Moderator: Will Kimmey will stop by at 3 p.m. ET to talk about the Baseball America All-American teams and the College World Series.
Mark from Boston asks: Who from this All-American Team would you pick to be the best pro?
Welcome all. I hope everyone’s as excited about the CWS as I am. I’d
type in all caps with 10 exclamation points to indicate that emotion,
but I know how annoying that is to read.
Will Kimmey: I’ll
take Andrew Miller from the pitchers category. He’s the player of the
year for two big reasons: He dominated competition all season and he’s
the best prospect in his class. I like Matt Wieters over all the
hitters. He’s the best all-around switch hitter in college baseball
since Mark Teixeira wore the same Yellow Jackets garb. And if Wieters
stays behind the plate (and most think he will), you’re talking a
premium bat at a premium position.
Mark from Boston asks: What team did David Price make? Does he project as the #1 pick for 2007?
Price will likely make Team USA in a few weeks here. That’s a fine
team. He had the stuff and showed flashes of dominance, but in the end
he was not consistent enough throughout the season to grab one of the
last 2-3 spots on the pitching staff. He was squarely in the mix,
Mark from Boston asks: When
you look at the numbers of Brad Lincoln and Tim Lincecum, they both
have better numbers than Andrew Miller this year. Why did Miller win
the player of the year award? Was it because of the conference he
This was surely a pitching dominated year, and you should throw the
other two first-team pitchers into the discussion as well in Wes Roemer
and Eddie Degerman. This was as close a year for this honor as I can
recall, with no one player distinguishing himself as say Jered Weaver
did in 2004. All of these guys had Weaver type seasons.
Here’s why Miller ended up the pick: BA is a player
development-oriented publication, and most things we do have that
slant. It’s why you might have a player with bigger offensive numbers
than a player on this team who was beaten out for a spot by a better
prospect with a still strong season. Miller was the best prospect in
his class, so that carried some weight. He dominated in the ACC, a
league that sends four teams to Omaha to show its strength rates ahead
of what you saw in the Pac-10, Big West or Conference USA.
Will Kimmey: To separate Miller from Lincoln and
Lincecum specifically, he was at his best in the biggest moment,
dominating Alabama, the SEC co-champ, in super-regionals to send his
team to Omaha. Lincoln lost in regionals, while Lincecum lost his last
two conference starts when his team needed a win to stay alive for the
Carlos from Bronx NY asks: IF Pedro Alvarez was a Junior, do you think he would have been a 1st round Draft Pick?
That’s very likely. It was a down year for position players and there
were some late first-round positon players from the prep ranks that
might be construed as teams reaching for positon guys. Alvarez not only
proved precocious in his power production, but also his plate
discipline. When teams stopped pitching to him, he took his walks and
still mashed what he could.
Alex from Fullerton asks: What
a match up on Friday between UNC’s Miller & CSUF’s Roemer. I think
it is the best CWS first round game. I say CSUF wins with thier
agressive small ball offense.
It’d be hard to find a better one, huh? Jim Callis and Kirk Bohls
agreed this is the best Omaha mound matchup since Texas’ Kirk
Dressendorfer faced LSU’s Ben McDonald in 1989. I think Fullerton’s
style of play will prove interesting against these three ACC teams.
Most southeastern teams play more of an extra-bases type offensive
approach, so the defensive mechanations will be interesting to follow.
UNC coach Mike Fox sat regular third baseman Reid Fronk on the bench in
the opener against Alabama in favor of a better defender in Garret Gore.
Ryan from Anaheim asks: Why
doesn’t anyone give credit to players who play good defense, bunt,
steal, and do all the little things great. There is more to baseball
than hitting HR’s and driving in RBI’s.
I think seeing Justin Turner and Zack Cozart on this list are examples
of us giving that credit. Those two players might be among the nation’s
best at their postions defensively, and while their raw offensive
numbers might not outstrip some others at their positions, they’re
rewarded for the little things. Defense is important, yes, and that’s a
factor. But only being great defensively does not an All-American make.
