The Ft. Worth Regional features an interesting mix of offenses that get things done in different ways. NC State, for example, has more depth in the power department and doesn't steal a lot of bases. TCU runs a ton, and does it efficiently. Stony Brook compensates for a lack of punch in the lineup with outstanding patience at the dish. Sacred Heart is terrible. Sorry about that, Sacred Heart.
Here's a comparison in a few key statistical categories. I should here that these statistics have not been adjusted for park or schedule. (And, incidentally, all of these teams play their home games in pitcher-friendly parks.)
|SB-ATT (success rate)
(XBH% = extra-base hits divided by total hits)
Fun fact: NC State has hit as many home runs (49) as the other three teams combined. Stony Brook has hit only seven, though the Seawolves have managed a regional-best 29 triples. I don't know how much of that is team speed and how much is bad opposing defense, but that's an impressive number.
If the Seawolves are going to do damage this weekend, they'll have to keep drawing walks and hitting for average. And that may well happen--this is not a bad team by any stretch. They have five guys who've earned 20+ walks, including three who've walked at least 30 times. Senior Cole Peragine is the model citizen of the bunch, having walked 47 times in 49 games.
Jack Parenty is the obvious standout in the order with his .359/.425/.525 line; he is also the team's most prolific base-stealer. A half dozen Stony Brook regulars are hitting above .300, but power like Parenty's is scarce.
TCU promises to be pesky given how often they run and how good they are at stealing bases. This team is built well for an era of downsized offenses, with good speed pretty much top to bottom. Cody Jones leads the way with 25 steals in 30 attempts and also happens to be the Frogs' best hitter (.376/.476/.507).
If Jones is playing well, he can make a whole lot happen for TCU's offense, but as with Stony Brook, there aren't a lot of power-heavy bats to be concerned about. TCU has actually hit for extra bases less often than anybody else in the regional, but that's less an issue since they can snag extra bases with their running game. That speed not only translates into stolen bags, but also into taking extra bases on balls in play--going first-to-third on singles, etc.
As for poor Sacred Heart, which should be on a plane home by Saturday night, well ... it's bad. It's nearly all bad. The Pioneers have a losing record on the season and rank 256th in Boyd Nation's Iterative Strength Ratings. The other three teams are in the ISR top 100: TCU at 3, NCSU at 30, Stony Brook at 88. If the Pioneers offer any resistance in their opener against TCU, it's an upset. A team that couldn't crack .250 at the plate with an NEC schedule is unlikely to have much luck against a quality pitching staff like TCU's. But we can hope!