The Colorado High School Activities Association has instituted the new Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) system for nearly every prep sport in Colorado starting next season and baseball is serving as the guinea pig this spring.
So far, the new RPI system is working out great for the Silver Creek baseball team.
The Raptors, who are sitting with a comfortable 6-1 record early in spring, are slated firmly atop the statewide RPI standings for Class 4A with a 0.633 score. It may take Colorado's prep baseball teams a little while to adjust to the RPI system but the Raptors, either intentionally or unintentionally, appear to be ahead of the curve.
"I think what everybody was talking about was the strength of schedule piece of it," Raptors head coach Mike Apodaca said. "I think the RPI system is trying to get it to where everybody is using the same thing. It used to just be a number of automatic bids, then it was the wild card points and now it's RPI. I think it's trying to curtail the unevenness piece of it, because leagues change in how competitive they are each year, and I think it looks like it's working."
The RPI system rates each team based 25 percent on that team's winning percentage, 50 percent on that team's opponents' overall winning percentage, and 25 percent on the winning percentage of the opponents of that team's opponents. Since it was ruled at the January CHSAA legislative council meeting that out-of-state competition would factor into baseball teams' RPI this spring, Silver Creek's 3-0 trip to Arizona has already proven beneficial, especially given the uncooperative Colorado weather in March.
While Silver Creek received a ratings boost from its out-of-state wins, the nearby Erie and Longmont clubs, neither of which have out-of-state games factoring into their ratings, are rated comfortably at 19th and 20th, respectively. It may be early in the season, but Erie head coach Harold Simmons said he likes the RPI system so far and expects that it will likely produce a more accurately-seeded state tournament.
"My general thoughts are that it's going to be roughly the same as the wild card points," Simmons said. "We crunched the numbers based on last year's playoff seeding and we would have been seeded similarly. But I think it will affect teams differently, especially some of those teams that were lower seeds, like when Mountain View won a couple years back as a really low seed."
Simmons also said he expects the new system to open up new opportunities for some teams, like encouraging inter-classification competition. But given that his team, and others, are still locked in to their two-year commitments, the real adjustment period likely won't begin until next season from a scheduling standpoint.
"That might be the million dollar question: figuring out how that's changed and where you can get that advantage," Simmons said. "You want to play teams that can win games and that you know you can beat. But right now, we're just going to out and try to win every game so that part hasn't changed at all."
Centaurus (27th), Mead (28th) and Holy Family (29th) are also in the early-season 4A RPI top 30.
In 5A, Legacy is 15th and Monarch is 31st. Fairview, which upset top-ranked Regis Jesuit on Monday, is 34th. Boulder is 41st, and Broomfield is 42nd.
Jefferson Academy is 29th in 3A and Dawson School is 25th in 2A.