The NUmbers Guy, Jim Sannes (@JimSannes), investigates the numbers behind Northwestern softball’s Marisa Bast, whose #BastMode has fueled the Wildcats this season.
Photo Credit: nusports.com
After the debacle that was last week’s column, I figured it was time for me to go back to the promised land of numbers and stay away from Photoshop and fictional characters. Mostly the Photoshop part. So, let’s venture back to the greener, non-Hulkish pastures of Northwestern softball to talk about their sophomore sensation, Marisa Bast. Okay, okay, okay, hold your horses! I know we already talked about Bast earlier this season when we talked about the three-headed monster of Adrienne Monka, Emily Allard and Bast. However (say that in a Stephen A. Smith voice for a little extra spice on your Wednesday), the numbers Bast has put up this year would make Josh Hamilton blush, so she deserves some face time of her own. Let’s take a look at some stats more mind-boggling than Justin Bieber’s Jesus tat, which is saying a lot.
1.294: Bast’s OPS this season.
To give you some context, Albert Pujols’s career OPS is 1.028, and he’s Albert freaking Pujols. I could fill Lake Titicaca with the amount of spittle I’ve excreted because of this number. Also, excrete is the second most disgusting word in the English language behind moist. I apologize. But not really. The second highest OPS on the team is Adrienne Monka’s 1.204, and the highest on the baseball team is Kyle Ruchim’s .764, which is 41 percent lower than Bast’s. When batting behind a person like Monka that gets on base all the time, Bast’s .767 slugging percentage is huge, and it has helped lead the Wildcats to the third most runs in the Big Ten.
60: Number of runs Bast has driven in this season.
She has more than doubled her run production from last season where she drove in 28. She leads the Big Ten in this category by nine runs over (guess who?) her teammate, Monka. She will most likely come up short of the all-time Northwestern record of 70 RBI’s by Garland Cooper in 2007, but she has a great shot of passing Nicole Pauly (62) for second place all time this weekend against Illinois. Bast has also recorded more than 23 percent of Northwestern’s RBI’s this season. If Adrian Gonzalez had recorded 23 percent of the RBI’s for the Boston Red Sox last season, he would have had 193. Now, that is an awful lot of math for a journalism major, so I’m probably going to die soon. If this article stops abruptly, a) you’re welcome, and b) you know why.
13: The number of home runs Bast has hit this season.
This number is the highest in the Big Ten, tied with (of course) Monka and Ohio State’s Alicia Herron. Bast only had nine total extra base hits last season. The old phrase used to be, “Chicks dig the long ball,” which I guess makes me a chick. Sadly, this is not the first or even seventh time I have been labeled as such (kindergarten was rough, man). With this kind of production, you would assume that Northwestern’s record would be better than 24-27, but, alas, the ‘Cats are clearly cursed. I will take partial blame for that, as I have called 28 wins and 52 losses in my broadcasting career, which equates to a winning percentage of .350. Here’s to hoping that I work for the Chicago White Sox one day.
9: The number of statistical categories in which Bast ranks in the top four of Big Ten softball players.
Yowza. If you’re ready, here’s the list. We’ll put her conference rank in parentheses. Batting average (1st), slugging percentage (2nd), on-base percentage (2nd), runs scored (3rd), hits (T-3rd), RBI (1st), triples (T-4th), home runs (T-1st), and total bases (1st). Which lists is she not at the top of? The biggest two are strikeouts (she has walked more times – 26 – than she has struck out – 24) and double plays grounded into, which she has yet to do this season. Bast hates getting out more than Busta Rhymes hates breathing. If she can finish the weekend with more home runs than Monka and Herron, she will win the Big Ten softball triple crown, which, I assume, is significantly more important than that other triple crown that involves ponies running in circles.
Well, kiddos, what did we learn today? First, we learned that Marisa Bast is really good at softball, Second…. Honestly, that’s about it. You should know by now that this column is not a center for learning, but, rather, an outlet for you to lose brain cells and feel bad about yourself. It’s okay, though, because you can cleanse your mind of such filth by catching Bast in action this weekend right here on WNUR. Join us for a fun-filled Friday of fast-pitch funtivities as we bring you both games of the team’s double-header with Illinois. Game 1 will kick off with the pre-game show at 1:40 with first pitch at 2:00 on the air at 89.3 FM or here at sports.wnur.org. Game 2 will follow on our Internet Only stream, where the FCC can’t control us! It’ll get wild, crazy, and off-the-hook foh shizzle.