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Analytics Peg Hiura As Top College Performer



Keston Hiura 2017 MLB Draft (Photo by Tony Farlow)


Scouts rank UC Irvine’s Keston Hiura among the top college bats in this year’s draft class. The numbers also assert that he is the best. Hiura produced at a rate, as measured by park-adjusted weighted runs created plus (wRC+), that surpasses all Division I batters.


Top Draft-Eligible Batters Batters are ranked using park-adjusted weighted runs created plus (wRC+).

1. Keston Hiura, DH, UC Irvine Batting line: .442/.567/.693 (246 wRC+)

Defensive questions aside, Hiura excels at controlling the barrel. His feel to hit ranks among the best in the draft, and he produces above-average power thanks to his natural strength and bat speed.

Hiura’s achievement gains heft when placed in the context of pitcher-friendly Cicerone Field (where 20 percent fewer runs are scored than on the road) and the pitcher-friendly Big West Conference.

2. Brent Rooker, 1B, Mississippi State Batting line: .395/.498/.827 (236 wRC+)

Rooker has shown true plus power this season while flirting with .400. The catch is Dudy Noble Field. It’s a hitter’s park that boosts run-scoring by about 5 percent, which deflates Rooker’s production somewhat.

3. Daulton Varsho, C, Wisconsin-Milwaukee Batting line: .362/.490/.643 (205 wRC+)

At the plate, Varsho is praised for his all-fields approach and overall feel to hit. The athletic receiver also records solid run times. His home park, Henry Aaron Field, is about as neutral as can be.

4. Jake Adams, 1B, Iowa Batting line: .335/.417/.747 (195 wRC+)

While he’s not an elite prospect, Adams has bat speed, (on display in his regional performance), great raw power and solid barrel ability. Iowa’s Duane Banks Field enhances run production by nearly 10 percent. Adams’ statistics aren’t discounted to the same degree as others because Iowa played just 43 percent of their games at home.

5. Will Robertson, OF, Davidson Batting line: .336/.405/.644 (195 wRC+)

Davidson shockingly won the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament and then upset North Carolina to advance to super regionals. Robertson, a senior outfielder, helped lead the way. His home park, Wilson Field, plays as a neutral venue.


The top 25 Division I batters (min. 150 plate appearances) this year as ranked by wRC+.

No. Player School Conference AVG OBP SLG wRC+
1 Keston Huira UC Irvine Big West .402 .546 .669 246
2 Brent Rooker Mississippi State Southeastern .408 .516 .878 236
3 Daulton Varsho Wisconsin-Milwaukee Horizon .366 .496 .655 205
4 D.J. Artis Liberty Big South .357 .521 .538 204
5 Brock Hale Brigham Young West Coast .386 .473 .703 195
6 Jake Adams Iowa Big Ten .347 .427 .743 195
7 Will Robertson Davidson Atlantic 10 .349  .407 .675 194
8 Adam McGinnis Western Illinois Summit .363  .471 .580 194
9 Jake Burger Missouri State Mo. Valley .351  .462 .703 193
10 Rylan Bannon Xavier Big East .337  .448 .653 192
11 Trey Ganns Northern Kentucky Horizon .353  .452 .662 192
12 Mike Corin Rhode Island Atlantic 10 .295  .398 .636 186
13 Josh Evans Stephen F. Austin Southland .401  .444 .672 185
14 James Free Pacific West Coast .345  .412 .673 185
15 J.J. Matijevic Arizona Pacific-12 .401  .444 .671 184
16 Matt Johnson South Dakota State Summit .343  .430 .612 182
17 Jeremy Eierman Missouri State Mo. Valley .330  .441 .695 182
18 Evan White Kentucky Southeastern .388  .464 .667 181
19 Rob Calabrese Illinois-Chicago Horizon .375  .448 .619 181
20 Danny Sullivan Gardner-Webb Big South .317  .407 .628 181
21 Adam Haseley Virginia Atlantic Coast .402  .492 .693 181
22 Chris Sharpe UMass-Lowell America East .338  .432 .677 180
23 Alex Mauricio Norfolk State Mid-Eastern .374  .457 .573 180
24 Michael Donadio St. John's Big East .378  .480 .573 180
25 Drew Ellis Louisville Atlantic Coast .393  .485 .749 179

Top Five Draft-Eligible Pitchers Pitchers are ranked using park-adjusted ERA minus (ERA-).

