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Baseball in Decline?
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ColOwl Offline
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Post: #1
Baseball in Decline?
Since the moderator moved the previous thread to the Smack Forum, I'll continue the productive aspects of that discussion to a new one. And I'll borrow one of Walt's posts for continuation.

(06-20-2017 10:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  2009: 43-18, was robbed of a national seed (to Oklahoma) and lost to #1 national seed LSU in the Supers. Team batting .320, with 71 HRs and 75 SBs. Lacked elite starting pitching. The Selection Committee and the LSU turf did us in.

2010: 40-23, lost the Austin Regional to UT in the championship after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to ULaLa put us in the losers bracket. Hit .326 as a team, with 96 HRs, 62 SBs and .974 fielding percentage. Lacked elite starting pitching

2011: 42-21, transition team and an injured Rendon causing nightmaires defensively at 3B until Fr Hoelscher got comfortable at the position. Rathjen injured after only 16 games. Hitting only .286 with 23 HRs, but pitching once again strength with Reckling, Kubitza, Simms, Duffy and Cingrani. Last national seed, but lose our own regional in 3 games.

2012: 41-19, team ERA of 2.85 and BAA of .217 (both ranked Top 5 nationally)-- deepest staff ever with Kubitza, Simms, Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Walls, Duffy, Chargois, Lemond and McDowell leading the way. .975 fielding percentage, but offense hit just .281 with 35 HRs. Just missed national seed and then proceeded again lose our own regional in 3 games (losing the winners bracket Game 2 to Arkansas 1-0).

2013: 44-20, just missing out as regional host despite winning our final 9 games, including sweeping the conference tournament. Won the Eugene regional and lost two heart-breaking games late to NC State in the Supers. Our last truly pitching and defensively dominant team: 2.83 ERA, .225 BAA, .974 fielding percentage, but we lacked pitching depth and hit only .279 as a team with just 29 HRs.

2014: 42-20, regional host, but after beating George Mason lost back to back leads late to UT and A&M (who we had led 8-1 after 6 innings). Elite pitching stats (2.56 ERA, .234 BAA), but absolutely no depth or bullpen beyond Ditman after Stephens went down at Minute Maid and Lemond missed most of the second half of the season. Team hit .293 with only 24 HRs, but had our best fielding percentage (.977) since the 2003 championship team. Team really hit with injury bug-- in addition to Lemond and Stephens, Byrd, Hoelscher and Reeves all missed considerable time with injuries (with JC playing with a serious leg injury most of the second half of the season), and Ditman getting injured late.

2015: 37-22, lost to ULaLa in the Houston regional after eliminating UH in the 20-inning classic. This was the first year where defense was a liability, particularly in the infield, despite being a largely upperclass-laden squad-- both in the field and on the mound. Lacked pitching depth, especially with Duplantier missing the entire season.

2016: 38-24, with our conference championship steak coming to an end...but redeemed ourselves with a strong showing in the Baton Rouge regional, leading LSU going into the 7th inning of the Championship game. Hit only .273 as a team. If anything, we overachieved last year.

2017: 33-31, a disaster of a season saved to a certain extent by a strong 18-4 close to the regular season. Pitcher suffered mightily with injuries to Salinas, Parthasarathy and Otto (who wasn't truly healthy until the second half of the season). Offense lived up to it's preseason hype late, finishing the year hitting .293 as a team with 55 HRs.

In conclusion, the so-called decline didn't really start until the 2015 season.

Your narrative digest, while statistically accurate, fails to take into account the 2011 bat changes and 2015 ball changes and their effects on not only Rice but all NCAA teams nationwide. For example, while the 2014 pitching staff had a 2.56 ERA, there's a real apples/oranges problem comparing it to the 2.65 ERA of the 2004 pitching staff which accomplished its task when gorilla ball and super-high-exit-speed metal bats were still being used by all teams. For the years 2003-2010, our offense had only one year (2005) when we had a team BA below .300 (.293). For those 8 seasons, the BA was around .315. But in the 7 seasons since the bat change, we haven't even cracked .300 (.273-.293). Our RPG has also dropped dramatically from about 7.44 in the first 8 to around 5.5 over the last 7.

Looking at the nationwide NCAA Div I stats, team BA dropped .023 points from .305 in 2010 to .282 in 2011 when the BBCOR bat standard was implemented. Team ERAs dropped more than a full point, from 5.95 in 2010 to 4.67 in 2011 after 20 years of never dropping below 5.12.

If you look at the national stats for the peak year of 'gorilla ball,' 1998, team ERA was 6.12, BA .302 and RPG 7.12. Even in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, BAs were .291 both years, RPGs were 6.11 and 6.17 respectively, and ERAs were 5.23 & 5.29. But by 2014, those same stats nationally were .270, 5.08 and 4.22. So our pitching staffs of 2012-2014 were indeed deep and well-stocked with our 3-4 year recruits, but I still maintain where we've fallen short over the last several years is our failure to bring in strong JUCO/TR pitching arms to give seasoned strength to our less-experienced frosh and sophs.

