Moderator: Aaron Fitt will chat about the Top 25 and everything college baseball related beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
Aaron Fitt: Good afternoon, everyone. Not much movement
in the Top 25 this week, as the favorites largely took care of business
in college baseball this weekend. Let’s chat.
Aaron Fitt: Sorry for the delay — just got a phone call with news that Ole Miss ace Drew Pomeranz is dealing with a mild strain in his pectoral muscle, which explains why his velocity dropped into the 87-90 mph range on Friday. Pomeranz felt some soreness after doing some light weight-lifting before the Mississippi State series a couple of weeks ago. He is expected to continue throwing this week and may or may not miss a start this weekend.
- Tyler (Orlando): Where does this Florida freshman class rank among some of the best ones you can remember? They are absolutely carrying a top-five team in the country right now.
Aaron Fitt: Great question. It’s nice when the nation’s
No. 1 recruiting class actually lives up to its billing. (Interestingly, the No. 1 class three years ago—San Diego’s—is finally
starting to live up to its potential, too). Florida’s class is obviously extremely special, and I think when it’s all said and done, this class could go down in history as a truly great one. In the last few years, you’d have to look at the North Carolina class with Ackley, White, Seager, et al as the gold standard for freshmen. Arizona State’s class last year and LSU’s the year before were both very special, but junior college transfers had a lot to do with the success of both of those classes. This Florida group, like UNC’s a few years ago, is predominantly composed of freshmen, and like UNC’s group, they are making big impacts immediately. There have been tons of other great classes over the years and I’m sure I’m omitting some great ones, but this is not an exhaustive list, just a few that come to mind.
- Mike (San Jose, Calif.): Which teams' chances of hosting a regional were helped — and hurt — the most by this past week's results?
Aaron Fitt: We’ll discuss this more in tomorrow’s Stock
Report, but certainly Arizona’s chances were crushed this weekend, and Oregon’s took a big hit as well, as did LSU’s. Auburn, meanwhile, continued to strengthen its position. The other teams falling back could
open the door for UConn to host at Norwich, Conn. That would make a ton
of sense geographically, and right now the Huskies (the Big East leaders) have earned a shot to host with their play, too.
- Jeramey (Atlanta): A huge ACC series happens this weekend in Atlanta between Miami and Ga. Tech. Miami bieng 9th and
Ga. Tech 11th in the RPI according to WarrenNolan.com which team has more to lose. Do you think the winner of this series could have the inside track on a National Seed with it being a meaningful series late in the year?
Aaron Fitt: If Virginia doesn’t win the ACC, the team that wins it stands a pretty good chance to join the Cavs as a national seed. This Miami-Georgia Tech series will go a long way toward determining who wins the league, so it’s pretty big. If Virginia wins the league, I could very much see the ACC producing just one national seed. But Miami and Tech both look like fairly safe bets to host regionals, so I’m not sure either has much to lose this weekend, barring
- Jake (Dana Point, Cal): Certainly disappointing
to see CSUF sweep a decent Riverside team handily and not advance in your rankings. Looking ahead to next year for a moment, do Noe Ramirez,
Dylan Floro and Tyler Pill figure to constitute the top weekend starting trio in college baseball?
Aaron Fitt: Jake, every team in the top 10 except South
Carolina won its weekend series. You really have to look at what the other teams did — we’re not going to jump any team over a bunch of other teams that took care of business over the weekend. And yes, that looks like an extremely formidable rotation for next season, and I imagine it will be right there with UCLA’s rotation among the best in the nation.
- Ben (Leland Grove): Your opinion of Bryce Harper's JuCo season as a whole? How much do you see him costing the Nats?
Aaron Fitt: Mind-bogglingly amazing. I bet it costs close to Strasburg money.
- JH (the woodlands,tx): after a slow start, rick
hague has really played well for the rice owls and is now hitting .330 with 9hr. is he sneaking back into 1st round consideration given the lack of college bats?
Aaron Fitt: It’s good to see him playing better of late, but no, he’s nowhere near the first-round discussion. He has had an abysmal season defensively, and coming into this season many scouts were already uncertain if he could stick at shortstop in pro ball. This spring hasn’t helped. I still think he’s got a chance to be a pretty good pro; he’s obviously pretty talented, and I could see him as a nice “cheap five-tool player,” with fringe-average to solid-average tools across the board. But he’s likely to be a good value pick in the third round.
- Jeramey (Atlanta): LSU's struggle's continue, do you see them hosting a regional at this point?
Aaron Fitt: No. Five other SEC teams are very clearly ahead of LSU in the hosting pecking order, and that’s going to be tough to overcome.
- jb (SC): I know alot rides on the next 2 BIG weekends for the Gamecocks, but do still see them as a national seed? Is
there a chance that Coastal could grab a national seed and not the Gamecocks?
Aaron Fitt: Sure, there’s a chance of that. I don’t see
any team stopping Coastal from demolishing the Big South, not even Liberty, which is a solid enough team. But South Carolina clearly has two very difficult series remaining against Arkansas and Florida. We always knew South Carolina’s SEC schedule was backloaded, which is why it was important to keep the Gamecocks’ strong start in perspective. That doesn’t mean South Carolina can’t win one or both of those series, but it could also lose both of them and it wouldn’t be a big surprise. How the ‘Cocks finish will determine whether they earn a national seed.
