MidMajorLogo2012

2013 CBD Mid-Major Poll (Feb. 11th)

By: Aaron Kirby
MidMajorLogo20122012 was a great year for Mid-Majors in college baseball. 2 of the biggest stories in all of college baseball of course were Kent St (47-20) winning a Super Regional at Oregon and Stony Brook (52-15) winning a Super Regional at LSU to gain berths in the College World Series. We also had Purdue (44-14) who won their first Big 10 regular-season title since 1909.

For 2013 we are going to stick to the definition of a college baseball “Mid-Major” as:

Any team not in the traditional Big 6 conferences (ACC, Big West, Big 12, CUSA, Pac 12 and SEC)

Top 3

The Louisville Cardinals (41-22) enter 2013 in the top spot. They return 7 of 8 position player starters which include all 5 starters who hit over .300 in 2012. One the mound the Cardinals return 2 of 3 weekend starters (RHP Jared Ruxer 8-3, 3.38 ERA, 14 GS, 77.1 IP and RHP Jeff Thompson 9-4, 4.00 ERA, 15 GS, 78.2 IP, 73 K).

San Diego Toreros (40-17) come in at #2 returning 6 of 8 position players and 1 of 3 weekend starters. The Toreros have no shortage of star power in All-American 3B Kris Bryant (.366, 78 H, 17 2B, 14 HR, 57 RBI), All-American closer RHP Michael Wagner (5-2, 2.58 ERA, 19 SV, 59.1 IP, 53 K) who moves to the rotation joining former 1st round pick RHP Dylan Covey (6-3, 3.32 ERA, 16 GS, 81.1 IP).

Missouri State (40-22) is at #3 returning 5 of 9 position players and 36 of the 40 wins on the mound from 2012. Leading the pitching staff is All-American R-Jr RHP Nick Petree (10-4, 1.01ERA, 16 GS, 115.1 IP, 114 K) along with Sr RHP Cody Schumacher (8-1, 3.71ERA, 17 GS, 99.1 IP, 96 K) and So LHP Tyler Burgess(5-2, 2.08 ERA, 11 SV, 39.0 IP, 31 K).

Few clubs outside of the top 10 that could make a run in 2013

#11 Kent State (47-20) lost a good bit from their CWS team last year but returns enough for another run. The Golden Flashes return 6 of 9 position player starters including leading hitter from 2012 Sr 1B George Roberts (.364, 96 H, 23 2B, 8 HR, 66 RBI). On the mound the Flashes lost 2 of 3 weekend starters. But the one returning starter is a stud in Jr RHP Tyler Skulina (11-3, 3.77, 18 GS, 107.1 IP, 106 K) and return 13 wins and 16 saves from the bullpen.

Two Southern Conference teams, #13 Elon (33-26) and #14 Western Carolina (32-24), have the returning players to make a run. The Phoenix return all 4 starters and 32 of 33 wins from last year pitching staff. 2 of those starters Sr LHP Dylan Clark (9-4, 3.76, 88.2 IP) and Jr RHP David Whitehead (5-3, 4.44, 77.0 IP) were all stars in the Cape this summer. The Catamounts also return all 4 starters, 30 of 32 wins, and preseason All-American closer Sr RHP Preston Hatcher (6-2, 1.73, 10 SV, 52.0 IP, 55 K) on the mound and 8 of 9 position starters from team that led the SoCon in hitting in 2012.

#15-St Louis (41-18) return 7 of 9 position players and 4 starting pitchers including Sr RHP Alex Alemann (7-2, 2.84 ERA, 15 GS, 98.1 IP) and Jr RHP Clay Smith (7-2, 2.62 ERA, 15 GS, 96.0 IP)

#24 Gonzaga (34-22) with one of best 2 way players in country in Jr LHP/1B Marco Gonzales (8-2, 1.55 ERA, 12 GS, 92.2 IP, 90 K and .325, 10 2B, 2 HR, 29 RBI) and is joined in rotation by Sr LHP Tyler Olson (5-4, 2.77 ERA, 15 GS, 110.1 IP, 92 K)

#25 Mercer (38-21) all 8 position player regulars including Jr DH Nick Backlund (.381, 85 H, 16 2B, 16 HR, 58 RBI) and 3 of 4 starters on the mound.

 

