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Talent Levels for the 2010 College Summer Leagues

Last updated: September 21, 2010

One of the perpetual Hot Stove League (Cool Fan League? I suppose we should modify the lingo to match the calendar) topics for college fans is comparing the talent level in the various wood bat college summer leagues. This is an attempt to quantify some of that discussion by throwing some numbers at the problem. As it turns out, there's not one clearcut metric that shows league quality perfectly (and there won't be until we can better integrate lower division and junior college stats, since those players make up such a large part of the summer leagues), so I'll throw out a few that I've come up with and discuss the implications. This is not a comprehensive list of leagues -- it's basically a list of leagues that were important enough that at least one of the pro clients asked for a stat report on them and that had a league web site that had both full rosters and season stats -- but it gets most of the important leagues. The Alaska, Valley, and Texas leagues are the only ones of any significance that I can think of that are missing.

League   D1%   AvePA   AveIP   AveAOPS   AveAERA
Cal Ripken   66   120.6   31.6   0.797   6.27
California   33   139.9   41.8   0.842   5.66
Cape Cod   94   204.8   51.2   0.929   4.77
Florida   25   106.0   24.0   0.769   4.72
Jayhawk   34   173.0   32.4   0.839   5.62
Mink   14   106.3   29.7   0.830   5.39
New England   67   150.5   33.8   0.877   5.81
New York   41   118.8   31.6   0.791   6.33
Northwoods   31   148.9   36.7   0.878   6.02
Prospect   41   128.9   29.3   0.826   6.60
West Coast   53   102.8   29.2   0.838   4.84

The columns, with explanation and commentary:

D1% -- the percentage of roster players who are identifiable as having been on a D1 roster in the spring of 2010. As with all other measures, this one shows the Cape Cod League as the clear leader, which surprises no one (to the extent that I won't mention it much from here on). This one serves as a reminder that not all D1 teams are created equally, if you look at a bit, as the New England Collegiate Baseball League is made up largely of players from weaker Northeastern D1 teams, while the West Coast and Cal Ripken leagues are generally representative of better teams.

AvePA and AveIP -- average plate appearances or innings pitched in the 2010 college season for players who were on D1 rosters. This gives an indication of the age and experience of the players represented; does the summer league have mostly younger players who aren't full-time college players yet or older college players who are trying to get ready for pro ball? The Jayhawk League fares well here, while the Florida and West Coast leagues do poorly.

AveAOPS -- average adjusted on-base percentage and slugging for the 2010 college season for players who had at least 50 PA's on a D1 roster. OPS is adjusted by strength of schedule and park factor for each player and averaged. This gives a good weighted measure of the quality of the hitters that the summer league draws. Combining this with the other numbers gives an interesting picture of the Northwoods League; it draws a relatively small percentage of D1 players, but the ones that it gets look to be pretty good. The NECBL also does well here.

AveAERA -- average adjusted earned runs average for the 2010 college season for pitchers who had at least 25 IP's on a D1 roster. I don't have a great single adjusted rate metric for college pitchers, so I'm a bit ambivalent about using this one -- it's ERA adjusted by the team strength of schedule and park factor. The problem is that an individual pitcher usually doesn't face an average schedule for his team or get the same mix of ballparks. Take this one with a grain of salt.

Overall, other than the clearcut win for the Cape, this leaves me a little fuzzy as to who's second, or to even who the second tier is. Overall, the NECBL, Jayhawk, and Northwoods leagues look good, but if you pay less attention to the D1% column (which may be reasonable, given the strength of the California JC ranks, for example), the California and West Coast leagues may join them.


Boyd's World-> Filing Cabinet-> Talent Levels for the 2010 College Summer Leagues About the author, Boyd Nation