Moderator: Will Kimmey will be arriving at 1:30 p.m. ET to talk college baseball.
Jim from Brownsville, Texas asks: The
upcoming weekend series between Texas and Nebraska should go a long way
in determining which club will win the Big 12 regular season title. How
do see the series shaping up? I like the Longhorns to win two out of
three, since they’ll be playing in Austin. Go ‘Horns!
I couldn’t be more excited about that series. How hot are those two
teams right now? Nebraska has 10 straight wins and Texas has won 18 of
its last 22. I’m guessing we’re in for some low-scoring games, and as
the guy who greenlighted Texas as preseason No. 1, I’m believing that
the talent there is coming together. Give me Texas 2, Nebraska 1 in the
series, and the games might look a lot like that as well.
Bill from Nashville, TN asks: Will
the typical 9 teams from the SEC make regional appearances again this
year, and who do you think will host in the first round out of this
RPIs and history will probably favor nine SEC teams, but I’m starting
to wonder how strong overall that league is. The SEC is 14-25 against
teams from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 while teams in those other three
leagues are .500 or better cumulatively against teams from the other
three leagues, if you can follow that reasoning. Alabama, South
Carolina, Arkansas and Vandy are all in good shape right now to serve
as regional hosts, and two of them should surely have super-regionals
at home if things get that far.
CoatzaOwl from Houston asks: Will,
I really enjoy BA’s coverage of college baseball and these chats in
particular. Rice has made a great start in C-USA. It looks like UH is
Rice’s toughest competition in the conference. In your view, how does
the conference stack up this year & which teams will challenge for
a spot in the post-season?
Thanks for the kind words. I really thought CUSA could fight for six
NCAA bids this year, with the additions of Rice and Central Florida to
the Tulane-Southern Miss-East Carolina-Houston group. But Cent Fla and
Tulane are struggling, and Southern Miss might be down a tad from where
it normally is. That said, ECU is as solid as ever, Rice is very good
and Houston has been a surprise. Right now, I think 4 CUSA teams make
it: Rice, Houston, ECU and either Tulane and USM, depending on how each
Will Kimmey: Sorry for the delay here, I had a phone call. I’ll make up the time on the back end.
Alex from Pinehurst asks: What
did you think of that ECUNC State game Wednesday night? Now that ECU
has won 6 in a row (granted 3 were against lowly Albany), they seemed
to be figurign things out now as a team, offensively and with the
pitching. Do you think they can finish the season strong and get a #2
seed in a regional?
Following your thumb nail of Albany, there’s nothing to gain or learn
from that series. ECU is surely a pitching team, and at its best it has
the pitching and defense to hang with good competition, as we’ve seen
against Rice and Fullerton. But there doesn’t seem to be quite enough
on the offensive end to put it over the top, hence the 1-5 record vs.
Rice and Fullerton, granted those were all road games. I see a 2 or 3
seed for ECU, depending on how it finishes up in the league. Third
place means it could be a 2, below that could drop it to a 3.
Justin from Atlanta asks: With some dominant wins over Clemson this weekend, is Georgia Tech poised for a good postseason after a rough start in the ACC?
I’ll admit it’s hard to figure out Georgia Tech. It has won home series
against North Carolina and Clemson, teams we know are strong. But it’s
dropped a series to Maryland as well, something a good team can’t do.
There are some injuries to the pitching staff there, but the Jackets
have been a bit too inconsistent in several phases to predict they’ll
play well enough long enough to make a strong Omaha run. That said,
with all the parity in the game this year, it wouldn’t shock me if any
of the Top 50 teams ends up in Omaha this year. Everything’s just too
unpredictable, which makes the games fun for everyone but coaches and
Carlton from New Orleans asks: Can you give us an update of the candidates for Baseball America National Freshman of the Year?
We don’t have any strict watch lists, semifinalists or anything like
that for a player to be eligible. Simply being a freshman meets the
requirement. Right now, I’m having a hard time getting past Vanderbilt
third baseman Pedro Alvarez. He had six homers and 17 RBIs last week
and has 13 bombs on the year. Wake’s Allan Dykstra has 14 homers; Texas
has freshmen all over the darn field making big impacts, starting with
Kyle Russell. Jared Prince has cooled some at Washington State.
Robby from Shreveport, La. asks: What
is your opionion on the WAC and especially La. Tech? Are they the
biggest suprise in the country so far after winning just 17 all of last
Gotta hand it to La Tech for sweeping Fresno State and earning 16 wins
in its last 20 games. It did sweep Fresno at home last year, so maybe
there’s something in Ruston that doesn’t agree with the California
kids, like that really long flight. Old Dominion was 22-33, 5-19 in the
CAA a year ago and now stands at 33-6, so that might edge out La Tech,
but it’s close. Then again, Florida could be the biggest surprise. Not
to pile on, but who would have believed the Gators would be all alone
in last place in the SEC today at 5-10 and 22-18 overall?
Jason from Durham asks: This
might sound crazy, but is Andrew Miller being overlooked for the draft?
