Steve from Garden City, SC. asks: Why
so little national pub for Neil Geisler? Hes only batting .506 with 25
rbis. No team all year has been able to get this guy out.
Hey, check the Website today. You’ll see all the glory of Neil Giesler.
He’s done a nice job this season, living up to the hype that he entered
South Carolina last year. Based on those expectations, you could call
2005 a disappointment for him, but this season more than makes up for
it. Throw in 10 hits vs. Florida and a 17-game hit streak and you’re
looking at one of the nation’s toughest outs right now, and one of the
reasons South Carolina has found so much success this year.
John from Morgantown, W.Va. asks: Is
19-3 West Virginia on your radar screens yet? The Mountaineers haven’t
played a very tough non-conference schedule, but they did sweep Pitt
last weekend. The Panthers were the preseason pick to finish second in
Heading into the year, the most notable thing about this team was that
it featured Stan Posluszny, who owns big raw power but is likely better
known as the brother of Penn State star linebacker Paul Posluszny. We
heard good things about how WVU played at East Carolina’s Keith LeClair
tournament, and now after beating Pittsburgh, a club with good arms and
a nice group of position players, you’ve got to believe in this start
by the Mountaineers. Marty Fagler has led the way on the mound with a
2.61 ERA and Tyler Kuhn’s .517 OBP makes the offense go. We’ll know
more in a few weeks, after the ‘Eers have faced Rutgers and UConn.
John from Houston asks: The
Tulane Green Wave have been having somewhat of a roller coaster ride
this season. What seems to be the cause of this. They lost to Nicholl’s
state a couple weeks ago and took a big loss in the conference opener
against memphis this weekend. Will the hitting ever become consistent
and second is their pitching as good as it is hyped up to be?
This season looks a lot more like the one the Green Wave had in 2004, a
strong year but not a dominant one. Tulane isn’t going to run off 50
wins per year, so comparing this club to least year’s isn’t fair. It
has lost a few games it shouldn’t, sometimes because the offense
doesn’t score enough and other times because the pitching isn’t great.
That’s the sign of a team still feeling its way. You must be encouraged
with the way Stephen Porlier’s been throwing lately, and Gomes and
Morgan are also solid weekend options. I’m sure Rick Jones will take
17-9 with a shot to take two of three from Rice this weekend, something
that’s a real possibility.
adam from nyc asks: caa??? Good conference, solid prospects, good teams with good records…why no top 25 love?
Because what you said is all true (there are some good teams with good
players and good records, but none have been great enough to jump into
the Top 25 just yet), but there are just 25 spots, so everyone can’t be
ranked. Old Dominion (25-3) and James Madison (19-5) are both playign
great ball with 15+ game win streaks. But it came down to teams in that
part of the rankings versus Miami (23-7) for that final spot, and which
would you take?
Rickey Felder from Olive Branch, MS asks: Will,
What’s your prediction for the Mississippi State and Alabama Series coming up this weekend?
Both teams pitch really well, but I have more faith in MSU’s offense
and overall experience. I’ll take two wins for the Bulldogs, though a
sweep wouldn’t be a shocker.
chris from fullerton asks: How far do you really see cal state fullerton going in the tourney, and do they have a chance to win it all?
Why can’t Fullerton win it all? There’s so much parity, it’s likely
that every team in the Top 25 this week could make a run, as well as 10
or so others. No one’s thoroughly dominating the nation this year. So
what’s to like about Fullerton? Three really good starts, a closer with
an ERA of 0.43 who works nearly every day and veteran group of position
players who can defend the field and score. Danny Dorn’s shoulder
troubles sap the team of a power bat, and that hurts because no one
other than Brett Pill is really a constant home run threat.
Pete from Woodland Hills, CA asks: Is Pepperdine finally turing it around?
Beating Dartmouth and Northwestern the last two weeks isn’t really the
same as working over Mississippi State and Florida State, but it’s good
to see some consistency from Pepperdine. It’s won series against Tulane
and Oregon State, but then takes some Ls against inferior teams. Moving
Brett Hunter, a freshman who hits the 90s, into the rotation this week
is a move I really like. He gives the Waves a power arm who could
potentially dominate by the time the postseason gets here.
