Top 25 Chat: June 3

 Q:  James from Washington, DC asks:

Can
you ever recall seeing a team bounce back more ferociously than Florida
State did this weekend? From a humiliating opening night shutout
against a supposedly over-matched Patriot League peon to 4-win rampage
that featured 74 runs on 82 hits. After a while, it got to the point
where it was shocking if the Noles DIDN’T put up a crooked number in an
inning. Can the Shcokers do anything to slow down this offense?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Hello all, hope everyone enjoyed the regionals. We’re going to have to
keep this chat brisk and short — it’s a busy day here at BA.com.

Aaron Fitt:
It was an awfully impressive recovery by Florida State, but it wasn’t
terribly surprising. FSU does have a great offense, and none of the
other teams in that regional had any good, fresh arms left to throw at
them after the first day. Plus I think FSU felt like it had something
to prove the rest of the weekend, and boy, did it. The difference is
that the Shockers have three pitchers who are better than anyone the
Seminoles faced during that four-game binge (a tired Shooter Hunt
notwithstanding), and all three of those guys can locate and have
movement. Florida State’s offense has been held in check by other teams
with good pitching this year (Virginia, UNC, NC State), and Wichita
could keep it in check, too.

 Q:  Marco from San Diego asks:

Aaron,
what are your thoughts on USD? Blair and Matusz were dominant, what
happened to the bats? Is there hope next year, with Matusz gone, and
Blair and Sanchez leading this team?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
What happened to the bats is they stayed in character. That USD offense
hasn’t been anything special all year — they need to scrap to get
runs, because they don’t have a lot of firepower. That was USD’s
Achilles’ heel heading into regionals, and it cost them. I listened to
the radio feed of Monday’s game, and it sounded like the Toreros got
impatient and pressed toward the end of the game. They stopped working
counts and waiting for good pitches, which they need to do to be
successful.

 Q:  Will Clemens from San Luis Obispo, CA asks:

When
will the SEC stop getting 8 or 9 teams into the tournament while the
West Coast gets hosed? In particular, the Big West should be a 4 team
conference every year, but is lucky to get 2 in.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Well, to be fair, the Big West did get four teams in the last two
years. This 2-for-9 performance from SEC teams doesn’t say much for the
quality of the league, that’s for sure. It exposed the SEC for what it
is this year: a deep league with a number of good-but-not-great teams.
And, typically, when middle-of-the-pack West Coast teams meet
middle-of-the-pack SEC and ACC and Big 12 teams, the West winds up
looking pretty good.

 Q:  Matt from Michigan asks:

Had
the chance to see Arizona’s bullpen: Perry, Schlereth, and Stoffel this
weekend at the Ann Arbor Regional. Are they the best bullpen in the
Super Regional and how do they compare to bullpens of recent years?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
It’s a different kind of bullpen than Georgia’s and N.C. State’s, which
both have a lot of different relievers who fill a lot of different
roles. For Arizona, it’s three guys with insane stuff who just attack
hitters every day — Arizona doesn’t need to worry about matchups so
much. They just throw those power arms out there against anybody. While
Georgia and NC State have more depth in the bullpen, they don’t have
three guys who seem very likely to pitch in the big leagues like
Arizona has.

 Q:  Marty from Wilmington, DE asks:

Aaron,

Could
you put Bucknell pitcher Mat Wilson’s performance against FSU on Friday
in perspective? Based on what the Seminoles did over the next four
games, how does Wilson’s performance rank among the top individual
performances in NCAA tournament history? Thanks

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
Put it this way: if baseball got the kind of exposure and fan interest
that March Madness has, people would remember Wilson the same way we
remember Bryce Drew and Stephen Curry. It was a remarkable performance
and one of the greatest upsets in college baseball in quite some time.

 Q:  Drew from Texas asks:

Is it premature to identify Buster Posey as one of the top college catchers ever?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I really think you can throw his name into that discussion and made a good case for him.

 Q:  Drew from tampa asks:

Too
bad we won’t be able to see Brian Matusz match up with ASU’s potent
lineup. What matchups are you looking forward to seeing this weekend? I
think Irvine-LSU will be interesting.

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
My top three: (1) Miami-Arizona, (2) Irvine-LSU, (3) Florida
State-Wichita State. I always enjoy those inter-sectional matchups, and
all of those matchups pit teams with contrasting styles against each
other.

