Part 2: Evaluating the D-I Super Regionals

Part 2: Evaluating the D-I Super Regionals

After evaluating the left side of the bracket, here is a look at the D-I tournament’s remaining teams.

The following charts are based on each team’s likely nine starting batters according to their collective wOBA (weighted on-base average), their two top pitchers using FIP (fielding independent pitching), and team defense as measured by DER (defensive efficiency rating). Green is good on one side of the spectrum and red is bad on the other side, with shades of yellow somewhere in-between.

Kentucky (39-17) at Oregon (50-6)

Analysis: Both of these teams have one big bopper in their lineup. For Kentucky it’s Abbey Cheek (.308 wOBA) and for Oregon it’s Nikki Udria (.327). The circle is where Oregon gains the advantage. Oregon’s Megan Kleist and Maggie Balint are clearly better than Kentucky’s Meagan Prince and Erin Rethlake according to the statistic FIP. On defense Kentucky is slightly better than Oregon as measured by DER but that’s their only advantage in this series.
Prediction: Oregon sweeps Kentucky.

Utah (36-14) at Washington (46-11)

Analysis: Utah’s Hannah Flippen (.376 wOBA) is a flipping good hitter, but Utah lacks the depth that Washington brings to the plate. That means the Huskies should be able to work around Flippen. The Huskies boast three batters hitting better than .300 in wOBA including leadoff hitter Ali Aguilar (.344), Casey Stangel (.317), and Morganne Flores (.306). Utah’s advantage might lie in the circle, especially when Miranda Viramontes is pitching. But Katie Donovan threw more innings and made more starts, so she’s likely to get the nod as the starter for the Utes.
Prediction: Washington jumps on Donovan early and advances to the WCWS, though there’s the potential here for an upset.

Oklahoma (54-9) at Auburn (49-10)

Analysis: A rematch from last season’s national championship series, though this year neither Oklahoma nor Auburn boast the offensive firepower that they had a year ago. These two teams are evenly matched on offense with nearly identical team wOBAs. Auburn is led by Kasey Cooper (.321 wOBA) and Carlee Wallace (.312), Oklahoma by Caleigh Clifton (.330) and Nicole Mendes (.323). But the Sooners have a clear advantage in the circle and are considerably better on defense.
Prediction: Oklahoma goes on the road to knock off the Tigers again this year.

Baylor (46-12) at Arizona (51-7)

Analysis: Arizona is the clear favorite, with better hitting, pitching, and defense. Baylor will need leadoff hitter Lindsey Cargill (.497 OBP) to set the table and Shelby Friudenberg (.301 wOBA) to drive her home. As good as Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole has been from the circle and hitters Katiyana Mauga (.391 wOBA), Jessie Harper (.333), Mo Mercado (.315), and Dejah Mulipola (.309) have been in the batter’s box, Baylor faces a tall task.
Prediction: Baylor keeps the games close for awhile thanks to their pitching but Arizona eventually pulls away in a two-game sweep.