Memphis left-handed pitcher Taylor Bobo is 5-8 and 155 pounds, Kentucky's Sean Hjelle is 6-11 and 225 pounds, and most college pitchers are somewhere in between. We wondered: what height are the most successful college baseball pitchers?

Here's how we tried to answer that:

We compiled the 2017 pitching stats from 50 Division I college baseball programs including every team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last season and at least four schools from the AAC, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. We calculated four stats collectively for each height – ERA, WHIP, winning percentage and strikeouts per nine innings – then ranked each height for each category from best to worst.

The most productive height in a given statistical category earned one point, the second-most productive height earned two points, and so on. We then added each height's point totals from the four categories for an aggregate score. The lowest overall aggregate score was deemed the most productive height for a college baseball pitcher in 2017.

Here's what we found:

  • 5-10 was the best height to be a successful pitcher, barely
  • The next best height was 6-6
  • Pitchers who were 6-3 collectively had the most saves, 167; 6-2 had the next most (147)
  • 6-3 was also the most common height with 130 pitchers, slightly more common than 6-1 (126) and 6-2 (123)
  • Most pitchers fall within the 12-inch range from 5-9 to 6-8, only five of the 753 pitchers examined fell outside this range
  • Pitchers who were 6-5 were the biggest innings eaters, averaging 45.3 innings pitched per player

 

Of course, pitchers of any height can be successful. The aforementioned 6-11 Hjelle was the SEC Pitcher of the Year last season after going 11-4 with 3.89 ERA. Former North Carolina starter J.B. Bukauskas, who's 6-feet tall, went 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA.

ALL-TIME STARTING NINES: Arizona | Florida State | LSU | Texas

Note: While we collected data for the height of each pitcher on all 50 teams examined, pitchers who are 5-7, 6-9, 6-10, and 6-11 are rare enough that we didn't count those heights in the rankings because the sample sizes are too small.

Height ERA Rank WHIP Rank W-L Rank Ks/9 IP Rank Score
5-10 1 1 3 2 7
6-6 2 2 1 7 12
5-11 7 3 5 1 16
6-5 3 4 7 5 20
6-0 5 6 2 7 21
6-2 6 4 8 3 21
6-1 4 6 6 6 23
6-3 8 8 10 4 30
6-7 9 9 4 9 31
5-9 10 12 9 10 41
6-4 11 11 12 11 45
6-8 12 10 11 12 45

ERA

Height Earned Runs Innings Pitched ERA
5-10 347 870 3.59
6-6 559 1360.1 3.70
6-5 1176 2719.1 3.89
6-1 1718 3942.1 3.92
6-0 1544 3512.1 3.96
6-2 2061 4644 3.99
5-11 519 1143.2 4.08
6-3 2160 4751 4.09
6-7 331 692 4.30
5-9 147 281 4.71
6-4 1193 2269 4.73
6-8 121 225.1 4.83

WHIP

Height Walks Hits Innings Pitched WHIP
5-10 284 832 870 1.18
6-6 512 1247 1360.1 1.29
5-11 449 1054 1143.2 1.31
6-2 1731 4381 4644 1.32
6-5 1015 2585 2719.1 1.32
6-0 1375 3289 3512.1 1.33
6-1 1622 3637 3942.1 1.33
6-3 1933 4560 4751 1.37
6-7 352 608 692 1.39
6-8 103 218 225.1 1.42
6-4 977 2310 2269 1.45
5-9 120 296 281 1.48

Winning percentage

Height Wins Losses Win %
6-6 103 40 .720
6-0 241 141 .630
5-10 63 38 .623
6-7 46 28 .621
5-11 77 47 .620
6-1 269 165 .619
6-5 187 116 .617
6-2 317 210 .601
5-9 23 16 .589
6-3 308 229 .573
6-8 14 12 .538
6-4 132 126 .511

Strikeouts per nine innings

Height Ks/9 IP
5-11 8.73
5-10 8.65
6-2 8.56
6-3 8.42
6-5 8.39
6-1 8.19
6-6 8.12
6-0 8.12
6-7 8.09
5-9 8.01
6-4 7.60
6-8 6.03

Andy Wittry has written for SI.com, Sporting News, the Indianapolis Star, Louisville Courier-Journal and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.