Aaron Fitt: Hello gang, got a busy day so will have to keep this tight. Let's get to it!
- Josh (Beaumont tx): Is florida State a national seed as of right now? What is your take.
Aaron Fitt: Yes. Had them as a national seed by a hair in last week's stock report, and they really helped themselves with that
road series win against Miami, while Georgia Tech fell back with a series loss to Clemson.
- Tex (Baltimore, MD): If Cole continues down this road, do you see him slipping out of the Top 5?
Aaron Fitt: No. His stuff, size, mechanics and makeup still make for way too good a package. Still think he goes in the top 2-3 picks, and maybe still No. 1. Not worried about him.
- Otto (Louisville, KY): I'm impressed by what I've seen thus far from 2B Ryan Wright. Could you give us a brief rundown on him, as well as where you think he could get popped? Second best 2B behind Wong, or no?
Aaron Fitt: He might very well be the next second baseman after Wong. Wright is a winning ballplayer who does all the little things, and his bat will carry him — his hit tool is his best tool, might wind up being above-average. The rest of his tools are fringe-average to solid-average across the board, but the sum is better than the parts. In a draft this strong, he's probably a top-five-rounds guy.
- Jason (South Carolina): With the ACC being stocked with six teams that have a chance to host, and both divisions still technically up for grabs, who do you see getting the host bids. UNC has been slipping a little, Clemson just took the series with GT, and there are still some huge series to be played in FSU-NCST, UNC-UVA, CLEM-FSU, and UNC-GT. What do you see happening come selection time.
Aaron Fitt: Like you said, it's up in the air, but my gut still says UVa, FSU, Georgia Tech and UNC wind up hosting, with Miami and Clemson the odd teams out. That is subject to change, however.
- Travis (California): Some West Coast Conference
talk! I know before you had said it would be LMU and Gonzaga at the end
of the season. But with the San Francisco over LMU, and USF holding their lead by one game atop the WCC over Gonzaga, who is now your favorite? Can't help but eye the final series of the season between USF and Gonzaga. Do you think it will come down to that?
Aaron Fitt: I still like Gonzaga, but USF is a good club. Coming into the season, I thought the WCC was more wide open than any other conference — could almost see any of those teams finishing in
any order. The Dons have a lot to like — they play really, really strong defense, they have veterans in the lineup and on the mound, they're well-coached and they play hard. Certainly, USF could hang on and win that league. That regular-season finale very well might determine it.
- Shannon (Gainesville, FL): The big three in the
SEC didn't blink this past weekend. How do you see things finishing up in that race? Could we see a two-way tie, and is a three-way tie possible? I have to think South Carolina may just have the upper hand, since Vandy and UF still have to play each other — and what a huge series that will be!
Aaron Fitt: What an amazing race that is. All three teams are on the road for two of their last three series, but I'd tend to agree with you — the schedule favors South Carolina slightly, since Vandy and Florida still must play each other. But then again, only one team can lose that series, and the team that wins will still be in great
shape, even if it doesn't sweep. As amazing as South Carolina has been,
you can't expect it to sweep all of its remaining series, especially without JBJ. Right? Um . . . right? I keep having a similar line of thought about Oregon State — with those two teams, it doesn't seem to matter how many injuries they have to deal with. They're just so incredibly tough and resilient, nothing can slow them down. I keep waiting for injuries to catch up with both clubs, but neither has had a hiccup all season. Remarkable.
- Taxicab (Austin, TX): With Stilson and Wacha and the A&M defense falling apart against Mizzou over the weekend, along with the offense's rare ability to hit the ball against good pitchers, how do you think the rest of the season will turn out for the Aggies?
Aaron Fitt: I wouldn't panic about one bad weekend — A&M's weekend pitching is marquee, and its defense has generally been solid this year. The bats are just OK, but they should be good enough to win with the pitching that team has. It's baseball — you can't win them all.
- Danny (Chicago): Should I be worried about Georgia Tech and it's annual end of the year slide? With a young team and the series loss to Clemson over the weekend, it seems like something
us Tech fans have seen over and over. Should we panic at this point? I
know it's a good Clemson team we lost 2 of 3 to on the road but this just reeks of every year before it.
