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10 Best Seasons by Gators Pitchers since 2013 (Alligator)

Discussion in 'Diamond Gators' started by gatorjjh, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    10 Best Seasons by Gators Pitchers since 2013: Parts 1 & 2
    UF has become a pitching factory since manger Kevin O’Sullivan arrived in 2008.
    Brendan Farrell, Alligator Sports Writer
    Pitchers like Brady Singer, Alex Faedo, A.J. Puk and Jackson Kowar were stars in Gainesville before becoming first-round picks and top prospects in their respective organizations. Others, like Bobby Poyner, Shaun Anderson and Dane Dunning, are still playing in the minor leagues.
    I decided to look at who had the best individual seasons using various statistics. In addition to ERA, I calculated the following:

    FIP (Field Independent Pitching): The idea behind FIP is that there are only a handful of things a pitcher can control: home runs, walks, strikeouts and hit-by-pitches. It’s meant to be read like ERA. You can read more about FIP here.
    K/9: This one is pretty simple since it’s how many strikeouts a pitcher has per nine innings.

    GO/AO: This is comparing how many outs the pitcher gets on ground balls versus fly balls. Generally, it’s preferred that pitchers force ground balls instead of fly balls because it means that batter isn’t making as much contact. Also, fly balls can turn into home runs, which obviously can’t happen with a ground ball.
    BB/9: Same thing as K/9 except with walks. Good pitchers usually don’t give the other team free baserunners very often.

    From there, I ranked every Florida pitcher in each category. To make some sort of composite (but not definitive) ranking, I averaged each pitcher’s rank in every stat and put them in order from there.
    I only used pitchers who pitched at least 45 innings in a season to limit pitchers with small sample sizes. Unfortunately, this means there won’t be any pitchers from the shortened 2020 season.

    With that said, here’s my ranking of the 10 best seasons by Gators pitchers since 2013:
    10. Alex Faedo (2016) and Brady Singer (2017)
    We have a tie for 10th between arguably two of the most recognizable pitchers UF has produced in Faedo and Singer.
    Faedo and Singer have similar statistical profiles, as they both had low ERAs (2.26 for Faedo versus 2.55 for Singer) but FIPS that were middle of the road compared to other UF pitchers (17th for Faedo, 19th for Singer). Both were also pretty good at limiting walks.
    Where they differed, however, was in K/9 and GO/AO. Faedo dominated batters with his stuff more often than Singer, striking out almost 11.5 batters per nine innings, the fifth-highest total. However, when he wasn’t striking out opponents, he struggled with keeping the ball on the ground with the seventh-lowest GO/AO ratio.
    Singer didn’t cause swings and misses at the same rate as Faedo, but he consistently forced ground outs during his UF career. His GO/AO was the fifth-best in this span.
    This won’t be the last time we’ll see these two on this list.

    9. Bobby Poyner (2015)
    As much hype as the starters UF has produced get, the Gators have had plenty of solid relievers.
    Poyner was a rock in the bullpen for four seasons in Gainesville. But as a senior in 2015, the southpaw elevated his game to another level.
    His ERA improved from 3.47 to 2.56, and, while he struggled in SEC play in previous seasons, he was equally dominant in conference play.
    Poyner, who is now in the Red Sox’s system, had total control over his pitching repertoire at all times. While he didn’t strike out opponents or force ground balls at a high rate, he rarely allowed free passes to first base. Poyner had the fifth-lowest BB/9, throwing just six walks in over 60 innings.
    The Wellington, Florida, native saved his best for last with a phenomenal postseason. In Game 2 of the Gainesville Super Regional against FSU, he shut out the Seminoles in five innings of work to help send Florida to Omaha.

    Once UF made it there, the senior continued his dominant form, allowing zero runs in 11 innings and striking out eight. Florida made it to the semifinals before getting eliminated by Virginia.

    8. Brady Singer (2018)
    After spending his freshman year as one of UF’s best relievers and winning a national title in 2017 as a key starter, there were high hopes for Brady Singer.
    He didn’t disappoint. The junior took home basically every trophy imaginable. His crowded trophy case included the Dick Howser Trophy (given to the best player in the country), National Player of the Year from both D1baseball.com and Baseball America, First Team All-American from basically every outlet and SEC Pitcher of the Year.
    In fact, it might be surprising that he’s not higher on this list.
    The thing that really assisted Singer was that he was very lucky with what happened with the few balls that ended up in play. By my calculations, Singer had a Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP)—think batting average but remove plays like strikeouts, walks and home runs—of .257, the third-lowest of any qualifying UF pitcher. This could be interpreted as Singer being either very lucky, Florida playing quality defense behind him or both.

