Baseball America staffers past and present have made their College World Series picks on the Rosenblog for years.
We gave that tradition the green light again this year, as Teddy Cahill, Michael Lananna and John Manuel are in Omaha to chronicle the 2017 CWS. It promises to be an exciting series with eight of college baseball’s biggest powerhouses battling it out over the next two weeks in TD Ameritrade Park for the national championship.
No matter what happens during the CWS, this will be the perfect place to find predictions every day.
Tuesday, June 27
Louisiana State vs. Florida, 8 p.m. ET
Teddy: Florida. Florida was my preseason pick to win the national championship and I’ve never wavered from that prediction. So, now, with the Gators on the precipice of their first national title in program history, I’m not about to change my mind. Unlike in Game 1 of the finals, Florida does not have the advantage on the mound on paper, but freshman righthander Tyler Dyson put in a heroic performance during super regionals to help Florida get to this point. Beating Jared Poche’ isn’t easy, but he has been shaky at times during the postseason and the Gators have plenty of experience facing him. I like their chances to finish this tonight.
Michael: LSU. The Tigers are too good, too gritty a bunch to go down 0-2 in the finals. Lefthander Jared Poche’ symbolizes that grittiness more than anyone. The Gators are in a similar situation as the Tigers were last night in that they don’t have one of their weekend starters available to go. This LSU lineup just needs to get to the underbelly of the bullpen, and I think the Tigers will put up some runs. They also have a fresh Zack Hess ready to go in the back end of the bullpen, and he’s been unhittable this postseason.
Standings After Day 8: Teddy 10-5, Michael 7-8
Monday, June 26
Florida vs. Louisiana State, 7 p.m. ET
Teddy: Florida. Starting in the preseason, I’ve consistently picked Florida to win the national championship, so I’m not about to change that now. The Gators have a big edge in Game 1 with Brady Singer, their No. 2 starter, starting on the mound, while LSU is forced to go with a bullpen day. Singer has been nearly as unhittable during the NCAA Tournament as Florida ace Alex Faedo, and even LSU’s potent, veteran offense will be hard pressed to sort him out.
Michael: Florida. At this point, there’s no reason for me to pick against Teddy, since he’s essentially claimed the picks crown. So I’m going with the team I legitimately think will win, and that’s Florida. Why? Because LSU is going Johnny Wholestaff and Florida is going Brady Singer. That’s a clear advantage for the Gators, especially in the shadows of the 6 p.m. CT start. I’m not saying the LSU offense can’t figure out Singer, but it’s hard to not pick the team that is running a legitimate starter out there, and a very good one at that. Singer shut down a stout Louisville offense earlier in the CWS. I think we’ll see a similar performance tonight.
Standings After Day 7: Teddy 9-5, Michael 6-8.
Saturday, June 24
Oregon State vs. Louisiana State, 3 p.m. ET
Texas Christian vs. Florida, 8 p.,. ET
Teddy: Oregon State, Florida. I’ll stick with my picks from yesterday. Oregon State is starting Bryce Fehmel, who buzzed through this LSU lineup Monday. In the nightcap, Florida will start Alex Faedo, who shut down this TCU lineup on Monday. Maybe LSU or TCU will have something figured out the second time around, but when Fehmel and Faedo are on, they’re exceptionally difficult to hit.
Michael: LSU, TCU. Desperate times in the standings, require desperate measures. With at most five games left in the season, I’ve got to make up ground now, so I’m going with a gut feeling.
Standings After Day 6: Teddy 8-4, Michael 5-7.
Friday, June 23
Louisiana State vs. Oregon State, 3 p.m. ET
Texas Christian vs. Florida, 8 p.m. ET
Teddy: Oregon State, Florida. Initially, I thought I would pick LSU with Alex Lange. But the more I’ve thought about this game, the more I think that Oregon State is an awful matchup for Lange. The righthander thrives when he can get opponents to chase his breaking ball out of the zone. I just don’t see the Beavers expanding their strike zone to go after Lange’s plus curveball. In the nightcap, I think a rested Florida is a dangerous Florida. With Jackson Kowar on the mound and Tyler Dyson and Michael Byrne ready to go behind him, runs will again be tough to come by for TCU, which was shut out Sunday by Florida.
