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slot canyon

softball philosophy changes

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Coach Dean has clearly stated  “it starts in the circle” and he wants his pitchers to throw strikes .  Those who follow AU softball know this is a change in pitching philosophy.  However, you need a pitching staff capable of executing that strategy.  I believe Auburn has that type of pitching talent.  Also from attending a couple of fall practices and a couple of fall games it seemed obvious that Coach Dean does not hesitate to steal bases.  Some examples from 2017 season stats may shed some light. 

Looking first at JMU 2017 (60 games with record 52-8).  JMU pitchers accounted for 374 strike outs while the opposing pitchers had 175.  AU pitchers accounted for 239 SO.   JMU had 76 stolen bases out of 93 attempts while opponents were 14 steals on 19 attempts.  Last season AU had 28 steals on 32 attempts with opponents 33S/46A. It may be easy to say that the Colonial Atlantic Association is not the SEC but it is worth noting that JMU had a win against Missouri and Auburn; the two SEC schools on their schedule.  However, being a bit of a SEC snob,  I would not expect their conference competition to match SEC.

Looking at some SEC stats:

 Georgia had the highest batting average at .338 but finished near the bottom with a pitching era 2.73.  Florida had batting average of .299 (3rd) but had 2 fantastic pitchers and conference best team era 0.81.  AU was 3rd with 1.74.  In the SEC conference standings, Florida finished #1, AU #2 and Georgia was last.  Georgia led the conference in steals 105S/121A.  Georgia seemed to have some good slappers and good speed on the bases but were doomed by their pitching and last in the conference fielding % .954 and highest errors of 71.  Florid not only had the great pitching but also conference best fielding % .985 and lowest errors at 27.  Auburn was mid conference at .970 with 56 errors.

SEC strike outs:  Florida pitchers led the way with 683.  Bama was next with 551.  AU, with pitch to contact strategy, was near the bottom at 239.  One area where AU really excelled was in double plays with 47.  The next closest was Ole Miss with 28.  Georgia last with 9.

There many statistical categories one can explore.  A lot I looked at found AU roughly mid conference in ranking.  I think it speaks highly of Coach Myers game coaching that we finished 2nd in the conference.   I may miss the pitch to contact concept because I really enjoy good defensive plays (by AU of course).   Coach Dean has stated that “we will come to a happy medium”  regarding his philosophy.  Should be interesting to see how this unfolds.  War Eagle.

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Always wished that Clint would have made better use of our speed on base paths.....assuming that we actually had speed but mostly we were a base to base offense and sometimes took a lot of hits to drive in runs.  Hard to complain much about his success but should be an interesting change.   I recall that some teams just seemed to run wild....Ole Miss maybe one of them where trying to steal second just seemed to be an automatic thing.

As for the Ks.....interesting thing is that AU batters seemed to strike out a lot almost tops in the SEC but still managed to play those top strikeout teams pretty solid.    On the W-L ledger guess I'll wait and see if the new emphasis makes us a more successful team. 

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I have always preferred a stolen base attempt to a sacrifice attempt. The success rate isn't much different. About that strikeout pitching; it's a great idea if you have strikeout pitchers. When recruiting, everybody wants a strikeout pitcher. I guess I thought we had some sort of advantage by looking for the pitch-to-contact types. Maybe Dean can get in there and fight with the Floridas and others for top strikeout pitchers? I hope so anyway, if that's what we're going after.

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What is amazing to me is that fact that these coaches can identify talent at the freshman and sophomore levels and already get a commitment.

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12 minutes ago, AlaskanFAN said:

What is amazing to me is that fact that these coaches can identify talent at the freshman and sophomore levels and already get a commitment.

True...but maybe easier with girls who seem to mature faster. 

Some of the best female golfers and tennis players for example are pretty young....14 or 15 and playing against adults.....and maybe part of the secret  it to discover them before they discover boys...or are discovered by the boys and lose interest in sports. 

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On 11/19/2017 at 10:41 PM, Mikey said:

I have always preferred a stolen base attempt to a sacrifice attempt. The success rate isn't much different. About that strikeout pitching; it's a great idea if you have strikeout pitchers. When recruiting, everybody wants a strikeout pitcher. I guess I thought we had some sort of advantage by looking for the pitch-to-contact types. Maybe Dean can get in there and fight with the Floridas and others for top strikeout pitchers? I hope so anyway, if that's what we're going after.

We don't have to fight with Florida for a strikeout Pitcher.   Remember Megan Good at James Madison? Mickey Dean developed her into one of the nations best.  She was almost as unhittable as Kelly Barnhill.    There are plenty out there for us to get our share.

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3 hours ago, WarTiger said:

We don't have to fight with Florida for a strikeout Pitcher.   Remember Megan Good at James Madison? Mickey Dean developed her into one of the nations best.  She was almost as unhittable as Kelly Barnhill.    There are plenty out there for us to get our share.

I don't know squat about softball recruiting. I do know that a 5* football or basketball player is a hot commodity that everybody wants. Is it not the same for a 5* softball pitcher?

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14 hours ago, Mikey said:

I don't know squat about softball recruiting. I do know that a 5* football or basketball player is a hot commodity that everybody wants. Is it not the same for a 5* softball pitcher?

It may very well be, but not all great pitchers [or any position] are 5* recruits.  There's also likely far more players to pick from than football because of the cost to run a football program vs. the cost to run a softball program [at the high school level].   Look at most of the consistently top ranked teams and they all seem to have at least one dominate pitcher.  They don't have to be 5*'s to be good or to be developed into a top pitcher or any other position.  We will do fine with what we currently have and I have little doubt the hire of Mickey Dean will attract some top quality players and already has.

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On 12/1/2017 at 6:35 PM, WarTiger said:

We don't have to fight with Florida for a strikeout Pitcher.   Remember Megan Good at James Madison? Mickey Dean developed her into one of the nations best.  She was almost as unhittable as Kelly Barnhill.    There are plenty out there for us to get our share.

She was 2-0 against us in the last 2 years.  I don't think he'll have any problem developing pitchers.  The state of Florida is loaded with top notch pitchers,  UF can't get all of them.  They missed Jackie Traina, and she didn't do too bad at Bammer.

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