Joe from Michigan asks: Who of this year’s collegiate Closers should reach the majors the fastest?
Welcome back all. No special food treats for me today (shame on you
all), though I did enjoy some wonderful oatmeal cookies over the
Will Kimmey: I would have said Mark Melancon
before he came up with a sprained ligament two weeks ago. His polish
and three-pitch command both worked in his favor there. For now, I’ll
say there’s a chance that Washington’s Tim Lincecum ends up in
someone’s bullpen before the season ends. And Lincecum, with his 16
strikeouts Friday, helped five Baseball Americans beat four others in a
wager on whether he would be over or under 10.5 K’s against Oregon
State. Thanks, Timmy.
Mark from New Jersey asks: Who
is the biggest sleeper of this years Draft? What do you think of Scott
Sizemore as a professional? Can he be anywhere near as good as his
Tulane’s Mark Hamilton isn’t going to be a fifth-rounder or anything
like that, but I really feel he’s a first round talent because of his
batting eye and power. He’s got 15 homers this year and has been
playing half of his games in a Triple-A park. He’d be at 20 in Turchin
Will Kimmey: Scott Sizemore isn’t the brother
of Cleveland Indians CF Grady Sizemore in the least, if that’s what
you’re asking here. Scott was in a better position when the season
began than right now, as some scouts aren’t sold on him as an elite
hitting prospect and are concerned that he was able to fatten up
statistically a year ago playing in a smaller ballpark.
Marc from Austin asks: Texas
has won a season best 8 straight, and completed their 5th Big XII sweep
of the season … percentage wise, what would you say is the liklihood
of the Horns getting a Top 8 Nat’l seed if they finish the last 5 games
We seem to be improving every week, and that’s not good news for the
rest of the nation.
I had Texas as a national seed even after the loss to Nebraska, so
that’s not changing. Heck, the Big 12 could end up with three Top 8
seeds if those two and Oklahoma all finish strong. The league’s
strength and depth would merit it. Plus the Big 12 got three teams to
Omaha a year ago.
Josh from Lawrence, Kan. asks: Will-
After a tough weekend in Austin, give me a reason why Kansas can still make the NCAA Touranament and a reason why they may not?
Well, KU can’t finish above .500 in conference, so that’s a strike
against it. In its favor is an RPI in the top 40 now, so KU will need a
good showing in the league tournament to finish its NCAA case.
Jerry Mcafee from chattanooga, Tn. asks: With
Georgia’s recent good play (sweeps of Florida and South Carolina), and
their high RPI; what are the Dawgs’ chances of hosting a regional the
first weekend of June and what would they have to do to get a top 8
seed? thanks in advance.
Finishing among the top 3 in the SEC and putting forth a good showing
in the league tournament would be a strong hand for Georgia to show the
selection committee. That finish would be good for a host spot for
sure, but as for a Top 8 seed, you’re probably going to want to see a
top 2 SEC finish and a top 2 finish in that tournament. That’s the way
South Carolina and Mississippi have earned that status in 2004 and 2005.
Bill from Atlanta asks: How
do you forcast the UNC @ UVA series? It looks like UVA needs to sweep
to be the Coastal Division winner, since neither has a tough opponent
the last weekend. I guess we’ll never know if you were right about Wake
beating FSU 2 out of 3, since the 3rd game was cancelled after a split
in the 1st two.
UVa’s ballpark plays as big as any in the ACC, which always causes
trouble for teams used to slugging homers and doubles that turn into
fly balls there. That frustration takes over and all of a sudden, a top
ranked team gets swept in C-Ville. It happened to Clemson already year.
The nice thing for North Carolina, who I’ll predict to win the series
2-1, is that its pitching is stout enough it can win 3-1 games there
even if he offense gets a tad frustrated.
As for Wake-FSU, the teams did play three games, it just happened that
the 20 innings and five hours of baseball only counted as one on
Dan from Brea, CA asks: Who
do you think gets the 3rd spot in the Big West, Cal Poly, UC Irvine, or
UC Riverside? What do you think is the maximum number of BWC teams that
make regional apperances?
It’s Irvine. That club has the best pitching of that lot with Cassel,
Gorgen and Erickson. Its RPI is also the highest because of the
schedule it has played. The Anteaters already have faced Fullerton and
Long Beach, the top two teams in the conference and have a series win
vs. Cal Poly.
Joe from Houston asks: How
does the NCAA determine regional hosts 9 thru 16? If the teams ranked 9
– 16 by the committee provide an adequate bid, will they be selected?
How much does geography affect the selection? Is the NCAA willing to
have two regionals in Houston (considering potential host schools in
TexasLouisiana)or would they possibly go with LSU if their bid was
substantially higher than UH’s? Thanks.
