College Chat With Aaron Fitt

 Q:  Brett from Walnut Creek asks:
many guys out of ASU’s lineup are projected to go in the top 10 rounds?
Their hitting looks dangerous this year with the additions of Bogany,
Smith, Spencer, and Roling, added to Davis, Wallace, Romine, Hall, and

Aaron Fitt:
Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to the first Monday college chat of
2007. We’re getting started a little later than usual today in order to
accomodate Jim Callis’ Cubs chat, but hopefully you haven’t had too
much trouble finding your way to this chat. Let’s get started.

Aaron Fitt:
That Sun Devil offense is downright scary–it was even before they
added Spencer, Bogany and Roling in between semesters. Bogany was a
15th-rounder out of high school, and if he continues to develop, he
certainly looks like a 10th rounder next year. Spencer is a wild card
— 13 RBIs this weekend looks great, but it was against Southern Utah.
I’ve always liked his bat and his athleticism, and I think he could
have a really big year in Tempe. I was frankly surprised that he wasn’t
a bigger part of North Carolina’s plans. And keep an eye on the
catching situation there. Roling and Paramore split time this weekend,
but it sounds like Paramore is still the more talented player. Look for
him to emerge as the primary catcher during Pac-10 play, but Roling
will push him.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
What will Rice LHPDH be as a pro? Is he first round material either way?

Aaron Fitt:
I assume you’re talking about Savery. He profiles as a pitcher in
professional ball, and he could be a good one, with a fastball up to
94, a great breaking ball and clean mechanics. Those two innings he
threw this weekend were very encouraging — he looks healthy. I sure
hope he pitches Friday against David Price, but I have a feeling we
might not see him until Sunday, because he likes to keep his bat fresh
the first two days of a series.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
If you could have only one freshmen out of the following, who would you choose: Sean Black, Aaron Miller, or Devin Shepherd.

Aaron Fitt:
If I’m choosing one player for 2007, I’ll take Miller. If I’m choosing
one player for the next three years, I’ll take Black, but not by much.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
How did Miami INF Jemile Weeks look this weekend? Will this season be a downer for the canes?

Aaron Fitt:
Weeks didn’t look very comfortable at the plate this weekend, from what
I hear, but he’ll be fine. The most encouraging thing to me about Weeks
is that he really understands his game. One criticism I’ve heard about
him in the past is that he tries to hit for power when he should try to
play more of a small man’s game. But I asked him about that last week,
and he said the biggest part of his game is his speed and disruptive
abilities, and the power is just a bonus. That leads me to believe
he’ll break out soon enough. Don’t worry about the Canes, either. Their
offense is going to be excellent–Yonder Alonso was impressive this
weekend, and should be in for a monster year. Having Maine back on
Friday nights will be crucial for them.

 Q:  John H from San Diego asks:
about USD!!!! Brian Matusz might be the best pitcher in the country…
Even though Romanski had a tough outing, Matt Couch seems to just keep
doing what he does… Their weekend rotation seems like one of the best
in the country…

Aaron Fitt:
I really like that rotation, and what’s more impressive is that Couch
also picked up a save on Friday night, then came back with 6 very solid
innings in Sunday’s win. Ricardo Pecina gives them good depth, as
well–he picked up the win as the Sunday starter last week against Cal
Poly, throwing six scoreless innings.

 Q:  Matt from Wayne, Nebraska asks:
understand that the rankings are all, but pointless this early in the
season, but how can Florida State be ranked lower than Miami and Texas
after they destroyed a talented Tennessee team while Miami and Texas
both lost two games to teams that were unranked?

Aaron Fitt:
If there were no preseason rankings and every team started with a clean
slate, then you based the rankings strictly on performance so far in
the season, then Florida State would be No. 1, and Miami and Texas
wouldn’t be close to the top 25. But if you were basing your evaluation
of the top teams based strictly on performance, you wouldn’t need any
rankings at all — you could just look at the results and decide for
yourself. Our job is to blend performance with expectations. There’s a
reason we had Miami and Texas in the preseason top 5–it’s because we
believe both of them are very good teams. Losing one series does not
make us lose our faith in them. We bumped each team a few spots in the
rankings, but we didn’t hit them too hard this early in the year.
Tennessee, on the other hand, got destroyed in a three-game sweep, so
we punished the Vols a little more. One thing I will say is that I
think we might have underrated the Seminoles slightly entering the
year. I think that’s a very good college team, though it might lack the
professional prospects of someone like, for instance, Tennessee. But
FSU has a solid, veteran pitching staff and some talented underclassmen
— Buster Posey had a nice weekend, and freshman CF D’Vontrey
Richardson has been a great surprise. He hit this weekend, as well.
Watch out for that team.