    But while his performance on the spreadsheets wasn’t overwhelming, Singer was dominant everywhere else. The junior had an ERA of 2.55, one of the lowest by any Florida starter since 2013. Thirteen of his 17 starts were considered “quality starts” (at least six innings pitched and fewer than three earned runs allowed), and he rarely walked batters.
    There’s no denying that Singer played a significant role in UF’s attempt to defend its title in 2018.

    7. Alex Faedo (2017)
    The so-called ace of the 2017 championship team, Alex Faedo’s best season in Gainesville was also his last one.
    Faedo routinely fooled opposing hitters all season long, ranking fifth in K/9. The junior was always excellent at racking up strikeouts, as his 10.84 K/9 across three seasons is the second-highest in school history. This was his second season in a row striking out over 11 batters per nine innings.
    Faedo’s statistical profile suffers from an average FIP and a high walk rate (just over three batters per nine innings), but his ability to prevent balls from being put in play in the first place is what made him so effective.
    Much like Poyner in 2015, Faedo was on a completely different level in the postseason. The Tampa native pitched 27.1 innings, allowed only one run and struck out 44 batters. Against elite competition, Faedo struck out batters at a higher rate in the postseason than he did in the regular season (14.49 in the postseason, 11.43 in the regular season).
    Faedo was arguably the Gators’ best starting pitcher en route to the program’s first national championship. He was later named the CWS’ Most Outstanding Player and selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 18th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.

    6. Logan Shore (2016)
    Logan Shore was a game-changer immediately for the Gators.
    The 6-foot-2 righty started 15 games as a freshman in 2014 and flourished. He had a team-best 2.16 ERA and was one of the team’s best pitchers overall. Shore was the National Freshman of the Year and Perfect Game’s Freshman of the Year.
    Shore was once again very good in 2015, but his best season was as a junior in 2016.
    The most noticeable difference between Shore before 2016 and during the 2016 season was that he struck out batters at a much higher rate. The Minnesota native went from having a K/9 that was near the bottom in 2014 and 2015 to 20th in 2016. That, combined with forcing more ground outs and walking fewer batters, was enough to move him into the top 10.
    Shore’s standout junior season also earned him First Team All-American from multiple outlets.
    He was later selected by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft and is currently in the Tigers’ farm system.

    For as much as college baseball fans and analysts talk about the impressive lineup of starting pitchers the Gators have produced over the years, many might not realize that the bullpen arms that have come through Gainesville have probably been just as good.

    A team can get through the regular season leaning on a trio of starting pitchers ranging from good to elite. But, to get to Omaha and bring home the trophy, a team also needs to have reliable arms late in games. It turns out Florida has had quite a few of them.

    5. Aaron Rhodes (2014)
    As someone who didn’t pay that much attention to Gators baseball until I was admitted to UF, I had to look up who Aaron Rhodes was. I would say that he’s likely the closest thing to a one-hit wonder on this list.
    For one, this was the only season where he made my 45-inning cutoff. But, he was also ungodly good in 2014.
    Opponents rarely did anything against Rhodes, whose FIP of 2.91 was the second-best of any UF pitcher since 2013. Rhodes gave up one home run all season, the fewest of any Gators pitcher who pitched at least 10 innings in 2014.
    More impressively, Rhodes had as many walks as earned runs allowed (16). At 2.48 for both per nine innings, he was solid. He didn’t strike out batters at an overwhelming rate, but the contact that opposing batters made was usually not very threatening.
    Rhodes disappeared about as quickly as he emerged. His ERA jumped to 3.74, and he only pitched 31.2 innings in 2015. He was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 28th round of the 2015 draft and pitched 21 innings in one season in Single-A before leaving baseball entirely.