In past years, the committee has held that deserving clubs (I’d say
like the Top 10 or so) can host with the minimum bid, with the
decisions based on merit. It’s those last six spots or so that might be
swayed a little by money. LSU has averaged about $250,000 in net
receipts each year it has been a host. It’s still under .500 and in
ninth place in the SEC. So unless it wins out and goes deep into the
SEC tourney, it hosting as a 2 seed will be a shame and totally based
on money. I’ll be calling someone a nincompoop if that happens.
As for double Houston regionals, we’ve seen regionals in Fullerton and
Long Beach at the same time before, as well as New Orleans and Baton
Rouge, and Atlanta and Athens. So there’s at least that precedent when
both teams are deserving. I could see it happening, but as of right
now, Houston’s in that group after the top 10 and could lose its host
spot simply based on a desire to spread the regionals to a similarly
Paul from Westlake Village, CA asks: The
Big 10 seems to be pretty wide open. Do you see any at-large bids
coming from that conference or just the 1 spot for the conference
We’ve got a new committee chair this year in Mississippi State AD Larry
Templeton. It will be interesting to see if he continues to trend of
awarding most of the at-large spots to teams from the four power
conferences, dipping down to sub-.500 teams rather than taking a
regular-season winner or runner up from other leagues. The Big 10
deserves at least Michigan and Ohio State in the NCAA tournament, if
not more. I just don’t see how rewarding the eighth-place team in a big
league at the expense of a regular-season winner that stumbles in its
conference tournament does the game any good. It’s rewarding
mediocrity. And I do understand that the 12th place team in these
bigger leagues could possibly dominate in some one-bid leagues, but I’m
also sure any of those leagues would accept one of those big-named
teams if it was interested in joining the smaller league in an
Jason from New Orleans asks: Hey
Will, How do you think the Green Wave did this weekend and have been
doing winning i think 15 of their past 17 games. How do you see them
doing in the post season.
I think Tulane has done exactly what it needed to against the softer
part of its schedule, winning 14 of its 16 games. The offense has
improved, and we’ll see exactly where Tulane stands this weekend when
it faces Southern Miss. I like Tulane’s offense and its weekend
starters enough to say this club could follow the 2004 team in winning
a regional as a lower seed on the road.
Robert from Lexington asks: It
seems hard to believe Kentucky is 8th in the country. Can we really
start to mention this team with the Texas, Florida State and Clemson’s
of the world (at least for this year)? What has been biggest reason for
the turnaround for them?
At least for this year, Florida State isn’t in Kentucky’s class. It’s a
wide open year, and UK has taken advantage. It’s basically playing a
little gorilla ball offensively, out-slugging its opponents. On the
mound, there aren’t the power arms you’d want to see in a club you’d
predict to win the CWS (so I won’t make that call), but all the
pitchers throw strikes and keep the ball in the lower part of the zone,
which minimizes opponents’ baserunners and chances to hit homers. The
good pitching is the key to the turnaround, no doubt. UK had
a strong offensive club last year, though adding JC transfers Ryan
Strieby and Sean Coughlin to the meat of the order have given the O a
boost as well.
Heath from Iola, KS asks: Will Wichita State get an at-large bid if they don’t win or tie for the Valley regular season title?
Maybe not. The midweek win vs. Oklahoma was nice, but losing another
conference series gives the Shockers a 13-8 conference mark, and that’s
not all that dominant vis a vis the team’s recent history. Throw in an
RPI near 50, and you don’t have that strong of an at-large case.
Wichita’s best series win came against Long Beach State, but there’s
not much else on the resume to point toward. Losing 2B-closer Damon
Sublett (hamate bone) in during an All-America kind of year doesn’t
help matters either. His 10 homers provided some of the club’s only
Erick from NYC asks: Will,
What are your thoughts about Julio Borbon from Tennessee? The guy is
hitting .370 and is only a sophmore. What do you see as his ceiling?
Will Kimmey: Seems most like a Juan Pierre type. Super quick, few walks, not much in the slugging department.
Kirk from Fayetteville, AR asks: Will,
how ’bout them Hogs! After sweeping Alabama at home this past weekend
what do you think their chances are of hosting a regional? Also, how
far do you see them making it? Thanks
Arkansas is squarely in that mix, and drawing more than 8,000 to games
during this weekend’s series help out from a bottom-line perspective.
The crowds an atmosphere at Baum in 2004 were impressive to say the
least. Again, from the SEC, you probably want a top 3 finish to be
comfortable with the hosting bid. I can see that happening. As for
long-term prospects, all the injuries and a lack of pitching depth
(evidenced by losing 4 of last 5 midweek games) mean super-regionals
are my forecast, with a slight chance of Omaha.
bobby from asheville, nc asks: With
Elon sweeping Furman this past weekend does this make two socon teams
locks for the tourney in Elon and CofC? If a team like Furman or
Georgia Southern were to win the conference tournament would Elon and
CofC still get in or would one be left out because they are unwilling
to take three from the Southern Conference?
