College Baseball Overload: Gators-Pack Tale of the Tape

If you dared not heed Akula's warning earlier (scroll down the front page for his story and game times) and checked out Florida's team stats, you probably noticed that they have a solid offense and a ridiculously deep and talented pitching staff, but just how do the Gators' team stats compare to the Pack's production? Have a look at the handy table below (Florida is on top).

AVE

OBP

SLG

R

R Allowed

ERA

FPCT

.281

.360

.448

370

201

2.85

.978

.298

.377

.439

428

245

3.50

.970

(Much more below the jump.)

When you consider that, according to WarrenNolan.com, Florida had the toughest schedule of any team in the country, compared to State's 20th ranked schedule, you would have to consider the offense as pretty much a wash. The Gators have more power, but the Pack does hit for a higher average and take more walks. At over half a run a game lower and against better competition, what really stands out is the Gators' 2.85 team ERA, which is good for 8th in the country. Probably the most comparable staff State has faced is UNX's, and that didn't work out too well. The Pack went 1-3 against the Holes, managing just 10 runs in 4 games.

Despite its glaring issues behind the plate (23 total passed balls, can't throw runners out, etc.), State does a pretty good job of not allowing teams extra outs. The Pack ranks in the top third of D-I teams in terms of fielding percentage. Florida, not surprisingly, is in the top 10, and that makes them all the tougher as they generally do not beat themselves.

Catching defense is not an issue for the Gators with Mike Zunino behind the dish. His CS% is okay at 30.8%, and he has only 4 passed balls on the season. Zunino will be the Gator that gets the most publicity this week, as he was selected third overall by the Mariners in yesterday's MLB draft. Zunino leads the Gators with 18 home runs and 60 RBI, and his OPS is a robust 1.055. If there is a chink in his chest protector, it's that Zunino doesn't walk a whole lot, and his free, longish swing makes him susceptible at times to off-speed pitches. Hopefully Zunino throws a sexxxy casual draft party and is still hung over on Saturday.

Brian Johnson was the Gators' other first round pick, going 31st to the Red Sox. Johnson went 8-4 with a 3.56 ERA. His peripherals and scouting report paint the picture of a polished but not overpowering lefty. He throws strikes (1.57 BB/9!) but does not have dominant strikeout numbers (7.12 K/9). If Johnson has a weakness, it's that he has been somewhat susceptible to the long ball; he has served up 8 gofer balls in 86 innings pitched. And he does not typically work deep into games, averaging just a shade over 5 innings in his 16 starts.

Of course when your staff has 11 guys with 10+ appearances and an ERA 3.56 or lower, you don't have to work deep into games. With guys like Greg Larson (6-0, 1.31 ERA), Steven Rodriguez (3-2, 2.08 ERA, 4 saves), and Austin Maddox (3-3, 2.24 ERA, 12 saves) awaiting their turn if the starter falters, the Gators appear to have a decided advantage if a game comes down to a matchup of bullpens.

Florida and State share three common opponents: FSU, Georgia Tech, and, of course, Vanderbilt. Florida went 2-0 against the rival Seminoles, 2-0 against Tech, and 3-2 against the Dores. The Pack was just 1-2 against FSU, but 2-1 against Tech and Vandy. You have to give the Gators a slight edge their thanks to their sweep of the Noles, but if you are looking for reason to believe, let's twist the lies and damn statistics to look only at this: Florida has dropped 2 straight to Vandy, while the Pack has won 2 straight. Surely that means a Pack sweep this weekend!

Or not. But there's no reason to think that this can't be another competitive, nail-biting weekend.

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