Look back at my post now relegated to the Smack Forum, page 7, for the individual stats, but we did very well in the years after the championship because we were able to replace the Big Three (or 4 if you include Baker) with quality JUCO/TR arms, to wit:

2005 -- Degerman, Geer, Tacker, Cox
2006 -- Degerman, Crow, Cox
2007 -- Kelley, Langwell, Lonergan, Tacker
2008 -- Kelley, Langwell, Gayhart, Jo Rogers, Luetge, Runnels
2009 -- Jo Rogers, Ja Rogers
2010 -- Ja Rogers, Cingrani, Anagnostou
2011 -- Cingrani, Anagnostou
2012 -- NONE
2013 -- NONE
2014 -- T. Tekyl, C. Smith
2015 -- Solecitto
2016 -- Solecitto
2017 -- NONE

Compare the productivity of the first half of that list to the last half and you'll get my point. We know those JUCO/TR pitchers are out there, but the TCUs, TTUs, UTs & A$Ms are getting them, not us. So they've been going to the CWS and we haven't.

Just something to consider.
(This post was last modified: 06-21-2017 02:46 PM by ColOwl.)
06-21-2017 11:57 AM
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westsidewolf1989 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 11:57 AM)ColOwl Wrote:  Since the moderator moved the previous thread to the Smack Forum, I'll continue the productive aspects of that discussion to a new one. And I'll borrow one of Walt's posts for continuation.

(06-20-2017 10:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  2009: 43-18, was robbed of a national seed (to Oklahoma) and lost to #1 national seed LSU in the Supers. Team batting .320, with 71 HRs and 75 SBs. Lacked elite starting pitching. The Selection Committee and the LSU turf did us in.

2010: 40-23, lost the Austin Regional to UT in the championship after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to ULaLa put us in the losers bracket. Hit .326 as a team, with 96 HRs, 62 SBs and .974 fielding percentage. Lacked elite starting pitching

2011: 42-21, transition team and an injured Rendon causing nightmaires defensively at 3B until Fr Hoelscher got comfortable at the position. Rathjen injured after only 16 games. Hitting only .286 with 23 HRs, but pitching once again strength with Reckling, Kubitza, Simms, Duffy and Cingrani. Last national seed, but lose our own regional in 3 games.

2012: 41-19, team ERA of 2.85 and BAA of .217 (both ranked Top 5 nationally)-- deepest staff ever with Kubitza, Simms, Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Walls, Duffy, Chargois, Lemond and McDowell leading the way. .975 fielding percentage, but offense hit just .281 with 35 HRs. Just missed national seed and then proceeded again lose our own regional in 3 games (losing the winners bracket Game 2 to Arkansas 1-0).

2013: 44-20, just missing out as regional host despite winning our final 9 games, including sweeping the conference tournament. Won the Eugene regional and lost two heart-breaking games late to NC State in the Supers. Our last truly pitching and defensively dominant team: 2.83 ERA, .225 BAA, .974 fielding percentage, but we lacked pitching depth and hit only .279 as a team with just 29 HRs.

2014: 42-20, regional host, but after beating George Mason lost back to back leads late to UT and A&M (who we had led 8-1 after 6 innings). Elite pitching stats (2.56 ERA, .234 BAA), but absolutely no depth or bullpen beyond Ditman after Stephens went down at Minute Maid and Lemond missed most of the second half of the season. Team hit .293 with only 24 HRs, but had our best fielding percentage (.977) since the 2003 championship team. Team really hit with injury bug-- in addition to Lemond and Stephens, Byrd, Hoelscher and Reeves all missed considerable time with injuries (with JC playing with a serious leg injury most of the second half of the season), and Ditman getting injured late.

2015: 37-22, lost to ULaLa in the Houston regional after eliminating UH in the 20-inning classic. This was the first year where defense was a liability, particularly in the infield, despite being a largely upperclass-laden squad-- both in the field and on the mound. Lacked pitching depth, especially with Duplantier missing the entire season.

2016: 38-24, with our conference championship steak coming to an end...but redeemed ourselves with a strong showing in the Baton Rouge regional, leading LSU going into the 7th inning of the Championship game. Hit only .273 as a team. If anything, we overachieved last year.

2017: 33-31, a disaster of a season saved to a certain extent by a strong 18-4 close to the regular season. Pitcher suffered mightily with injuries to Salinas, Parthasarathy and Otto (who wasn't truly healthy until the second half of the season). Offense lived up to it's preseason hype late, finishing the year hitting .293 as a team with 55 HRs.

In conclusion, the so-called decline didn't really start until the 2015 season.

Your narrative digest, while statistically accurate, fails to take into account the 2011 bat changes and 2015 ball changes and their effects on not only Rice but all NCAA teams nationwide. For example, while the 2014 pitching staff had a 2.56 ERA, there's a real apples/oranges problem comparing it to the 2.65 ERA of the 2004 pitching staff which accomplished its task when gorilla ball and super-high-exit-speed metal bats were still being used by all teams. For the years 2003-2010, our offense had only one year (2005) when we had a team BA below .300 (.293). For those 8 seasons, the BA was around .315. But in the 7 seasons since the bat change, we haven't even cracked .300 (.273-.293). Our RPG has also dropped dramatically from about 7.44 in the first 8 to around 5.5 over the last 7.

Looking at the nationwide NCAA Div I stats, team BA dropped .023 points from .305 in 2010 to .282 in 2011 when the BBCOR bat standard was implemented. Team ERAs dropped more than a full point, from 5.95 in 2010 to 4.67 in 2011 after 20 years of never dropping below 5.12.

