College Top 25 Chat

Donnell from New Orleans LA asks:

Aaron,
Why did LSU have a tough time with Tennessee this weekend and do you
think this was just a wake up call or things to come in the next couple
of weeks?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Hi everyone, let’s get right to it. Defense was the problem in
Saturday’s loss — five errors is bad news, but Schimpf and LeMahieu
are normally much more sound than that. I don’t think there’s any real
cause for long-term concern out of that game. LSU is going to be up and
down on Sundays, because sometimes Austin Ross is real good, and
sometimes he’s not. In that respect, LSU’s staff is built quite
similarly to Arizona State’s: two dominant guys starting Friday and
Saturday, followed by an up-and-down Sunday guy. Both Ross and Seth
Blair are capable of being very good or struggling, and for those two
teams to get to Omaha, they both need to hope to get the good versions
of Ross and Blair.

 Q:  Wes Porter from San Jose, CA asks:

Aaron,

Is the only team in the WAC with a chance at an at large bid still
Hawaii? San Jose State, Nevada-(league)and New Mexico State have
impressive records. Is there a chance any of those teams could pull
something off? Not to mention Fresno State hasnt even started making
their second half run as they usually do. Give me some good news…..

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I think San Jose State is still in contention for an at-large bid after
winning a huge series against UCSB this weekend. Nevada and New Mexico
State are nowhere near at-large range in the RPI, and forget about
Fresno’s chances at an at-large. Remember, the Bulldogs wouldn’t have
even earned an at-large last year if they hadn’t won the WAC
tournament. I don’t care if they win all the rest of their games,
they’re still not getting an at-large bid. 229th in the RPI for a
defending national champion? That’s atrocious. The RPI is not the
end-all, be-all (the only reason we reference it at all is because we
know it is one of the tools the committee uses the most, so it’s a good
predictive tool, even if it’s not necessarily a good tool to assess
who’s a good team or even who’s a deserving team of an at-large bid),
but there’s really no way to spin this positive. Fresno has been a
massive disappointment this year. We knew their pitching was suspect,
but it’s hard to believe it’s this bad.

 Q:  Donnell from New Orleans LA asks:

Who is your pick to win the SEC regular season and the Conference tournament this year?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I still like LSU to win the regular season thanks to its talent and its
favorable remaining schedule. I don’t know if the Tigers are built to
make a run through the SEC tournament, though. I’d probably go with
Georgia in Hoover thanks to superior pitching depth.

 Q:  alex kovaler from moscow, russia asks:

Aaron:

Can Fullerton come back and regain their early season form or are their bullpen problems too much to overcome?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
That bullpen has been shaky for sure, but I have confidence that Dave
Serrano will find some answers. Between Morrison, Ackland, Rath, Nick
Ramirez and Mertins, there are enough parts there for a quality
bullpen. Serrano will still find a way to get the best out of a few of
those guys, at least. I’ve still got the Titans in Omaha.

 Q:  DM from Miami asks:

After dropping 2 games at High Point does Coastal still have a chance to host a regioanl in Conway this year?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Sure, they still have a chance — they’ve got a gaudy overall record
and they rank 12th in the RPI — but I don’t think they deserve to
host. What’s Coastal’s best series win this year? Radford?
Gardner-Webb? UNC Asheville? They’ve lost series against the two best
teams they’ve faced (Hawaii and Winthrop), plus a series against a team
they are much better than (High Point). There’s no way that’s a
regional hosting resume to me. But I’m not on the committee. The
committee loves gaudy overall records and high RPIs, so it’s probably a
pretty safe bet that the Chanticleers will be hosting again, assuming
they can win the Big South regular season and tournament titles.

 Q:  Jeff from Phoenix asks:

Aaron – Who do you see as the 8 national seeds if the regionals were to begin today?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
If the regionals were to begin today (meaning my predictions for how
the conferences will shake out over the next four weeks are not
factored in):
1. Georgia Tech
2. Rice
3. Texas
4. UC Irvine
5. North Carolina
6. Georgia
7. Arizona State
8. Cal State Fullerton

 Q:  Jeff from Fayetteville AR asks:

I
am interested in your feed back on the Hogs this week. With Forrest and
Eibiners coming out party. As crazy as it sounds I think the Hogs
losses against Georgia looked better than their wins against AZ. If
that is any sign of where our staff is headed I would say we are
looking much better for an Omaha run. I may be a Homer but those
numbers against a sqaud like Georgia don’t lie.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I’ve been clamoring for weeks for Eibner to move into the weekend
rotation (he’s got the best arm on that whole staff), and it was great
to see him turn in that kind of a gem on Sunday. I watched Saturday’s
game on TV, and Forrest looked very solid. As powerful, athletic and
gritty as Arkansas’ lineup is, the Hogs will be in Omaha if they can
pitch like they did this weekend. I’m with you: I feel a lot better
about their chances today, even after losing a series to Georgia, then
I did a week ago, when their pitching looked like a humongous question.

 Q:  sam from oxford, ms asks:

Who wins the big weekend in oxford this week, ole miss or georgia?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
The Rebels. Pomeranz will finally string together two consecutive
strong outings, Bittle will be Bittle, and Ole Miss will hit enough
against UGa’s outstanding pitching. I’m sticking with the home team
there.