Michael: Oregon State, TCU. My mantra so far in this CWS has been to keep picking the Beavers until they show me a reason not to. So far, they haven’t. The Beavers beat this same LSU team the other night, 13-1. I don’t think it will be anywhere near as lopsided tonight–it’s not easy putting up that many runs against Alex Lange–but I do think Oregon State will continue to do what it does best, and that’s win. As for the night game, I like the momentum that TCU seems to be building now. Obviously, Florida pitching has been nearly unhittable in this CWS, but I do think the Frogs can figure out Jackson Kowar, and they have a fresh closer ready to go in Durbin Feltman.
Standings After Day 6: Teddy 8-2, Michael 4-6, John 4-6.
Thursday, June 22
Texas Christian vs. Louisville, 8 p.m. ET
Teddy: Louisville. For me, this is the closest call of the tournament. Louisville starter Nick Bennett has been a little more consistent this season, but TCU starter Nick Lodolo has the ability to shut down any lineup in the country. Both are supported by strong bullpens and potent offenses. Ultimately, I’ll opt for the Cardinals’ star power in the middle of the order with Drew Ellis and Brendan McKay.
Michael: Louisville. It’s a freshman lefty against a freshman lefty, and I’ll take Louisville’s Nick Bennett. Why? Because he’s been the better, more consistent pitcher this year. And also because he tends to like a lot of tweets. But mostly the first reason. This is going to be a fun battle. Both teams are fairly evenly matched. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to timely hitting and a battle of the bullpens.
Standings After Day 5: Teddy 8-1, Michael 4-5, John 4-5.
Wednesday, June 21
Louisiana State vs. Florida State, 7 p.m. ET
Teddy: LSU. Oregon State gave LSU a beat down two days ago, but the Tigers should be ready to bounce back tonight behind senior Jared Poche’. The lefthander has a chance tonight to become the winningest pitcher in program history, and he has what it takes to will the Tigers to one more victory to extend their season.
Michael: Florida State. When those two teams last met , the Seminoles seemed to have the game in hand until defensive miscues derailed them. The ‘Noles bounced back with an impressive, grind-it-out offensive display against Fullerton, while LSU was blown out 13-1 by No. 1 national seed Oregon State. I expect this one to be a similar tight contest to the previous matchup between these two clubs, but I like FSU’s offense a bit more, and I think they’ll find a way to slug past the Tigers.
Standings After Day 4: Teddy 7-1, Michael 4-4, John 4-4.
Tuesday, June 20
Texas A&M vs. Texas Christian, 2 p.m. ET
Louisville vs. Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Teddy: TCU, Florida. TCU and A&M have played some epic games over the last few seasons, with the Horned Frogs coming out on top more often than not. That shouldn’t change today. TCU has the deeper, more complete roster and its pitching staff is in better shape, giving it everything it needs to end A&M’s season for the third year in a row. In the nightcap, it will all start with Florida righthander Brady Singer. When he’s locked in, he’s as good as anyone in the country, and will be a real challenge for Louisville to score runs against.
Michael: Texas A&M, Louisville. Common sense, series history and a quick look at the roster sheet would indicate that TCU is the favorite in today’s elimination game. I’m going to go against the grain. These sorts of rivalry games often bring out the best in competitors, and I like what I’ve seen out of the Aggies’ competitive drive of late. I’m going on nothing but gut feeling here, but I’m picking A&M to survive and advance. As for the night game, that’s going to be a great one. I loved Louisville’s approach against Corbin Martin two days ago. Brady Singer is electric, but I think the Cardinals’ bats can handle him, and I predict Kade McClure’s groundball tendencies will play well in this ballpark. The x-factor is the bullpen, and I have more faith in Louisville’s than I do Florida’s.
John: TCU, Florida. Coach Rob Childress gambled and lost with his move to start Corbin Martin in Game One, and now he has his third starter going with his season on the line. That my be his undoing, though I like Stephen Kolek as a pitcher. I do not see TCU failing to score again. Florida is my pick in the nightcap. The Gators will need Nelson Maldonado to be apart of the offense to beat Louisville.