If you look at the national stats for the peak year of 'gorilla ball,' 1998, team ERA was 6.12, BA .302 and RPG 7.12. Even in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, BAs were .291 both years, RPG were 6.11 and 6.17 respectively, and ERAs were 5.23 & 5.29. But by 2014, those same stats nationally were .270, 5.08 and 4.22. So our pitching staffs of 2012-2014 were indeed deep and well-stocked with our 3-4 year recruits, but I still maintain where we've fallen short over the last several years is our failure to maintain bring in strong JUCO pitching arms to give seasoned strength to our less-experienced frosh and sophs.

Look back at my post now relegated to the Smack Forum, page 7, for the individual stats, but we did very well in the years after the championship because we were able to replace the Big Three (or 4 if you include Baker) with quality JUCO/TR arms, to wit:

2005 -- Degerman, Geer, Tacker, Cox
2006 -- Degerman, Crow, Cox
2007 -- Kelley, Langwell, Lonergan, Tacker
2008 -- Kelley, Langwell, Gayhart, Jo Rogers, Luetge, Runnels
2009 -- Jo Rogers, Ja Rogers
2010 -- Ja Rogers, Cingrani, Anagnostou
2011 -- Cingrani, Anagnostou
2012 -- NONE
2013 -- NONE
2014 -- T. Tekyl, C. Smith
2015 -- Solecitto
2016 -- Solecitto
2017 -- NONE

Compare the productivity of the first half of that list to the last half and you'll get my point. We know those JUCO/TR pitchers are out there, but the TCUs, TTUs, UTs & A$Ms are getting them, not us. So they've been going to the CWS and we haven't.

Just something to consider.

Let's see, Pierce was here from 2003-2011 and then left in 2012 to go to SHSU...
06-21-2017 12:29 PM
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mrbig Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Baseball in Decline?
I pulled Rice's pseudo-RPI numbers from Boyd's World. They go back to 1997, which is helpful. The graphs are the 3-year and 5-year rolling average of these rankings, which helps smooth 1-year spikes that do not necessarily represent a trend.
[Image: Rice%2Bboyd.jpg]

[Image: Rice%2Bboyd%2B2.jpg]

1997: 19
1998: 19
1999: 10
2000: 41
2001: 19
2002: 10
2003: 4
2004: 21
2005: 22
2006: 2
2007: 1
2008: 4
2009: 14
2010: 33
2011: 12
2012: 30
2013: 18
2014: 12
2015: 32
2016: 25
2017: 44

To be clear, the points at the beginning and end of each chart do not represent 3-year or 5-year averages, rather they represent 2-year and 4-year averages.
(This post was last modified: 06-21-2017 02:27 PM by mrbig.)
06-21-2017 02:03 PM
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waltgreenberg Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 11:57 AM)ColOwl Wrote:  Since the moderator moved the previous thread to the Smack Forum, I'll continue the productive aspects of that discussion to a new one. And I'll borrow one of Walt's posts for continuation.

(06-20-2017 10:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  2009: 43-18, was robbed of a national seed (to Oklahoma) and lost to #1 national seed LSU in the Supers. Team batting .320, with 71 HRs and 75 SBs. Lacked elite starting pitching. The Selection Committee and the LSU turf did us in.

2010: 40-23, lost the Austin Regional to UT in the championship after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to ULaLa put us in the losers bracket. Hit .326 as a team, with 96 HRs, 62 SBs and .974 fielding percentage. Lacked elite starting pitching

2011: 42-21, transition team and an injured Rendon causing nightmaires defensively at 3B until Fr Hoelscher got comfortable at the position. Rathjen injured after only 16 games. Hitting only .286 with 23 HRs, but pitching once again strength with Reckling, Kubitza, Simms, Duffy and Cingrani. Last national seed, but lose our own regional in 3 games.

2012: 41-19, team ERA of 2.85 and BAA of .217 (both ranked Top 5 nationally)-- deepest staff ever with Kubitza, Simms, Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Walls, Duffy, Chargois, Lemond and McDowell leading the way. .975 fielding percentage, but offense hit just .281 with 35 HRs. Just missed national seed and then proceeded again lose our own regional in 3 games (losing the winners bracket Game 2 to Arkansas 1-0).

2013: 44-20, just missing out as regional host despite winning our final 9 games, including sweeping the conference tournament. Won the Eugene regional and lost two heart-breaking games late to NC State in the Supers. Our last truly pitching and defensively dominant team: 2.83 ERA, .225 BAA, .974 fielding percentage, but we lacked pitching depth and hit only .279 as a team with just 29 HRs.

2014: 42-20, regional host, but after beating George Mason lost back to back leads late to UT and A&M (who we had led 8-1 after 6 innings). Elite pitching stats (2.56 ERA, .234 BAA), but absolutely no depth or bullpen beyond Ditman after Stephens went down at Minute Maid and Lemond missed most of the second half of the season. Team hit .293 with only 24 HRs, but had our best fielding percentage (.977) since the 2003 championship team. Team really hit with injury bug-- in addition to Lemond and Stephens, Byrd, Hoelscher and Reeves all missed considerable time with injuries (with JC playing with a serious leg injury most of the second half of the season), and Ditman getting injured late.