Just for fun’s sake, I’m hoping both Elon and CofC finish with 30
league wins and top 20 RPIs. And then someone like UNC Greensboro or
Western Carolina comes along and steals the automatic in the conference
tournament. Elon and CofC seemingly HAVE to be in, but I wonder how
long the committee would debate placing three SoCon teams in the
tournament? Would that cut into the projected nine of the SEC and eight
from the ACC? I say the SoCon gets capped at 2, even in the above
scenario, with the regular-season champ getting the at-large.
Jim Barnes from Houston TX asks: With a loss to Stephen F. Austin during a midweek game, can Houston kiss their chances of hosting a regional goodbye?
One loss, especially a 3-2 one, isn’t going to sink a team. North
Carolina has lost to UNC Greensboro. Nebraska has lost to Northern
Colorado. But if your point is more that Houston needs to pile up all
the wins it can, every loss is going to hurt, and dropping games
against programs playing baseball for the first time in 10 years (as
the Lumberjacks are) doesn’t help that cause. But I’m doubting you’ll
hear the committee say, “UH lost to SFA, and that’s the straw that
broke the hippopotamus’ back.”
Brandon from North Carolina asks: How can Elon be left out of the top 25 when they have an RPI of 14 and are tied for the nation’s lead in wins with 39?
The RPI favors the Southeast, and especially smaller conferences in the
Southeast. So while and RPI helps stack teams against each other, I
don’t for a minute believe Elon is 35 spots better than say Notre Dame,
which is about that far below the Phoenix in the RPI. Here are the two
teams that entered the Top 25 this week: Georgia, which swept South
Carolina; and Oklahoma State, which won both games it played against
Nebraska. Compare that to Elon’s best series win, either at Auburn or
against Furman. Now compare the quality of the conferences. You’ll cede
the Big 12 and SEC are tougher top-to-bottom than the SoCon, and both
UGa and OSU have cracked 30 wins. Which teams do you take? We took UGa
Jim from Louisville, Ky asks: Notre Dame vs. Louisville….biggest upset this weekend? Thanks
Either that or Northwestern State sweeping Lamar. Entering the weekend,
Lamar was in first place in the Southland and NSU was under .500.
Bryan from San Francisco asks: What
is it going to take for the Diamond Dons to make the top 25? They have
series wins against San Diego and Pepperdine. They have also run
through the Pac-10 teams they have played.
Understand, USF is having another fine season as it cruises atop the
West Coast Conference. Hey, it’s tied with Pepperdine and owns a
similar record, but look at the difference in their opponents:
Pepperdine has faced a much more rigourous schedule with wins against
Long Beach State, Fullerton, Oregon State, Tulane and Oklahoma State.
USF does have wins against Stanford and Cal, but those are bottom of
the pack clubs in the Pac-10. So we’re rating Pepperdine ahead right
Sean from California asks: I
know we go through this every year, but explain how the majority of the
SEC gets such great RPI ratings despite playing a miserable
non-conference schedule? Mississippi State sits at #22 on one site with
a schedule full of wins against Marist, Arkansas St, La Tech,
La-Monroe, UAB, Jacksonville St, Birmingham-Southern and Mississippi
Valley State. Why doesn’t every major conference play cupcakes and rack
up great records before they play each other, it seems the best way to
Fifty percent of RPI is opponents’ records, and when more than 50
percent of your schedule (30 of 56 games) are in a league like the SEC,
where all the clubs are better than .500, RPIs get slightly inflated.
You can’t blame SEC or ACC clubs for this. Most of the time, the
selection committee blindly rules by RPI, and if that’s the case, it’s
fine to work the system to suit you. Until the committee penalizes this
action, why would they stop?
Mike from Mobile asks: With
Lafayette (32-16, 14-4, RPI 56) winning the weekends series against
Troy (35-14, 14-4, RPI 29) and South Alabama (34-16, 14-6, RPI 39)
winning 2 of 3 from New Orleans how do you see the Sun Belt Postseason
shaping up? Assuming one of these three teams wins the tournament do
you think we could see 3 teams from the SBC in a regional this year and
if not who do you think would be the odd team out?
It’s a regular clusterbumble atop the league standings there. And,
look, USA beat ULL in the season series, ULL beat Troy and Troy beat
USA. So round and round we go. I’ll say two teams from this league,
your regular-season champ and the tourney champ. ULL has the lowest RPI
of the group, but might be the best team right now. Finding two to make
three from this group could be as hard any choice in the country.
Liz from Dunedin, FL asks: What is wrong with Vanderbilt and David Price?
Price and the rest of that young team seem to be tiring down as the
season moves on. Remember, most of the key players on this team have
never played a full college season before. Price is included in that
group after opening his freshman year in the bullpen. He’s also worked
some long outings just before his personal slide began.
Will Kimmey: That’s all the time we’ve got this week. Thanks for coming out.