He has given up just three extra-base hits on the year (playing in the
top conference), yet i keep reading that there is nothing special in
the draft this year. Sounds pretty special to me.
He’s the top guy on draft boards, but teams aren’t sure he’s a $5
million bonus kind of top guy because there’s not so much separation
between him and maybe 5-6 other pitchers. Maybe it’s because he’s
really cruising with his two-seam fastball and generating a bunch of
ground outs rather than buzzing down hitters with the 96 he can go back
and get. The numbers are dominant, and I think I’m in your camp here in
seeing Miller as ahead of the rest of the class because there’s not
another lefty available.
Matt from Oregon asks: Oregon
State swept Stanford in a 3 game series for the first time in 86 years
this weekend up in Corvallis, holding them to one run the entire
weekend. Sunday they exploded offensively, and Jonah Nickerson allowed
just 2 hits through 6 12 innings, when the game was ended due to the
mercy rule. Do you think OSU is finally hitting its stride? Do you
think they can repeat as Pac 10 Champions? Thanks!
That was darn impressive. Stanford got eight hits in the entire series.
In 25 innings. I like Oregon State’s pitching and think that Mike
Stutes might end up sticking in that rotation from here on out after
that performance, but I’m still not totally sold on OSU’s offense. Its
conference schedule is backloaded, with ASU, UCLA and Washington still
to come, and it has already lost a series to USC. I’ve got ASU and USC
in the top two spots, with OSU third. But the standings are going to be
close, and earning this sweep will help when things are tightly bunched.
alex kovaler from moscow, russia asks: is
fullerton the best team in college baseball over the last three years?
what would be your best three over the last three years?
Here’s a change of pace question. I’d take either Fullerton or Texas,
but it’s really close. Texas won the CWS in 2002. Fullerton might have
been the best team in the nation in 2003, but lost to Stanford in
Omaha. Texas dominated the regular season in 2004, but lost to a
late-developing Fullerton club in Omaha. Fullerton dominated the 2005
season, tripped up in super-regionals against Arizona State and a Texas
team that finished third in the Big 12 hit its stride late and won the
title. So here were are in 2006, and both teams are in the Top 5. I’ll
give the trophy to whichever can close 06 the best.
Mike from San Antonio asks:
I realize there are quite a few teams that have similar qualifications
in the bottom half of the poll….but still no HOUSTON? They are second
in conference behind Rice and have taken two of three from Tulane,East
Carolina(away), and Southern Miss(away). Their RPI is in the teens in
both Nolan’s and Boyd’s….What will it take to get them in the poll?
Houston ended up No. 26 this week. It’s a Top 25 ranking, and it came
down to Miami, Houston and San Diego at the end. Well, USD won a series
at Houston, so place a feather in that team’s cap. Miami owns series
wins at UCLA and at Florida State. Houston’s best series win is against
either Tulane, East Carolina or Southern Miss. Slight edge Miami.
Mike from San Antonio asks: How high in the draft can Brad Lincoln go? Will Houston doing well as a team in the regionals and beyond up his stock?
He’s No. 3 on our latest college prospects list, so you’re looking at a
chance to jump into the Top 5 picks. Houston could lose all the rest of
its games this year and Lincoln’s stock wouldn’t change too much as
long as he kept dealing, and the losses when he pitched were 1-0 or
something. His draft stock and the team success aren’t totally mutually
exclusive, but they’re close.
Jason from Oklahoma asks: What kind of chance does Oklahoma State baseball have to get into the tourny?
The Cowboys are going to need to claw their way into the top five of a
very difficult Big 12 to be confident. The nonleague schedule doesn’t
boast any big wins of note, aside from a win at Pepperdine, where it
also lost twice. So OSU has to do all of its work in league play.
Beating Kansas this weekend was a good first step in that direction.
Expect the 3-7 spots in that league to look very muddled for most of
the year, though I like Oklahoma and Baylor to finish 3-4.
Ken from Houston asks: What is the status of Rice LHP Joe Savery, who hasn’t pitched the last few weeks?
Two weekends ago, Savery missed the start with fatigue. Last week, he
was ill. This week, and I’m playing a hunch here, I want to say he was
going to pitch before Rice started hanging large numbers of runs on the
board against Memphis. I’m expecting to see him throw a few innings
Tuesday in a big midweek game agaisnt Oklahoma before coming back on
Sunday against Southern Miss.
Patrick from Houston asks: I
know that the rankings are made not just on how one team plays, but how
other teams are playing as well. However, I’m a little upset that Rice
did not move up to the top rank. For one, they have won 14 games in a
row. Also, unless I am mistaken, only two of their losses came to
non-Top 25 teams. What is it that is keeping CSF at the top the Rice is
not doing? I know that one spot is not all that much of a difference,
however I do feel that Rice is not being given the full credit they
Being No. 2 in the nation is a good deal of credit, don’t you think?
