Going into the season, much was made of the new BBCOR bats (here's a refresher for those unaware of the subject) and how it would be the death of southern Power Ball in the college game. But as the season has gone on, LSU hasn't really seen a perceptible power outage, at least it doesn't feel like it.
But what is really happening? To find out, I compiled the stats from the non-conf slate of this year and the previous year to hopefully see what effect these new bats had had on both LSU and the opposition's offense.
Some details on these statistics before we continue: They are complied through the 1st 16 games of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. All games were played at home at Alex Box Stadium. Also remember that these numbers aren't against great teams. In fact, it's safe to say there was only 1 series against serious competition each year: Kansas in 2010 and CS-F in 2011. And also remember this year we are without the top 3 hitters from last year's team.
|LSU 2010||LSU 2011||Change||+/- %|
No surprise, but yes the numbers are down in the power categories. The more than 1/3 drop in the HR total is the smoking gun that the BBCOR regs are accomplishing one of it's stated goals of reigning in even further the power game in college ball. But the more interesting stats are the runs and doubles. As mentioned, we've lost the top 3rd of our offense from last year's roster, but our scoring isn't nearly as down as you would expect, given the circumstances. The reason, I think, is that we are still putting the ball in play, and that plus the aggressive base running we have seen so far is keeping the scoring up. We still see the big 3-6 run innings, but to borrow a phrase from football, it's coming on the ground as opposed to through the air.
And yeah, that offseason focus on small ball is really paying off. If my memory serves, we've even laid down a successful suicide squeeze at least once in every weekend series. All this ground ball is making more work for the opposition as well and forcing more errors which just leads to extra bases and more success.
|Opp. 2010||Opp. 2011||Change||+/- %|
The effect on the opposition is even more profound, with major drops in every statistical category. There were some who thought reigning in the long ball would shrink the gap between good and bad teams but it's only widened it (though I wouldn't discount it being caused by better LSU starting pitching). You can also see one of the real worries I have about this team going into SEC play: we are sloppy on D. Just as our opponents errors have helped us, our own fielding woes will have serious repercussions if we can't do better in conference games.
I'll be keeping track of these stats through the remainder of the season and post updates periodically. As with most statistics, your interpretations may vary. Please feel free to share in the comments.