This is the toughest the DII baseball Power 10 rankings have been in a long time, which is typically sign of a great season. While the Big Three — North Greenville, Tampa and Angelo State — can't be denied, spots 4-15 are just about as close as it gets.
The difference with DII baseball, and why it is important to look at it weekly, is how many games are played between each ranking. It can drastically change the top 10 in a matter of innings, in which it has this week.
FLASHBACK: Check out last week's Power 10
So, what are some of the things that change those standings so quickly? Well, we have a larger sample size for every team now (not just the ones fortunate to start the first week of February), so winning percentage matters, as does strength of schedule. Those are two very big pieces in RPI (along with opponents' winning percentage), so that also helps our picture become a little clearer.
So, yes, teams like Southern Arkansas, Lenoir-Rhyne and Cal State San Bernardino dropped to the "First five out" this week, but it is as close as it has ever been, and I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the roller coaster that this year's Power 10 is continues next week.
This is your weekly reminder that these are my rankings and mine alone. Unlike a coaches poll or the regional rankings, I try to blend a little of each to give you a snapshot of the moment. That means I use the good ol' eye test but do consider metrics the selection committee uses come May (things like strength of schedule, in-region records, and records against ranked opponents to name a few). This also helps in making my weekly "Field of 56" projections for the DII baseball championship bracket.
The third DII baseball Power 10 rankings of 2023 season
(All games through March 19)
No. 1 North Greenville | Previous: 1: The Crusaders are a fine-tuned machine right now and with Marek Chlup back from the World Baseball Classic, all the pieces of the potential repeat run are back together. Chlup went 4-for-10 in his weekend return, a series in which the Crusaders won by outscoring their opponent 34-3. This is the best team in DII baseball right now but have a tremendous series this weekend against UNC Pembroke so there is no time for them to rest.
No. 2 Tampa | Previous: 2: The Spartans began their week with a loss to nationally ranked Valdosta State, but closed the week with a huge statement by sweeping nationally ranked Florida Southern. Tampa has a 0.833 winning percentage against a 0.561 SOS, so clearly its RPI is right up there with North Greenville. E.J. Cumbo and J.D. Urso are hitting just about everything thrown their way and the pitching staff has led the way to an 11-2 record in one of the toughest regions in DII baseball. The schedule doesn't relent with Nova Southeastern, Rollins, another midweeker against Valdosta State, and Florida Tech all on deck.
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No. 3 Angelo State | Previous: 3: The Rams are just a statistical juggernaut at this point. They are second in DII, hitting .359 as a team with an on-base percentage of .476 while scoring 10.4 runs per game — fourth-best in DII. They are also tied for third in fielding percentage, allowing these pitchers to pitch to contact and have faith in their fielders. Mason Bryant is a strikeout machine with 13.50 per nine, but Kade Bragg and Aaron Munson have been pretty much dominant through seven starts so far.
No. 4 Quincy | Previous: 6: The Hawks are rolling and after wild opening game to their GLVC schedule, settled in and won their last three in a row. They have one of the best winning percentages against the second toughest SOS in DII baseball, so there is no questioning that this is the team to beat in the Midwest right now. Lance Logsdon just became the career leader in home runs for the Hawks, but Luke Napleton (10 home runs), Nolan Wosman (seven home runs), and Austin Simpson (six home runs) lead the way for this potent offense that has put up 151 earned runs in 18 games. We still need to see consistency in the starting rotation, but the offense can carry the way for now.
No. 5 Montevallo | Previous: 7: The Falcons are now 21-4 and have won four in a row. They have an 11-3 record in the South Region, an impressive feat in its own, and have played a SOS well above .500. Statistically, this offense can rake with Sam Kuchinski (.434, 1.422 OPS, seven doubles, nine home runs) and Luke Mitchell (.407, 1.323 OPS, eight doubles and five home runs) leading the way, but have Ben Teel and Asa Awbrey providing plenty of extra pop. The starting rotation has a bunch of strikeout artists, so this is simply one of the more rounded teams in DII baseball.
No. 6 Millersville| Previous: "First five out": The Marauders yo-yo ride in and out of the Power 10 this year continues, this week shooting all the way back up to six amid a six-game winning streak. While I still want to see how they respond to the tougher schedule ahead, this team is undefeated in Atlantic Region play and clearly the team to beat in a part of the country that has representation in the championship seemingly every other year. The starting rotation will be the key, as Carson Kulina, Ben Wilchacky, and Alex Mykut currently have a solid 2.74 combined ERA and 103 strikeouts in 105.1 innings pitched.
