Yes, its been a long time since the World Series ended…but don’t we need a league hot stove? Besides, it takes a while to look at the stats for 24 teams and compile them, since they are not in the easiest format to consume. There are a few key things we all know by now. Austin won…again. Rochester joined the league for the first time and did not win a game. Batting Averages were insanely high this year. Games were taking a very long time because the offense was up across the board. Sometimes scores felt more like an NFL game than an NBBA game. Let’s dive into the sexy part of the game….offense!
This year, the league batting average was .373. For comparison, this was almost 100 points higher than the 2014 World Series when the league hit .276. Did the offense suddenly improve? Likely not, it was due to the fields we played on. Some of the fields in New York played hard and the grass was not thick enough to slow the balls down. A weak hit could roll long distances on some fields. The fields were the reason for some of the high scores. Good fields with thick grass not only feature the defense more but they are actually safer for our athletes. Hard fields can result in four hour games in 90 degree heat which can take its toll. Especially playing 3 games per day. The most extreme of games was played this season between the Taiwan Home Run and the Bayou City Heat with Taiwan winning 43-37. These two teams average…AVERAGED more than 20 runs a game on offense for the week. In the 2015 World Series, only 9 of the 24 teams hit over the league average of .373 (defined as a weighted average by adding all of the at bats and all of the hits together and doing the proper math. The simple average of averaging that team batting averages and dividing by the 24 teams was a less impressive .347). In fact, 10 teams hit under .300 for the week. It is not an offensive league right now, but the higher seeded teams scored many more runs and therefor had many more at bats. For example, The Taiwan Home Run had 416 at bats in the 12 games they played while the Rochester Red Wings (in their first year) played 8 games and only had 150 at bats. In fact, the Home Run scored more runs than 13 teams had at-bats, think about that for a moment. This is a tribute to how good the Home Run really are. Playing that many games may be a league record in a week. There is no way they deserved to play that schedule. This is a problem with the way the league seeds the tournament that needs to be addressed (more to come on this is in a future post). The league batting average is being skewed toward the upper teams as the top 8 teams accounted for 40% of the at-bats in the World Series. What does this mean? It means the top 8 teams (which also had the top 8 batting averages) separated themselves from the rest of the league. The Boston Renegades were among these teams. The following chart ranks the teams by batting average (and shows where they finished in the World Series.
|WS Finish||Team||AB||Runs||Runs per game||Avg|
The hard work that Boston has put in made a huge difference to it’s stats. The inflated batting average was not just due to the fields we played on, it was due to the hard work. We tried some new coaching techniques. Our players worked to make changes and looked to improve their skills and knowledge of their swing. We added a third pitcher to the team in Jamie Dickerson. Ron Cochran worked on things to make him a better pitcher in the league. All of these things paid off.
While many rosters changed in the league from one year to the next, the Renegades did not witness much turnover. Each and every Renegade player saw major increases in their numbers. In fact, the renegades had the largest increase in batting average in the league from 2014 to 2015. Yes, adding Christian Thaxton and his .719 average helped…But seeing major increases from most everyone also played a role. Rob Dias entered his second season and his average rose .157 points. Larry Haile saw an increase of .189 points. Joe Quintanilla saw a .500 point swing in his stats as he hit .500 following a .000 performance in 2014. The real surprise for the Renegades was Guy Zuccarello. Guy increased his average by .400 points from .143 to .543. So, yes, Thaxton’s .719 average helped but there were so many others on this team who had major improvements in their average from year to year. Let’s take a look at the 16 teams who played in the past two World Series. The following chart shows their averages for each season. It also shows the change in batting average between the two seasons and ranks the teams in descending order of this delta.
|16 team avg||.284||.373||.089|
Look who is at the top….the Boston Renegades! Let’s hear it for the coaches! Let’s hear it for the hard work the players put in! We had a great year and we did it our way. We did it in a somewhat unique way for this league. The Boston way is growing it’s own talent and working on continuous improvement with the players and coaches. This chart shows some amazing things for the Boston Renegades. Boston was one of two teams that witnessed a .200 point increase in the team average. The other team was the Bayou City Heat , owners of the highest 2015 World Series average at .634 (the only team to hit greater than .600).
Both the Bayou City Heat and Boston Renegades got contributions from players who came back to the team who had not played in 2014. Boston returned Shayne Cantan (who hit .375) and Bayou City returned John Kibodeaux (who hit .500). Boston also recruited a new rookie that made the all-star team in Christian Thaxton (.719). Newer players like Rob Dias for Boston and Joseph Fleeks for Bayou City saw big jumps in their average (Fleeks went from .091 to .690). Both these teams topped the league in improvements. Both these teams did it without adding offensive players from other rosters in this time period (Bayou City did recruit Greg Gontaryk to play defense for them)
Let’s look at all the other teams who played in both the 2014 and 2015 World Series. The rank next to the team name below relates to the rank in the delta of their batting average year over year where 16 had the least improvement (Boston was tops and Bayou was 2nd).
In a way to have some fun, Let’s bucket all of the other teams into categories. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful. Its just me having some fun. Running a team in this league is hard work. It’s so hard to coach, fundraise, recruit and make everyone happy. Keep this in mind, the visual impaired community is small enough that its hard to field a roster at times…especially a home grown roster. That said, it’s more impressive that some teams have had some success doing this.