 Q:  David from San Diego asks:

Do
you think USD can hang on and make it to the WCC Championship Series
and earn a regional bid? Can you give me an update on some of their
injuries to Muno, McCoy, Sanchez and Solis are they out for the rest of
the year? Also, I noticed Blair didn’t pitch this weekend any news on
him? Great Job by the coaching staff and players filling in with all
the injuries.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
They don’t get a lot of wet weather in San Diego, but when it rains, it
pours, apparently. Muno, Sanchez and Solis are all out for the year,
and Blair missed this weekend with a biceps strain. It’s unbelievable
how that team has hung in there despite losing so many of its best
players to injury. That coaching staff is doing a great job out there,
and after seeing most of the other WCC contenders waste golden
opportunities this weekend, I like San Diego’s chances to hang in there
and make it to the WCC championship series and to a regional. They’ve
been there before, and I think they’re just a little tougher than the
rest of those teams. But watch out for Pepperdine — all of a sudden,
here come the Waves…

 Q:  JJ from SLO asks:

What
is your take on Cal Poly? I’ve seen a few games now, and just how far
do you think a team with an unbelievable offensive attack can go into
the post season with very little pitching?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
It is an awfully good offense, and they’ve been able to slug their way
through so far this year. But against quality pitching, I think the
Mustangs will be in trouble (remember that UC Irvine series? The
Anteaters swept, holding Poly to 11 runs in three games). I see Poly as
a strong regional team, maybe even a No. 2 seed, but I don’t see the
Mustangs winning a regional.

 Q:  Jason from New Orleans asks:

Hey,
How
are the green wave looking after there series win against a very good
East Carolina team with the wind blowing. See them making any noise
towards a post season at large birth if they keep it up or is winning
the tournment the only way for them to get in?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
They’ve got to win the tournament. Not a good enough overall record and
an RPI in the 80s makes an at-large bid out of the question.

 Q:  Chris from Pasadena, CA asks:

Ive
noticed Mike Ford has been moved to the pen. Looks like he has taken to
it. How does this affect UCSB’s long term outlook for the rest of the
season?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
He’s gone through some mechanical issues this year (somebody I talked
with compared his arm action at one point to Charles Barkley’s golf
swing), but he’s got plenty of arm strength and could blossom into a
shut-down closer, which UCSB could certainly use. If Samuels can pitch
like he did this weekend, they won’t need Ford in the rotation.

 Q:  Pat Murphy from Tempe asks:

Why
dont I use any pitchers other than Leake, Spence, Blair and Lambson?
Will this hurt me come June when I dont have enough pitching
depth….yet again?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
The difference from years past is the front-line guys are better than
they’ve ever been before. But I still think Newman, Franzblau, Swagerty
and Calhoun will have to play key roles if Arizona State is going to
win the national title this year.

 Q:  Mike from Boston asks:

The
UK Wildcats are two games out of the 8th place spot in the standings.
With ‘bama, Florida, Tenn, and Auburn remaining on the docket and a
young team starting to mature, do you think the Cats cn snag that last
spot?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
No. Vandy’s remaining schedule is more favorable, and I just think the
Commodores are better. I would have felt much better about Kentucky’s
chances if it had found a way to win that 10-inning game Saturday.

 Q:  Colt David from Baton Rouge, Louisiana asks:

How
close is George Mason to the top 25? I know they are all bat, light
pitching but one arm that sticks out is their closer, Jr.(RS) Jordan
Flasher. What does his draft stock look like one year removed from TJ
surgery? I once told him I don’t sign arms.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
They’re on the top 25 radar, but your assessment of them is dead on.
Other than UNC Wilmington, there aren’t enough quality wins on that
resume to merit a spot in the top 25 (Kent State’s resume is similar,
but the Flashes have more talent, so they get the edge). Flasher is a
solid one-inning guy with a fastball and a curve, and he’s been up to
91 this year. Good college closer, but undersized for pro ball —
probably a 12th-15th rounder, I’ll say.

 Q:  Wes from California asks:

What was the biggest upset this weekend?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Gotta be Pacific over Fullerton. I know Pacific is improved this year,
but that was was a shocker. The Titans were 72-8 all-time against
Pacific heading into this weekend, and they lost that series at home!
Just didn’t see that one coming.

 Q:  Todd from Tallahassee asks:

Taking
everything into account (RPI, remaining schedule, current record,
etc.), who has a better chance of hosting a regional; FSU or Miami?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I’m still going with Miami, but it’s close.

 Q:  Marc from Austin asks:

The
Horns are starting to hit their stride. Pitching and defense have been
consistently great, hitting has come around. Now that they have control
of their destiny in the Big XII, do we have a firm hold of a Nat’l Seed?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Absolutely.

