Moderator: Will Kimmey will begin taking your college questions at 1 p.m. ET
Ricky from FL asks: What do you think the college of Charleston will need to do to crack the top 25?
For this year, keep on winning. The waiting list for the Top 25 is
really deep: Hawaii, Washington, Georgia, Washington State, Oklahoma,
Southern Mississippi, Mercer and Texas A&M are just some of the
teams off to great starts to go along with Cal Poly, Arizona State and
Southern California, which have each been ranked this year.
Don Ellis from Irvine, Ca asks: Will,
With the performance down in the Big Easy, do you think Pepperdine is a
serious top 10 team in the nation? Their hitting seems to be pretty
lethal but do you think the Waves have enough arms to be a serious
contender for Omaha?
I wasn’t real high on Pepperdine after it dropped that series to Fresno
State, but series wins against Oregon State and at Tulane the last two
weekends have made a believer. The Waves are certainly in the
discussion among the nation’s best teams right now. Pepperdine has
enough arms, but it lacks the dominant power arm at the front of the
rotation that can shut down a team on a Friday. I love Paul Coleman, a
lefthander with the savvy and command to work wonders on Fridays, but
he’s not the equal of an Ian Kennedy or Max Scherzer, for instance, in
that he could single handedly eliminate an opponent on a Friday.
Freshman closer Brett Hunter does have that kind of stuff and could
emerge over the next few years.
George from Tallahassee asks: What
do you think of the move by Mike Martin to start Tyler Chambliss on
Tuesday against UF? Who is the one player in the FSU lineup people may
not have heard of that you think will make some noise this year?
It all depends on perspective, I guess. With Chambliss missing his
start last weekend and possibly this weekend against Brown, it could
limit his total innings for the year, not a bad idea for a guy who
closed a year ago. It says to FSU that the Florida game is really big.
However, if Florida beats FSU with Chambliss, it makes the win much
bigger for the Gators, who need a big win after an ugly weekend.
Florida has Texas A&M next week, so don’t look for the Gators to
flip around their rotation much. The wild card here is that Friday
starter Bryan Ball threw 55 pitches on Friday, so there could be
consideration of letting him go Tuesday and then again this Sunday, but
don’t bet on it.
Jeff from Atlanta asks: Will-
Matt Mangini is putting up ungodly stats, but everybody on NC St. seems
to be hitting a ton. Are they that talented or are the dimensions at NC
St. smaller than normal parks?
NC State has played on the road the last two weeks. Last weekend was at
the low Class A park in Charleston, so Mangini’s bombs there and his
teammates’ efforts are quite elgit. Last weekend was at East Carolina,
a fair park that is a bit small down the lines. But State’s a legit
offense. Mangini, Aaron Bates, Jon Still, Brian Aragon, Synan,
Camp–that’s a nice group of bats that should score plenty of runs.
Seeing that team score late runs to win its last two games said a lot,
much more than crushing teams by football scores.
Joe from Chantilly, Va asks: Have
you gotten a chance to see a couple of freshman studs from Virginia in
the names of Mike Biannuci (Auburn) and Jacob Thompson (UVA)? Both look
like legit talents in personm, and now have some college stats to back
I haven’t seen these players in person this season, but I covered
Virginia as part of our draft coverage last spring, and these results
don’t surprise me. Biannucci could end up with double figure homers
this year, pushing for 15 even though he missed the first several
games. He led his college wood bat league in homers as a HS senior over
the summer. Thompson was one of the most intriguing arms in VA last
year, but he really wanted to go to Virginia for the baseball and the
academics. And if he’s performing in the classroom the way he has thus
far on the mound, he’s a Dean’s lister now.
Chris from Columbia asks: How
about the start of Clemson’s Tyler Colvin? 4 HRs already … we may
have found the answer to replacing Kris Harvey’s power. It looks like
Berken is back to his old form, but are Faris and Cribb good enough to
carry this team deep into June?
So far, so good for Clemson. Well, so long as Taylor Harbin gets
healthy for this weekend’s games against Charleston and South Carolina.
He’s the Tigers’ best hitter and an important piece of the lineup.
Berken’s a warrior for me now. He vomited during the middle of his
start this weekend (from the flu) and was tough enough to stay in the
game and deal against a good Mercer club despite being less than 100
percent. He’ll be the difference for the club advancing in June. Faris
and Cribb were good enough to take Clemson to within a game of Omaha
last year, and there’s no reason to expect their years to be worse.
Ryan from Lakewood, Co asks: Hi
Will, I was wondering what you thought about New Mexico State’s Luke
Hopkins and his status for the draft, with 8 HR’s and 30 RBI’s through
just 14 games and being pitched around almost every at bat do you think
this guy is the real deal.
It’s always really tough to figure out what to do with stats for
players at the New Mexico schools. If you’re into park factors at all,
you’ll see that those two yards promote offense more than any in the
country. With PFs in the 150-170 range, that means offense in those
parks is inflated to 1.5 or 1.7 times the average college stadium. It’s
true the player still has to be good to take advantage of the park (ie,
hit it over the fence), but it’s a very useful context.