Eric from Westchester asks: Your favorite to win the CWS?
I think I’m seeing a Fullerton-Rice final because of the type of
pitching and defense both of those teams offer. But really, this is a
wide open year. Clemson may not have the mound dominator, but it has
great depth there and a strong offense and defense. North Carolina has
two first-rounders on the mound and a slugging offense. Oregon State
has all kinds of CWS-tested arms and a strong defense and team offense
approach. The Beavers are a sleeper if there is one. And Georgia always
seems to find a way to win. Miami and Georgia Tech don’t match up as
well on the mound, but that hasn’t stopped Miami yet, while GT might
just bash its way through.
Russ from NY asks: The Yellow Jackets need to have some pretty good pitching to win the CWS, right?
Pitching is the question mark, because this is the best and scariest
offense in the CWS. Blake Wood and Lee Hyde threw well against College
of Charleston, but every team in Omaha has a better offense than the
Cougars. I do remember that GT beat both Clemson and UNC in three-game
series at home this season, so the Jackets have a shot.
Jeff from Corpus Christi asks: I
kept looking for anything on Chad Huffman from TCU all year and all I
could find was not much from BA. How did you guys miss this guy? He hit
almost .400 with 18 or 19 HR’s and went in the 2nd round! And I don’t
think it was an “overdraft”, Peter Gammons mentioned him a few months
back as someone the Red Sox were targeting in the first couple rounds!
Will Kimmey: He’s on the third team, as DH.
Mick from Chicago asks: What’s
up with Josh Horton’s power surge? The play by play guys for the super
regionals were really talking him up. Also, I read on B.A.’s site that
a scout was not impressed with his defense. It does not seem like he
lacks the tools to play SS. What is the his area of concern?
He’s a great hitter with a good approach, so he always gets his hits.
He’s just happened to get pitches he could really handle lately, out
over the plate such as in that first AB vs Alabama’s Wade LeBlanc.
Defensively, Horton has the tools to become a good defender, but as
much as he makes the impressive play, his large error total comes from
some lack of concentration plays. He’s a strong prospect still because
of his bat, and he might end up a great fit as a pro 2B or 3B.
Robert from NY asks: Is Kellen Kulbacki a real deal first round type pick next year?
His power and hitting ability are legit, and he’s a great athlete.
James Madison didn’t play a great schedule, but scouts who saw Kulbacki
this season will be sitting on him next year, trying to see where in
the first two rounds he goes. He’ll be in the Cape Cod League this
summer, and his performance there should be telling.
Mike from Columbia, SC asks: How come Carolina’s Justin Smoak wasn’t an All-American? Something like 14 of his 17 big flies came in SEC play.
It’s numbers, man. We only get three first basemen, and actually snuck
a fourth one in at DH. Josh Morris just got squeezed out with 23 bombs
on the year. First base is always loaded with big bats. You’ll see
Smoak on the All-Freshman team when that comes out after the CWS. So
there’s a sneak preview.
Yoda from Hiding from Sith Vader asks: Sean
Coughlin good year did he have…All American selection he was
not…Selection closeness was he. Run now must I for Vader on my
trails. Many Thanks young Jedi.
In the mix for the last spot along with three or four other names, he
was. A better defender, Valverde was. Offensively more excellent and a
better prospect was Newton.
Mike from Minneapolis asks: I
know it’s VERY early…but you know us BA fans – never can get enough.
What might next year’s pre-season All American Team look like if you
selected today? Thank you!
This year’s team had as many sophomores and freshamores as I can
remember. So a lot of these underclassmen are going to crop back up.
But the rest of that list will take shape over the summer when we see
how players perform in summer leagues and with Team USA. Brandon Morrow
was a first-team preseason choice last year and ended up as a
first-rounder. He might not have even been mentioned at this point last
year, following an ERA near 9.00 as a soph.
