Suffice to say Oregon Baseball exceeded expectations in 2023, working their way from conference middle-dwellers to tournament champions and just missing out on a trip to Omaha.
As was discussed (rather incessantly) in our podcasts, pitching was not often the reason for the teams’ success. Batting, however, was.
Seven players on Oregon’s roster had a batting average above .300, led by Drew Smith (.365), Drew Cowley (.341), and Bennett Thompson (.340). As a team Oregon’s batting average was nearly .300 at .298, while opponents averaged .250, so statistically, the Ducks were more likely to get a hit than their opponents…always a good sign.
But runs don’t come from just hits alone. Fortunately, Oregon had five players with a .400 average or better in getting on base. As a team their on-base percentage sat at .379, again, a nice feat being reasonably close to a .400 average.
The difference here is that opponents OBP ended at .366, a much smaller separation at 13 percent than their 48 percent batting average advantage. That separation difference shows the amount of walks/ERAs that allowed opponents to make a lot of these games closer than they needed to be.
But is the OBP a cause for concern offensively? Not necessarily. This is partly due to Oregon’s nack for power hitting. In 63 games in 2023 the Ducks belted 101 homers, an average of 1.6 a game, while opponents compiled a total of 75. Though they won’t help with OBP, homers are automatic points on the board.
Speaking of homers, the 101 the Ducks compiled with 2,167 at-bats means that Oregon was knocking it out of the park roughly 5 percent of the time they stepped up to the plate. Problem is, opponents were right behind them at a 4 percent homer rate.
Unlike the OBP, that is much more concerning stat, which again leads us back to pitching.
Stay tuned for a pitching statistical breakdown on Friday.