Bill Dictus from Madison, Wis asks: How
is Joba Chamberlain’s stock after impressive outings against NC State
and Rice? I think this guy’s going to be a big league pitcher given his
make-up, attitude, work ethic and pure stuff. What do scouts think?
It’s either steady, because he was a horse entering the year, or rising
slightly. I the profile I wrote on him Friday, everyone raved about his
makeup–as well as his exceptional stuff–and I’ll attest that he’s one
of the most interesting, frank and well spoken players I’ve interviewed
in the last few seasons. That’s just another credit to his makeup,
something a lot of clubs put strong emphasis on. I think your
assessment there matches that of scouts.
Bill Dictus from Madison, Wis. asks: This week we saw the David Price that we all know and love. But will the commodores score enough runs to give him some W’s?
Realize how young that offense is, and what kind of pitching those
hitters have been facing. Josh Butler has allowed a run this year. Don
Czyz has been pretty stout as well. The kids will start swinging the
bats soon, but this year looks more like a prelude to a stronger team
in 2007 that wil battle for a spot in the NCAA tournament this year.
Ryan from San Francisco asks: Stanford
ace Greg Reynolds has been fantastic in his four starts this season. He
has been scored a total of 9 runs by his teammates to support him yet
still has a 1-1 record. With his size and potential do you see him
possibly moving up from the #26 overall pick he was projected at?
Those projections aren’t rock solid as to where we think he’ll be off
the board with exactly that pick. That’s the consensus baseline
entering the year after talking to several scouts and scouting
directors. He’s erased any questions people might have had about his
command entering the year, and shown consistent stuff thus far. His
size-repertoire profile mean some team could get very high on him, and
it takes only one team to draft a guy higher than where the consensus
falls. So he’s in great shape to be a first rounder right now.
Jackson from Miami asks: Shane
Robinson had stats than Jacoby Ellsbury last year and is doing just as
well this year, yet is not considered a first round pick (BA has him
29th among its college players). Why is that? One would think an
on-base machine with speed could prove very valuable in the bigs.
A few scouts around Team USA this summer seemed to think strength might
become an issue for Robinson as he progresses up the professional
ladder. Most of his high OBP comes from a giant average as well, and
some see his profile more as a fourth OF type in the majors. His speed
will always be there, no question. Sometimes a dynamic college player
doesn’t always turn into a dynamic pro. That said, Robinson continues
to be that dynamo for Florida State this year.
Edward from Oxford, MS asks: How
can Mississippi State be ranked so high? And how can they move three
spaces after toppling mighty Marist, with two games by narrow margins?
The Rebels disposed of America East favorite Maine quite handily and
are 21st? What gives here?
Gotta love a Rebels fan angry at his rival school. Part of that ranking
comes from the preseason; and we really haven’t seen enough of MSU, or
Ole Miss for that matter, to know everything about them yet because
each has barely played much. So preseason thoughts and intuition play a
role. Those ideas start to get replaced by on the field feats as the
season progresses, and you’ll see that impact in the Top 25 this week,
with some of the preseason favorites sliding down due to how their
years are playing out, while lower ranked teams have started moving up
more. We rank on the knowledge we have, and we gain more each week that
teams play. The other part of MSU’s rise is the fall of teams above it.
It moved more based on teams around it falling than it doing something
exceptional to move up. This is another part of how rankings work;
teams don’t play in a vaccuum, so their movement can be dictated by
other teams ranked around them at times.
Rob L from Atlanta asks: What do you make of Georgia’s 3 game sweep of San Diego?
That was impressive. I’d toot the WK horn and say it was a predicted
upset from last Friday’s preview, but that’d mean I’d also have to eat
my picks of Gonzaga (which got swept) and Fresno State (which lost to
Stanford), so I’ll avoid all of that. Oops. Georgia was a talented team
a year ago, it just never seemed to get all phases of its game working
together. Seeing Brown and Warren dominate, followed by Fields closing
means the Bulldogs will be a scary SEC foe. Josh Morris returning to
the lineup gives some thump in the order. It’s hard to kill USD for the
loss, because that cross-country trip is never easy. We’ll see how it
works in reverse this week, with UGA going West to play Southern
Jim from Jackson, MS asks: Is NC State the best hitting team in the country?
Will Kimmey: NC State’s up there, and I still like Florida despite its ugly weekend, but I’m taking Georgia Tech for now in this category.
rodney from Austin asks: Thanks
Will- Texas had a decent week by beating Texas State and sweeping a
three games series with Villonva. Is it because of the teams they did
beat over the weekend cause them to drop that far down or what? Thanks
Will keep up the good work.
Texas’ slide came from getting the result of last weekend’s series, a
second series loss of the year. That was 1-1 when we ranked last week,
so Texas got neither bumped down nor up at that point, so the residual
came this week. Plus the overall record of 9-6 was a factor, vis a vis
the marks of other teams at this point. It’s true the losses are to San
Diego (3), Stanford (2) and Tulane (1), to be a Top 10 club, you’d like
to see a mark better than .500 against top competition, and even with a
win vs. Rice, Texas is 2-6 against the current Top 25.