Adam from Gulfport, MS asks: You mentioned a few weeks ago the 8 teams you thought would be in the CWS. Has your opinion changed?
Yes, it changes every single week. I’m not so smart that I can pick the
eight teams before the beginning of the year, or else I’d be wandering
about trying to find somewhere to bet on that (sorry, NCAA). I’m a
reporter, which means an information gatherer. And with each week of
wins and losses comes more revealing information on teams. I don’t
remember now who I picked last week, but here’s eight for this week for
your reading enjoyment: Fullerton, Florida State, South Carolina,
Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, Pepperdine, Georgia.
Nate from Chicago asks: There
seems to be a lot of parody in college baseball this year. Who do you
see as a team that will emerge towards the end of the year?
I still have this feeling in the back of my mind that it might be
Texas. That’s a really young team, but there’s so much talent. It might
take Augie Garrido the entire season to get those players confident in
their abilities and their roles on the team, but I think the Longhorns
do have the best collection of talent. McCulloch, Alaniz, Kasparek
helped pitch them to and through Omaha last year, and they’re all back
with Austin Wood and Joey Pairigi thrown into the mix. Drew Stubbs and
Carson Kainer have been really strong this year, as well as freshmen
Russell and Danks and Suttle. That’s a lot of names, but a lot of
Tom from Chicago asks: Two questions:
(.) What’s your take on last weekend’s Wichita State-Southern Illinois series?
(.) How good do you expect Michigan to be?
First, Southern Illinois was the pick to finish second in the league
this year, so Wichita State dropping a series 2-1 out there doesn’t
really shock me as much as it might people who aren’t aware that the
Salukis are a good club. Creighton, the other MVC club playing really
well, dropped two of three at Bradley over the weekend. I’ll still take
the Shockers to win the league.
Will Kimmey: Michigan lost
a lot of veterans last year and brought in some really talented youth.
That means the Wolverines have the skill level to beat anyone in their
conference, but the inexperience to drop a series against anyone as
well. So I’d say in the Big 10 tournament, maybe a 3 or 4 seed, with a
chance to get hot there and win the automatic bid.
Brad from Gulfport asks: What do you think about the SEC right now? Will the dominance continue through out the season?
It’s really even 1-10, with Vanderbilt and then Auburn after that. So
expect a ton of 2-1 series wins in league play and some standings that
turn out to have three or four wins breaking the second and third place
clubs from the ninth and 10th. I’d be very impressed if one team wins
20 out of its 30 league games. Mississippi State and South Carolina are
the class of the league for now.
Trevis from Columbia, SC asks: I
understand that you have a tough job, and it is early in the season.
Please explain how CSF is ranked ahead of South Carolina.
CSF has lost 3 to Stanford (who is not even ranked anymore) and 2 to
Rice, 1 to Pepperdine and 1 to UC-Irvine. They are 2-6 (I believe)
against ranked teams. South Carolina is (4-1) against teams who are or
were ranked in the Top 10. That one loss was to a #1 Clemson team at
their stadium. I realize that CSF has a great team, but are they really
better than USC?
Sure. First, realize that being a few spaces different than another
team in the rankings really isn’t that drastic a difference.
Fullerton’s ahead now because it was ahead a few weeks ago when it
started its run of 11 wins in 12 games. South Carolina has won 14 of
15. Replace Fullerton’s opening series at Stanford with a Radford,
Duquesne or Quinnipiac, and CSF is likely 23-4, essentially the same
record as S. Carolina’s 22-3.
Adam from Cincinnati asks: What
do you think about all Huskies sweep over Cincinnati this past weekend?
Norton was pretty dominate for UCONN, just how good is he?
At least the baseball team won over the weekend. Sorry that was a low
blow. Norton gets into the low 90s with his fastball, and that’s going
to be good enough, along with his breaking ball, to help him perform
really well in the Big East. He’s not at the level of a Manship or
Samardzija from Notre Dame, but he’s in there as one of the next couple
guys in the Big East from a pro perspective.