- don (st. louis): Who do you see earning the automatic bid in the MVC? Is illinois state really this good? Where did Kevin Tokarski and Kenny Long come from. Any chance for them to be all americans?
Aaron Fitt: I still think it’s pretty likely to be Wichita State, but I love what Mark Kingston’s Redbirds have done. Tokarski isn’t much of a pro prospect — he’s undersized and probably won’t be able to stick as an infielder in pro ball, but he’s leading the
nation in hitting, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Long just came out of nowhere to emerge as an utterly dominant closer. The guy had
a 7.71 ERA last year, and coming into the spring the Redbirds weren’t counting him filling any sort of meaningful role. And now he’s got a 1.24 ERA, seven saves and 56 strikeouts in 44 innings. Amazing.
- mark maddox (fresno): with fresno state (30-20)
sweeping new mexico st and assuming they win the sac st./san jose st. series, what would they have to do in WAC tourney to get in?
Aaron Fitt: Fresno needs to win the automatic bid to get in, because its RPI is in the mid-60s (not at-large territory), and it’s just 1-6 against the RPI top 50. Fresno’s last two series are against San Jose State (No. 221 in the RPI) and Sacramento State (210), which means there are no opportunities left to move up.
- Josh (Mobile, AL): Do you think the Gamecocks' sudden hitting woes were due to a bad weekend, or should I be worried?
Aaron Fitt: I wouldn’t be too concerned. Jackie Bradley
Jr. is actually just now starting to find his stride now that he’s got the broken hamate and the hand laceration issues behind him, and Christian Walker seems to be on the upswing again. Those are two very encouraging developments for the offense. The Gamecocks just ran into some pretty good Kentucky pitching this weekend.
- Kyle (Richmond): Jarrett Parker has started to turn his season around. Is he looking like the Jarrett Parker of 2009, and is he moving back up draft boards?
Aaron Fitt: I wrote about his impressive power display last weekend in Three Strikes, and I wasn’t the only one who has taken notice of Parker’s better play of late, and the latest buzz has him going in the supplemental first round.
- Drunken Pirate (At a bar): ECU Pirates - done? It's hard to believe after starting ranked in the Top 20, taking one game from UVA and two from South Carolina, that my Pirates are headed home unless they win the conference tournament. Do you think this puts Coach Billy Godwin on the hot seat?
Aaron Fitt: Done — and no, Billy Godwin is secure. He’s done a great job with that program, and I don’t think there’s any way they make a move. I don’t usually comment on coaching speculation at
all during the season, until jobs have come open, so to all those people who keep asking about the same few jobs, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I won’t be answering those questions.
- Brett (Florida): Over/Under...30 HRs for Bryce Harper if he hit in between Tucker and Maddox at UF?
Aaron Fitt: Over.
- Matt (Buffalo, NY): Canisius made a statement this weekend by sweeping Manhattan and only needs one more win to clinch
the regular season crown and number one seed in the MAAC. What are their chances of stunning someone in the regionals - if they make it there. Their offense can score - just ask the Jaspers. And they have some good live arms on the mound. They played a decent schedule.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, that’s a big sweep for Canisius, which proved it is clearly the team to beat in the MAAC. I wrote about the Griffs in Weekend Preview this past week, so go back to that if you’re interested. That is a good offensive team, led by Steve McQuail, that I could see slugging its way to an upset win in a regional, in the right situation.
- Marc (Tennessee): What does Auburn have to do the rest of the way to host a Regional, if at all possible?
Aaron Fitt: I like Auburn’s chances quite a bit right now. Top-15 RPI, 15-9 in the SEC, winnable home series against Tennessee
coming up this weekend. Going 3-3 in the final two weekends (vs. Tenn and @ Ole Miss) would give Auburn an 18-12 finish in the league, and I think that would be enough to host. And I see that happening.
- jimmy (miami, fl): Are any sunbelt teams on the
cusp of the top 25? FAU has been very strong down the stretch and has an RPI of 33 and the conference continues to have the 5th best RPI in the nation. Any chance FAU can make the top 25 before season's end? Also, if they make it, will FAU be in the Hurricanes' regional?
Aaron Fitt: We looked at both FAU and Louisiana-Lafayette today, but both came up just short. In FAU’s case, it probably would have gotten in if not for the UCF loss midweek, which gave the Owls just a 2-2 week. And Coral Gables seems a pretty likely destination for FAU, assuming it continues to play well and finds itself
- Steven (Portland): The Oregon Ducks dropped a tough series this weekend getting swept by rival Oregon State. They lost
all three games by one run in dramatic fashion. The Oregon pitching staff has been one of the best in the country so far, which draft-eligible guys do you see going off the board early from their pitching staff?