Bill from Raleigh asks: Many
Wolfpack fans were surprised when State started Andrew Brackman on
Sunday against UNC-Wilmington. Especially by pulling Jason Duncan, a
3-0 starter already this season. Interested in hearing your take on
this and does it have anything to do with the limited playing time
Brackman is gettin on the NC State basketball team. Only 10 minutes in
Saturday double overtime game against BC on National TV.
Brackman’s on scholarship for basketball, so his first priority remains
there. He’s been throwing bullpens in his spare time, but he’s not a
baseball player until hoops ends. Herb Sendek was gracious enough to
allow Elliott Avent to use Brackman this week because NC State played
Saturday in basketball and is off until next weekend. So he threw on a
50-pitch limit. Duncan’s had a nice start, but I don’t think you’d find
many people telling you Brackman isn’t a better pitcher right now.
Brackman wasn’t sharp, and maybe you second-guess the decision if State
loses, but it won the game.
Tom from Columbia, MO asks: AHHHH!!!
After Friday, I thought Mizzou had finally hit its stride, but then the
bats forgot to show up for the rest of the weekend. Is offense going to
be a season-long problem, or can the Tigers turn it around?
Coach Tim Jamieson e-mailed me with hopes his club would swing the clubs
better soon, and obviously the ability is there, as evidenced by the
Friday banging around the Tigers gave Florida. Missouri is pitching
well now, with Culp and Crow working well over the weekend after
Scherzer, so you’re looking at a very good team once the bats get
going. But that’s going to need to start soon.
Jesse from Bend, Oregon asks: Where
does Tim Lincecum likely fit for most MLB teams, starter or reliever?
His strikeouts per game are incredible, but he looks like he walks a
few too, could he be a guy that makes an impact out of the bullpen ala
He’s throwing the heck out of the ball this year, hitting 97 at times.
His mechanics are not conventional, and that scares some teams. Plus
his $1 million bonus demand pushed off several others last year. He’s
resilient enough to seem like maybe you stick him, that fastball and
that huge 12-to-6 curve of his in the pen, throw him 3-4 times per week
and enjoy the heck of out a rubber-armed relief ace.
Zac from Tampa, FL asks: Why are you so biased towards the ACC? Do you have an office at UNC?
Our office is in Durham, N.C., yes. But it has to be somewhere.
Everyone can point to something as bias, but in reality, every human is
in fact infallible and biased in some one. Every e-mail I get comes from
a fan, and you’ve got to wonder if a fan of a certain team doesn’t have
a special place in his heart for that team. Where’s the bias there?
I can tell you that I’ve got no agenda regarding any team or any
conference with favor or a lack thereof. I did attend an ACC school
(full disclosure), but again, had I gone to Texas, you’d be able to
point that out. It wouldn’t be fair to the players and coaches to treat
others better or worse, so we gather all the information we can, from
stats, from coaches, from scouts and make the most informed decisions
We think people care about our rankings and stories because of what I
just explained, our level of detail and our track record. I wouldn’t be
employed here if I was exercising some unfair bias or hidden agenda.
Groves from West Lafayette asks: Purdue
looked good this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette. What’s their
chances at winning the Big Ten and getting to a Regional this year?
We pegged Purdue for second in the Big 10 this year, because of players
like RHP Jay Buente, who’s got a mid-90s fastball and great slider, and
SS Mitch Hillgoss. I like the chances for the Boilers to play the
Illinois surprise role from a year ago. I’ve got Ohio State as the
league favorite at this point.
David from Houston asks: Fullerton’s
sweep of UCLA is impressive, but how strong are the Titan pitchers? I’m
looking forward to the Rice matchup… can you comparecontrast the two
Wes Roemer hasn’t walked a batter yet, and Lauren Gagnier was great
Saturday, but I’m not sure this is a vintage Titans staff. There’s no
Jason Windsor or Ricky Romero to scare you silly and never back down.
These guys could emerge in those roles, but they aren’t there yet. The
flip side of that is the offense, which is as veteran as they come,
though Fullerton’s suffering from a bit of a power outage. Rice has two
big aces in Savery and Degerman, plus as many power arms in the bullpen
as I can remember. I think CSF has the edge offensively, mostly because
of its big-game experience and leadership, and I’ll give Rice the edge
on the mound. That’s going to be a really fun and well played series
Mike from Atlanta asks: Why isnt SIU in the top 25? They are 8-1 and have beaten some stiff competition.
I left Southern Illinois off my massive waiting list for the T25
earlier, and there are other schools that could go on as well. Winning
down at Florida Atlantic was nice, but like a lot of the other teams
off to hot starts, there might not be the signature win yet to help
separate SIU from other schools with similar records. That was kind of
what it came down to in going with Winthrop, with series wins at
Alabama and Miami. That was the strongest resume of teams with the fast
starts. Koski’s raking again for the Salukis, and this start is without
Tyler Norrick throwing really well yet. SIU will be a factor in the
MVC, and we had it as a preseason runner-up to Wichita State there.
Will Kimmey: That’s all the time we’ve got for this week. Thanks for coming out.