Daily Notes: A Nerd’s Guide to the CWS, Part II

That bracket for the College World Series everyone continues to talk 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 II
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

The College World Series: A Nerd’s Guide, Part II
A Note on What This Is
The College World Series begins tonight, at 5pm ET, with a game between Stony Brook and UCLA.

What follows is part two (of two) of a guide to said event for the sort of person who (a) reads FanGraphs, but (b) pays basically zero attention to college baseball, and yet still (c) has a passing interest in the Series itself.

All manner of disclaimer, qualification, and caveat appears in the first part this impossibly helpful guide.

Click on college names for team stats. Scouting reports for each team — of no little use to the author in the composition of this document — are available at Baseball America. The full schedule of the CWS is available here.

Kent State
Even though four of his teammates were taken before him in the draft, senior catcher David Lyon (34th round, Texas) has probably been the most impressive offensive player for the Golden Flashes this season, leading the team both in home runs and walks, while posting the only walk-to-strikeout ratio above one on the squad. His line: 233 AB, .279/.404/.506, 10 HR, 50 BB, 37 K. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (26th round, Pittsburgh) is the most interesting other field player, finishing fourth on the team in home runs (five), demonstrating a better approach (33:39 BB:K) than most of his teammates, and playing a premium defensive position. Otherwise, Kent State’s pitching corps has the remainder of notable talent. Three of the first four Golden Flashes drafted this year were pitchers: senior left-hander and No. 1 starter David Starn (7th round, Atlanta), left-handed sophomore reliever Michael Clark (20th round, Houston), and right-handed junior No. 2 starter Ryan Bores (27th round, Texas). Bores (104.2 IP, 67 K, 16 BB, 2 HR) has the edge in velocity over Starn — sitting in the low-90s, according to Baseball America — but Starn (who sits at 82-85, apparently) almost managed to double his strikeout rate. Line: 114.0 IP, 123 K, 45 BB, 3 HR.

Junior third baseman Matt Reynolds (2nd round, New York NL) led the Razorbacks this season in home runs (seven), stolen bases (15-for-20), and walk-to-strikeout ratio (39:28 BB:K in 222 AB, the only such ratio above one on the team). The internet reveals a scouting report courtesy Amazin’ Avenue’s Alex Nelson, who submits that Reynolds could be an above-average defender in the majors. Nelson claims that Reynolds “has the necessary tools to handle second,” too, and “could be at least average there.” Beyond Reynolds, the biggest threat appears to be sophomore first baseman Dominic Ficociello (239 AB, .301/.396/.444, 6 HR, 33 BB, 41 K). Meanwhile, pitching is probably Arkansas’ strength. Junior D.J. Baxendale (10th round, Minnesota) and sophomore Ryne Stanek both averaged just a under a strikeout per inning as Arkansas’ main starters this season (8.3 and 8.4, respectively). Stanek, the latter, can apparently sit with his fastball in the mid-90s and also has pretty good control of a plus slider. Redshirt sophomore right-hander Nolan Sanburn, despite less-than-excellent college numbers (39.1 IP, 47 K, 22 BB, 0 HR), also joined Reynolds in the second round.

South Carolina
The thing to note first is that the Gamecocks have won the last two national championships — and it appears as though they’ve done it more with outstanding college players than with great future major-league prospects. To wit: only one South Carolina player (Jackie Bradley, taken 40th overall by Boston in 2011) has been selected higher than the fourth round over the last two years, even as SC was winning consecutive titles. That trend continued in 2012: once again the Gamecocks have made it to the CWS and, once again, they’ve done it without having a player selected very early in the draft. Junior first baseman Christian Walker (4th round, Baltimore) is the most talented offensive player. His line: 219 AB, .315/.440/.534, 11 HR, 43 BB, 23 K. Junior third baseman LB Dantzler (239 AB, .264/.335/.431, 9 HR, 25 BB, 34 K) appears to be the team’s second most productive hitter, but he was actually left undrafted — which may or may not have to do with concerns about his defense. Senior left-hander Michael Roth (9th round, Los Angeles AL) is the epitome of this club: Roth went 7-1 with one of the SEC’s best ERAs (2.50), yet posted just a 79:37 K:BB in 115.0 innings and tops out in the mid-80s.

Junior catcher Mike Zunino was taken earlier in the most recent draft than any other player in the CWS, having been selected third overall by the Seattle Mariners. Zunino and senior outfielder Preston Tucker (7th round, Houston) finished first and second in home runs in the SEC, with 19 and 16, respectively. Here’re Zunino’s numbers: 239 AB, .322/.390/.678, 19 HR, 28 BB, 46 K. And Tucker’s: 254 AB, .319/.401/.587, 16 HR, 33 BB, 27 K. Four Gators besides Zunino were selected within the first three rounds of the draft: junior left-hander/first baseman Brian Johnson (31st overall, Boston), junior shortstop Nolan Fontana (2nd round, Houston), junior left-hander Steven Rodriguez (2nd round, Los Angeles NL), and junior right-hander Austin Maddox (3rd round, Boston). Junior right-hander Hudson Randall (7th round, Detroit) and Johnson are probably the No. 1 and 2 starters in name, but right-handed sophomore Jonathon Crawford, who started many Sunday games for the team, is probably the most exciting. He can throw 95 and posted this line: 74.2 IP, 70 K, 24 BB, 2 HR.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Arizona at Los Angeles AL | 22:05 ET
Dan Haren (82.0 IP, 89 xFIP-, 1.4 WAR) faces the second team to have traded him in a cost-cutting measure against a pitcher (Trevor Cahill) who recently played for the first team to trade Haren in a cost-cutting measure and was himself traded to Arizona in a similar cost-cutting measure. Rapt, is what you’ll be. Suspense, is with what.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Arizona Radio.

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 5.3.

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
D. Matsuzaka* BOS 8 5 6 2 6 CHN Ryan Dempster 14:20
Jeff Francis* COL 4 10 4 4 4 DET Casey Crosby* 19:05
Phil Hughes NYA 5 6 6 4 10 WAS Gio Gonzalez 19:05
James McDonald PIT 7 2 5 4 4 CLE Justin Masterson 19:05
Vance Worley PHI 7 5 7 6 6 TOR Drew Hutchison 19:07
Bronson Arroyo CIN 5 4 6 1 8 NYN Dillon Gee 19:10
Carlos Zambrano MIA 3 3 5 5 7 TB Matt Moore 19:10
Brian Matusz BAL 2 4 5 6 4 ATL Tommy Hanson 19:35
Jordan Lyles HOU 3 5 3 10 5 TEX Yu Darvish 20:05
Yovani Gallardo MIL 5 6 3 3 5 MIN Francisco Liriano 20:10
Vin Mazzaro* KC 4 6 5 10 4 STL Kyle Lohse 20:15
Trevor Cahill AZ 6 4 7 3 6 LAA Dan Haren 22:05
Anthony Bass SD 7 6 6 3 5 OAK Travis Blackley* 22:05
Chris Sale CHA 10 6 8 5 9 LAN Clayton Kershaw 22:10
Ryan Vogelsong SF 2 4 3 5 3 SEA Jason Vargas 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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Brett G
Brett G

Carson, it should be noted, in relation to the FanGraphs broadcast rankings, that Tom Hamilton’s (#4 for Radio) son Nick is an infielder for Kent State. I have yet to find a connection between walk rate and broadcasting genes, but maybe it could factor into a Kent State NERD score?