Aaron Fitt: Don't panic — like Texas A&M, the Jackets have good enough pitching to keep them afloat. But I would worry
more about Tech than A&M just because Tech is so reliant on freshmen, and we've all seen freshmen wear down in the second half of a college season time and time again. That has always been my reservation with the 2011 Yellow Jackets, and it continues to be. But at least you've got three outstanding juniors in the weekend rotation to carry the load; that should keep you from pushing the panic button.
- Travis (Raleigh, NC): Wow, three pac10 teams in
the top 25. I cant believe how the Pac has fallen so quickly from grace. Are teams like Gonzaga and Texas state really that much better than UCLA, Arizona and Stanford?
Aaron Fitt: I'll tell you, the back of the Top 25 was no fun to put together this week. All those contenders for spots at the back have glaring holes in their resumes. Gonzaga lost a series to St. Mary's last week, and Texas State has really struggled in midweek games against Big 12 teams and the like. But Gonzaga has a sweep against UCI that is helping its cause (the Anteaters were another candidate for a Top 25 spot), and Texas State has been very good on weekends this year. Are those teams more talented than UCLA, Arizona and Stanford? I don't think so. But those three Pac-10 teams just have not been very consistent — it was time to put somebody else in there until those Pac-10 teams start to sustain some success. That's challenging in the Pac-10, but a top 25-caliber team should have less head-scratchers than those three.
- Justin (Indiana): Which one or two sleeper teams, aside from USM, could make a run to Omaha like USM did two years?
Aaron Fitt: UConn!
- Randy (Columbia SC): What does South Carolina have to do to become #1??? Virginia loses to BC to go 2-1 on the week while South Carolina torches a good Auburn team and goes 4-0 coupled with their TWO series victories over #1's, 3 fewer losses surely can not
overrule the Gamecocks impressive record. Nothing against UVA, but its
quite hypocritical to say that our 1 loss to Vandy kept us from taking over #1 when UVA can lose to BC and remain #1.
Aaron Fitt: If you win a conference road series, you're
not usually going to drop in the rankings. South Carolina won 2 of 3 at
Mississippi State last weekend but dropped the middle game. It still won the road series, so it did not drop behind teams that went 3-0 on the weekend. We're pretty consistent here, folks. Virginia is 42-5; you think we can allow them one road loss against BC, especially when they shut out the Eagles in the other two games?
- Sergio Millar (Compton): Is there any shot of Clemson hosting a regional at this point? If not, would you say they are
one of the strongest 2 seeds going into the tournament?
Aaron Fitt: The RPI is nice, but I still think it's a long shot. Clemson is still just 13-11 in the ACC and is behind five other teams in the standings, all of whom are also higher in the RPI and
are more likely to host. I do think Clemson will be a very, very dangerous No. 2 seed — seems like that team has gotten on track and figured out its pitching, and its veteran lineup will not be easy to deal with in the postseason.
- Matt M. (Charlottesville): How is UVA still ranked number 1? You have to be kidding. They are so overrated. Losses to BC and NC State. Explain.
Aaron Fitt: South Carolina has losses to The Citadel and Cal State Bakersfield and Georgia (which is about as good as NC State) and Mississippi State. Explain. Look, all of those teams at the top have great, great resumes. Really, really great resumes. South Carolina has had an incredibly impressive season. So has UVa. Vanderbilt
has had an incredibly impressive season. So has Oregon State. I know it's hard to believe there are good teams outside the SEC, but it's true!
- Eddie (Orlando): Do you think barring a major implosion down the stretch, that Stetson will host a region? They still have 3 difficult non conference games in Florida St., FIU, and UCF, on top of a weekend series versus Fl. Gulf Coast.
Aaron Fitt: I do think Stetson will host — even if it's as a No. 2 seed with Miami as the No. 1. The Hatters have put together a very nice resume, and the committee likes to put regionals in
new places when mid-majors have great years like this. Stetson has nice
- budman (Berkeley): Thanks for doing the chats. Based on your Stock Reports, it doesn't look like the Great West champion receives an automatic bid yet. When will the Great West champion receive an automatic bid? Thanks.