2015: 37-22, lost to ULaLa in the Houston regional after eliminating UH in the 20-inning classic. This was the first year where defense was a liability, particularly in the infield, despite being a largely upperclass-laden squad-- both in the field and on the mound. Lacked pitching depth, especially with Duplantier missing the entire season.

2016: 38-24, with our conference championship steak coming to an end...but redeemed ourselves with a strong showing in the Baton Rouge regional, leading LSU going into the 7th inning of the Championship game. Hit only .273 as a team. If anything, we overachieved last year.

2017: 33-31, a disaster of a season saved to a certain extent by a strong 18-4 close to the regular season. Pitcher suffered mightily with injuries to Salinas, Parthasarathy and Otto (who wasn't truly healthy until the second half of the season). Offense lived up to it's preseason hype late, finishing the year hitting .293 as a team with 55 HRs.

In conclusion, the so-called decline didn't really start until the 2015 season.

Your narrative digest, while statistically accurate, fails to take into account the 2011 bat changes and 2015 ball changes and their effects on not only Rice but all NCAA teams nationwide. For example, while the 2014 pitching staff had a 2.56 ERA, there's a real apples/oranges problem comparing it to the 2.65 ERA of the 2004 pitching staff which accomplished its task when gorilla ball and super-high-exit-speed metal bats were still being used by all teams. For the years 2003-2010, our offense had only one year (2005) when we had a team BA below .300 (.293). For those 8 seasons, the BA was around .315. But in the 7 seasons since the bat change, we haven't even cracked .300 (.273-.293). Our RPG has also dropped dramatically from about 7.44 in the first 8 to around 5.5 over the last 7.

Looking at the nationwide NCAA Div I stats, team BA dropped .023 points from .305 in 2010 to .282 in 2011 when the BBCOR bat standard was implemented. Team ERAs dropped more than a full point, from 5.95 in 2010 to 4.67 in 2011 after 20 years of never dropping below 5.12.

If you look at the national stats for the peak year of 'gorilla ball,' 1998, team ERA was 6.12, BA .302 and RPG 7.12. Even in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, BAs were .291 both years, RPGs were 6.11 and 6.17 respectively, and ERAs were 5.23 & 5.29. But by 2014, those same stats nationally were .270, 5.08 and 4.22. So our pitching staffs of 2012-2014 were indeed deep and well-stocked with our 3-4 year recruits, but I still maintain where we've fallen short over the last several years is our failure to bring in strong JUCO/TR pitching arms to give seasoned strength to our less-experienced frosh and sophs.

Look back at my post now relegated to the Smack Forum, page 7, for the individual stats, but we did very well in the years after the championship because we were able to replace the Big Three (or 4 if you include Baker) with quality JUCO/TR arms, to wit:

2005 -- Degerman, Geer, Tacker, Cox
2006 -- Degerman, Crow, Cox
2007 -- Kelley, Langwell, Lonergan, Tacker
2008 -- Kelley, Langwell, Gayhart, Jo Rogers, Luetge, Runnels
2009 -- Jo Rogers, Ja Rogers
2010 -- Ja Rogers, Cingrani, Anagnostou
2011 -- Cingrani, Anagnostou
2012 -- NONE
2013 -- NONE
2014 -- T. Tekyl, C. Smith
2015 -- Solecitto
2016 -- Solecitto
2017 -- NONE

Compare the productivity of the first half of that list to the last half and you'll get my point. We know those JUCO/TR pitchers are out there, but the TCUs, TTUs, UTs & A$Ms are getting them, not us. So they've been going to the CWS and we haven't.

Just something to consider.

You're totally missing the point of my researched post quoted above (as well as the one on recent RPI trending). There was no intention to compare teams statistically, but rather the objective was to provide evidence dismissing the narrative that the program has been in "steady decline" since 2008/09.

As for your post above on JUCO pitchers, aside from Degerman, and only one year of quality performance each from Geer, Tacker, Cingrani and Cox (actually, only 6 weeks of elite performance out of Cox in 2 years at Reckling), our JUCO pitchers have all been mediocre at best. Cox was recruited as a 3B and converted to closer by Wayne with mixed results. Cingrani was recruited as a starter and flopped miserably his first year on campus (albeit pitching through the death of his mother). Wayne changed his delivery, which increased his velocity and converted him to a lights out closer. Luetge, Runnells and Anagnostou were all flops and contributed little or nothing. Crow, Kelly, Rogers, Langwell and Lonergan all had their moments, but their overall performance during their tenure at Rice was nothing more than average and journeyman in nature. They all contributed due to lack of depth on our pitching staffs, but none ever performed at an elite level.
06-21-2017 03:19 PM
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waltgreenberg Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 02:03 PM)mrbig Wrote:  I pulled Rice's pseudo-RPI numbers from Boyd's World. They go back to 1997, which is helpful. The graphs are the 3-year and 5-year rolling average of these rankings, which helps smooth 1-year spikes that do not necessarily represent a trend.
[Image: Rice%2Bboyd.jpg]

[Image: Rice%2Bboyd%2B2.jpg]

1997: 19
1998: 19
1999: 10
2000: 41
2001: 19
2002: 10
2003: 4
2004: 21
2005: 22
2006: 2
2007: 1
2008: 4
2009: 14
2010: 33
2011: 12
2012: 30
2013: 18
2014: 12
2015: 32
2016: 25
2017: 44

To be clear, the points at the beginning and end of each chart do not represent 3-year or 5-year averages, rather they represent 2-year and 4-year averages.