Mid-Major Top 25- Preseason

Rnk

School

2012 Rec

2012 Postseason

Opening Weekend Opponent

#1

Louisville

41-22

2nd Arizona Regional

vs Indiana; vs South Florida; vs Purdue

#2

San Diego

40-17

4th UCLA Regional

San Diego St; San Diego St; San Diego St

#3

Missouri State

40-22

3rd Miami Regional

at Texas St; vs Sam Houston State; vs Tulane

#4

New Mexico

37-24

3rd UCLA Regional

Oklahoma St; Oklahoma St; Oklahoma St

#5

Coastal Carolina

42-19

3rd SC Regional

vs James Madison; James Madison; James Madison

#6

Dallas Baptist

41-19

2nd Baylor Regional

Creighton; Creighton; Creighton

#7

Wichita State

35-25

none

Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh

#8

Sam Houston State

40-22

2nd Arkansas Regional

vs Tulane; vs Missouri State; at Texas St

#9

Florida Atlantic

31-22

none

Cincinnati; Cinncinati; Cincinnati

#10

Fresno State

31-28

3rd Stanford Regional

UC Santa Barbara; UC Santa Barbara

#11

Kent State

47-20

College World Series

vs Viginia Tech; at UNCW; vs Virginia Tech; at UNCW

#12

Pepperdine

36-23

2nd Stanford Regional

Western Michigan; W. Michigan; W. Michigan; W. Michigan

#13

Elon

33-26

none

Marist; Boston College; VCU

#14

Western Carolina

32-24

none

Washington St; Washington St; Washington St

#15

St Louis

41-18

none

at Oral Roberts; at Oral Roberts; at Oral Roberts

#16

SE Louisiana

39-21

none

Tennessee Martin; UT Martin; UT Martin

#17

UNCW

39-23

3rd NC State Regional

Kent State; Virginia Tech; Kent State; Virginia Tech

#18

Nebraska

34-23

none

at Cal St Bakersfield; at Cal St Fullerton; at Cal St Fullerton; at USC

#19

College of Charleston

38-22

3rd Florida Regional

Xavier; Xavier; Xavier

#20

Stony Brook

52-15

College World Series

at Florida International; at FIU; at FIU

#21

Notre Dame

31-27

none

vs Ohio State; vs FGCU; vs Mercer

#22

Austin Peay State

40-24

2nd Oregon Regional

Iowa; Iowa; Iowa

#23

Indiana

32-28

none

vs Louisville; vs Connecticut; vs South Florida

#24

Gonzaga

34-22

none

vs Utah Valley; vs UC Riverside; vs Oregon State; vs Utah Valley

#25

Mercer

38-21

none

vs Ohio State; vs St Johns; vs Notre Dame

 

Others Receiving votes

Texas State

Florida Gulf Coast

Liberty

St Johns

Belmont

New Mexico State

Troy

Florida International

Samford

Loyola Marymount

Kennesaw State

Indiana State

Oral Roberts

Cambell

Purdue

Seton Hall

Delware State

San Diego State

Nevada

Michigan State

Bethune Cookman

South Florida

 

  • fred4945

    First, this poll is a good idea. Nobody else is doing, so it’s good for baseball that CBD found and filled this niche.

    Second, there is no “Big 6″. There is, at most a “Big 5″. Conference USA has no business being mentioned with the ACC, Pac 12, SEC, Big 12. The Big West is the outsider looking in among those 5 and Conference USA can’t begin to compare to a conference which contains Fullerton, Long Beach and Irvine. Conference USA has one great program: Rice (which has been down of late). Include Conference USA in your mid-majors

    Third, take care not to rank programs simply because they once where good or because they have a big name. Notre Dame was barely above .500 playing weak competition. Wichita State hasn’t been nationally competitive for almost 15 years now. Louisville isn’t the best team; Rice would be if you properly include Conference USA. And Sam Houston will finish among your top 10.

    Fourth, I think Florida International & Liberty will surprise this year.

    Good, thought-provoking idea.

    • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

      Tulane appeared in the CWS in 2001 and 2005 while Southern Miss appeared in 2009.

      Back to your point..Louisville will argue with me that they aren’t even a mid-major but based on this poll, they are considered mid-major and easily the most talented team. Not even close!

      • fred4945

        They why don’t you rank Tulane and Southern Miss, Brian? My point is that you RANK has-been programs like Wichita State and big-name schools which are not competitive in baseball like ND. I’m not saying you should not consider those programs — just that you should not rank them in a pre-season poll.

        As to Amk32′s contention that, 4-5 years ago, there were a “big 6″ that dominated D-I….. Man, what have you been smoking? Four years ago, in 2009, 6 of the 8 CWS teams were in the Big 4 conferences. The 7th was Big West. The same was true in 2008 And on and on and on. Four conferences dominate D-I baseball. Plain and simple. Unarguable.

        • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

          One conference has dominated college baseball…SEC

          You are the only one that is making an issue over these teams and it is always an interesting poll….
          Brian Foley
          Editor of College Baseball Daily

          • fred4945

            AmK32, If one makes assertions which cannot survive a challenge, the only defense, it seems, is to claim the challenger is “argumentative”.

            Brian, The poll is a good idea; I said that at the beginning. One of the purposes of creating a poll is to invite comment. So don’t complain when someone disagrees with your choices. Candidly, you have a history of getting a bit testy when your opinions are challenged; this isn’t a good line of work for the thin-skined.

            Keep doing the poll; it’s a good thing. When you’re fortunate enough to get a reader interested enough to comment, don’t be upset because he disagrees with you. Be grateful he had enough interest in what you’re doing to comment.

        • AmK32

          There is always one or two people who like to argue about this every year.

    • MM25RSN

      Alright i had a big long response and page changed somehow and lost it and too late to type it back. And was too busy at work
      to respond earlier.

