The coaches have selected their All-SEC baseball team, and three Mississippi State players were recognized. A lot of you probably think there should have been a fourth.
Junior relief pitcher (0-1, 1.41 ERA, 11 saves) was selected to the second team, and two Bulldogs are on the all-freshman team: Outfielder/pitcher C.T. Bradford and infielder Adam Frazier.
Bradford, MSU’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, is batting .292 with 29 RBIs and 32 runs scored, and he’s stolen nine bases in 15 attempts. On the mound he’s 0-0 with a 9.72 ERA and one save in seven appearances.
Frazier, a reserve who’s seen spot starting duty, is batting .250 with 14 RBIs and has a fielding percentage of .973 (three errors in 110 chances). He’s been a versatile bench guy who has played second base, shortstop and third base.
A notable omission is senior third baseman Jarrod Parks, who enters this week’s SEC Tournament as the league’s top hitter (.385), a distinction he’s held for most of the season. The two third basemen chosen by the coaches are Kentucky’s Thomas McCarthy and Vanderbilt’s Jason Esposito, both juniors.
Let’s do a quick statistical comparison of the three:
• Batting avg.: Parks .385, McCarthy .371, Esposito .346
• Slugging pct.: McCarthy .581, Parks .533, Esposito .533
• On-base pct.: Parks .529 (leads SEC), McCarthy .436, Esposito .416
• Runs scored: Parks 46, Esposito 46, McCarthy 32
• RBIs: Esposito 48, Parks 36, McCarthy 39
• Walks: Parks 41 (tied for SEC lead), McCarthy 19, Esposito 14
• Hit by pitch: Parks 17, Esposito 13, McCarthy 6
Parks is in the top 10 in six of those seven categories and is ahead of the other two in five categories. Esposito is top-10 in three, McCarthy in two. As for fielding percentage – which I don’t think the SEC does a good job of ranking appropriately – Parks is at .963 (four errors), Esposito is .918 (13 errors) and McCarthy is .886 (13 errors).
So Parks clearly wins the stats argument, for what that’s worth. Although as some have pointed out on Twitter, the SEC-only stats do not favor Parks so clearly (except fielding percentage). There’s the eyeball test, too, but man, it’s hard to see the logic behind jilting Parks in favor of those two.
It’s the second day in a row Parks has been denied an honor that many thought he deserved. On Monday he lost out on the Ferriss Trophy, which goes annually to the state’s top college baseball player. USM’s Tyler Koelling won.
“The Ferriss Trophy would’ve been nice, obviously the SEC honor would’ve been nice,” Parks said. “But they’re not near as nice as winning the SEC Tournament or winning a (NCAA) regional and making a Super Regional.”
By the way, today is Parks’ 23rd birthday.