Tuesday night was one of the games of the year, with a come from behind victory in the bottom of the ninth. Tech used five pitchers in that game (Hamilton, Jordan, Baughman, Ahlrich, and Griffen), but kept Nate Harris from making an appearance. Harris was still involved in the game, however. He was almost the first player out of the dugout after a big hit or a scored run. He made his presence known as a leader on this team.
Beyond being a team leader, he is undoubtedly Tech’s best pitcher, but just how good is he?
Before this past Sundays win at Old Dominion, Harris had a sub-1.00 ERA. Only five pitchers in the country can claim that right now. Still, even with a 1.02 ERA, Harris has the sixth best number in the collegiate ranks (minimum 1 inning pitched per game played by team). In the C-USA ranks, Harris is only slightly beat out by ODU’s Bainbridge:
ERA is generally hated by baseball statisticians, as it often a bad metric to judge a pitcher. So, let’s look at some other stats.
One of the most basic pitching stats is the K/BB, which is a ratio of strikeouts to walks. The higher the number, the more strikeouts and fewer walks a pitcher has. K/BB gives an idea of how good a pitcher’s control is over their pitches (how well they can hit their spots). Harris’s K/BB is 10.17, good for 6th in college baseball. Here is how Harris matches up against the best pitchers in C-USA (again, minimum 1 inning pitched per game played by team):
This is where Harris shows how dominant he is. Harris is far and away leading the pack. The gap between Harris and the next best pitcher is bigger than the gaps between the next six pitchers combined.
Harris started out the season as Tech’s everyday closer. If the game was on the line, Harris would come in and get Tech the win. However, with the problems in the starting rotation, Harris was pulled out of the pen and made the Sunday starter. He still makes the occasional save, but his status as a atypical flex pitcher makes this chart even more impressive:
Also, notice that these pitchers aren’t the same as the ones as those in the above charts. This is because closers often don’t pitch enough innings to be counted for the above stats. The only two closers with a sub 2.00 ERA are Muller and Sandlin. Muller has a 1.48 ERA and Sandlin has a 0.28 ERA, much better than Harris’s. However, Sandlin has almost half the innings pitched, so it is not possible to easily compare those two numbers.
- This season, only nine C-USA pitchers have pitched complete games. Harris and FAU’s House are the only ones with two
- Harris has a C-USA best WHIP (Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched). This measures how good a pitcher is at preventing batters from reaching base.
Against The Country
Harris has shown to be the best pitcher in C-USA (the only other possibilities are USM’s Sandlin and ODU’s Bainbridge), but here is how he matches up against the rest of the collegiate field. H/9 is hits allowed per nine innings pitched.
- WHIP: 2nd
- ERA: 6th
- K/BB: 6th
- Complete Games: 18th
- Saves: 20th
- H/9: 24th
It is typical for a very good collegiate pitcher to be Top 25 in a couple of these categories, but being in the Top 25 nationally in six different pitching categories shows just how special Harris is.