Building a program from within – These guys join Boston as Home grown teams whom are improving
- #6 Atlanta who witnessed a .124 point increase. – Greg Hoggle, their pitcher decreased his K rate from 57% to 49% which always helps the average. They saw some steady improvement from most players but got a big lift from the emergence of their rookie, Dontrey Hunt who hit .393
- #7 Minnesota whom witnessed a .115 point increase – Their improvement in batting average can be tied to the improvement of Evan Van Duyne whose average jumped from .276 to .645 and Josh Xiong who moved from .259 to .406. Both these guys are home grown and the Millers have a 100% home grown roster.
Going further into the league, things are not as impressive. In fact, teams are not at the same level as Bayou City and Boston at improving. We are grouping these teams into a few buckets. These labels are just to have some fun…They are in no way meant to be disrespectful
One Direction – Not talking about the boy band…but the direction you can go when you struggle in a season….The only way you can go is up
- #3 Athens ranked third in improvement by raising their Average .190 points…but they only had one way to go – up. They scored just 3 runs in the 2014 World Series.
Free Agent impact – Team’s improvement is related to the impact of signing players from other teams
- #4 The Indy Thunder were impressive in their own part, ranking 4th in improvement….but they did things different than Boston and Bayou City. They improved as a team..but 5 of their 6 starters changed from 2014 to 2105..as three of those players moved to the Thunder from the Chicago Comets, where they learned to play ball – (the Rodriguez brothers and Corey White). Even though the Thunder improved, they did so by picking up players from another team’s system. In sum, their line up was not home grown and their improvement was the result of recruiting players from another team…as many of the Indy Thunder starters left to start the Indy Knights
- #5 Lonestar ranked 5th in improvement – They saw some of their home grown players improve dramatically such as PJ Navarro (.378), Pedro Garcia (.324), Drew Bennet (.286) – But they also picked up two players from other teams. Joining them were Richie Flores (from Austin who hit .333) and Marlon stover from NC (who hit .500). Their rise in batting average was weighted toward the addition of Flores and Stover.
Roster trouble – It’s not easy to keep a team together. Some teams get old and struggle to recruit new talent. Other teams just struggle to get along and find a common goal. These teams had too much turnover forcing their teams to rebuild in any way they could
- #9 Chicago had a major roster overhaul as they lost three players to the Indy Thunder and they struggled a bit to field a roster of their own and had to pull in Jeff Dell from Cleveland. Their increase was barely over the average increase of the league (.100 point increase for Chicago..and a .089 increase for the league)
- #10 Southwest witnessed an increase of .090 points (just over the league average) but some of their players left to start the Arizona Phenom in 2015. Their increase was attributed to bringing in players such as Scott Hogwood who led their team in hitting at .581
- #14 NJ Lightning – Their improvement was 100% attributed to bringing in Kevin Barrett who pitches for Cleveland. Regardless, they also did this with 4 of the 6 starters gone to the NJ Titans. To even field a team after the rift that fractioned off another team considers a lot of praise
Don’t let the stats fool you – These teams saw increases, but it was likely due to the fast fields
- #8 Long Island – Yes they saw a great improvement in their team average by .107 points but they played a weak schedule. They played poorly and were impacted by the mis-seeding of the Taiwan Home Run and finished 21st in the league. This weak schedule (which will be discussed in a different post had them face weaker defensive teams) Also stars like Joe Dejesus saw his average drop from .355 in 2014 to .280 in 2015
- #11 Tyler – though they saw an increase in their average and brought on rookie sensation, Derrick Floyd, their batting average increased slightly less than the league average – so their stats could be more of a result of the fast fields…though its important to note Ron Jordan moved from .345 to .649 for the Tigers
- #13 Columbus – Like Athens, not much direction to go but up when the team hit .127 in 2014. Its important to note their average increase was below the 16 team average
Studs – but not improving – Year over year the change they had was not there. Maybe when your great, its hard to get better?
- #12 RHI – A top team in both seasons, they picked up Dave Benney from the Indy Thunder (who hit .520). Nick Silver saw his average jump .200 points to .686 as did Demile Wright (who hit .708). Their stats may not look like they improved much but they had one of the toughest defensive schedules in the league
- #15 Colorado – Colorado is doing some good stuff as they are working in a new pitcher and have two new rookies that are exciting in Mike Jackson (.300) and Mike Malloy (.286). Their youth movement extends beyond their players as they are trying to bring a long a new pitcher (Cory Buckingham) who threw a bunch of innings and is learning on the job. They did not see the increase they would have if they let Johnny Walker pitch every game. Overall, their team is still too heavy on out of towners as roughly half of their starting line up resides outside of Colorado.
- #16 Austin – The only team which saw a decline in their batting average from 2014. How could that be? They played a tougher schedule in 2015…having to play Taiwan twice. Also some of their starters saw a decline in their godly stats – Lupe Perez battled injuries and saw his average drop from .778 to .588, Axel Cox dropped from .519 to .487.
So there you have it. A look at Batting averages across the league. Come on back to our web site to check on future articles about the Strength of schedule each team had as well as a look at who the NBBA Rookie All-stars were in 2015!