No luck about it: The top 13 pitchers in D-II softball

No luck about it: The top 13 pitchers in D-II softball

In recent posts I’ve argued for the need for more comprehensive statistics than just wins and losses, saves, and ERA when determining All-American pitchers. In this post I’m extending my research to D-II for the 2017 season.

Here are the top 13 pitchers in D-II fastpitch softball this season according to RA7 (Runs Allowed per 7 Innings Pitched). As a reminder, RA7 is the same as ERA except that all runs that a pitcher allows are tallied in RA7 rather than just those that don’t involve an error. This removes the inherent bias of many scorekeepers. I’ve added non-traditional stats FIP and BABIP for additional context. Also of note are the number of runs (Off. RPG) each pitcher’s offense averaged this season, since that can skew won-loss records.

Player, School RA7 Rank RA7 ERA Rank ERA FIP BABIP IP Off. RPG W-L Saves
Coley Ries, Minnesota St. 1 0.75 2 0.75 0.71 .260 214.2 6.42 31-2 5
Mckenna Larsen, Winona St. 2 0.94 3 0.83 2.85 .230 178 5.65 24-4 1
Emmie Robertson, Pitt. St. 3 1.12 4 0.84 2.07 .236 250 4.81 29-8 4
Hannah Vet, WV Wesleyan 4 1.22 6 0.93 2.15 .216 166.1 5.96 22-3 1
Autumn Humes, Harding 5 1.24 11 1.14 2.06 .241 215.2 5.68 30-1 6
Kayla Robins, Chowan 6 1.25 5 0.90 0.31 .302 201.1 6.04 24-8 0
Taylor Brandts, UVa-Wise 7 1.26 7 0.93 2.50 .226 195.2 4.13 22-6 2
Kylee Smith, North Georgia 8 1.32 8 0.93 2.45 .232 202.1 6.17 27-4 3
Kendra Coleman, Ark.-Mont. 9 1.40 15 1.23 2.65 .249 205.1 3.82 21-8 2
Lyndsay Butler, Wayne St. (MI) 10 1.45 1 0.59 1.68 .227 202.2 4.92 22-8 3
Brandy Marlett, Angelo St. 11 1.48 17 1.26 1.97 .224 194 6.46 27-4 1
Haley Gilham, Chico St. 12 1.51 9 1.12 2.64 .248 194.1 4.32 22-6 3
Allison Lipovsky, Grand Valley St. 13 1.56 27 1.41 2.17 .222 144 4.65 15-3 3

Of all of these fantastic pitchers, it is the FIP of Chowan’s Kayla Robins that makes her stand out to me. FIP attempts to eliminate what a pitcher can’t control by focusing on what she can control: walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed. In these categories Robins was off the charts. In 201.1 innings pitched this season, Robins allowed just 41 walks, recorded 352 strikeouts, and gave up no home runs. Incredible! It would be a shame if her record of 24-8, which again is largely out of a pitcher’s control, keeps her from All-American status.

With the NCAA D-II tournament about to begin, the Central Region boasts a wealth of pitching. Minnesota State’s Coley Ries (.75 RA7) potentially could face Pittsburg State’s Emmie Robertson (1.12 RA7) in the Central 2 bracket, while Winona State’s Mckenna Larsen (.94 RA7) could match up against Harding’s Autumn Humes (1.24 RA7) in the Central 1 bracket. Whichever team qualifies for the World Series out of the Central Region will have bested some of the country’s best pitching.