Jim from Fullerton asks: How
come the West Coast is asked every year to beat up on each other? This
seems unjust when you look at other Regionals. Luckily this does not
phase the Titans! They are making their 3rd trip in 4 years. Justin
Turner & Danny Dorn have made all three of those trips. The Big
West and the rest of the West Coast deserve more respect! Where is the
Big 12 with all of their bids??????????????
The Stanford-OSU matchup was set to be Texas vs OSU. I understand the
point of always seeing the West Coast schools in showdowns, but looking
at the other side of the coin, what would happen if the West Coast was
matched up only with ACC and SEC schools and all the East schools won?
The West might not have any representation at all. That’s not totally
likely, but it was a point made to me once when I asked the same
question you posed. Looks like the Big 12’s year was 2005, when three
teams made it to Omaha and Texas won.
Kevin from Mobile,AL asks: What were the considerations for David Freese at USA? He hit .415 with 12 HR’s and 70 or so RBI’s
He was in the mix at 3B, and fellow SBCer SS Tom King, who hit hit 400
with 34 doubles at Troy. But those positions were very deep in talent.
Both men were in the discussion because of those impressive numbers,
but we ultimately chose players who still enjoyed strong seasons but
carried more prospect cache. Again, it’s how BA works and what our
readers have come to expect from us.
Kevin Meadows from Lexington, KY asks: Which SEC team do you think will have the most success in the CWS?
Will Kimmey: I’ll bet all my money on Georgia. Even if the Bulldogs go 0-2, they’re the only team from the league that showed up in Omaha.
tiffythetitan from Oakland, CA asks: Any need for us Fullerton fans to be worried about Horton taking the LSU job?
Only if Skip Bertman wants to make him the first college coach with a
seven-figure salary. Things fit too well for Horton at Fullerton. He’s
got a nice home there, his wife has a good job, and the school has a
tremendous Orange County talent pipeline. He can get to Omaha every
year with players he only needs to drive an hour to recruit. He’s the
best available candidate, and he’ll get a call as he has before.
Ultimately, I think he’s staying a Titan.
John from Lexington, KY asks: Who do you see LSU hiring? Do you think Kentucky can keep Cohen long term?
Alabama’s Jim Wells seemed a hot name a week ago, but maybe the
super-regional letdown slides him down a bit. Carl Dubois wrote in the
Baton Rouge Advocate that Vandy’s Tim Corbin interviewed, and that’d be
a neat hire. Then again, he used the Auburn opening two years ago to
get a nice raise. LSU is one of the best three or four jobs in the
country, and anyone would be silly not to listen. I just had a coach
call and tell me that if Mike Bianco (Mississippi) has ever hit the
pillow with dreams of coaching LSU, now’s the time to make it happen.
He’s still the most likely guy in my mind, new home and great success
at Ole Miss included. I think Steve Smith would do a great job, and
maybe an inspired choice could be Oregon State’s Pat Casey. The only
man in the nation to go to Omaha the last two years.
Josh from Asheville, NC asks: How do you see the CWS playing out? Which of the four ACC teams has the best chance to win a national championship?
If North Carolina beats Fullerton and gets a strong start out of Bard,
that team is scary. I still like Fullerton a bit more in that game.
Whichever team wins the UNC-CSF contest is a co-favorite of mine with
Clemson on that side. The Tigers have the most pitching, but CSF and
UNC have three great arms that could help either sweep through. Give me
Will Kimmey: On the other side, I like Oregon
State and Rice the most. Oklahoma is a very good offensive team, but
Rice still looked much more hittable than I expected in the super.
Oregon State has great pitching and saw great arms all year in the Pac.
I’m still leaning toward Rice, but I’ve got OSU as a close second and
my sleeper to win it all.
Will Kimmey: That’s it for today. Next time you hear from me, it will be live from back home in Omaha.