TeamFacts has analyzed over 250 NCAA Division II institutions to generate a list of the best D2 baseball schools in 2020. The ranking is based on a variety of data points that we’ve pulled together through our proprietary database tool. This data is primarily used to assist prospective student-athletes with their college baseball search, but we’ve also found that this data is extremely useful in effectively ranking college baseball programs. If you’d like to learn more about our tool, visit our database information page.
Unlike many other college baseball rankings, our methodology goes beyond evaluating team performance and conference strength. Great programs consistently field a winning team within a strong conference, but they also provide a quality experience for their players. Using player retention, redshirt, incoming transfer, and roster size data, we can accurately assess the overall experience a college baseball program provides its players.
While a lot of rankings are pretty subjective and opinion based, ours is strictly data driven. Additionally, the information contained in the TeamFacts database is pulled directly from roster and statistical postings, which ensures for accurate and timely data. Before we get into the rankings, let’s quickly visit some of the evaluation points that are used as key performance indicators in determining a quality baseball program.
Freshman Retention Rate
As a prospective college baseball player, it’s helpful to understand if current members at the program are happy with their experience. Winning is one thing, but being satisfied with your experience as a college baseball player is just as important. A really effective way of assessing this is by taking a look at a program’s player retention over the past few years. Freshman year is where we see the highest level of volatility, so we use this class as the key identifier for player retention and overall satisfaction with the program.
During the college baseball search, if you come across a program that has a low number of incoming transfers on a yearly basis, it is typically a positive indicator. These programs are generally more committed to the development of their freshman recruits. As a result, they don’t rely as heavily on incoming transfers to fill in positional gaps that arise from freshman recruits that don’t pan out.
Programs that have low levels of incoming transfers means that they have the ability to properly develop their freshman recruits and turn them into significant contributors. If you are considering a program that has a high number of incoming transfers, you need to understand that more-developed, game-ready players will be added to the program on a yearly basis. This poses potential issues for players who started at the program as freshmen.
Redshirts can come about from a variety of different circumstances, ranging from medical to athletic and academic situations. If you recognize a concerning pattern of redshirts at a particular baseball program, you might want to sound the alarm. At the very least, you should dig a little deeper and inquire about the trend. Our viewpoint is that baseball programs with lower numbers of redshirts are generally providing a better experience for their players.
From a medical standpoint, they have the right system in place to keep their players healthy. Also, the baseball program and the athletic department are providing their players with the right guidance and resources for academic success. Lastly, players are not forced into a fifth year of costly education to further develop athletically.
Another important piece we evaluate is roster size. At the Division II level, we’ve seen a concerning trend of large rosters. Some programs have over 60 players on their roster. Programs with reasonable roster sizes offer their players a fair opportunity for playing time, which ultimately provides a better experience for their student-athletes.