Bill from South Gate, Ca asks: I'm
confused on Ian Kennedy, is he a first rounder or not? Are his loses
his own, or do we attribute them to his offence? How much, having Boras
rep. him will hurt his chances of playing this year?
He's a first-rounder. His excellent command and track record will get
him there, even if his stuff has been a tad down this year. He's faced
a star nearly every week while playing through USC's rigorous schedule,
so he's clearly better than his 3-4 record. His 2.95 ERA and 67-19 K-BB
ratio in 65 innings are more telling stats. Ike's a horse, and he's
going to pitch his team deep into the postseason, so like a lot of
other top college arms, the chances of him pitching professionally this
summer aren't great–because the rest will do him good. Don't read
Scott Boras as an automatic red flag, because he handles each client
individually–he works for them remember–though it does mean Kennedy
isn't likely to cut any predraft deals. And in a year where the
talent's very even, it could be the cheaper guys come off the board a
Darren from Los Angeles asks: Will,
where does Arizona stand right now? I know they have struggled early,
but do you think they have enough to make a run? Omaha?
Two questions, two from the left coast. Represent, and thanks for
waking up early. Arizona is one of the younger teams, especially on the
mound, in the entire Pac-10. And for that reason, the Wildcats are
currently in last place. I can see them rising as high as maybe sixth
this year, perhaps edging out Stanford, California or Washington State.
It's hard to see a team lower than fifth in the Pac-10 making the NCAAs.
Matt from Petal, MS asks: How
close is Southern Miss coming to be in the top 25? They went 3-1 last
week with wins over Ole Miss and Dallas Baptist. What do they need to
do to get in the top 25?
As always, it's not what can one team do, but what is the entire nation
doing that determines the Top 25. USM at 24-10, 4-2 in CUSA is in the
running, but a conference series loss to Memphis and no major series
wins makes its profile look a bit leaner than some other teams on the
cusp of the rankings with similar overall records. USM, ECU and Tulane
look like three teams battling for spots 3-5 in CUSA right now, behind
Rice and Houston.
jo from tampa asks: who do you think are the strongest 4 teams in college baseball right now.
The Top 25 rankings are a nice measure of this. Fullerton, Rice,
Nebraska and Texas are as hot as any teams right now in terms of
constantly racking up wins. North Carolina and Alabama have both scored
some very strong conference series wins the last two weeks, as have
Southern California and Arizona State. All these teams are playing
really well at the moment.
John from Lexington, KY asks: Kentucky
continue to play well as they won their 3rd SEC series this weekend.
What kind of seed do you see them receiving in the tournament and how
bad will their RPI hurt them?
If UK keeps rolling, the RPI could be the difference in landing a one
seed and possibly serving as a host. Most likely, the Cats can make a
top five or six finish in the SEC and earn a No. 2 regional seed based
on their RPI. It's hard to fault John Cohen for not having a big time
schedule. He arrived at a down program and needed some of those easier
wins to help build momentum and confidence while killing off a losing
attitude. Looks like that's working out pretty well thus far. Now if
Kentucky emerges as a consistent top 20 program over the next few
seasons, I'll be on my soap box begging for it to play a rougher
nonleague schedule, as I do with all top programs.
Dave from LA, CA asks: With
the emergence of freshmen starters Tommy Millone and Ryan Cook to go
along with Ian Kennedy, how far do you see Southern Cal going into the
post-season? Any chance of hosting a regional or super-regional? Thanks!
I boldly, or stupidly, picked USC to serve as a regional host in the
first 64-team projection a week ago. I'll take this time to thank Mike
Gillespie and his team for going 5-2 since then to jump atop the Pac-10
and make me look smart (which isn't easy). Hosting a super-regional
might take something like a 17-7 or 18-6 P-10 mark good for first place.
Diesel from Florida asks: Notre
Dame is now 22-8, 8-1 in confrence play, and riding an 11 game winning
streak. Also, they have 2 blue chip prospects, Jeff Samardzja and Jeff
Manship, that will probably be drafted in the first three rounds. How
close they are to cracking the Top 25? And why are they not already in
the Top 25?