Again, if you're going to say we've had a steady decline from the absolute pinnacle of college baseball, that's fine, but I don't consider Top 25 performances a reflection of decline in a program. The reality is that the drop off in program performance has been over the past 3 years, and that coincides with the scholarship issue becoming a more glaring problem (as other private schools have found workaround scholarships that Rice has failed to provide).
06-21-2017 03:26 PM
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Gravy Owl Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 03:26 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  Again, if you're going to say we've had a steady decline from the absolute pinnacle of college baseball, that's fine, but I don't consider Top 25 performances a reflection of decline in a program.

Thanks for clarifying that all of this quibbling is over the definition of “decline.”

Rice went from never-ever making the tournament, to making the tournament consistently, to making the CWS periodically, to winning the National Championship, to making the CWS periodically, to making the tournament consistently. To me, that is an ascent followed by a decline. If you prefer different terminology, fine.

I think we are in agreement that Rice is still a well-above-average program.

My initial point, in the other thread, in the context of a possible contract extension for Graham, was that while acknowledging the trends, I felt that the ascent earned him the right to stay as long as he wants, and that I did not mean as long as he wants until the fans become restless.
06-21-2017 05:12 PM
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ColOwl Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 03:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  
(06-21-2017 11:57 AM)ColOwl Wrote:  Since the moderator moved the previous thread to the Smack Forum, I'll continue the productive aspects of that discussion to a new one. And I'll borrow one of Walt's posts for continuation.

(06-20-2017 10:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  2009: 43-18, was robbed of a national seed (to Oklahoma) and lost to #1 national seed LSU in the Supers. Team batting .320, with 71 HRs and 75 SBs. Lacked elite starting pitching. The Selection Committee and the LSU turf did us in.

2010: 40-23, lost the Austin Regional to UT in the championship after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to ULaLa put us in the losers bracket. Hit .326 as a team, with 96 HRs, 62 SBs and .974 fielding percentage. Lacked elite starting pitching

2011: 42-21, transition team and an injured Rendon causing nightmaires defensively at 3B until Fr Hoelscher got comfortable at the position. Rathjen injured after only 16 games. Hitting only .286 with 23 HRs, but pitching once again strength with Reckling, Kubitza, Simms, Duffy and Cingrani. Last national seed, but lose our own regional in 3 games.

2012: 41-19, team ERA of 2.85 and BAA of .217 (both ranked Top 5 nationally)-- deepest staff ever with Kubitza, Simms, Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Walls, Duffy, Chargois, Lemond and McDowell leading the way. .975 fielding percentage, but offense hit just .281 with 35 HRs. Just missed national seed and then proceeded again lose our own regional in 3 games (losing the winners bracket Game 2 to Arkansas 1-0).

2013: 44-20, just missing out as regional host despite winning our final 9 games, including sweeping the conference tournament. Won the Eugene regional and lost two heart-breaking games late to NC State in the Supers. Our last truly pitching and defensively dominant team: 2.83 ERA, .225 BAA, .974 fielding percentage, but we lacked pitching depth and hit only .279 as a team with just 29 HRs.

2014: 42-20, regional host, but after beating George Mason lost back to back leads late to UT and A&M (who we had led 8-1 after 6 innings). Elite pitching stats (2.56 ERA, .234 BAA), but absolutely no depth or bullpen beyond Ditman after Stephens went down at Minute Maid and Lemond missed most of the second half of the season. Team hit .293 with only 24 HRs, but had our best fielding percentage (.977) since the 2003 championship team. Team really hit with injury bug-- in addition to Lemond and Stephens, Byrd, Hoelscher and Reeves all missed considerable time with injuries (with JC playing with a serious leg injury most of the second half of the season), and Ditman getting injured late.

2015: 37-22, lost to ULaLa in the Houston regional after eliminating UH in the 20-inning classic. This was the first year where defense was a liability, particularly in the infield, despite being a largely upperclass-laden squad-- both in the field and on the mound. Lacked pitching depth, especially with Duplantier missing the entire season.

2016: 38-24, with our conference championship steak coming to an end...but redeemed ourselves with a strong showing in the Baton Rouge regional, leading LSU going into the 7th inning of the Championship game. Hit only .273 as a team. If anything, we overachieved last year.

2017: 33-31, a disaster of a season saved to a certain extent by a strong 18-4 close to the regular season. Pitcher suffered mightily with injuries to Salinas, Parthasarathy and Otto (who wasn't truly healthy until the second half of the season). Offense lived up to it's preseason hype late, finishing the year hitting .293 as a team with 55 HRs.

In conclusion, the so-called decline didn't really start until the 2015 season.

Your narrative digest, while statistically accurate, fails to take into account the 2011 bat changes and 2015 ball changes and their effects on not only Rice but all NCAA teams nationwide. For example, while the 2014 pitching staff had a 2.56 ERA, there's a real apples/oranges problem comparing it to the 2.65 ERA of the 2004 pitching staff which accomplished its task when gorilla ball and super-high-exit-speed metal bats were still being used by all teams. For the years 2003-2010, our offense had only one year (2005) when we had a team BA below .300 (.293). For those 8 seasons, the BA was around .315. But in the 7 seasons since the bat change, we haven't even cracked .300 (.273-.293). Our RPG has also dropped dramatically from about 7.44 in the first 8 to around 5.5 over the last 7.