    4. Michael Byrne (2017) and 3. Michael Byrne (2018)
    It was only a matter of time before Michael Byrne made an appearance.
    The school’s record holder in saves (35) and saves in a season (19), Byrne is arguably the most prolific reliever the team has ever had under manager Kevin O’Sullivan.
    Taking over as the Gators’ closer as a sophomore in 2017 after a brief stint as a midweek starter, Byrne went from 16 innings of work in 2016 to 75.2 the following season. His ERA went from nearly 4.00 to a sterling 1.67, the seventh-best in the country.
    Byrne struck out batters at a high rate (just over 11 batters per nine innings) and was ninth in walk rate. His ability to keep runners off the basepaths was crucial en route to the program’s first national title. He obliterated the school record of 13 saves with 19.
    He was even better in 2018.
    Byrne somehow managed to lower his ERA even further to 1.61, the third-lowest of this group. His FIP also improved from 11th to third overall (3.28).
    However, his biggest strength was not giving free passes to first base. Only Bobby Poyner in 2015 was even close to Byrne’s 0.73 BB/9. To put it simply, he only walked five batters all season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio would have been the best in the country if he fulfilled the one-inning-per-game requirement.
    The 2018 edition of Byrne finished in the top 10 of every category, except for his GO/AO ratio. Byrne had a very low GO/AO, meaning that more of his outs came from fly outs instead of ground outs. The Orlando native rarely gave up home runs—he only allowed eight dingers in his last two seasons—but he was by no means a groundball pitcher.
    Byrne was at his best when the lights were the brightest. Between the 2017 and 2018 postseasons, he compiled 10 saves. In the 2018 postseason alone, Byrne had a 0.51 ERA in 17.2 innings.
    Between all of that and a stacked list of honors that includes two-time All-American and 2018 NCBWA Stopper of the Year—the first Gator to win the award—there’s a strong argument that he’s the best reliever the Gators have ever had.

    2. Dane Dunning (2016)
    Something that I’ve noticed while creating this was the trend of pitchers taking tremendous leaps from their sophomore year to their junior year. The same goes for Dane Dunning.
    Dunning’s sophomore campaign in 2015 actually ranks 17th on my board, but it was his 2016 performance that nearly topped the charts.
    Used as a swing man, Dunning did pretty much anything and everything. At nearly 79 innings, he pitched more than anyone on Florida’s roster who wasn’t a starter, though he did make five starts. The fact that Dunning was arguably the best pitcher on a stacked arsenal that included future first-round picks Alex Faedo, Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and A.J. Puk is telling.
    Dunning ranked in the top 10 in all five categories, but his greatest attribute was being the best groundball pitcher the Gators have had since 2013. Dunning had the second-highest GO/AO ratio in 2016, and the only pitcher to have one that was higher was… 2015 Dane Dunning. Both editions of Dunning are the only seasons in this span to have at least twice as many ground outs as fly outs.
    The junior nearly cut his ERA in half in 2016, going from 4.03 in 2015 to just 2.29 the following season. In the NCAA Tournament, Dunning was nearly perfect, allowing only one run in over 15 innings of work during the Gators’ trip to the College World Series.
    Dunning’s performance in 2016 was enough to make him the second Florida pitcher selected in the first round of that year’s draft alongside Puk. Though he was originally selected by the Nationals with the 29th overall pick, he was later dealt to the White Sox. MLB.com ranked him as the White Sox’s No. 6 overall prospect in a farm system that it also ranked as the 11th-best in the league.

    1. Shaun Anderson (2016)
    Before Michael Byrne became Michael Byrne, there was Shaun Anderson.
    Anderson served as the Gators’ closer for the 2016 season, and, while he didn’t stockpile saves like Byrne did, Anderson was unbelievably dominant.
    The 6-foot-5 righty had an unfathomable 0.97 ERA in just over 46 innings of work for Florida, the best ERA of any UF pitcher since college baseball started using aluminum bats in 1974. Anderson was also the only pitcher since 2013 to finish top five in all five of my categories. He had the best ERA and FIP while also finishing third in K/9 and BB/9 and fourth in GO/AO.
    He also managed to tie the previous school record for saves with 13 in 2016 before Byrne took a sledgehammer to the record book.
    Anderson’s 2016 campaign is full of crazy stats, but the fact that he only allowed two extra-base hits all season long is unbelievable.
    There’s really no other way to describe Anderson in 2016 other than just dominant. He was untouchable all season long, rarely walked anyone and barely anyone made good contact with his stuff. The NCBWA named him a First Team All-American while also making him a finalist for Stopper of the Year, which he lost to Miami’s Bryan Garcia.
    Anderson was later selected by the Boston Red Sox in third round of the 2016 draft and was later traded to San Francisco. He made 28 appearances with the Giants last season, including 16 starts. He went 3-5 with a 5.44 ERA and could make the Giants’ roster for the beginning of the 2020 season.
    Florida’s pitching staff in 2016 was absolutely loaded with talent, considering that it had five future first-round picks and four entries on this list. Maybe pitchers like Brady Singer and Alex Faedo were more valuable because they were starters and not relievers like Anderson and Dunning.
    However, in terms of sheer dominance, nobody tops Anderson’s 2016 season.