That means there are something like 290 teams we rank lower. Yes,
Fullerton lost a game this week to UC Davis, but it won the series. UC
Davis doesn’t have a great overall record, no, but it’s a quality team
that also upset Oregon State and San Diego this year. College baseball
is built on winning weekend series, and CSF did just that. It hasn’t
won 14 straight games, no, but it has won 19 of 22, and Rice has won 18
of its last 22. The teams are really similar. North Carolina is equally
similar, as is Nebraska at this point. These teams all own strong cases
as the best team in the nation and I’d be content to stand by a Top 25
that had any of them at No. 1. But it takes a tad more than dropping
one game to rip a team from the top spot, especially one that’s been
Kevin Meadows from Lexington, KY asks: Who do you have this weekend? UK or SC in the big SEC matchup of the weekend.
I’ll take South Carolina at home. That team plays really strong defense
and I think Cisco, Pelzer and Co. will find a way to counter the Ryan
Strieby and the extra-base hit attack of Kentucky.
Dave from Richmond asks: What are the Elon’s chances of receiving an at large birth?
If the Phoenix can finish second in the SoCon, and it looks like they
can, and either Elon or College or Charleston wins that league
tournament, you should see both of those clubs in NCAAs. Both have the
resume (Elon has a win at South Carolina and a series win at Auburn)
and RPI to merit inclusion. The doomsday scenario for Elon is if it
finishes second in the league, loses in the conference tourney and sees
an upset team win the automatic bid.
jeremiah from lincoln, ne asks: is
the nebraskatexas series the premier series this weekend, who do you
see winning it, and does it keep the loser from getting a national seed?
For me, that might be the premier series of the year. And I’ll predict
a game-changing homer at some point by Luke Gorsett, as well as at
least two game-changers from Drew Stubbs, one with the glove. It’s
going to be a 2-1 series, and I’d take Nebraska in Lincoln. But both
teams should finish among the best 8 and earn their own national seeds
as long as they continue their strong recent play. And there’s no
reason to think either would not do that.
Steve from California asks: Where
can we get the RPI rankings? I have seen the “pseudo- RPI estimates on
Boydsworld.com , but they seem different than the figures given by you.
I normally just going by what’s in my head from looking over sites like
boydworld, and also when predicting how RPI will shape the selection
process, I’m not going by the current RPI figures, but my own estimate
of how the results of upcoming games will shape them. The RPI is a neat
tool and really helps me sort out teams in the same conference or
geographic regions. But it’s not the only tool one should use, because
it really favors the southeast at the expense of the west. Boyd’s ISRs
are another tool I like to use, though those can skew a bit heavily
toward the west. So maybe some sort of average of the two ratings would
Adam from Rock Hill asks: Will,
Does Winthrop have what it takes to get to win a regional this year?
They lost big prospects last year, but have more offensive balance so
far this season. Do you think they have the pitching?
Winthrop lost Daniel Carte and Kevin Slowey, but returned nearly
everyone else, plus it added freshman ace Alex Wilson. He’s very
strong, and I run hot and cold on Heath Rollins. Jake Dempsey is a
force in the middle of the lineup, so the Eagles can pound teams to
death. I see them winning the Big South and making a regional, but as
you said, there are not quite enough arms to make it out of a regional
unless the Throp can win three straight.
pete from nyc asks: Hi
Thanks for taking my question. How do you see the Big Ten shaking out?
Right now, Northwestern is on top. Do you think they can stay there
andor make the fieled of 64?
I’ve still got Ohio State and Purdue as the best teams in that
conference, but I’m very willing to listen to Rich Maloney’s Michigan
club after it took all four games from Ohio State over the weekend. You
think a three-game sweep is hard, try four? That’s just a sign of a
team playing really, really hard and really, really well over the
course of a weekend. The Big 10 should earn two bids, and they’ll come
from these three teams.
Jason from Corona Del Mar, Ca asks: Can Arizona State keep winning, with the “Rotation by numbers” philosophy?
How thrilling was that series against USC? Three last at-bat wins in
three games? When the two best offenses in the Pac-10 play, it
basically came down to whoever batted last won. It’s impressive how
consistent ASU has played this season despite the fact that the
pitching staff has never settled into any sort of defined roles. Jeff
Urlaub should again regain the No. 1 spot once he’s 100 percent after
missing time with mono. Brenehan likely ends up the No. 2 guy. And
after that, Pat Murphy has shown that he’s got faith in enough
different arms, be it a Bordes, Zinicola, Davis, Satow or whomever, to
go with the hot guy and get a struggling pitcher off the hill. The only
problem I see with this might come in the postseason, when this style
will need to work over four games. But if you recall, Murph basically
mixed and matched his way to Omaha just like this a year ago.
Kevin C from Omaha asks: Is Rob Childress in over his head at TAMU, or was the cupboard really that bare upon his arrival?
We’re going with option 2. No one gets fired because they have a good
team, so Childress wasn’t exactly taking over the defending Big 12
champs. He inherited some arms, and his pitchers have thrown as
expected. He just needs more position players to compete in this
league. Can he get them? He helped recruit the talented Nebraska team
that’s been to Omaha three times in five years, so that looks like a
Will Kimmey: That’s all the time we’ve got today. See you all next week, and enjoy this weekend’s great slate of games.