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Texas baseball advanced stats update

As well as projections for Big 12 play.

Texas baseball

The loss against by the No. 2 Texas Longhorns to the College of Charleston Cougars proved shocking with right-hander Andre Duplantier II giving up five runs in the first inning. In this past week, the Longhorns gave up 16 total runs with 10 of them coming off of homers. This could be a sign that the fielding is tightening up for Texas; however, it is revealing how much Tanner Witt played a key role in the pitching game with his exceptional kwERA (2.47 before the injury).

The Longhorns turned a three-game losing streak into four straight wins including their matchup against the Citadel and their series against the University of Incarnate Word. Throughout this streak they dominated, scoring 59 runs and allowing just eight.

This week’s slate includes with a single game against Central Arkansas at UFCU Disch-Falk Field followed by a three game away series against Big 12 rival Texas Tech.


Looking at the batting matchup for the week, there isn’t much different from last week as first baseman Ivan Melendez (1.326 OPS) continues to stand out. Following is third baseman/right fielder/designated hitter Murphy Stehly (1.147), shortstop Trey Faltine (1.058), and left fielder Eric Kennedy (1.026), who are all batting in the 80th percentile in the nation. Center fielder Douglas Hodo III has had 90 at bat so far this season, the most out of any Longhorn, but has only been slugging just above average (.825).

Central Arkansas does not seem to pose any major threats as their best hitters float around average. Catcher Noah Argenta (.850), first baseman Hunter Hicks (.840), and left fielder Connor Emmet (.774) have collectively hit six of the Bears’ eight home runs through 17 games.

Texas Tech’s second baseman Jace Jung (1.129), third baseman Parker Kelly (1.130), right fielder Owen Washburn (1.001), and designated hitter Ty Coleman (1.085) have all marked themselves as exceptional batters so far this season and could pose a real threat in this upcoming series. Tech is coming off a seven-game win streak in which they have hit 21 doubles, two triples, and six home runs.


After his performance this past weekend, left-hander Lucas Gordon (kwERA=4.66) has cemented himself as the new starter. Despite that, his kwERA remains below average, and is only outperforming Duplantier II (4.80) given the number of innings they have pitched. It seems Texas can more heavily rely on consistent performers in their right-hander Tristan Stevens (3.81), left-hander Pete Hansen (2.46), and right-hander Travis Sthele (2.45).

Looking at the graph that compares pitchers kwERA vs. BABIP gives us a better frame of reference for understanding the caliber of the defense each pitcher is surrounded by. We know that Gordon and Duplantier are pitching below average kwERA but notice that when they are on the mound, Texas defense seems to be working tremendously well by keeping the BABIP below .230 which is amongst the best in the nation. Meanwhile, when Hansen and Sthele are pitching, the BABIP average increases to .330. If the fielding can step up while Hansen and Sthele are on the mound, they can step into the shadow of Witt’s amazing statline.

Three key players coming out of Central Arkansas are right-handers Andrew Shoultz (2.69), Tyler Cleveland (3.40), and Jesse Barker (3.26). Each of them has at least 22 innings under their belt and have been the most reliable for the Bears. The fielding seems to perform somewhat better with a substantial BABIP of .288 when Shoultz is pitching as well.

Tech’s highest performing pitchers are right-handers Brandon Birdsell (1.20), Andrew Morris (2.61), Trendan Parish (1.40), and Brandon Beckel (1.80). When they are on the mound, the fielding seems to play at a mediocre level. An interesting group to look out for are relief pitchers Colin Clark (3.33), Chase Hampton (3.37), and Brendan Girton (3.24). They all are pitching around the 65-70th percentile in kwERA while also having a tremendous fielding effort around them boasting a BABIP less than .235.

Big 12 projections

Since this week marks the beginning of Big 12 play for Texas, let’s look at how all the teams have fared during their out-of-conference matchups.

Using the Pythagorean theorem developed initially by Bill James and adapting the win exponent to 1.83, we can look ahead to see how the Big 12 teams might end the season playing at their current pace.

Texas Tech currently possesses an incredible average run differential of 5.33 each game, granted their games against Merrimack and New Mexico helped boost that number. Their current numbers project them to finish with a slightly better record than Texas. TCU and Oklahoma State are also projected to finish the season 42-14 and could be serious matchups for the Longhorns. Ultimately, we will see these run differentials level out and become more reliable as the Big 12 teams play each other throughout the season.