Dean Ackles from Lincoln Nebraska asks: This
is just a general question. Why is it in the past 3 seasons Nebraska is
nowhere to be seen yet they have finished inside the top 10 each of
those years? Do you think this is a fluke program and you are waiting
for the shoe to drop. Just wondering. I realize the competition has not
been outstanding yet this year but every year they seem to hold their
own in th e the big 12 and the NCAA’s yet by next year I am sure they
will be somewhere near the bottom of your list until they again open
the season 18-6 and then they start rising.
Nebraska was a preseason Top 25 team in 2004 and ended up missing the
NCAA tournament, so we overrated that team. In 2005, it returned a very
similar club but got very pleasant surprises in Joba Chamberlain and
Johhny Dorn that even the coaching staff wasn’t counting on. On this
year’s club, as we’ve discussed almost weekly, we overestimated the
loss of so many position players from a year ago. Chamberlain and Tony
Watson have been a strong 1-2 punch, while Dorn’s been about average.
As for next year, we’ll decide about that in January. If you want to
think we have something against Nebraska, go ahead, but you’re
J.P. from Illinois asks: Hi
Will, thanks for the chat. In the latest edition of “Ask BA”, Jim
Callis listed eight players who are being advised by Scott Boras. Of
those eight, three were expected to be first rounders this year
(Kennedy, Scherzer and LaPorta). With this information, do you expect
their stock to now drop, come draft day, or was this information
already known to your staff when determining where they would likely be
Just because a guy has Scott Boras as an agent doesn’t mean he’ll fall
through 10 spots in the draft. Agents work for the players, not the
other way around. We saw that last year when Tyler Greene and Mark
McCormick went about where their talents merited and signed quickly. So
being affiliated with Scott Boras doesn’t cannonball someone’s stock.
And yes, we knew who the agents for these players were. Kennedy was a
Boras guy out of high school, while LaPorta and Scherzer we knew to be
associated with him by last summer at the latest. That LaPorta and
Scherzer have battled injury this year and Kennedy hasn’t been his
normal dominant self will have more to do with their draft stock than
who negotitates their contracts, though there are still some clubs out
there who will be afraid to deal with Boras.
Kyle from Pullman, WA asks: Cougars
2-0 with one to go in Palo Alto? Seriously? I’ve watched the Cougs beat
up on Chicago State, but they’re not exactly Stanford and Sunken
Diamond material…Is there a regional is WSU’s future? I know it’s
early in the year, but this has to be a good sign. Loved the article on
Prince last week, keep up the good work.
Washington State had a nice preconference season, but hadn’t really
played anyone, and Donnie Marbut would tell you that. He wanted to
build confidence and get his inexeperienced club off to a good start.
That he’s done, and the wins at Stanford help validate his scheduling.
It still may be a bit premature, just one week into conference play, to
grant Wazzu a postseason slot, but this is a step in that direction.
CWR from Baltimore asks: What
do you think Graham at Rice is going to do with his third starter and
where are they going to put him? Are they going to continue to have
Degermann on friday and Savery on Sunday with whoever in the middle? Is
he trying to guarantee a two win weekend? Will McDaniel had a pretty
good outing against Texas (4 23 three hits and two earnies) or will it
go to Craig Crow the starter on Saturday against ECU? Is Bell getting
better? Your thoughts.
Six scoreless innings from Crow should make him a great candidate to
keep his weekend spot to me. Bell’s injury was to a muscle under the
shoulder that helps to slow down the arm from a throwing motion, so
it’s not like an elbow or shoulder that was caused by wear and more of
a freak type thing. He could be back at full strength sometime in late
April. Looks like splitting the two aces could be as good an idea for
Graham as it is in blackjack. Here it gives him the chance to use more
relievers Saturday with the confidence that Degerman and Savery can
both work deep on either side.
John from Fort Worth asks: Will,
with such high expectations for the Horned Frogs this year they have
stuggled to put up wins. What are there chances of being in that final
That’s a nice weekend rotation, but the hitting and catching and
relieving portions of the team aren’t up to their standards. TCU has
the luxury of playing a MWC schedule now, and UNLV looks to be the main
competition for the conference’s one bid. I’d probably take TCU in a
series between the two, but the problem could come in the conference
tournament, which either team likely will need to win to make the NCAAs
this year, TCU’s lack of arms after this big three of Demel, Arrieta
and Furnish could mean its downfall in a MWC confernence tournament
that could get wild with offense.