    stats charts at:10 best seasons by Gators pitchers since 2013: Part 2
     

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  2. gtj31

    gtj31 GC Hall of Fame

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    It is a very arbitrary date of 2013 but good read. Thanks for posting!
     
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  3. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    agree with arbitrary, the Alligator sports writers are pretty good and writer some interesting angles, several string for papers around the state
     
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  4. gtj31

    gtj31 GC Hall of Fame

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    Oh I did many an Alligator crossword (technically LA Times or something like that) in @GatorLurker’s class.
     
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  5. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    What else was there to do?;)
     
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  6. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    They can come up with any stat they want but Alex Faedo is the best to ever toe the rubber outside of Alan Horn and Wingtee
     
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  7. oneatatime

    oneatatime GC Hall of Fame

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  8. 74nole

    74nole GC Hall of Fame

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    wing—

    For Alan and you to be listed the thread would have to read “best 10 seasons prior to 2013 and way prior to 2013........;)
     
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  9. gatorbogey

    gatorbogey GC Hall of Fame

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    If the criteria is limited to “toeing the rubber”, then maybe, just maybe, @wingtee gets the nod.
     
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  10. gatorbogey

    gatorbogey GC Hall of Fame

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    Personally, for my money, I’d begin just Focusing on the pitching performances for that 2017 wake Forest super regional. My gawd that wake line up was lethal!

    then, expand to Omaha, specifically the championship series. You could literally go pitch by pitch, and that was one hell of a pitching performance by several key players.
     
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  11. gtj31

    gtj31 GC Hall of Fame

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    Do they keep online stats that far back?? I mean Chap pitched in the days of horses and carriages.
     
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  12. gtj31

    gtj31 GC Hall of Fame

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    Faedo gets bonus points for his outrageous 2017 postseason. The 2018 team was better than the 2017 team imo BUT in the postseason Singer wasn’t as good as Faedo (I mean, who could be...).
     
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  13. gatorstevelp

    gatorstevelp Premium Member

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    I knew Shaun Anderson was really good BUT 2 extra base hits allowed in 46 innings is beyond impressive.
     
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  14. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    Oh .. well u know u I was a PE Major Horns not Math/History
     
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  15. gtj31

    gtj31 GC Hall of Fame

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    History major? That garners respect these days? Man, athletes are held to a different standard...

    Beers are on me next time we meet Chap!!!
     
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  16. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    I do appreciate Greg. Looking forward to seeing ya. Been a while. Hope Omaha is in our future. Love to have all these guys go and meet up.
    Fun to do a Friday - Monday in Omaha. Even better we all stay at the same hotel !
    Beer would be flowing , and flowing smoothly. Can you imagine this crowd at Blatts before a Gator Baseball game ?
     
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  17. GatorLurker

    GatorLurker GC Hall of Fame

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    I also did them while running programs on my office computer.

    And I did them during meetings with my IPPD Senior design students. I could be engaged with them and also finish in about 20 minutes.

    I have gotten good at them mostly because the same words often appear. Four letter word associating with the sport of fencing is always EPEE and never FOIL. EPEE just works better for making the grid.

    And they were the LA Times crosswords. You can do them for free on-line. I do every day.

    The Sun has the NYT's crossword but the weekday ones are about three weeks behind. You have to take that into account if there is some holiday theme to the puzzle.
     
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  18. GatorLurker

    GatorLurker GC Hall of Fame

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    Everyone in my family called him Mr. Anderson from The Matrix.
     
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  19. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    All pencil and paper. May have had calculators but I can’t be sure
     
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  20. wingtee

    wingtee GC Hall of Fame

    If I gave up only 2 extra base hit in an inning it was a good inning
     
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