 Q:  JOSH from COLUMBUS, OH asks:

DOES OHIO STATE HAVE A CHNCE AT HOSTING A REGIONAL THIS YEAR? IF SO WHAT DO THEY NEED TODO HERE ON OUT TO HOST?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
They really do have a chance to host — that RPI (17) is shockingly
high, considering they’ve got exactly zero series wins against teams
that will be in regionals (and their best wins all season are against
fringe regional contenders Notre Dame, George Mason and Indiana, plus
one against Miami). The Buckeyes just have to finish strong — they’ve
got two tough series remaining, at home against Michigan and at
Illinois. If they can keep their RPI in the top 30-35 or so, I see them
hosting as a No. 2 seed, just as Michigan did last year with a similar
RPI.

 Q:  Scott from Phoenix asks:

Looks
like a topsy-turvey year with teams migrating in and out of the
rankings. Given the number of decent to strong teams in the west, do
you think the future super regional matchups will esentially pit great
teams in the west knocking off each other, or do you see western teams
playing southern/eastern schools in superregional matchups? In your
opinion, do you think there should be a re-seeding after the super
regionals are determined?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
How many “great” teams do you see in the West? I see three: Arizona
State, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. At least two of those teams
(and maybe all three) will be national seeds and so will not have to
face each other in super regionals. There is no other team out west
that is even remotely close to “great”. I think Cal Poly, Hawaii,
Oregon State and San Diego State are pretty solid clubs, but all four
are significantly flawed. I’m not sure there’s another team on the
entire West Coast that looks like a sure-fire regional team. I think
it’s a pretty bad year for the West, on the whole. Last year was a
great year out West; this year, I think the Texas region and the
Southeast (especially Georgia and the Carolinas) are much stronger.

 Q:  Seth from Minneapolis asks:

Minnesota
had a tough weekend at illinois. However i still feel they have what it
takes to win the big ten and make possibly make a super regional. What
do you think about this Minnesota team?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I agree that Minnesota still may win the Big Ten, but I do not see it as a super regional team.

 Q:  Jim from Houston, TX asks:

Aaron,

Does
Baylor’s Aaron Miller have more pro potential as a pitcher or
outfielder? Will he be drafted higher because he can play both
positions?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Pitcher. The ability to play both only helps his draft stock insofar as
scouts like pitchers with some athleticism, and he clearly has it. He’s
got electric stuff from the left side, and somebody’s going to take him
pretty high as a pitcher (like top three rounds, I suspect).

 Q:  CD from Naples, Fla. asks:

Still
waiting for you all to give Ohio St. some credit. They have some very
talented players like Wimmers, Hale, Hurley, and Burkhart. I counted
two teams in the top 25 that were not from the south or west.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Ohio State might well have gotten in this week if it hadn’t lost the
head-to-head meeting against Kent State, which I still say is the more
talented club, and it’s not even close. That’s not to say Ohio State is
devoid of talent (Wimmers, Hale and Hurley, in particular, are all
interesting prospects), but the Buckeyes do not have enough talent to
get into the rankings on talent alone. I want to see quality wins, and
I just don’t see very many on that resume. Also, there are more South
and West teams in the top 25 because that’s where the vast majority of
the best teams come from. Check the teams that have gotten to Omaha and
won the CWS for the last 25 years. That said, we’ve had a lot more
cold-weather teams in the rankings lately (Kansas State, Kent State,
Oregon State, Gonzaga, Kansas and Minnesota just in the last two
weeks). So it’s not like we’re ignoring deserving teams from other
parts of the country. But all of those teams had better cases to be
ranked than Ohio State.

 Q:  willy from pitt asks:

How close is South Carolina? What else do they need to do?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Give South Carolina for rallying to win three of their last four
conference series, but before that the Gamecocks lost back-to-back
conference series, so they’re just back to even now. Another solid week
(vs. Clemson and at Florida) will land the Gamecocks in the rankings
for sure.

 Q:  Jim Hamad from Los Angeles asks:

Hey
Aaron, long time reader, first time writer. I’m a huge fan, love the
weekly chats. My question to you refers to the rather shaky West Coast
Conference. With LMU and San Diego tied for first and Gonzaga,
Pepperdine, and San Francisco all in the mix, it seems to be anyone’s
game. Who is your pick to take the conference?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I said earlier that I still like San Diego’s chances to get back to the
WCC title series, and watch out for Pepperdine, but the team I’m going
with is actually Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have already beaten USD and
Pepperdine and gets to host LMU the final week in a potentially huge
series. I think Gonzaga might be the most balanced (and healthiest) of
the contenders, with the possible exception of Pepperdine, but the
Waves might have just dug themselves too big of a hole.

 Q:  Frederick from New Orleans asks:

How
does LSU only fall one spot after losing 2 of 3 at home to TN, the
worst team in the conference and dropping a midweek game too? How do
you see Ole Miss finishing and do you see them hosting a regional and
super regional?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
LSU fell from No. 1 to No. 6 — that’s five spots. As for Ole Miss,
they would be the No. 4 team in the SEC pecking order right now, and I
don’t see LSU, Georgia or Arkansas relinquishing their hosting sites. I
don’t think the SEC gets four this year, so Ole Miss gets squeezed out.

Aaron Fitt:
We’ve got plenty more questions in the queue, but I’m out of time, I’m
afraid. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. See you next week.

College | #2009 #Chat

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