1. Luke Heimlich, LHP, Oregon State Pitching line: 11-1, 0.76 (20 ERA-)

The Pacific-12 Conference pitcher of the year relies on a deceptive 89-91 mph fastball and superb control. Goss Stadium is a pitcher’s park, but Heimlich excelled so much that a park adjustment doesn’t affect his standing.

2. Andrew Crane, RHP, Troy Pitching line: 6-2, 1.47 (20 ERA-)

The 6-foot-4 Crane might only top 90 mph on occasion, but he dominated the Sun Belt Conference by pounding the zone unrelentingly. While Riddle-Pace Field plays as a slight pitcher’s park, he allowed just six earned runs.

3. Danny Marsh, RHP, Wagner Pitching line: 6-2, 1.96 (26 ERA-)

Marsh moved into the Wagner rotation this year and allowed just 11 earned runs in 66 innings while pitching off an upper-80s fastball. Wagner shares baseball facilities with the short-season Staten Island Yankees, creating a roomy environment for pitchers to work in.

4. Jake Thompson, RHP, Oregon State Pitching line: 13-0, 1.30 (30 ERA-)

Thompson, a redshirt junior, consistently pitches with a hard fastball that sits at 93-94 mph and throws an above-average slider for strikes. His 1.11 ERA ranked fourth in the country before park adjustments.

5. Austin Bizzle, RHP, Alabama State Pitching line: 7-1, 1.95 (30 ERA-)

Bizzle pitched to a 5.53 ERA over 42.1 innings last season in the notoriously hitter-friendly Southwestern Athletic Conference, but he morphed into a dominant reliever with a mid-80s fastball this year.


The top 25 Division I pitchers (min. 50 innings) this year as ranked by ERA-.

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No. Player School Conference IP BB SO ERA-
1 Luke Heimlich Oregon State Pacific-12 94 20 106 20
2  Andrew Crane Troy Sun Belt 58 13 57 20
3 Sean Mooney St. John's Big East 90 15 82 26
4 Danny Marsh Wagner Northeast 66 31 57 26
5 Jake Thompson Oregon State Pacific-12 89 27 89 29
6 Austin Bizzle Alabama State Southwestern 70 18 73 30
7 Nate Harris Louisiana Tech Conference USA 82 10 88 32
8 Brendan McKay Louisville Atlantic Coast 85 27 116 32
9 Cory Abbott Loyola Marymount West Coast 84 22 103 33
10 Devin Hemmerich Norfolk State Mid-Eastern 98 14 111 34
11 Will Gaddis Furman Southern 94 15 81 35
12 Clarke Schmidt South Carolina Southeastern 60 18 70 37
13 Brian Shaffer Maryland Big Ten 97 17 98 38
14 Robert Broom Mercer Southern 57 23 74 38
15 Josh McMinn Oral Roberts Summit  75 21 62 39
16 Chris Enns Quinnipiac Metro Atlantic 52 18 37 40
17 Colton Laws Charlotte Conference USA 87 13 80 40
18 Logan Gilbert Stetson Atlantic Sun 77 22 96 40
19 Kutter Crawford Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic Sun 72 25 81 40
20 Heath Donica Sam Houston State Southland 94 22 91 40
21 Jake Fromson Missouri State Missouri Valley 63 12 76 41
22 Miguel Ausua Oral Roberts Summit 72 26 72 41
23 Ryan Weiss Wright State Horizon 76 13 69 41
24 Thomas Ponticelli San Francisco West Coast 64 10 60 41
25 Joey Murray Kent State Mid-American 64 27 93 43

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