Rankings are extremely popular in the collegiate sports world. Unlike professional sports, the NCAA contains hundreds of teams. As a result, earning a top 25 ranking is typically a meaningful achievement. Football probably comes to mind first, but ranking college baseball programs is a common topic of discussion within the baseball community. These rankings are typically based on a team’s performance, while also factoring in strength of schedule and previous match ups. To a prospective college baseball player, these rankings aren’t very useful though. A player can see how these teams have performed on the field, but it doesn’t provide much insight on the overall experience at the program.
We’ve been able to generate a variety of rankings, a few of which go beyond the program’s on field performance. A lot of prospective college baseball players find these rankings useful during their college search. With our rankings, they can identify baseball programs that provide an excellent overall experience for their student-athletes.
Generating the Rankings
Our ability to generate these rankings is backed by the TeamFacts analytics platform. By rigorously analyzing roster data across all NCAA schools, we’re able to provide prospective college baseball players with unique program rankings, recruiting resources, and actionable data. By combining this data with program performance information, we’re able to provide players with a one-of-a-kind ranking system, which can benefit players during their college baseball search.
Our core offering, TeamFacts database tool, provides players with a transparent view of every NCAA baseball program. Armed with accurate information, players can increase their exposure to college baseball coaches and be better prepared throughout the entire recruiting process. Some of the data that is included in the database tool includes players graduating by position, current position depth, freshman retention rate, and much more.
Best Baseball Experience for Student-Athletes
The Best D1 Baseball Schools and the Best D2 Baseball Schools are our most popular rankings. These essentially evaluate the overall experience that a baseball program provides for its players. While program performance is factored into the college baseball ranking, it also evaluates freshman retention, incoming transfer, and redshirt data. These three pieces are key identifiers in determining a quality baseball program, from a player’s point of view.
As a prospective college baseball player, it’s helpful to understand if current players are generally satisfied with their baseball experience. By taking a look at the program’s history of player retention, you should be able to get a feel for the level of satisfaction within the program. We typically see the highest level of volatility during a player’s freshman year, which is why we specifically evaluate retention rate within the freshman class. If you come across a program that has only retained 30% of their freshman over the past three years, that might be a concerning trend, and our ranking takes that into consideration.
Incoming transfers are another component that is evaluated when building out these rankings. Generally speaking, programs with lower numbers of incoming transfers are more committed to the development of their four year players. These programs receive better marks within our rankings. On the other hand, when a baseball program has higher numbers of incoming transfers, it means they regularly inject more developed, game ready talent to their rosters. This provides for a bit of uncertainty for the four year players and often impacts a player’s path towards playing time.
The third piece that is factored into these rankings is a program’s redshirting tendencies. Redshirts can come about from unplanned circumstances, but players should be aware of schools that consistently post a large number of redshirts. There are a couple of reasons why players should be concerned about this, and it starts with the different types of redshirts. Medical redshirts may mean that a program is overusing their players and not concerned about keeping them healthy. They may also lack a proper academic support system that promotes academic excellence during their time as a student athlete. There is also a scenario where coaches redshirt players to develop physically and athletically. In any of these scenarios, an extra year of college can be pretty costly and is typically not budgeted for. With rising college expenses, the five year experience has become even more costly, especially if the player is not receiving a baseball scholarship.
Top Baseball Schools
We also provide standard college baseball rankings within our Top D1 Baseball Schools and Top D2 Baseball Schools posts. These only factor in team records, strength of schedule, and conference strength.
We’ve found that a lot of the top teams within this ranking also appear in our rankings that assess the overall experience within the program, which is very promising. It shows that the most competitive programs in the nation also provide their players with some of the best overall college baseball experiences. These two things often go hand in hand. The players are satisfied with their experience due to a strong culture and a coaching strategy that benefits the players. The end result is a team that performs at a high level.