Looking at the nationwide NCAA Div I stats, team BA dropped .023 points from .305 in 2010 to .282 in 2011 when the BBCOR bat standard was implemented. Team ERAs dropped more than a full point, from 5.95 in 2010 to 4.67 in 2011 after 20 years of never dropping below 5.12.

If you look at the national stats for the peak year of 'gorilla ball,' 1998, team ERA was 6.12, BA .302 and RPG 7.12. Even in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, BAs were .291 both years, RPGs were 6.11 and 6.17 respectively, and ERAs were 5.23 & 5.29. But by 2014, those same stats nationally were .270, 5.08 and 4.22. So our pitching staffs of 2012-2014 were indeed deep and well-stocked with our 3-4 year recruits, but I still maintain where we've fallen short over the last several years is our failure to bring in strong JUCO/TR pitching arms to give seasoned strength to our less-experienced frosh and sophs.

Look back at my post now relegated to the Smack Forum, page 7, for the individual stats, but we did very well in the years after the championship because we were able to replace the Big Three (or 4 if you include Baker) with quality JUCO/TR arms, to wit:

2005 -- Degerman, Geer, Tacker, Cox
2006 -- Degerman, Crow, Cox
2007 -- Kelley, Langwell, Lonergan, Tacker
2008 -- Kelley, Langwell, Gayhart, Jo Rogers, Luetge, Runnels
2009 -- Jo Rogers, Ja Rogers
2010 -- Ja Rogers, Cingrani, Anagnostou
2011 -- Cingrani, Anagnostou
2012 -- NONE
2013 -- NONE
2014 -- T. Tekyl, C. Smith
2015 -- Solecitto
2016 -- Solecitto
2017 -- NONE

Compare the productivity of the first half of that list to the last half and you'll get my point. We know those JUCO/TR pitchers are out there, but the TCUs, TTUs, UTs & A$Ms are getting them, not us. So they've been going to the CWS and we haven't.

Just something to consider.

You're totally missing the point of my researched post quoted above (as well as the one on recent RPI trending). There was no intention to compare teams statistically, but rather the objective was to provide evidence dismissing the narrative that the program has been in "steady decline" since 2008/09.

As for your post above on JUCO pitchers, aside from Degerman, and only one year of quality performance each from Geer, Tacker, Cingrani and Cox (actually, only 6 weeks of elite performance out of Cox in 2 years at Reckling), our JUCO pitchers have all been mediocre at best. Cox was recruited as a 3B and converted to closer by Wayne with mixed results. Cingrani was recruited as a starter and flopped miserably his first year on campus (albeit pitching through the death of his mother). Wayne changed his delivery, which increased his velocity and converted him to a lights out closer. Luetge, Runnells and Anagnostou were all flops and contributed little or nothing. Crow, Kelly, Rogers, Langwell and Lonergan all had their moments, but their overall performance during their tenure at Rice was nothing more than average and journeyman in nature. They all contributed due to lack of depth on our pitching staffs, but none ever performed at an elite level.

And you're missing my point. After it was apparent we were not going to have the Big Three around after '04, WG stocked us up with experienced JUCO/TR pitchers that carried us through the next 4 seasons with 3 out of 4 CWS appearances. Geer already had 2 years of JUCO ball so with his great '05 season at 12-4, 3.36 ERA, 125 IP, he was certain to go in the draft. But at least we got a whole year out of him. Crow gave us 82 IP as an '06 starter with a respectable 3.83 ERA.

Tacker was 4-0 in '05, 37 IP, and 3.93 ERA, injured in '06, but one of the strengths of our run back to the CWS in '07 at 9-1, 72 IP and 3.01. We got 2 good years out of Kelley in our last 2 CWS seasons, with a total of 150 IP, 8-4, and 3.43 and 3.01 ERAs. Likewise for Langwell who had a 13-3 record over 157 IP, ERAs of 2.35 in '07 and 4.36 in '08. Lonergan might have gotten in only 31 IP in '07 with CSC, BBell, Bramhall etc in the bullpen, but he was 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA.

Agreed we didn't get a comparable amount of production (i.e. low ERAs) out of the 2 Rogers in their '08-'09 and '09-'10 campaigns respectively, although Jared did have a decent last year at 8-2, 87 IP and 3.83 ERA. And we did have arms like Luetge and Runnels to eat up a few middle innings before CSC lowered the hammer in '08.

But after '08, we've managed to get less and less JUCO/TR pitching arms. Yes, Cingrani took a whole year to develop. Anagnostou had a decent 1st year with us as a starter but not much the next. Trevor Tekyl had one year which was a very good 2014 but Caleb Smith barely got 14 IP. Solecitto had 2 years with a total of only 30 IP and unremarkable stats. More and more we've relied on the pitchers we've recruited out of HS. While they may have great stats on that level, very few of them are going to be Ryan Berrys.