Standings After Day 3: Teddy 5-1, Michael 4-2, John 3-3.
Monday, June 19
Florida State vs. Cal State Fullerton, 2 p.m. ET
Louisiana State vs. Oregon State, 7 p.m. ET
Teddy: Florida State, LSU. The Seminoles and Titans play the first elimination game of the CWS in what should be an exciting matinee. I don’t see much separation between these two teams, but I think the Florida State offense has what it takes to beat a stout Fullerton pitching staff. The nightcap should be another classic with the two hottest teams in the country going at it. Oregon State has been outstanding all year, but Bryce Fehmel is just too much of a wild card. He’s coming off an exceptional start against Vanderbilt, but he’s also struggled at times this season. I’ll take LSU and steady freshman Eric Walker.
Michael: Fullerton, Oregon State: Of the two teams in today’s elimination game, Fullerton has the deeper pitching staff, and for me, pitching means everything this time of year. FSU is an incredibly tough team to pitch to, but I think the Titans will find a way, leading off with lefthander John Gavin. As for the nightcap, I’m torn. You can make strong cases for either team, both coming in on lengthy winning streaks. Ultimately, I’m going with the team that’s 55-4.
John: Fullerton, LSU. At some point, I always thought, Mike Martin would have to win a CWS championship. I thought, coming into 2017, that this would be the year, with a fantastic, deep lineup, a true ace in Tyler Holton and a deep, varied pitching staff. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I just think Fullerton’s pressure style of offense can exploit a shaky Seminole defense. In the nightcap, I’m picking LSU. There’s no logical reason to pick the 17-win streak team over the 22-win streak team. It’s just a gut feel that Erik Walker gives LSU a slight edge over Bryce Fehmel, and that Zack Hess is a monster in the LSU bullpen who could play the same role that Doug Thompson (1997), Trey Hodges (2000) and Louis Coleman (2009) played in LSU’s last three national championships.
Standings After Day 2: Teddy 4-0, Michael 3-1, John 2-2.
Sunday, June 18
Texas A&M vs. Louisville, 2 p.m. ET
Texas Christian vs. Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Teddy: Louisville, Florida. After heartbreaking losses in super regionals the last two seasons, Louisville, led by Brendan McKay, the College Player of the Year, has finally broken through to the CWS. The Cardinals have rolled through the NCAA Tournament thus far and with McKay on the mound that won’t change today. In the nightcap, Florida and TCU are CWS veterans. Both are among the most talented teams in the field, but it’s hard to pick against Gators righthander Alex Faedo, the 18th overall pick in the draft last week. When he’s on, he’s as good as anyone in the country and will give the Horned Frogs offense a stiff challenge.
Michael: Louisville, TCU. I’m going with the Cardinals for one reason and one reason only: Brendan McKay. The dude has no pulse. He has ice in his veins. More cliches about how competitive he is. He’ll step up to the moment today. Book it. As for the nightcap, my gut leans TCU. The Horned Frogs are in the midst of their fourth straight year here. They’re Omaha veterans. Based on Saturday’s games, homers will fly this year. TCU is a powerful offense. I think the Frogs will take care of business.
Saturday, June 17
Cal State Fullerton vs. Oregon State, 3 p.m. ET
Florida State vs. Louisiana State, 8 p.m. ET
Teddy: Oregon State, LSU. The Beavers and Tigers have the two longest winning streaks in the country at 21 games and 16 games. Both will have difficult tests in their opening games, but both have All-American righthanders on the mound in Jake Thompson and Alex Lange. Both national seeds should take care of business on opening day.
Mike: Oregon State, LSU. I am not going out on a limb whatsoever by picking the team that is 54-4 and is on the cusp of making history as the team with the best winning percentage. I have a hard time picking against the Beavers until they show me otherwise. The second game is a matchup of two high-powered, dynamic offenses. It should be fairly evenly matched, but I think the Tigers are the better fit for this ballpark. And I like that Alex Lange comes in with Omaha experience—he shoved here as a freshman.
John: Fullerton, Florida State.