Notre Dame isn't in the Top 25 yet because there are only 25 spots and
we can't rank every team in the nation. ND is on the cusp, though. Yes,
the Irish are hot now and are getting great pitching performances, but
their overall resume, as with Southern Miss, lacks that something extra
to scream Top 25 team. A series vs. St. John's this week could be
enough to propel the Irish in, while a Johnnies win could do the same
for that equally talented and meritorious club.
Bill Dictus from Madison, Wis. asks: Thanks
for the chat. You know who I think deserve's some BA love? Jason Berken
of Clemson. Teamed with Josh Cribb they make a pretty solid front two.
He has been pitching extremely well as of late and I would really like
to know where scouts see him come June as well as what their overall
chances of making a run to the CWS.
Thanks, Bill. We actually gave Berken, a fellow Badger state guy, a big
hug earlier this year with a feature story in the college preview. Use
our handy dandy search engine to find that story and relive his glory.
Berken could be somewhere in the first five rounds, and surely in the
first 10. He's 2-1, 1.04 in four ACC starts, and that's impressive.
With Cribb, Berken and Faris in the rotation and excellence Daniel
Moskos and Steve Richard in the bullpen, Clemson is well-armed to make
a run to Omaha this year.
Bill Dictus from Madison, Wis. asks: David Price, 17 Strikeouts, are you kidding me??? What did scouts say about this performance?
Hitters with he was kidding, but the Price is right. Scouts wish Price
were eligible for this year's draft. Some like his combo of performance
and stuff even better than North Carolina's Andrew Miller this year.
Both are 6-6 lefties with mid-90s heaters and power breaking stuff.
Brian from fullerton, ca asks: How
good is Wes Roemer i mean the guy seems to be dominating on friday
nights ? You think he should be mentioned with the elite pitchers of
Cal State Fullerton (Cordero, Windsor, Romero,Silva etc..)
I thought he was good, but then he walked a guy two weeks ago. I'm done
with him now. A 75-1 K-BB ratio isn't going to cut it. Seriously, he's
dominating and has emerged as one of the nation's best Friday arms. He
had Rice's Eddie Degerman beat 2-1 on the road until Rice tied and
eventually won that game 3-2. A former Titans ace I talked to earlier
this year wasn't ready to put Roemer in the same category as a Windsor,
Romero or Silva at that point, but it's possible he's coming around
Jonathan from Mobile, AL asks: You've
had South Alabama to win the Sun Belt so far this year, but Troy has
swept its first two Sun Belt series and is absolutely killing the ball.
What do you think about the Trojans and what are your predictions for
the Sun Belt now?
Florida International looked the favorite a week ago, but beep beep
beep, FIU backed up at bit in losing a series at South Alabama over the
weekend. Now undefeated Troy, which won the A-Sun last year but missed
the bid after losing early in the league tourney, USA and FIU should
wage a three-team battle. Troy plays FIU three times this weekend, and
I'll take the winner of that series as my league champ.
Scott from Durham, NC asks: Hey
Will, I think that Andrew Miller has pretty much wrapped up Player of
the Year, so I will ask this from a different angle- Do you think that
Shane Robinson has a shot at the majors? His speed and defense are
similar to the Juan Pierres and Scott Podsednik's of the world, and he
might have a better bat for contact than those two. He is enormously
disruptive on the basepaths (BC threw to first 8 times in one at bat),
and I think the "new era" we might be getting into with baseball favors
his style of player. Your thoughts?
Robinson is a great college player but looks more likely to be a role
guy at the major league level. Juan Pierre, who played at South Alabama
by the way, is listed at 6-0, 180 pounds. Robinson is 5-9, 165 and that
may be generous. So you can see why there are some questions about
Robinson's strength. He's fast, but not quicker than Pierre or Joey
Gathright, who's a speed burner listed at 5-10, 170 and maybe a better
comp for Robinson despite his superior speed and ability to leap over
Budman from Berkeley asks: Why don't the Pac-10 and Big West have conference tournaments like pretty much every other conference in the country?