Maybe there's a real purpose or strategy behind that, wanting to have an arm around for 3 full years to really develop them for the college game. Or maybe, we've just not been able to compete for the JUCO/TR arms like we were doing prior to '09. If it's the latter, perhaps there are ways to turn the tide on that. Just sayin'......
06-21-2017 05:26 PM
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Rick Gerlach Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Baseball in Decline?
I think our 'dominant period' coincided with the first 10 years of the Super-Regional era, or 1999-2008. We earned berths in 8 Super Regionals in that span and make the CWS 6 times.

Moreover in those 10 years, Rice won more college baseball games than every other university except one (I believe it was the University of Miami, but am open to being corrected), and we were within a handful of wins of matching them.

Making 8 Supers and 6 CWS berths in 10 years is absolutely mind-boggling. Having things fall so perfectly as to win a national championship is an incredible feat. I think Walt is right in that when you start parsing between the 6 CWS teams, other than agreeing that 2003 was probably the best, it's splitting hairs. The 2006 and 2007 teams with 1 or 2 breaks, or different outcomes on a couple of pitches, easily could've won national championships.

For that matter, other than poorly timed injuries and an out of his mind performance by a TSU pitcher, the 2004 team could've put us at 9 Supers and 7 CWS berths.

And the 2005 team had the lead in Game 3 of the Supers until a seeing eye ground ball turned the game toward Tulane.

I think you block that decade out completely when you start discussing program trajectory and declines. We were arguably the best program in college baseball during that entire run, with only one or two teams that could credibly challenge us for that distinction.
06-21-2017 05:30 PM
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waltgreenberg Offline
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RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 05:30 PM)Rick Gerlach Wrote:  I think our 'dominant period' coincided with the first 10 years of the Super-Regional era, or 1999-2008. We earned berths in 8 Super Regionals in that span and make the CWS 6 times.

Moreover in those 10 years, Rice won more college baseball games than every other university except one (I believe it was the University of Miami, but am open to being corrected), and we were within a handful of wins of matching them.

Making 8 Supers and 6 CWS berths in 10 years is absolutely mind-boggling. Having things fall so perfectly as to win a national championship is an incredible feat. I think Walt is right in that when you start parsing between the 6 CWS teams, other than agreeing that 2003 was probably the best, it's splitting hairs. The 2006 and 2007 teams with 1 or 2 breaks, or different outcomes on a couple of pitches, easily could've won national championships.

For that matter, other than poorly timed injuries and an out of his mind performance by a TSU pitcher, the 2004 team could've put us at 9 Supers and 7 CWS berths.

And the 2005 team had the lead in Game 3 of the Supers until a seeing eye ground ball turned the game toward Tulane.

I think you block that decade out completely when you start discussing program trajectory and declines. We were arguably the best program in college baseball during that entire run, with only one or two teams that could credibly challenge us for that distinction.

FYI-- it was Florida State and not Miami who was the only team with more wins over the first 10 years of the Super Regional era. No program was going to keep the level of excellent we enjoyed during the 1997 - 2009 period. One has to also factor in the increased competition and parity nationwide and within Texas that emerged immediately following that 13-year period. Baylor slipped a notch, but DBU, SHS, Texas State, TCU, the Aggies and, more recently, Texas Tech, all elevated their programs.

Yes, of course there was a bit of a fall off, but we were still a perennial Top 15 - 20 caliber club until the 2015 season; not a program that some have painted as being in "steady decline".
06-21-2017 06:16 PM
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skycatcher Offline
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RE: Baseball in Decline?
(06-21-2017 12:29 PM)westsidewolf1989 Wrote:  
(06-21-2017 11:57 AM)ColOwl Wrote:  Since the moderator moved the previous thread to the Smack Forum, I'll continue the productive aspects of that discussion to a new one. And I'll borrow one of Walt's posts for continuation.

(06-20-2017 10:19 PM)waltgreenberg Wrote:  2009: 43-18, was robbed of a national seed (to Oklahoma) and lost to #1 national seed LSU in the Supers. Team batting .320, with 71 HRs and 75 SBs. Lacked elite starting pitching. The Selection Committee and the LSU turf did us in.

2010: 40-23, lost the Austin Regional to UT in the championship after a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to ULaLa put us in the losers bracket. Hit .326 as a team, with 96 HRs, 62 SBs and .974 fielding percentage. Lacked elite starting pitching

2011: 42-21, transition team and an injured Rendon causing nightmaires defensively at 3B until Fr Hoelscher got comfortable at the position. Rathjen injured after only 16 games. Hitting only .286 with 23 HRs, but pitching once again strength with Reckling, Kubitza, Simms, Duffy and Cingrani. Last national seed, but lose our own regional in 3 games.

2012: 41-19, team ERA of 2.85 and BAA of .217 (both ranked Top 5 nationally)-- deepest staff ever with Kubitza, Simms, Reckling, Benak, Stephens, Walls, Duffy, Chargois, Lemond and McDowell leading the way. .975 fielding percentage, but offense hit just .281 with 35 HRs. Just missed national seed and then proceeded again lose our own regional in 3 games (losing the winners bracket Game 2 to Arkansas 1-0).

2013: 44-20, just missing out as regional host despite winning our final 9 games, including sweeping the conference tournament. Won the Eugene regional and lost two heart-breaking games late to NC State in the Supers. Our last truly pitching and defensively dominant team: 2.83 ERA, .225 BAA, .974 fielding percentage, but we lacked pitching depth and hit only .279 as a team with just 29 HRs.

