College Chat With Aaron Fitt

Moderator: Aaron Fitt will answer questions about the Top 25 and college baseball in general beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

    Nelson (Tacoma, WA): I have a crazy Pac-10
    question- if Washington were to win out with sweeps against Oregon
    State and Washington State, get to over 30-wins and top-3 in the
    Pac-10...any chance they sneak in to the field?

Aaron Fitt: Hello everyone, let’s get going. That’s an
interesting scenario, but I think Washington would probably still be
left out because its RPI just is nowhere near at-large territory (right
now it’s 129th). But then again, the committee has to get to 64 teams
somehow … never say never on this one, but the chances are very, very
slim.

    Greg (Austin): What's your take on the Big 12
    bubble teams? Seems like Texas, OU, A&M and K-state are in. I think
    Missouri and Kansas haved been playing themselves in and Baylor and OK
    State are doing their best to stay home for regionals. What say you?
    Also, who would you peg as the Big 12's offensive MVP? Some big boppers
    in the league this year.

Aaron Fitt: I’d say you’re pretty much right on. Stick
a fork in Oklahoma State — they’re done. Baylor has done its best to
turn a solid footing into a very precarious position, but I think the
Bears still get in if they can sweep Nebraska to finish 13-13 in the
Big 12. As for the offensive MVP, I’m actually pretty disappointed by
the crop of hitters in the league this year, but I guess I’ll go with
J.T. Wise.

    Big AJ (San Diego): What do you think the chances are for San Diego State making it to a regional or even hosting one?

Aaron Fitt: Pretty good chance to get in, I think,
especially with New Mexico and BYU sliding this week. The Aztecs are in
much better RPI shape than either of those teams, and now they’re in
similar position in the conference standings. SDSU looks like the
safest bet to earn the MWC’s second regional bid. I’d put BYU as a
bubble team for the third spot. New Mexico looks like it’s in some
trouble.

    John (Oxford): Aaron,
    What is the national seed picture looking like in the SEC? More
    specifically, what's it looking like for Ole Miss? (Let's not forget
    that the Rebels took 2 of 3 in Gainesville)

Aaron Fitt: Right now I’ve got LSU, Ole Miss and
Florida as the three strongest contenders for national seeds, and LSU
is the most secure of that group. I think the SEC is likely to get two
national seeds, so it will depend whether the Rebels or Gators finish
stronger. But right now I like Mississippi’s credentials a bit more.

    Mike (Dallas, TX): It appears it will either
    be Texas ATM or TCU to host the last regional in Texas after Rice and
    Texas. If TCU finishes the regular season undefeated and wins the MWC
    tournament do you think they get it over ATM?

Aaron Fitt: I think the Aggies probably control their
own destiny. If they win those final two series against Texas and
Oklahoma, they will host, for sure, no matter what TCU does. And TCU’s
1-6 record against the Big 12 will really hurt it when it comes time to
decide who is the third Texas team to host. That said, TCU has had a
great season and is strong in the RPI, so it still has a very real
chance to host.

    Justin (Oxford, MS): With a series win next
    weekend against Mississippi State are the Rebels a lock on hosting a
    regional? And, if they also win at Arkansas, does that put them in
    position to get a national seed? (So long as they don't completely
    choke in the SEC tourney)

Aaron Fitt: Yes and probably yes.

    Chris Vaculik (Orland Park, IL): My question
    is it really possible for an OVC team potentially gaining an automatic
    bid to the NCAA tournament in Eastern Illinois without evening winning
    their conference tourney? Usually this conference is known for just
    getting one team in, and that comes from winning their conference
    tournament. What was the last team to earn an automatic non conference
    tourney automatic berth and how is Eastern Illinois doing it this year?

Aaron Fitt: It is possible. I think it’s going to be
hard to find 64 worthy regional teams this year, so a team like Eastern
Illinois that has had a sensational season and has a solid RPI probably
has more leeway in its conference tournament than it might otherwise.
Bubble teams like Boston College, Vanderbilt, New Mexico, USC,
Washington State and San Diego are slipping, so somebody’s got to fill
the void.