      When first started doing this 4 or 5 years ago there was clearly “Big 6″ conferences who were ahead of the rest by a wide margin so you won’t win that
      argument. It was not even close. But the last 2 years have not been good for
      the Big West and CUSA and the WCC had a great year last year. Next year CUSA will drop even farther. You’ll have Rice, USM, FIU, FAU and MTSU and that’s about it. Same with the Big East.

      As for Louisville, I won’t go as far as Brian and say they are easily the best team,
      but they look like the #1 team of this group as of today. But it will take 4 to 5 weeks to get a good idea of who is legit and who is not. But there are a ton of great series and games this weekend. Like Liberty at South Carolina. Might be good year to open up in Columbia and maybe steal series? Doubt it but could
      happen.

      I really like Sam Houston State too. They have their top 4 hitters back and 7 of their top 8 from last year team that won the regular season in a very good SLC. They also have some very good arms coming back like Caleb Smith(8-6, 3.23, 97.2) and Michael Buchett(4-3, 3.35, 10 SV).

      FIU was one of the last teams out. I had FIU, Belmont and Mercer for the last spot and went with Mercer. Mercer put up great #s last year and has most coming back but they did not play very good schedule. They play Ohio State, ST Johns, and Notre Dame this weekend and play Bethune next weekend. That is 100x better than (4) vs Morehead St, (2) Florida A&M, (3) Presbyterian and (3) High Point to start season last year.

  • chim097

    I like this poll, think its a great idea and I am generally fine with the initial teams you guys have in here. I have three thoughts I wanted to get your opinion on Brian. One, I agree with you that Louisville is the real deal do you see anyone challenging them at the top of this poll in 2013? Two, how do you think the new RPI balance will effect Southern mid-majors versus Northern mid-majors due to the 1.5 points you now get for road wins. Lastly, I like Mercer as well they have all their position players back from last year and several starters and relievers in the bullpen. Do you think they can win a balanced A-Sun Conference this year?

  • Roger Alexander

    Thank you for taking the time to put this poll together.It gives these smaller schools some recognition that they otherwise wouldn’t get.I was at the Mercer baseball banquet last night to hear Dale Murphy and this poll was mentioned from the podium at least twice.

    • AmK32

      We thank you for reading. In regards to Mercer what are the thoughts in Macon of potentially moving to the SoCon?

  • fred4945

    AmK32

    I appreciate you taking the time to explain your calculations — and for your reasons behind the calculations.

    My background is in coaching. I think those of us who’ve been inside the game have a different view than observers (including fans). The major difference is that the RPI is often jiggled — usually to the advantage of weaker teams. This year’s NCAA position to give road losses equal weight to home victories is a prime example. There was a time when RPI strongly weighted you opponent’s record and your opponent’s opponents’ records. That was a much less-arguable equation than heavily honoring a team for merely showing up to a road game. Just another bone thrown to the non-competitive programs which skews the game for everyone.

    I’m saying the RPI is not an objective measuring stick. All polls and rankings are subjective, but Boydsworld’s strength of schedule, or even ISR, would probably be better.

    The objective standard which no one can argue with is CWS performance. In the past 20 years, the championship total reads…

    SEC —- 7
    PAC —– 4
    BIG XII —- 3
    WAC —-2
    BIG W —- 2
    INDY —– 2 (Miami in 1999, 2001)

    Or, let’s look at teams in the CWS championship game over the past decade….

    SEC 3 champions, 3 runners-up
    PAC 3 champions, 2 runners-up
    WAC 2 champions
    BIG XII 1 champion, 1 runner up
    ACC 2 runners up

    Even more revealing: the number of teams in the CWS over the past decade….

    SEC —– 23

    ACC —– 20

    PAC —– 15

    BIG X!! — 9

    BIG W —- 7

    CUSA —- 4

    WAC —– 3

    My point to you is that there really are 4 dominant conferences (some would say 3). To call any other league one of the “Big 5″ or “Big 6″ or “Big 7″ is an attempt to rank the mice with the cats. The mistake journalists & bloggers always make is to try to rank the conferences based on rankings or polls or statistical estimates. The ONLY viable way to rank a conference over a period of years is by championship performance.

    I appreciate your candor and effort!

    • AmK32

      Your 100% right the only true measure is by championships. And i do not think anyone would try to argue your #s.

      Rankings are mostly for entertainment and talk. And while i dont really understand the ISR but the math guys like Boyd and JPK swear that is a better indication of how good a team is. However ISR is not used by the NCAA and the RPI is so thats what go with and the top 6 conferences were separated from the rest by a wide enough margin to put them together. And please note i said WERE. If there was a large gap between the top 4 and rest or top 9 and rest then those would probably have been used. Anyway………………

      It might not be a coincidence that the gap between teams and conferences has gotten closer with the transfer rules and new bat rules.

      I played college baseball in a “mid-major” conference and my best friends are coaches in college baseball right now so ive seen it and hear it from both sides. Personally i like to use good ole fashion eye test of what team is better but unfortunately my private plane is in the shop.