College Top 25 Chat: March 28
Hey everybody, hope you enjoyed the weekend. Let's get to it.
alex k. (moscow, russia): Aaron, what do you
make of Fullerton's sweep of Hawaii? Will the roster shake up become a
bit more permanent after such a great series win?
I wouldn't think so (as well as Anthony
Trajano played this weekend, for instance, Richy Pedroza has to be the
shortstop going forward), but that's an awfully impressive weekend,
shorthanded and on the heels of two midweek games against Arizona State.
Dave Serrano thinks this might wind up being the best pitching staff
he's ever had, and I think the depth of the staff was really on display
Joe (Greenville, NC): How far off was East Carolina? If they would have swept Memphis instead of going 2-1, would that have done it?
It might have. The problem with East
Carolina's resume is that it still lacks a signature series win. I like
Memphis this year, but that's probably not a regional team. If they keep
on winning, they could get into the rankings even without a big-time
series win, but it's hard when other teams have similar overall records
but better wins. Troy has the Southern Miss series, Stetson has a win
against FSU and series wins over Georgia and Mercer (which is a solid
club), Southern Miss has a series win against Tulane and nice weekend
last week, Alabama has a road series against Ole Miss and a sweep of
Kentucky. ECU just doesn't quite have anything that stacks up with any
Jeramey (Atlanta): UGA wins the series vs LSU,
and wins 1 last week vs SC. What have we learned about this team so far
this year, after losing a series to a pretty good stetson team, and are
thy still a regional team?
You have to be impressed with the way
Georgia has bounced back from its rough start and the Johnathan Taylor
injury — that club has played well over the last three weekends, at
least giving it a chance to make a run at a regional. I'm not saying
that's going to happen, but it could — they're certainly talented
enough, and they are pitching well. Michael Palazzone's performance
continues to be a bright spot, and it's a very important bright spot —
he's a key guy for them.
KC (Durham): Hi Aaron, those Monday morning
ranking meetings must really be tough on Pacific coast time.
North Carolina has had a somewhat surprisingly hot start, although their
ACC games to date have admittedly been against the weaker teams in the
How do you see them holding up against the meat of the ACC? Colin Moran
is reminding me, dare I say it, of a young Dustin Ackley.
You make me sleepy just thinking about it.
I'm very eager to see how UNC fares against the meat of the ACC
schedule, starting with the Clemson series this weekend. I'd stop short
of comparing any freshman to Dustin Ackley, but Moran actually has a
higher OPS right now than Ackley posted as a freshman. You can make a
case that Moran has been UNC's most important player so far — he's
given them a sorely needed power source, and he's hitting for average
Jeramey (Atlanta): Ga. Tech has 17 freshman on
the roster, which is the most in the nation. Is this class compairable
to last year's Florida class depth wise? Could you compare the 2
classes, and is Tech's this year as good as the Fla soph's? thanks
This is a great Georgia Tech class for
sure, but I don't think it's in the class of Florida's historically
great class last year. Florida's class was loaded with arms, for one
thing. Tech has gotten great contributions out of Grimes and Isaacs, but
it's not the kind of pitching group that Florida brought in. Hyde's a
good player, but he hasn't had the kind of impact Fontana made. Palka
has given Tech the kind of production that Florida got from Austin
Maddox, but now Maddox has emerged as a key bullpen arm as a sophomore.
There is plenty more upside for both these classes, though — DeAndre
Smelter hasn't scratched the surface of his abilities yet.
Jason (Virginia): Aaron,
We all knew Vandy was going to really heavily on its pitching staff this
year, but this team's inability to get a timely hit or string together
multiple hits is becoming a real problem. Is this noticable to others
or am I over reacting ?
I mean, Vanderbilt is 22-3, so they must be
getting some kind of timely hitting, right? Maybe it's not a juggernaut
offense team, but I still think there is nothing to worry about.
Bill (Atlanta): It was a rare college baseball
treat to be able to watch all 4 of GT's victories on the road via TV. I
have to give Danny Hall a lot of credit for the victories at Miami,
since the Jackets honestly didn't play sharp baseball. His late inning
moves in the Saturday game seemed brilliant.
Do you think the Jackets can handle just as hot UVA when the Cavs come
to Atlanta week after next?
Coach Hall did seem to push all the right
buttons late on Saturday, getting big pinch-hit heroics from Evan Martin
and Chase Butler in that big 10th inning. I was certainly impressed
with Georgia Tech from what I saw on TV this weekend. But Virginia is a
whole different enchilada — the Cavs are just a much better team this
year than Miami is. Should be a great series.