 Q:  John from Atlanta, GA asks:

What are you hearing about Miss. State and Auburn jobs? Who are the fron runners and what is the timeline?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I think John Cohen is the front-runner for the MSU job, though I still hope Tommy Raffo gets a shot at it. Auburn wants to
go after a proven coach with head-coaching experience; Steve Smith
could be in the mix there, if he doesn’t land in Starkville or opt to
stay in Waco.

 Q:  Douglas from New Mexico asks:

I
am a huge Cal State Fullerton fan and as such, I am pleased that they
got by UCLA. Stanford has always given them trouble. How do see the
matchup playing out this weekend? Thanks

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I really don’t see Stanford going down there and winning this thing. I
watched a lot of the Titans this weekend, and I came away even more
impressed with Fullerton than I already was. That’s an extremely good
offense and such a tough pitching staff, just a fun team to watch.
Christian Colon is a great baseball player, Erik Komatsu is a hitting
machine, and Josh Fellhauer and Gary Brown are electric. Stanford did
wind up pitching pretty well this weekend, but they didn’t see any
offense that is even close to as good as Fullerton’s.

Aaron Fitt:
As for UCLA — how about a little less energy devoted to flipping your
bats and jawing with the fans? You were the preseason No. 1 and you
finished six games over .500 — just play the game without all that
nonsense.

 Q:  Dimitri from Alpharetta, GA asks:

How is Georgia so high up in the rankings at 9th with a record that doesn’t even reach 40 wins or has over 20 loses?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: Last I checked Georgia finished in first-place in a nine-bid league and won a regional.

 Q:  Jeff from Phoenix asks:

Aaron
- How surprised were you that the SEC went 2 for 9 in regionals and the
Big 12 1 for 6? Once again, the teams from the west did very well. As
an ASU fan, I don’t know a lot about Fresno State, what can you tell me
about them and who are your 8 picks for Omaha? Go Devils!

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
I guess I’m not terribly surprised — I only picked one Big 12 team to
win a regional (Texas A&M), and I picked just three SEC teams to
win regionals (Georgia, Vandy and South Carolina). John Manuel and I
have said it time and time again this year, starting in the preseason:
the West is incredibly strong this year, even more than usual, and I
think that has played itself out. The ACC is left to carry the banner
for the non-West, and so far it’s doing a pretty good job . . . but it
is the ACC, and it’s been more than a half-century since any ACC team
has won it all. Of course, the ACC has only had Miami for a few years.

 Q:  Freddie from Berkeley, Ca asks:

With
the quick elimination of Cal in the Long Beach regional, do you think
David Esquer has a good foundation with this team moving forward. Do
you think he is a mainstay at Cal, as he has been competitive in all
but one year of his nine years to date???

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
The Golden Bears are losing some quality veterans, but I do like the
foundation with guys like Brett Jackson, Jeff Kobernus and Brian Guinn
— three guys who should become bona fide stars next year. Esquer has
done a nice job, and I do think he’ll be a mainstay there.

 Q:  Taylor from Houston asks:

Miami wins it all. You got to think so after last weekend, right? Pretty impressive…

 A: 

Aaron Fitt: I’m with you, Taylor. This weekend will be a big test, but the ‘Canes are up for it.

 Q:  Sean from Brea, CA asks:

Aaron,
I remember a lot of answers during the year talking about teams do not
move in the rankings much on a week-to-week basis because they are
judged on the entirety of the season. How come that does not hold true
now? Oklahoma State and San Diego both fell at least 10 spots in the
poll after finishing as the second place team in their regional. I know
the postseason is more important and should be rewarded, but did either
of those team’s ranking resume change that much after one average
weekend? Do you tihnk too much weight is being put on playing well for
one important weekend?

 A: 

Aaron Fitt:
If you stack up Oklahoma State or San Diego with teams like Arizona and
N.C. State, the difference in their resumes is not glaring; the only
thing that’s glaring is that the latter teams won regionals, while the
former teams did not. With Fresno State, it’s a little different —
Oklahoma State’s overall resume is just much more impressive than
Fresno’s, with the exception of one weekend, so we kept the Cowboys
ahead of the Bulldogs. But we just couldn’t rank USD ahead of Fresno
after the Bulldogs took two out of three from the Toreros and sent them
packing yet again.

Aaron Fitt: Ok, I’ve got to cut it short. I’ll be back next Tuesday for another college chat. Enjoy the draft and the super-regionals.

College | #2008 #Chat

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