RFrey — Sunday Notes, 12/26

Robert Frey
3 min readDec 26, 2021


To my readers,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday and are going to have a pleasant new year.

Did you know that just like in my last story, all levels of Junior College Baseball have never been better? By OPS, or on-base plus slugging percentage (a measure of how well someone gets on base and how well someone hits for extra bases), the Junior College Baseball landscape has become a boom for offense. In 2021, Division 1 NJCAA baseball as a whole hit for an .895 OPS. .895! Third Place MVP selection Marcus Semien had an .873 OPS in the MLB for context.

At each level in junior college (JUCO) baseball, OPS has reached new heights, per the graph below.

NWAC Only has data available from 2019-Present

For those that do not know there are 3 divisions of NJCAA (comprised of schools east of California, Washington, and Oregon), the CCCAA (comprised of California Junior Colleges), and the NWAC (comprised of schools in the Pacific Northwest).

It’s important to understand each level’s talent pool, as four-year schools are looking to acquire junior college players to fill more immediate roles for the most part. Meaning, a player with an .850 OPS in NJCAA-1 in 2021 is not the same as a player with an .850 OPS in the CCCAA.

On the pitching side, we observe by ERA.

Examining it closely, we see that the CCCAA-1 and NJCAA-1 are typically among the best when looking at all years. The NWAC was the best last year. How does this make sense? Shouldn’t the NJCAA-1 have the highest ERA because it has the highest OPS? That’s where talent pools come in. Some colleges have access to better players than others, which applies to any level of college baseball. The junior college players that have 1.200 or more OPS, 2.5 or lower ERAs, etc., are more than likely going to a Division 1 school, possibly a power 5.

Looking at run differential, we observe this:

Per Run Differential per number of schools in each level, the CCCAA grades the best, though, unfortunately, they have the luxury of better weather.

This can help us understand talent. The CCCAA has the greatest access to talent, then the NJCAA-1, so on and so forth.

Another way to look at talent is by strikeouts and walks. Strikeout-to-walk ratio for both pitchers and hitters are vital to team success.

Pitchers K/BB by league

By K/BB, NJCAA-1 has the best talent level there around 1.8 to 1.9. The NWAC and the CCCAA flip-flopped in 2021, while NJCAA-2 is the most consistent in K/BB, a middle of the pack league in terms of talent.

What about hitters?

Hitters K/BB by league

As for the hitters, NJCAA-1 is the most consistent, though the NJCAA-2 and the CCCAA saw big increases in 2021.

When understanding talent level, the best of the best JUCO players will find their way into a D1 school. However, the real value is understanding these numbers and utilizing it to your advantage.

Thanks for reading.