2014: 42-20, regional host, but after beating George Mason lost back to back leads late to UT and A&M (who we had led 8-1 after 6 innings). Elite pitching stats (2.56 ERA, .234 BAA), but absolutely no depth or bullpen beyond Ditman after Stephens went down at Minute Maid and Lemond missed most of the second half of the season. Team hit .293 with only 24 HRs, but had our best fielding percentage (.977) since the 2003 championship team. Team really hit with injury bug-- in addition to Lemond and Stephens, Byrd, Hoelscher and Reeves all missed considerable time with injuries (with JC playing with a serious leg injury most of the second half of the season), and Ditman getting injured late.

2015: 37-22, lost to ULaLa in the Houston regional after eliminating UH in the 20-inning classic. This was the first year where defense was a liability, particularly in the infield, despite being a largely upperclass-laden squad-- both in the field and on the mound. Lacked pitching depth, especially with Duplantier missing the entire season.

2016: 38-24, with our conference championship steak coming to an end...but redeemed ourselves with a strong showing in the Baton Rouge regional, leading LSU going into the 7th inning of the Championship game. Hit only .273 as a team. If anything, we overachieved last year.

2017: 33-31, a disaster of a season saved to a certain extent by a strong 18-4 close to the regular season. Pitcher suffered mightily with injuries to Salinas, Parthasarathy and Otto (who wasn't truly healthy until the second half of the season). Offense lived up to it's preseason hype late, finishing the year hitting .293 as a team with 55 HRs.

In conclusion, the so-called decline didn't really start until the 2015 season.

Your narrative digest, while statistically accurate, fails to take into account the 2011 bat changes and 2015 ball changes and their effects on not only Rice but all NCAA teams nationwide. For example, while the 2014 pitching staff had a 2.56 ERA, there's a real apples/oranges problem comparing it to the 2.65 ERA of the 2004 pitching staff which accomplished its task when gorilla ball and super-high-exit-speed metal bats were still being used by all teams. For the years 2003-2010, our offense had only one year (2005) when we had a team BA below .300 (.293). For those 8 seasons, the BA was around .315. But in the 7 seasons since the bat change, we haven't even cracked .300 (.273-.293). Our RPG has also dropped dramatically from about 7.44 in the first 8 to around 5.5 over the last 7.

Looking at the nationwide NCAA Div I stats, team BA dropped .023 points from .305 in 2010 to .282 in 2011 when the BBCOR bat standard was implemented. Team ERAs dropped more than a full point, from 5.95 in 2010 to 4.67 in 2011 after 20 years of never dropping below 5.12.

If you look at the national stats for the peak year of 'gorilla ball,' 1998, team ERA was 6.12, BA .302 and RPG 7.12. Even in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, BAs were .291 both years, RPG were 6.11 and 6.17 respectively, and ERAs were 5.23 & 5.29. But by 2014, those same stats nationally were .270, 5.08 and 4.22. So our pitching staffs of 2012-2014 were indeed deep and well-stocked with our 3-4 year recruits, but I still maintain where we've fallen short over the last several years is our failure to maintain bring in strong JUCO pitching arms to give seasoned strength to our less-experienced frosh and sophs.

Look back at my post now relegated to the Smack Forum, page 7, for the individual stats, but we did very well in the years after the championship because we were able to replace the Big Three (or 4 if you include Baker) with quality JUCO/TR arms, to wit:

2005 -- Degerman, Geer, Tacker, Cox
2006 -- Degerman, Crow, Cox
2007 -- Kelley, Langwell, Lonergan, Tacker
2008 -- Kelley, Langwell, Gayhart, Jo Rogers, Luetge, Runnels
2009 -- Jo Rogers, Ja Rogers
2010 -- Ja Rogers, Cingrani, Anagnostou
2011 -- Cingrani, Anagnostou
2012 -- NONE
2013 -- NONE
2014 -- T. Tekyl, C. Smith
2015 -- Solecitto
2016 -- Solecitto
2017 -- NONE

Compare the productivity of the first half of that list to the last half and you'll get my point. We know those JUCO/TR pitchers are out there, but the TCUs, TTUs, UTs & A$Ms are getting them, not us. So they've been going to the CWS and we haven't.

Just something to consider.

Let's see, Pierce was here from 2003-2011 and then left in 2012 to go to SHSU...

Zane Curry was the pitching coach from 2000-2005 (two college World Series appearances during his tenure)....and it was freshman pitchers Jeff Nichols and Mario Ramos that led Rice to its' first trip to Omaha in 1997 under pitching coach Jon Prather (two college World Series appearances under his tenure)...

Zane Curry also graduated with a $25,000 plus debt despite brochures that claimed no rice student would graduate with more than a $10,000 debt. I still have the brochure. Need based aid for equivelency sport athletes became available in '03 when one baseball player challenged the discriminatory practice. We won the national championship with 11.5 of the ncaa available 11.7 because one player qualified for 40 pct vs the 20 pct of the 11.7. We weren't allowed to use the 20 pct signed back to the program.

Wayne Graham was the pitching coach at San Jac when they won five juco World Series in seven consecutive national championship game appearances.
(This post was last modified: 06-21-2017 08:37 PM by skycatcher.)
06-21-2017 08:15 PM
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