The Fool's Gold of Jean Lafitte; or, How Good is Tyler Jones, really?

At the risk of drawing a 15 yard flag for piling on, I have to start this post by reminding everyone that UNO is bad. Like, historically bad. I'm not interested in discussing UNO per se, but I am interested in discussing how playing the moral equivalent of a Division II team gives you misleading statistics.

We all know that the spread from the best team to the worst teams is very wide in college sports. It's even wider in baseball than in football because baseball doesn't have a I-AA classification -- every Division I team is lumped together, from the 6 time national champions to the commuter schools with only one player on scholarship.

We also know, intuitively, that you should discount stats achieved against competition that's out of your league (literally and figuratively). It's why we like to break down stats into SEC and non-SEC groupings. Performance in SEC play gives a much better idea of the "true" value of a player to his team.

But even the SEC/non-SEC distinction is a little broadly drawn. Some non-SEC series (ie, CSF) are tougher than some SEC series (Tennessee). And some teams are so bad they are almost literally off the charts. UNO is probably one of those teams.  For hitters, this isn't a big deal. Austin Nola has 180+ at bats. He's probably got 7 or 8 against UNO. That's not enough to skew the stats in any meaningful way.

Tyler Jones is a different story. Of his 39 2/3 innings pitched, 14 are against UNO - about 40%. Here's the split:

v. UNO: 14 IP - 6 H - 0 R - 21 K - 1 BB - .125 BA - 0.5 WHIP

v. rest: 25.2 IP - 30 H - 25 R - 16 K - 22 BB - .313 BA - 2.02 WHIP

Put them together and it looks like Jones has had an OK year. But when you pull out the UNO numbers it turns out he's been roughed up pretty bad (and remember, most of his appearances came in non-SEC games).  That's not going to show up on the stat sheet, but it's something to remember next spring when we're discussing who's earned a spot in the rotation.

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