Ryan (Honolulu, Hi): Hi Aaron, what do you think about Hawaii's chances to making the postseason after being swept by Cal State Fullerton?
Not too good, unless they can win the WAC. I
liked Hawaii as a fringe at-large team coming into the year because it
played such a strong nonconference schedule, but the Rainbows needed to
win more of those games against Oregon, Texas and Fullerton to put
themselves in good position. They are 3-8 in those games, and splitting
with both LMU and Portland doesn't help, really.
Eddie (Bakersfield): Aaron, Florida and Cal
State Bakersfield both played South Carolina (although Bakersfield had
to go there), and the results were the same. What do they have to do to
break the top 25, and do you see them making it to a regional this year ?
The Roadrunners kept on making noise
against big-name opponents this weekend, taking two of three against
Ohio State. Bakersfield has gone 18-6 against a pretty solid schedule,
but unfortunately a lot of the teams they've played and beaten
(Washington, Kansas, Ohio State, Washington State) have taken steps back
this year, so those wins won't help CSUB as much on selection day. But
if Bakersfield is really a regional contender, it will have a chance to
show it as the year progresses, with good series against UC Irvine, UC
Riverside, Fresno State, UCLA, etc.
Stephen (California): Still no love for the
Gonzaga Bulldogs? Coming off of a sweep of highly touted UC Irvine. With
their pitching staff, including Ryan Carpenter and Freshman Macro
Gonzalez, they could surprise some people. They play the 3rd toughest
schedule in the nation and have a good record thus far. Were they even
in your talk about the top 25 this week?
Not yet. This was a nice weekend for
Gonzaga, a team that I do like, but it's still just 13-7 and doesn't
have a lot of other great wins (best series was taking 2/3 from
Minnesota — a decent club, but not a great one).
Bob (Texas): Who are the triple crown leaders for D1? I can't seem to find these stats anywhere
According to the national leaderboard at
Boyd's World, the batting leader is Chad Zurcher of Memphis (.480), HR
leaders are Jake Lowery and David Herbek of JMU (11 apiece), and RBI
leader is Matt Leeds of CofC (41).
Jonny (Birmingham): I know this chat is mostly
about D-1 teams and players, but are there any D-II or NAIA guys who
might get some draft love (top 5 rounds...) this June? Thanks!
We'll have a feature tomorrow about one of
them — RHP Carter Capps from Mount Olive (N.C.). I don't expect many
other D-II or NAIA guys to go in the top five rounds, at this point.
Michael (Wilmington, NC): Who do you like to win C-USA this year? Also what do you think it would take for ECU to host a regional this year?
With Rice struggling, that league looks
wide open... but we've been down this road before with Rice, and the
Owls have a way of getting things straightened out by season's end. I'm
still taking the Owls. As for ECU, a top-two finish in CUSA is a must, I
Bearable (Bezerkley): Aaron
Thanks for taking my question. Cal has been pretty impressive on the
mound, and they are finding ways to win. Where do you see them finishing
in the PAC, and how far do you think they will go. Esquer has done a
great job, despite the lack of support. Where do you see him ending up,
and if this program is saved, is Cal stupid enough to let him go??
Agree — that's a really good pitching
team, with all kinds of power arms that are living up to their
potential, and I love the athleticism in the lineup. Dangerous club that
could make a run at the Pac-10 title. Coach Esquer has done a real nice
job there, no question about it.
Brandon (Carson, CA): On the Big West: How
close is Long Beach getting to the top 25 after a competitive, but
losing, series vs. Stanford? Also, any clue how good (or bad) this
Irvine team is after playing so well vs. a very weak schedule....then
getting killed this week?
I've been impressed with Long Beach —
that's a scrappy team that plays really hard and has some pretty good
pitching. But it's nowhere near a top 25 team, having lost four of its
five weekend series. As for Irvine, I was certainly surprised to see
that team score one run in three games this weekend. I still think it's a
good offensive club — tip your cap to Gonzaga's pitching.
Daniel Stone (columbia, sc): SC almost swept the number one team in the country. Shouldn't they be #1?
You can make a strong case that they should
be. We had a nice debate in our Top 25 meeting today about who should
be No. 1 (and as John mentioned in our podcast, I came into the meeting
thinking the Gamecocks should be No. 1). The bodies of work for those
three clubs are very similar — they all have two really nice series
wins (though certainly South Carolina's series win at Florida is the
most impressive of all), but Vandy and UVa. have fewer losses, and they
have been consistent enough this year and played well enough this week
that they didn't deserve to get leapfrogged. It's a tough one, though.