    Jim (Houston, TX): Aaron, how carefully do
    scouts look at a pitcher's past arm troubles before deciding to select
    him in the draft? Baylor's Shawn Tolleson had Tommy John surgery in
    high school, and has had some arm issues this season. Will that keep
    him from being drafted, or just cause him to slide a few rounds?

Aaron Fitt: He’ll certainly be drafted, but medical
concerns (as well as poor performance, which might be the bigger
factor) will likely keep him from going as high in the draft as he
otherwise could. I have a feeling he’ll be back for Baylor next year to
try to boost his stock. If completely healthy, he can be a first or
second-round talent.

    Jonathan H (Dallas, TX): What are ECU's chances of hosting a regional if they finish 2nd in C-USA? How far do they need to go in the Conference tourney?

Aaron Fitt: They’ve got a chance, certainly, but CUSA
is pretty down this year, and ECU doesn’t have a single series win
against a likely regional team (its best series win is against Southern
Miss, which does not look like a regional team, especially after losing
a home series to Tulane). I think a team like Clemson or Virginia from
that same general geographic footprint is more likely to host.

    Jeff (Tupelo MS): Hey Aaron, if you were
    starting a club in MLB, and had to take your five man rotation from the
    SEC schools THIS yr, who would your five be, and in what order would
    they pitch? Then who would you bring in to close the game out? As
    always, its rewarding to reading your work every week. Thanks...

Aaron Fitt: Keeping in mind that I want pitchers with
the best chance to compete at the MLB level (not the SEC level), I’ll
go with Anthony Ranaudo as my No. 1, Sam Dyson as my No. 2, Mike Minor
as my No. 3, James Paxton as my No. 4 and Brett Eibner as my No. 5,
with Sonny Gray as my closer. It’s going to take a couple years for my
guys to be MLB ready, but they’ve got the highest ceilings of any
pitchers in the league, except perhaps Alex Meyer.

    Lewis (Bossier City, La.): After a bad start
    and a very young pitching staff, Louisiana Tech has apparently turned
    its season around(12 wins in last 15 games) sweeping Hawaii on the
    island putting them right in the midst of competing for the WAC regular
    season title. Very good offensive numbers, have they raised any
    eyebrows?

Aaron Fitt: Considering how horrendously disappointing
Louisiana Tech was last year, it’s safe to say they’ve raised some
eyebrows over the last two weekends. It’s a very offensive club in a
very offensive league; there’s no reason the Bulldogs can’t make a real
run at the WAC’s automatic bid.

    Jim (Sacramento): Aaron,
    I see in your recent field projections that you do not have Riverside
    as making the field of 64, they started the Big West out with 2 real
    tough series but now are making there way up the Big West standings,
    have the tenth toughest schedule in the country, no top 25 ranking from
    you all year.....time to give Riverside a little love.

Aaron Fitt: We gave the Highlanders some love after
their strong start. I wrote a mailbag feature about that team and they
led the website for two days. We had them on the cusp of the top 25,
and then they lost three straight Big West series. They’ve played a
tough schedule, but honestly those SOS ratings are all a bit out of
whack. What is UCR’s best nonconference series? San Francisco? Cal?
Texas Tech (midweek series)? None of those are regional teams, and
obviously neither is Bakersfield or Columbia. Right now UCR’s best
weekend was in Palm Springs, where it beat Oklahoma State (not a
regional team), LMU and Gonzaga (both fringe regional contenders). Give
Pacific and Northridge credit for being improved units this year, but
those are teams that Riverside should beat, and to its credit, it did.
But I don’t see a single series win against a regional contender this
year. Until the Highlanders prove they can win a series against a good
team, I don’t see why I should view them as a regional team. If they
win their final three series, including that final weekend against Cal
Poly, I will gladly give Riverside some more love. I have a lot of
respect for that program and those coaches — they do things the right
way and get the most out of their resources. I’d like to see them
succeed, but right now I’m just not overly impressed with their resume.

