The NCAA released its annual midseason trends report, and the data holds a few surprises.
Most coaches around college baseball expected offensive numbers to rebound somewhat this year as players got more accustomed to BBCOR bats and manufacturers improved the the feel of the bats. But through games of April 1, batting was actually down from .279 at the midseason point a year ago to .275 this year. Scoring was also down, from 5.63 runs per game per team to 5.47, and ERA was down from 4.62 to 4.55. Home runs (0.47 per game per team) have remained constant, as have sacrifices per game (0.74).
Teams are putting balls in play a bit more, as strikeouts per nine are down slightly from 6.97 to 6.88—yet fielding percentage is up, from .962 to .964.
Coaches have talked a lot about how they planned to make small ball a bigger part of their strategy, but when baserunners are harder to come by, coaches tend to get more conservative. Perhaps as a result, stolen bases are actually down slightly from 1.22 per game last year to 1.11 per game this year.
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