Dillon (Fort Worth, TX): Hi Aaron,
Do you think Texas A&M's pitching can carry them to Omaha? Also,
where do you see Stilson & Stripling going in the draft?
That's a very good pitching staff, and it
certainly has a chance to carry that team through the postseason — it
all depends who is hot at the right time. I think Stilson's a
first-rounder, and Stripling could go in the top three. In between, I
think Wacha could be a first-rounder next year. Quite a staff.
Eric (Long Beach): Just a thought on Arizona
St..They are ineligible (for postseason) and I was wondering why they
are even in the rankings...UNLV in basketball was ineligible in 1992 and
went 26-2 and they finsihed 22nd in rankings and out of polls most of
year..i think the polls should be relevant to eligible teams. I know you
will say it's the body of work but banned is banned.
I don't really agree with you, but
regardless, it should be pointed out that Arizona State currently IS
eligible, until its appeal is heard and ruled upon. So even if no
decision is reached on the appeal before selection day, Arizona State
will be eligible to compete in the tournament this year, and if the
appeal is later denied, the Sun Devils will have to serve the ban next
Greg (ATL): Jed Bradly gets alot of attention but how about RHP Mark Pope? This guy has been nails all season. Any draft buzz around Pope?
Check our most recent Draft Tracker for some good stuff on Pope's draft stock.
JH (Berkeley): Can you talk a little bit about
Andrew Susac? He was rated more as a glove guy coming into the year,
but his bat is looking pretty phenomenal so far.
It's amazing how much better he's gotten at
the plate from his freshman year to his sophomore year. His approach
has improved by leaps and bounds, and he's hitting for power, too. He's
really helped his draft stock, as I've said before, I think.
Brian (Lacey, WA): Hi Aaron! Love the chats!
Which freshmen have you been most impressed with so far this season
(both pitchers and position players)? Thanks!
Hard not to be impressed with what Kurt
McCune has done for LSU — even this weekend, when LSU lost a series to
Georgia, McCune gave them a complete-game victory on Friday. As for the
hitters, Colin Moran at UNC has been outstanding. Both those guys were
under the radar coming into the year, but they're not any longer.
Steve (Greenville, SC): Aaron,
What did you think about South Carolinas pitching this weekend? If
Forrest Koumas and Bryan Harper can pitch like they did this weekend
South Carolina should have alot of good quality depth in the post season
which is important in regionals and Omaha. Also, good to see Matt Price
come back after Saturday and get the job done Sunday. Looking forward
to Vandy visiting Columbia in a few weeks. GO COCKS 2010 National
I could see Koumas emerging as a solution
for South Carolina in the weekend rotation — he's not tall, but he's
got a strong, sturdy build, and his arm is really fast. It looked like
the game had a chance to get away from him on Saturday, but he regrouped
and showed admirable poise. He also gives South Carolina a nice righty
in the middle of an otherwise lefty-dominated rotation, and the bullpen
is good enough to withstand his loss (thanks in large part to Price, who
pitched well both days, with the exception of one elevated fastball
that Kamm Washington jumped on Saturday). I thought that series was a
battle between perhaps the nation's two best bullpens, and South
Carolina won that batte, and the series. Amazing that the Gamecocks are
so good in the 'pen that they can win even without a consistent,
rock-solid weekend rotation like Florida has. The Gamecocks just play
with a lot of confidence and swagger — they never panic, and you always
get the feeling they believe they're going to win, even when they're
down. That matters a lot.
Brett (New Jersey): Are you impressed with the
Oklahoma State arms shutting down Texas all weekend? Granted, the Horns
aren't swinging the bats very well this year, but the Cowboys were able
to match the power arms of Jungman, Milner, and Green each game. Also,
how do you see the Cowboys doing in the Big 12 and into post season
play? Long time reader, thanks for taking my question.
Pitching is Oklahoma State's strength, and I
was certainly impressed that the Cowboys were able to match what Texas
did on the mound, even without a great start from Andrew Heaney on
Sunday. But another one of OSU's big arms, Randy McCurry, came up big in
relief in that game, and so did the OSU bats. I thought Oklahoma State
was a fringe regionals team heading into the year, but today I'd
probably say it's on track to be in regionals (even after a series loss
to Kansas last week). Big 12 will be a grind this year — seems like
there is a group of teams all bunched together after Texas, Texas
A&M and Oklahoma, and all three of those clubs have their flaws,
OK folks, that's all I've got time for today — have to finish up Three Strikes. See you next week!