Aaron Fitt: That was a great series — I watched the webcasts of the first two games, and both had very exciting finishes. Justin LaTempa will be the first Duck off the board thanks to his power stuff, but his checkered medical history hurts his stock a bit, and he projects to be drafted somewhere around the seventh round. Drew Gagnier and Zack Thornton figure to be drafted around the back of the top 10 rounds. The good news for Oregon fans is that a talented nucleus will be
back next year, including Tyler Anderson, Scott McGough and Christian Jones.
- Eliezer (Long Island, NY): Hey Aaron, three weeks ago I asked where is the love for Liberty Flames (37-12)? Now after winning 12 of their last 13 games I ask the same thing. Liberty will now face a quality team in Coastal Carolina which I am sure will get some publicity. How many games does Liberty have to win against the
Chanticleers to pop into the top 25?
Aaron Fitt: Our debate at the back of the rankings today eventually came down to Stanford vs. Liberty, and we went with the
team that was 10-5 vs. the Top 25 over the team that was 0-0. Liberty has been very consistent this year, it just hasn’t proven itself against
really good competition. This weekend offers a chance to do just that. As far as the rankings go, it’s pretty simple: win that series against Coastal, and Liberty will be in the Top 25.
- Andrew (Corvallis): After a big sweep of the Oregon Ducks, where do the Beavers stand as far as getting into the tournament? Do they have a chance with their weak conference record?
Aaron Fitt: I’ll have a more detailed and concrete answer to this question in tomorrow’s Stock Report, but the short answer
is yes, the Beavers still have a chance thanks to that huge sweep. OSU is No. 29 in the RPI, which means it is very much in at-large position if it can win two of its final three series or so, thus building positive momentum down the stretch. The committee is willing to overlook
mid-season slumps more easily than late-season slumps.
- Thomas (California): #25 Stanford is 10-5 vs the top 25. You have to scroll all the way up to the number 5 team Florida State to find another record similar to that against the top 25.
Does this play at all into the rankings or post season seeding?
Aaron Fitt: That number is really the only reason at all Stanford is ranked right now, because that team has been maddeningly
inconsistent this season. But yes, records against quality opponents do
play a big role in our top 25 deliberations, and the committee looks at
those sorts of figures as well when filling out the field.
- Steve (Ledyard, Conn.): UConn is crushing Boston College today. It is 10-2 in the 6th inning right now. What do you think about the Huskies chances of hosting a regional?
Aaron Fitt: I’m liking them better and better.
- Mike (Queens, NY): I know St. John's is 84 in the RPI, but they are 32-14 and really playing great ball. Rutgers is considerably higher then them in the RPI though. If the Big East were to
get a 4th team who do you think would get it? And how do you think St. John's will do this weekend against Louisville? Any chance the Johnnies take 2 of 3 in your opnion?
Aaron Fitt: I don’t think the Big East will get a fourth team. And I do think the Johnnies have a chance in that series —
I kind of like their team, some good veterans on the mound (Kern, Cole,
etc.) and in the lineup (Parque, Karmas, Hopkins, etc.). But they won’t
be able to overcome that RPI when it comes to competing for an at-large
spot. I suppose they could win the conference tournament, and then just
maybe the Big East has a shot at four bids, because Louisville and UConn are locks, and Pitt is really in good shape too.
- RSN (Georgia): How many bids to you see the SOCON getting at the end of the year? Right now it looks like the only way the SOCON gets 3 bids is if someone other than CofC or Citadel wins tourney. And after losing 2 of 3 to CofC, Citadel is probably not a safe bet right now. Elon swept App St to get back in picture and move to 4th and ruin App St's atlarge hopes you would think. Georgia Southern is still comfortably in 3rd place and still has Citadel series to end year. WCU finally got to .500 in conference and has chance to get over that with win today over Furman. But is it too late with how far their RPI has fallen?? THANKS
Aaron Fitt: Don’t write off Elon. The Phoenix climbed into the top 50 in the RPI with that sweep of Appalachian State, and Boyd’s World says they just need to go 3-1 down the stretch against ECU and Samford to finish with a top 45 RPI, which would put them in pretty good shape for an at-large bid, I think. Georgia Southern has a similar RPI, but I don’t like its chances as much because of a 2-10 record against the top 50. Western Carolina, I think, has to basically win out.
- JB (San Francisco): Aaron- TCU is the only team in the country that has yet to lose a weekend series this season. With the weekend rotation of Purke, Winkler, and Maxwell, they will be an incredibly tough out in the postseason double elimination format. The general consensus of the polls is that they are a top 8 team, yet the tourney projections all seem to indicate that RPI will prevent them from getting a national seed. If you are on the committee, do you argue
in favor of the Frogs due to the non-RPI factors or are you arguing against them due to RPI? What do you think will actually happen?
Aaron Fitt: I argue for them. And if they couple their impending MWC regular-season title with a MWC tournament title, I think they stand a realistic chance at getting a national seed. There is no question, for me, that is a top-eight-caliber team.
- Jonathan (Austin): Resumes aside, who would you
take in a weekend series — Coastal or USC?
Aaron Fitt: I think I’d take Coastal, actually, but it’s very close. I just think very few teams in the nation are as complete as the Chanticleers.
Aaron Fitt: OK everybody, that’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by, as always!