Last season, we used statistics as a solid measuring stick for the Boston College baseball team. We used two main formula methods to dive within the team's wins and losses, and we determined if they played better or worse than their record indicated.
With the 2015 baseball season under two weeks away from starting, we'll take a look at the different mathematical equations we'll use to measure the team's performance. We'll be able to use those equations to break things down using how the team performs to determine if they're ahead of schedule, behind schedule, or right on pace to achieve their goal.
Of course, there's no better measuring stick than the actual wins and losses. Last season, North Carolina State secured the final seed in the ACC Tournament with a 13-17 record in league play. None of the ACC Tournament teams finished with an overall record of under .500.
Last year, I set a goal for the team at 20 wins. They exceeded that goal by winning 22 games. Since they finished with a 22-33 overall record, I think a .500 record shouldn't be out of the equation. So as an overall goal, we'll want to see BC finish with at least 27 wins. In a 50-plus game schedule, that will put them right around the halfway point and it will allow for a good enough improvement to show marginal growth.
Additionally, where the ACC record didn't matter to me last year, I think the Eagles have to be in the ACC Tournament this year. Given the NC State record, BC will need to win 15 games in order to get into the league slate. So we'll be watching those two marks.
Runs Created is a great stat to determine how much the offense contributes to the team's success. It measures how often a team can get on base versus the amount of total bases the team actually accumulates. It takes the amount of hits and walks a team has over the course of the season and multiplies that by the total bases. That number is then divided against the number of total at-bats and walks a team accumulates over the course of the season.
The point of the number is to determine how successful a team at the dish. If the team creates the majority of their runs, then they received virtually no help from an opposing team's defense. They ran into outs, they didn't receive any errors, and they pretty much got everything they were supposed to. If a team created virtually no runs in comparison to the amount they actually scored, then they had a ton of help. It's a more accurate count than if you just took earned and unearned runs.
Last year, Boston College scored 209 runs but only "created" 188 of those runs. In order to go 22-33, BC averaged 3.8 runs per game, of which 3.4 runs per game were created.
On the flip side, defensively, Boston College allowed 287 runs, of which 232 were "created" by opponents. That means BC gave away 55 runs to opponents. For the Eagles last year, opponents scored 5.2 runs per game, but only 4.2 runs per game were created. That means BC averaged a run given away per game. Since they lost eight one run ballgames, if they can cut that number down even marginally, they'll be able to add four wins if they perform the same at the plate.
This is all in retrospect, but it illustrates how we'll be watching the numbers this year to indicate on wins and losses. If nothing else, bear in mind that BC's defense and pitching actually improved last year, and that 55 was down 15 runs from 70 the year before.
Total Hits & Total Bases
BC was able to slash the number of runs opponents didn't have to create by 15. Let's assume they can cut that down to 50 this year. In order to go .500 on the year, BC will need to score as many runs as their opponents. Since they scored 209 runs and created 188, let's assume, as we did last year, that they need to create 200 runs.
Last season, the Eagles had 455 hits and 591 total bases, a clip of roughly 1.29 bases per hit. Since BC finished just three games out of the final ACC Tournament spot, we can honestly assume that the Eagles could make the league playoffs using the same amount of total bases it would've taken last season: 634. In order to get 634 total bases this year, BC needs to have 492 hits.
If BC is able to have anywhere from 490-500 hits and 625-650 total bases, they'll be in the ACC Tournament.
Why the Variance?
There's this stat known as Pythagorean Win-Loss. Pythagorean W-L measures how many wins a team should've had opposite how many wins they actually had. Last year, BC's performance had their Pythagorean Win-Loss at 34.65%. At that number, they should've won 19 games. That they won 22 games is an indication that the rest of the league gave them at least three gifts.
That they lost as many one-run games is an indication that they actually could've won more games than the statistics would've deserved. That means if they can hit their upper limit and fix some of the other errors in the field, this year can explode into something special really quickly. On the flip side, if the rest of the league rights itself and BC doesn't, this year can sink them back to a 10-15 win program really quickly.
Opening day is just about a week away down at USC Upstate.