championships because they don't have average players at a couple of positions or a rotation spot.

The Hitters' Composite

With all that said, here's what the Division I hitters did last year, normalized to a 54-game season:

 AVG   OPB   SLG   AB    R     H     2B    3B   HR    RBI    TB
0.289 0.370 0.423 198.1 36.1  57.3  10.8  1.3   4.3   32.2  83.8

 BB   HBP    SO   GDP   SF    SH    SB    ATT
21.2  5.5   37.7  3.3   2.4   3.3   6.8   9.4

Some miscellaneous notes on these numbers:

And now, without further ado, The Boyd's World Average Hitter of the Year:

Team      Player      AVG   OBP   SLG  GP  GS  AB   R   H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  TB
Duquesne  John Rieg  .292  .365  .411  54  54  209  44  61  11  1   4   37   86

                      BB  HBP  SO  GIDP  SF  SH  SB  ATT
                      20   4   24   0    0   4   12  19

The Pitchers' Composite

And the pitchers. I had to stretch a bit more to figure out what to use as a playing time baseline but settled on 90 innings, which is around the workload for a rotation starter.

ERA    H     R     ER    BB    SO    2B   3B    HR     AB    WP    HBP   BK
5.20  95.7  61.0  48.9  35.7  62.3  18.0  2.3   7.2   331.0  8.0   9.1   1.9   

And The Boyd's World Average Pitcher of the Year is

Team      Player       ERA   W  L  APP  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO  2B  3B  HR  AB   WP  HBP  BK

Oklahoma  Buddy Blair  5.09  5  6  15   88.1  98  55  50  36  63  19  2   6   353  7    7   0

OK, if you're done here and haven't checked out The Filing Cabinet yet, get on over there. Where else are you going to find out that Derrick Peterson and Kirk Strebin tied for the national lead in sacrifice flies last year?

If you're interested in reprinting this or any other Boyd's World material for your publication or Web site, please read the reprint policy and contact me


Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Average About the author, Boyd Nation