    John (Gainesville): Obviously Florida had a
    huge weekend, but what do they have to do in the final two SEC weekends
    to clinch hosting? They're at LSU this weekend which is very tough, and
    then end the season at home with Kentucky. Does a 3-3 record in those
    six get them a regional?

Aaron Fitt: Yes.

    Bill (Fowler, Ca): With a bunch of scouts on
    hand Tom Mendonca hit his 19th and 20th HR's of the year... where does
    he figure to go in the draft and will the fact that the Bulldogs may
    not even make the WAC tourney hurt him? Thanks!

Aaron Fitt: I don’t think Fresno’s place in the WAC
has any bearing on Mendonca. Scouts know who he is: a premium defender
with big-time raw power who is going to strike out a ton in pro ball. I
think he’s about a third- or fourth-round pick.

    Craig (Canada): Did not see Josh Spence in this weekend's rotation and ASU dropped 2 of 3 to Oregon State. Was he injured?

Aaron Fitt: Spence is dealing with a middle finger
injury. He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated today, so hopefully we’ll
know more shortly. ASU’s title hopes hang in the balance, I think.

    Trevor (Stillwater, OK): Tyler Lyons had a
    great summer for Team USA but I hear his stuff hasn't been as good this
    spring. Where do you see him going in the draft?

Aaron Fitt: His stuff is down from where it was last
summer, but remember he was pitching in shorter stints in relief last
summer. He’s now more in the 86-89 range, and his changeup is down a
little bit. I see him going in the third-to-fourth-round range.

    Mike (Jackson): Ole Miss is playing great
    right now. It seems like Aaron Barrett is beginning to throw like he
    can. His last two outings he has been very good. Do you see him making
    an impact for them in what is left in this season?

Aaron Fitt: What an x-factor Barrett is — he’s got a
great arm. The Rebels have done just fine without him for most of the
season, but if he keeps throwing well, that would be a nice boost to
their Omaha hopes.

    Bruce (Atlanta): Are Anthony Ranaudo and Deck McGuire top 10 picks in the 2010 draft?

Aaron Fitt: Right now, without knowing anything about
the high school crop, I’d say they both probably are. Certainly both
look like good bets for the top 20, but a lot can happen between now
and then.

    Dave (Richmond): How close is Elon to the top 25? Are any of their players projected to be takin in the upcoming draft?

Aaron Fitt: The Phoenix is right on the cusp of the
rankings — they were one of three or four teams that we debated
seriously for the final spot in the top 25 today. It’s not a great
group of pro prospects, but it’s a bunch of guys who can really mash at
the collegiate level.

    Ray (Honolulu): Hawaii has had a rough two
    weeks. How badly did they hurt their chances for an at large berth?
    Must they now win the WAC tourney outright?

Aaron Fitt: They hurt themselves a ton. I think they
probably do need to win the WAC tourney to feel good about their
chances, although I wouldn’t completely rule out an at-large bid if
they can finish strong.

    Todd (Walla Walla): who's getting in the
    regionals from the PAC-10?? I saw the USC-UW series and other than
    Boxberger and Stock the Trojans look awful ... UW closer Brian Pearl
    was showing 95-96mph fastballs, where is he projected in the draft this
    year?

Aaron Fitt: Our own Conor Glassey was up there for
that series, and he was not impressed with Boxberger or Stock either
(although he only saw Stock in relief, and not his start Sunday).
Boxberger’s velocity was down into the 88-91 range, and he was erratic
with his control. USC is not going to make a regional — what a
disappointing last two weeks after winning that Oregon State series.
Conor reports that he saw Pearl throwing 91-93. He’s got a good arm and
could be a top-three-rounds candidate.

