We held off on doing a Power Rankings last week because so few games had been played since the last one. Also, we had to re-watch Game of Thrones before the season premiere. Pretty standard stuff really. Before a big weekend of games, getting a Power Rankings out there is necessary.
1. Wesleyan (12-4, 3-0). Last Ranking: 1
The Cardinals have won their four games since we last made these rankings so they remain solidly at the top. Williams came close to beating Wesleyan in the final game, and in the process they reminded us that Wesleyan is far from unbeatable. What makes the Cardinals the best in the NESCAC is that they have no weaknesses. Take defense, an area where NESCAC teams often struggle to have consistency. As a team, Wesleyan has only 17 errors, the lowest in the NESCAC and good enough for the best fielding percentage as well. Even more impressive is that the Cardinals are yet to have a game where they commit more than two errors. Not making errors is sexy, and it helps win ball games.
2. Amherst (10-6, 3-0). Last Ranking: 3
Anytime you AVERAGE 20 runs per game over a three game stretch like the Jeffs did this weekend against Middlebury, we are going to take notice. Plenty of gaudy stat lines came out of it as a result, but the best one goes to NESCAC Player of the Week 2B Andrew Vandini ’16. Vandini went 8-12, walked four times, scored eight runs, knocked in 14 teammates, and hit two home runs during the weekend. He did strike out one time so there is room for improvement. The Jeffs can pretty much cement their place in the playoffs if they win their series against Williams this weekend.
3. Tufts (15-4, 2-1). Last Ranking: 2
The Jumbos drop a spot but we actually feel better about them now than we did two weeks ago. The conference loss to Bowdoin is the only one in their last 12 games, and Tufts is currently on a six-game winning streak. Kyle Slinger ’15 looked good once again this weekend against Brandeis and has now put his early season injury problems completely behind him. Also, don’t worry about Tufts striking out 112 times, the second most in the league. That’s because they employ a patient approach which is why they have 90 walks, 21 more than any other team.
4. Colby (11-4, 2-1). Last Ranking: 4
Are you buying or selling stock in Colby right now? They are 4-1 against NESCAC opponents (they won two non-conference games against Hamilton), and their one loss came on a walk-off homer. Yet, the starts of some of their offensive players are almost too good to believe. Chiefly, Tommy Forese ’16 who has hit four home runs and has an OBP of .500 after only getting 14 at-bats and hitting .214 last season. Others like Tim Corey ’15 are also enjoying big bumps in production from a year ago. The Mules have gotten somewhat limited production from Jason Buco ’15, so if others take a step back he could pick up the slack.
5. Bates (6-7, 1-1). Last Ranking: 5
The Bobcats are the slightest of smidgeons above the Polar Bears in our minds right now. The fact that the teams split a doubleheader on Sunday in which neither game was close certainly did us no favors in figuring out which team to put ahead of the other. Connor Colombo ’16 has emerged as one of the starters who will get the ball every weekend, but he has still only thrown 15.0 innings, the highest of any Bates starter. Seventeen different pitchers have thrown a full inning, a crazy high amount that shows how unsettled the pitching rotation is. Manager Mike Leonard will have to be able to push the right buttons to make sure the best guys get on the mound.
6. Bowdoin (7-11, 2-3). Last Week: 6
The overall record still does not look great, and the Polar Bears are stuck in neutral for the moment. Peter Cimini ’16 has struggled with an injury that has kept him out for most of the season, and the lineup has not hit well outside of a couple of core players like Chad Martin ’16 and Aaron Rosen ’15. Do they have a weekend where they can play well in every aspect of the game and sweep their opponent? They play at Wesleyan in a non-conference doubleheader Saturday. A good performance against the Cardinals could give them a little more confidence as they enter the stretch run.
7. Williams (6-9, 3-3). Last Ranking: 8
Getting swept by Wesleyan is not the worst thing in the world, but it does put pressure on Williams this weekend against Amherst. A series win is almost a must to keep the Ephs above .500. Both Dan Smith ’16 and Thomas Murphy ’15 have ERA’s close to 8.00, though Smith did contain the Wesleyan lineup enough to give Williams a chance in the final game of the series. The Ephs are hoping that they can keep the games more low-scoring against the fearsome Amherst lineup
8. Trinity (9-7, 1-2). Last Ranking: 7
Trinity is bringing up the rear in the East for now mostly because their offense has simply lacked punch this year. Their rotation has the third-best ERA in the league, and Jed Robinson ’16 and Nick Fusco ’18 both have ERA’s below 1.00. The problem is the offense has a NESCAC-worst .338 OBP, a full 31 percentage points worse than the second-to-last team. Besides his walk-off home run, Daniel Pidgeon ’16 has struggled at the plate with a .189 BA. He and other Bantam mainstays have to become more consistent at the dish.
9. Hamilton (7-5, 0-0). Last Ranking: 9
The final NESCAC team without a game in conference play, the Continentals are itching to get going finally. The Continentals have played only one game since returning from their Florida trip on March 24 so we have very little new information on them. Cole Dreyfuss ’16 has been a revelation with a 1.33 ERA. He has pitched more than six innings in each of his three starts which is important because the bullpen for Hamilton has struggled. They plan to travel to Middlebury for their opening series on Friday, though the opener could be pushed to Saturday because of weather.
10. Middlebury (0-12, 0-6) Last Ranking: 10
The Panthers got smacked by a very good Amherst team last weekend as they continue to struggle. The one area where Middlebury has been decent is their offense. They are sixth in OBP, but their inability to hit for power or steal bases has hamstrung the offense. Catcher Max Araya ’16 and shortstop Johnny Read ’17 are both hitting above .350 while some of the freshmen are also hitting well. The Panthers will try to get their first win against Hamilton, a team they beat twice a year ago.