Baseball America College Podcast: Tracking Senior Return Rate, Transfer Market
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy continue to discuss the ramifications of the Division I Council's decision to grant an additional year of eligibility to all spring sport athletes.
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Now more than a week after the announcement, we have some clarity on the specific challenges coaches and players will face going into the 2021 season, but because rosters are in the beginning stages of being assembled, there is still so much to be sorted out and so much to be examined.
Much of the focus has been on seniors and what percentage of them will return for another season of college baseball, so in light of that, it's important to bring into focus where the seniors are in college baseball. Teddy is working on research to tally those numbers up, and he's finding, as you may expect, that most of the top-flight programs competing for national championships year in and year out aren't carrying very many seniors. Instead, with a few notable exceptions, it's mid-majors and lower that are carrying a high number of seniors that could opt to return.
One major program that does boast a large, productive senior class is Oklahoma, which was off to a really nice start in 2020. Over the weekend, the Sooners announced that much of that group will be returning, including established stars like Brady Lindsly, Jason Ruffcorn and Brandon Zaragoza.
At the mid-major level, Southland Conference favorite McNeese State has been at the forefront of announcing returning players. They gave each returning senior their own signing day-style graphic on Twitter to announce their commitment to return. In the case of both Oklahoma and McNeese State, it's very bad news for the rest of their respective conferences that those two teams will be loaded with productive seniors next season.
The hosts also touched on the opportunity that may be presented for quality mid-major programs. If an established mid-major power returns their seniors, brings in a quality recruiting class and snags a couple of transfers from power conference programs, they could be in good shape to compete nationally in 2021, but because just about every team in America should theoretically be more experienced next season, it's not a panacea for competing at the mid-major level.
Finally, Teddy and Joe wrap by discussing the last two Top 25s, which rank the 25 best pitching and offensive performances of the 2020 season.