The Gap Between Tennessee’s Pitching And The Rest Of D1 Baseball Grows

Image credit: Dollander, Chase (Eddie Kelly)

Tennessee is clearly the No. 1 team in college baseball. But when it comes to their pitching staff, the gap between the Vols staff and the rest of Division I may be even bigger than the gap between the 27-1 Vols and the rest of the Top 25.

“It’s like Alien U” said Mason McRae, an analytics assistant at VCU. “Tennessee ranks first in stuff+ as a staff and it’s not particularly close”. McRae the son of William & Mary head coach Mike McRae has built a following online focusing his Twitter account on the analytical side of the college game. 

Using data available to him McRae constructed a Stuff+ model built off of predicting whiff values and then regressed for each pitch type. While McRae himself admits the model is imperfect, it’s reflective of the way MLB organization’s models are grading the vaunted Tennessee staff.

The Volunteers staff has three pitchers with pitch mixes that rank among the top 30 in McRae’sStuff+ among all pitchers that have thrown in front of a Trackman unit at the D-I level. Two of those pitchers have fastballs that rank within the Top 25 in fastball specific Stuff+ – Chase Dollander and Ben Joyce – and a true freshman in Chase Burns with a slider that ranks Top 10 in Stuff+. 

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