Daily Notes: The College World Series, A Nerd’s Guide

This is the bracket for the College World Series everyone is talking about. (Click to embiggen.)

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. The College World Series: A Nerd’s Guide, Part I
2. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

The College World Series: A Nerd’s Guide, Part I
A Note on What This Is (And Also What It Isn’t)
The College World Series begins Friday, June 15th, at 5pm ET with a game between Stony Brook and UCLA.

What follows is part one (of two)* of a guide to said event for the sort of person who (a) would read FanGraphs (or, currently is reading FanGraphs, as appears to be the case), but (b) pays basically zero attention to college baseball, and yet still (c) has a passing interest in the Series itself.

*Read part two here.

Note that I, the author, have no particular expertise in the area of college baseball or the people who play it. What I do possess is sufficient curiosity about the tournament and — by virtue of the fact that I’m paid to write about baseball — sufficient time to act upon said curiosity.

For each of the Series’s teams, I’ve provided a link to that team’s season statistics page. College stats, obviously, are subject to all manner of influence: conference strength, out-of-conference schedule, park. What I’ve attempted to do is identify each team’s notable players according to things we know are important (strikeouts, walks, home runs) within the context of the team itself. I’ve also attempted to identify which players have been drafted and by which teams.

In the preparation of this document, I’ve been greatly helped by scouting reports on each team provided by Baseball America. A full bracket of the Series is available here.

Note that the following teams are the one which start play on Friday. I’ll provide notes on the other four teams — the ones that begin Saturday — in tomorrow’s edition of the Notes.

Stony Brook
Junior center fielder Travis Janikowski (258 AB, .422/.485/.636, 5 HR, 24 BB, 21 K, 36/42 SB) was taken 44th overall in the draft by the San Diego Padres, becoming the first-ever first-round pick out of Stony Brook. He appears to be the most interesting all-around player, in terms of his combination of offensive and defensive skills. So far as pure hitting is concerned, third baseman William Carmona (taken in the 11th round by Philadelphia) appears to be most dangerous (if a bit on the immobile side defensively). Here’s his line this season: 248 AB, .399/.470/.702, 12 HR, 35 BB, 36 K. Of note: junior second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum (11th round, San Diego) posted a 22:8 BB:K in 238 at-bats, easily the best such ratio on the team.

Outfielder Jeff Gelalich, selected 57th overall by Cincinnati in the draft, finished with 11 home runs this season — only slightly less than half of the 23 total home runs hit by the Bruins this season. Gelalich’s line: 233 AB, .365/.458/.558, 11 HR, 33 BB, 41 K, 15/19 SB. There doesn’t appear to be anyone comparable to Gelalich in terms of offensive impact, although junior catcher Tyler Heineman (8th round, Houston) did post a 21:14 in 201 at-bats, the only player on UCLA to walk more than he struck out. Junior center-fielder Beau Amaral (7th round, Cincinnati) finished second on the team in home runs, with four, but also recorded one of the side’s bigger splits between walks and strikeouts (22:37 BB:K). Interestingly, all four of the team’s starting pitchers — Adam Plutko, Nick Vander Tuig, Grant Watson, and Zack Weiss — were lower classmen.

A combination of sophomore left-fielder Johnny Field and junior right-fielder Robert Refsnyder (5th round, New York AL) appear to lead the offense, combining plate discipline, contact ability, and some kind of power, at least. The former’s line: 235 AB, .383/.490/.553, 3 HR, 40 BB, 25 K. And the latter’s: 237 AB, .254/.445/.544, 6 HR, 31 BB, 21 K. Junior shortstop Alex Mejia (4th round, St. Louis) was both the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Junior right-hander Alex Heyer (6th round, St. Louis) posted almost a 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and the Pac-12’s lowest ERA (2.37). His line: 138.0 IP, 102 K, 22 BB, 2 HR.

Florida State
The star of the team is senior center-fielder James Ramsey, selected 23rd overall by St. Louis in the 2012 draft. According to Baseball America’s scouting report, he’s a plus defender in center and, despite lacking premium size (he’s listed at the FSU site as 6-0, 190), led the team in home runs by five. His line on the season: 217 AB, .382/.519/.673, 13 HR, 60 BB, 39 K, 11/15 SB. He also had the best park- and schedule-adjusted wOBA in Division 1, according to College Splits. Ramsey was one of four Seminole regulars — along with junior first baseman Jayce Boyd (36:23 K:BB), senior third baseman Sherman Johnson (65:40), and sophomore catcher Stephen McGee (58:28) — to walk more than he struck out. Boyd (6th round, New York NL) and Johnson (14th round, Los Angeles AL) were both taken in the draft. The team’s two main starting pitchers, Brandon Leibrandt (94.1 IP, 78 K, 27 BB, 4 HR) and Mike Compton (85.0 IP, 60 K, 26 BB, 4 HR), are both freshman — and none of the pitchers appears to be particularly dominant until junior closer Robert Benincasa (7th round, Washington), who posted a 51:6 K:BB in 36.0 innings.

Today’s Notable Games
Oakland at Colorado | 15:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
The Rockies still lead the majors in Speed score by over two standard deviations above the mean. You can read more about that real stat in our glossary.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Colorado Radio.

San Diego at Seattle | 22:10 ET
Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, 22, makes his first major-league start. He has slightly above-average fastball velocity and has posted better-than-average walk rates in the minor leagues, as well — generally a positive combination. His numbers this year in seven starts at Triple-A Tacoma: 37.2 IP, 6.93 K/9, 1.67 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9, 3.49 FIP.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Seattle Radio or Television.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.1.

Note: the following Game Scores include the poorly conceived playoff-odds adjustment discussed in a recent edition of Daily Notes. Also note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Josh Tomlin CLE 6 4 6 4 6 CIN Mike Leake 12:35
Johan Santana NYN 6 1 6 5 3 TB Jer. Hellickson 13:10
Justin Verlander DET 9 4 4 3 3 CHN Travis Wood 14:20
Jarrod Parker OAK 2 3 4 10 7 COL Alex White 15:10
Wandy Rodriguez HOU 5 6 3 4 0 SF Barry Zito 15:45
Erik Bedard PIT 5 2 5 4 4 BAL Tommy Hunter 19:05
Daniel Hudson AZ 6 4 4 10 1 TEX Scott Feldman 20:05
Shaun Marcum MIL 6 6 5 6 5 KC Luke Hochevar 20:10
Joe Blanton PHI 8 5 6 3 8 MIN Scott Diamond 20:10
Gavin Floyd CHA 5 6 6 10 6 STL Jake Westbrook 20:15
Edinson Volquez SD 4 6 7 5 14 SEA Erasmo Ramirez* 22:10

To learn more about Pitcher and Team NERD scores click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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As a resident of the fair city of Omaha who intends to attend at least a few of these games but who doesn’t follow college baseball at all and who is too lazy/drunk to look this stuff on his own, this is going to be very useful. Nice move, Cistulli.