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2005 Dirtbags Compare Well With 2004 Team


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2005 Dirtbags Compare Well With 2004 Team

The Dirtbags struggled in mid-February, losing 5 straight (2 to USC, and 3 to Cal.). Other than this streak, they have gone 18-3, for a 18-8 overall record. They have won 13 of 17 since the losing streak. How does that compare with the 2004 team at this point?

After 28 games last season, also just before the first conference game, the Dirtbags were 20-8. Long Beach State is currently 19th in RPI as calculated by BoydsWorld, for games through March 27, 2005. Last season, at the same point, the Beach was 24th in RPI, and ranked 7th in the Baseball America poll, 8th in the coachs' poll (ESPN/Sports Weekly) and 11th in Collegiate Baseball (Long Beach State pdf with RPI and rankings). Today, they are 20th in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, 22nd in Baseball America and 24th in ESPN/Sports Weekly. Another measure of strength, compensating for bias against western teams in the RPI due to the relative scarcity of Division I schools, is BoydsWorld's Iterative Strength Ratings (ISR) (explained here). Currently, the Dirtbags are 6th in ISR. BoydsWorld doesn't list the 49ers ISR for the exact same point in the 2004 season, but one week earlier they were 6th in ISR, and one week later 5th.

The strength of the Dirtbags schedule is virtually identical, year to year. For the 2004 season, they played the 7th most difficult schedule in Division I. Currently, they have played the 4th most difficult schedule. And as a conference, the Big West has collectively played the most difficult schedule of any Division I league.

Bottom line, though the human polls have failed to recognize it (yet), the 2005 Long Beach State Dirtbags are in a virtual tie with the 2004 team. The RPI and ISR measure results compared against the results of other D-I teams. Both RPI (2004, 24th; 2005, 19th) and ISR (2004, 6th/5th; 2005, 6th) are nearly a dead heat. Though it would be difficult to say that the raw talent on the current Dirtbags matches up with the 2004 team, the current team has good depth and has appeared to have come together pulling all oars in unison.

posted on 3/29/2005 by Jeff Agnew

I appreciate your detailed analysis but I remain concerned that the offensive numbers and output are not at the same level as 2004 and in other CWS years...maybe the pop will appear in the second half...
Dan, offensive production is clearly an issue. But a couple of points give me less concern than I would otherwise have. First, TEAM pitching has been better to this point than last year. And there is definitely greater depth with this staff. IF Jared Hughes' performance against CSF is a harbinger of future performance, the Sunday pitching start will be better than last year. But even if pitching was a wash, the Dirtbags have been without their #1 offensive and defensive player in Tulo for 20 games, and were without Mocny and Boatright for a substantial amount of the first half. These three guys were the top 3 returning hitters...and almost all of the returning power hitting. With them back, and the offensive production we have seen from Jones, Godfrey and Longoria, I feel pretty safe in predicting improvement in run production.

I also think Tulo's glove most likely kept 2 or 3 hits off the board this past weekend. Tulo and Sindlinger make a great DB combo.

I'm not predicting a trip to the CWS, though I won't be surprised if it happens. This is a fairly cohesive team, and they may well out perform exceptations.
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