    Adam (LA): Who you got this weekend LSU vs Florida and why?

Aaron Fitt: LSU at home. Better pitching, more power, just a better team, and the home team.

    Brett (St. Cloud, MN): Do you see Minnesota
    making any noise in a regional this year? They've had some bad mid-week
    losses, but have played very well on the weekends against quality
    opponents. Also, is there a better hitter than Derek McCallum in the
    Big 10 right now?

Aaron Fitt: Derek McCallum is a stud — he’s going to
be drafted inside the top 10 rounds for sure, and maybe top six or
seven. Really good player. Minnesota has had a nice year, but I
wouldn’t bet on the Gophers to win a regional.

    Trev (Portland, ME): Aaron, we've seen the poll, but if today you had to pick a team to win the national championship, who would it be?

Aaron Fitt: North Carolina.

    Nick (Central Illinois): How many bids do you
    see the Big Ten receiving to Regionals this year? Obviously, this is a
    huge weekend for the conference. Illinois sits in first place, one-half
    game ahead of Minnesota and one game ahead of Ohio State. OSU travels
    to Illinois and Minnesota is at Michigan. If one of the top three teams
    win the conference tournament, do you see the conference getting three
    bids?

Aaron Fitt: I see it as a strong contender for three
bids, especially with the vacuum that exists out there for quality
at-large contenders.

    Blackie (Cincinnati, OH): Hi, Aaron. I blinked
    and it seems as if Derek Dietrich's home run doubled. What the heck
    happened? He could use a strong finish to quell some fears that his bat
    was less potent than his freshman year performance indicated. Is he
    still viewed as a top half of the first round talent for 2010?

Aaron Fitt: One word: Presbyterian. But Dietrich does
have legit power, and it’s good to see him break out. He’s a candidate
for the first round, though I don’t know about top half of the first
round, because he won’t be a shortstop in pro ball.

    John (Jackson, MS): Not a huge deal, but in
    the top 25 tracker you have Ole Miss as 5-5 against top 25, when they
    are actually 7-6. Just thought I'd point it out to you. (LSU 1-2,
    Florida 2-1, TCU 0-1, Bama 2-1, UGA 2-1).

Aaron Fitt: The top 25 records refer to whether teams
were ranked at the time of the meeting. Florida was not ranked when the
Rebels took two of three in Gainesville.

    Bill (Atlanta): How do you see the FSU @ GT
    series? The two have traded sweeps for several seasons, with FSU taking
    the last two years. They have a great fan base and will be there in
    force while Tech students are gone for the summer. I see it coming down
    to pitching ( a cliche I know).

Aaron Fitt: If it comes down to pitching, I like Georgia Tech’s chances. Actually, I like Georgia Tech’s chances regardless.

    Paul (Phoenix): How do things look for the WCC
    and postseason bids? After Loyola Marymount's epic sweep of USD this
    past weekend, LMU and Gonzaga are comfortably atop the league tables
    and are likely to meet in the conference's best-of-three championship,
    which would be one week after playing a three-game regular season
    finale in Spokane on May 15-17. (By the way, how does the WCC determine
    the host for that series—better conference record?) The question: what
    about at-large bids? The ledgers for both LMU and Gonzaga compare
    favorably to USD's. I'm thinking the loser of the championship series
    gets in, too.

Aaron Fitt: This will have to be the last one for
today. I think the Toreros are in trouble. They’ve got the best RPI of
this trio, but they’re unlikely to make the WCC championship series,
they’ve struggled down the stretch (losing three of their last four
series), and they’re banged up beyond belief, which will probably hurt
them in the committee’s eyes. LMU’s RPI isn’t good enough for an
at-large bid, which means the only way I see the WCC getting two teams
in is if LMU wins the automatic and Gonzaga gets the at-large. That
could happen; I like Gonzaga’s credentials. OK, that’s all for today,
everyone. Thanks for all the great questions!

College | #2009 #Chat

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