Because in my estimation, their league members are smarter and realize
the value of an entire season vs. what a team does in one weekend in
determining an automatic bid. Baseball's a marathon and it always seems
wrong when teams such as the 2005 versions of UNC Wilmington and Troy
won their conferences by a strong margin but lost in the league
tournament and missed the NCAAs. They proved over the long haul they
were the best in their leagues and got slighted because of one bad
weekend. I know the NCAA tournament is about inclusion, and league
tournaments do give teams with even mediocre seasons a carrot to play
hard and be a miracle team, but I'm against that set up. Here's my
applause for the Big West and Pac-10 being bold and rewarding the true
greg from west chester asks: Who
do you like to win the Big Ten, Purdue or Ohio State. Also who do you
think will win the Big Ten Player of the Year. Thanks for taking the
time to answer this question
I like Ohio State to win the league. Its freshman JB Shuck has been
outstanding on the mound, while Buckeyes Ronnie Bourquin and Eric Fryer
has established themselves as POY candidates at the plate. I still
think Purdue's Jay Buente is the league's best pitcher, and Boilers SS
Mitch Hilligoss is also a POY candidate.
Steve from Owltown asks: How
do you have CSF over Rice when Rice took the head-to-head? Granted it
was little over a month ago. Since then, Rice has Bobby Bell back and a
few of the other pitchers have shown some ability to contribute. BTW, i
enjoy these chats and thanks for mentioning the Owls in three of your
top five games to mid-season.
CSF has lost two games since that Rice series (which featured two close
Rice wins and a CSF blowout in Houston); the Owls have dropped five.
The teams are that close to each other, but CSF has played better
lately. In reality, the teams are one spot apart, so there's clearly
not that much difference. It'd be a coin flip series if they played
today, and I'd take the home team, which Rice was in winning that one.
mark from palo alto asks: I
looked at the RPI for Stanford today and was shocked to see them at
number 11. They have also played the toughest schedule in the nation.
How do you explain them not being in the top 25??
Not. Winning. Games. 14-11, 2-4 isn't a Top 25 team at this point in
the year. Playing a tough schedule generates a good RPI, but what's it
worth if you're not winning many of those games? Stanford hasn't won a
three-game series since Feb. 24-26.
Jim from Los Angeles asks: This
past weekend, Jared Prince struggled on the mound and at the plate. In
the same series, Brandon Crawford was impressive at the plate (hitting
a grand slam) and in the field. Is Prince really the better freshman?
Wow, you know just how to get at me, throwing Crawford into the
equation. He's going to be a star and a player I love. But Prince will
be a star, too. He didn't pitch well vs. UCLA this weekend, but he did
hold Arizona State to a run over seven innings a week ago and he also
drove in the game-winning run in Wazzu's one win vs. UCLA in that
series. Both are really good and likely will end up freshman
All-Americans at season's end.
Huskers from Omaha asks: What do you think the chances are of the Huskers hosting a Super Regional if they win the regional ??
Very, very good. Nebraska stands No. 3 in RPI right now, and that
should stay high if it keeps winning. Plus Hawks Field has proven such
a great venue for supers lately, it's hard to imagine Lincoln not
seeing baseball the second weekend of June.
Jamie R. from Tampa, Fl. asks: Hey,
love the chats. What's your take on the ACC so far? Is FSU the
favorite, or do you like someone else? Seems like FSU, Clemson and UNC
have the best pitching so far.
I'll take North Carolina, if only because it doesn't have to face
Clemson (part of the rotating 10-team ACC schedule) and has BC, VT and
Duke still remaining and should go 8-1 in those games (UVa and NC State
also remain on the schedule). Clemson and FSU still have to play each
other, Georgia Tech and Wake. Plus FSU must face NC State as well.
Steve from Owltown asks: Will,
looking forward, who are your 8 for Omaha?
A new week, a new eight: Fullerton, North Carolina, Florida State,
Clemson, Nebraska, Texas, Alabama, San Diego. Enjoy, discuss and