Aaron Fitt: I don't think there's any timeframe for that to happen — I would not expect it anytime soon.
- Alex (Fairfax, VA): Is the gap between the top 4-5 (depending on whether you include OSU) and the rest bigger than usual this year or is it my imagination? As a recent college baseball addict, it seems like it is, but I don't have the sense of history or background to know. Thanks, as always, for chatting...
Aaron Fitt: I don't know, I think Texas and Arizona State, in particular, are both very good clubs, and so are FSU and Texas
A&M. There are usually a couple of teams that really have unbelievable regular seasons and look like the clear teams to beat in the postseason (last year it was Texas, Virginia and Arizona State, and only one of them made it to Omaha, where it went 0-2).
- Johnny (TD AMeritrade Park): 11-4 in their last
15, the 4 losses all by 1 run. Talk to me about my Creighton Bluejays.
They are leading the MVC currently, but will they need to win the MoVal to make a regional? What will they need to do with the Shockers this weekend to solidify their spot? Do they need a sweep?
Aaron Fitt: Creighton has a real shot at an at-large spot — the Bluejays are 46th in the RPI and a 7-4 finish can land them in the top 45 at season's end, which is bubble range. A series win against Wichita is a must, I think, and a sweep would put them in really
good shape. That's a tall order, though — I still like Wichita's talent.
- Russ (Phoenix): With Jake Barrett shutting out Cal last week and giving up 1 run in 8 innings on Sunday. Where is his draft position for next year.
Aaron Fitt: He looks like an early bet to go in the top 10 picks — it's a really big arm, and he's on a roll right now.
- Brandon (Oregon): How much did Josh Osich's no hitter make him in terms of $$$ resulting from moving up in the draft?
Aaron Fitt: Had to help. There was a lot of scouting heat in there to see him and Bauer, and Osich also started throwing his curveball again for the first time this year. His stock is certainly on the rise.
- Jake (Portland, OR): Do you have any insight as
to when Oregon State will get Andrew Susac back, and do you see them being able to keep this winning up and win the Pac 10?
Aaron Fitt: It sounds like he's making progress. He could potentially be back in the next two weeks, and they're saying the worst-case scenario is he'll be back for the season-ending Oregon series.
- Pat (Chapel Hill): Can you explain why Oregon State is still ranked ahead of Vandy? I literally can't think of one reason supporting the ordering of these two teams.
Aaron Fitt: Literally? Not even one? Really? You must not be thinking very hard. How about an 11-2 mark against the top 25 (Vandy is 6-3)? How about the fact that Oregon State hasn't lost a weekend series? How about peak value? Oregon State swept Arizona State, which trumps anything Vanderbilt has done. How about common opponents? Vandy took 2 of 3 from Stanford at home; Oregon State swept Stanford on the road. How about road series wins against Arizona and Stanford and UCLA, all of whom will be in regionals and all of whom are very talented? But you can't think of a single reason, huh? Vanderbilt is awesome, and its season has been awesome, and its record is a couple of games better than Oregon State's (although I'm not particularly impressed with Vandy's nonconference strength of schedule, with all those games against Brown, UIC and a USD team that is a shadow of what it usually is). But you think, just maybe, Oregon State might have a case, too?
- shawn (Fort Worth): With a strong finish, do you see TCU getting a Regional position? With a current RPI of 26th and playing Baylor (38), OSU (24), Utah (105) and Oral Roberts (168), could winning out on the single games (Baylor & Oral Roberts) and a series
win against OSU and UTah be enough to give them the knock?
Aaron Fitt: I still think TCU is behind the 8-ball when
it comes to hosting, especially after losing another game against Oklahoma in midweek. But it has a chance to make a statement against Oklahoma State this weekend. If the Horned Frogs can sweep that series, they might vault past OSU and Oklahoma and Rice in the hosting discussion in that part of the country. Just winning two out of three will at least keep the Frogs in the discussion. Right now, those four teams are competing with each other for host sites, and it's hard to separate them from each other. The next three weeks will be crucial.
Aaron Fitt: OK, that's all I've got time for today. See you guys next week!