No. 7 Rollins | Previous: 10 (tie): Another weekend, which means another series win. This one came against SSC foe Florida Tech, which is no easy task. Parker Smith (nine home runs) is well on his way to shatter last year's total of 11 and like last year, Jeslyn Whitehead shows great bat-to-ball skills, currently hitting .379. The pitching needs to be more consistent, especially with the nightmare stretch the Tars have ahead in Barry, Florida Southern, Tampa, Eckerd, and Colorado Mesa all in a row. We'll learn a lot quickly about this team.
No. 8 Illinois Springfield | Previous: 8: When you take away the opening series of the season, the Prairie Stars are 15-3, which is not bad for a team that was expected to be going through a bit of a rebuilding phase. Ryan Carmack continues to lead DII with a whopping 19.04 strikeouts per nine, but Chad Saner and Connor McKenna are also big-time strikeout pitchers. It is going to be tough to beat UIS in the GLVC, which makes the coming Quincy showdown even more exciting.
No. 9 Columbus State | Previous: 4: I can see this not making sense to some with how hot USC Aiken is and losing the series this past weekend, but let's not forget, the combined score of the entire series was 9-8. All three games were decided by one run, and the Cougars may remember that down the road when the two likely meet again. The Cougars are still a very good and balanced baseball team with a solid overall resume thus far. That said, with two tough teams in West Florida and Young Harris lying ahead in the coming weeks, the Cougars are in must win mode to stay in these rankings and in the competitive Southeast Region rankings as well.
No. 10 (tie) West Georgia, Wingate| Previous: "First five out" and "Just missed," respectively: Wingate swept Lenoir-Rhyne this past weekend, bumping its SAC rivals from the Power 10 and taking their stead. It's been a bumpy ride so far for the former national champs, with sweeps of Lenoir-Rhyne and Charleston (WV), but pivotal midweek losses to regional foes Mount Olive and UNC Pembroke. Still, there is a lot of veterans on this team that make them scary.
We just can't overlook the Wolves right now. They have one of the best records in the division, a tough SOS, and a huge series win against both Lee and Valdosta State that they are checking all the postseason boxes. Add in Anthony Calabro, who is showing no signs of slowing down at all at the plate, and this a finely tuned machine right now.
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First five (ish) out:
I said it was close. There are a few extra teams this week.
- Arkansas Tech: Call me crazy, but this team has played one of the toughest schedules in all of DII and is sitting at 19-7 to show for it. The Wonder Boys also have a slew of signature wins over potential tourney teams like Southern Arkansas, Central Missouri, Chico State and a sweep of Henderson State.
- Cal State San Bernardino: The Coyotes are just fine, so don't let them slipping out of the Power 10 fool you. A nice test lays ahead in Cal Poly Pomona after a series split with a sneaky San Francisco State team. This lineup has a seemingly perfect blend of power and contact hitters.
- East Stroudsburg: What separates PSAC foes West Chester and the Warriors are decimal points, and that slim margin cancels each other out from either earning a spot in the top 10. That said, this is a 17-3 ball club that already has a commanding sweep of SNHU this year, giving them a higher ranking than the Golden Rams for now.
- Lenoir-Rhyne: It was a tough weekend for the Bears, but they still have some of the better tournament metrics in the region. That tells you the kind of schedule they've played. Based on the talent this team has in all aspects of the game, I'm not dropping them any lower... for now.
- Southern Arkansas: The Muleriders are a strong 18-7 and rebounded from a sweep by Henderson State with its own sweep of Southern Nazarene, scoring 40 runs in the three-game affair. This team has veteran hitting and solid starting pitching. With a few more wins, they'll be back in the Power 10.
- St. Edward's: The Hilltoppers keep crossing off signature wins within the LSC, this weekend adding UT Tyler to the list of series wins. Connor Cox has been great at the plate, hitting .429 with five home runs while Luke Short anchors the rotation, now 5-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched.
- USC Aiken: We have to pay attention to the Pacers, especially after the most recent series win over PBC foes Columbus State. Another big series against Young Harris awaits this weekend and a sweep could propel them into the Power 10. This team gets it done with balance in all aspects of the game.
Just missed (in alphabetical order)
- Charleston (WV)
- Colorado Mesa
- Florida Southern
- Hawaii Hilo
- Mount Olive
- Minnesota State
- Missouri Southern
- MSU Denver
- Point Loma
- Southern New Hampshire
- Valdosta State
- Wayne State (MI)
- West Chester