2013 Preseason College Top 25 Scouting Reports
January 24, 2013
We love the 20-80 scouting scale at Baseball America; we use it to assess everything from prospects to our favorite local barbecue restaurants. So we figured it would be fun and instructive to subject our preseason top 25 rankings to the same scrutiny.
Scouts grade prospects on how their tools compare with those of an average major leaguer, but we are rating teams relative to an average college baseball team with NCAA tournament aspirations. In addition to grading our top 25 teams on typical tools like hitting for average, hitting for power, speed and defense, we have divided the fifth tool (arm) into two categories: starting pitching and bullpen. We’re also giving teams a grade for Experience/Intangibles—think of it as a team’s “makeup,” if you like. For each category, a grade of 50 is average, comparable to a typical NCAA tournament contender; 60 is above-average; 70 is well above-average; 40 is below-average; and 30 is well below-average. Twenty and 80 are the extreme limits in each direction.
Finally, each team is given an Overall Future Potential (OFP) grade. The OFP scale:
80: A team for the ages. An overwhelming favorite with no obvious weaknesses. Think 1981 Arizona State or 1996 Louisiana State. There is no team like this heading into 2013.
70: Elite. A leading contender for the national title. This year, there is no clear-cut favorite that stands out dramatically from the rest of the pack
65: Well-above-average. Legitimate championship contender. (North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Louisville, Mississippi State, Oregon State, South Carolina, North Carolina State.)
60: Above-average. Strong Omaha contender. (Stanford, Louisiana State, Kentucky, UCLA, Mississippi, Texas Christian, Oregon.)
55: Slightly above-average. A threat to win a conference title and perhaps reach Omaha. (Florida, Rice, Oklahoma, Florida State, New Mexico, Cal State Fullerton, Southern Mississippi, Arizona, San Diego.)
50: Solid-average. Strong NCAA tournament teams who could make a postseason run. (None in this year’s preseason Top 25)
Our OFP grades are more tightly bunched than usual this year, with no teams in our rankings above a 65 OFP, and no team below a 55. This is a reflection of our contention that there are a lot of very solid teams heading into this season, but no overwhelming favorite that stands out from the pack.
Ranking teams is far from an exact science, and there will doubtless be surprises and disappointments as the season unfolds. But we think applying the 20-80 scale is an illuminating way to gauge each team’s projected strengths and weaknesses heading into the season.
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