 Q:  Bill from Santa Cruz asks:
WCC seems to be strong. How many tourny teams do you see out of the
WCC? What do you think of Santa Clara?- They seem to be much improved.

Aaron Fitt:
I would love to see three WCC teams in the tournament, but I know that
historically that won’t be easy. I think San Diego, Pepperdine and San
Francisco could all be worthy of postseason bids when it’s all said and
done. All three have great pitching and all three can score runs. I
envision a scenario where the Big West only gets two teams again–let’s
say Fullerton and Riverside–and the WCC gets a third bid. I agree that
Santa Clara is improved, but it will be tough to make too much noise in
that conference, because I think those top three teams are legit, and
Loyola Marymount is no pushover either.

 Q:  James M. from Saratoga Springs, New York asks:
you think San Diego is for real, with their win over Texas? They did
the same last year, but after they never really made any noise. What do
you think?

Aaron Fitt:
Well, they did make a regional last year, even with Matusz and Romanski
as freshmen. Matusz wore down late in the year and really struggled,
but I don’t foresee that happening again. He’s got a durable frame, and
I think he’s on his way to a monster year. That USD team is more
experienced now than they were last year — don’t expect them to fade

 Q:  Kyle L. from Saratoga Springs, New York asks:
Is Miami still considered a quality team? I mean if you can’t beat Mercer, how are you gonna beat North Carolina and Clemson?

Aaron Fitt:
Don’t read too much into these early-season hiccups, the Hurricanes
will be fine. Don’t forget, last year they dropped their home opener to
Winthrop, and then they went to the CWS. I am slightly concerned about
their bullpen– Enrique Garcia needs to do a better job harnessing his
stuff and throwing strikes. But Jim Morris is a master of finding
answers in the pen, and I have a feeling he’ll make it work. Garcia
does have a great arm, just needs to get it under control. Had he done
so Friday, the Hurricanes would have won.

 Q:  Carlton from Columbus, Ohio asks:
round do you see Matt Angle of Ohio St. going in. I think some where
between rounds 2-5 depending on his year. He has great speed and is a
awesome Centerfielder.

Aaron Fitt:
My gut right now is he could be a 4-7 round guy. He’s someone who could
boost his stock with a nice year, but I don’t see him going higher than
the third round even with a good year.

 Q:  TJ from Long Island asks:
tell me that Scott Moore will get a call up soon and play well enough
to stick in the big leagues. Even if you have to lie to me, I just want
to hear this once in my lifetime!

Aaron Fitt: Scott Moore is a future major league all-star. Feel better?

Aaron Fitt: (I think you’ve got the wrong chat. Somebody tell Callis to get his guys under control!)

 Q:  Derek from Atlanta asks:
super-regional, ninth inning of Game 3, Tim Corbin brings in David
Price to close out the Yellow Jackets. Matt Wieters at the plate.
Outcome of the at-bat?

Aaron Fitt:
Oooh, I like your imagination. I don’t think I can bet against Matt
Wieters in the postseason – frankly, I’m not entirely sure it’s
possible to get him out (just ask College of Charleston). I say,
Wieters cranks a game-winning double to the opposite field on a Price
fastball over the outer half. I love how Wieters has juice to all

 Q:  Josh Ury from NJ asks:
do you predict that Winthrop Sopohomore, Alex Wilson, will go in next
years draft. I have heard he is hitting 97 MPH as a sophomore. What
have you guys heard?

Aaron Fitt:
We’ve heard he’s filthy — touches mid 90s with a plus slider. We’ve
got him in our top 10 in our early peek at the 08 college draft crop.

 Q:  John from Tempe, Arizona asks:
I understand ASU was playing inferior competion this weekend, their
numbers were still impressive. How many of ASU’s position players are
likely good draft prospects for the 2007 draft?

Aaron Fitt:
We opened with a question similar to this, but I don’t think I really
addressed it adequately. Here’s my ranking of the ASU prospects for the
draft, just off the top of my head: 1. Ike Davis, a top-three rounds
type in 08 who could go in the first if he can handle right field; 2.
Andrew Romine, very intriguing shortstop, possible top three rounds
type for this year’s draft; 3. Bogany, a potential top-five-rounder,
with some development; 4. Spencer, who could go anywhere from the third
to the 30th, depending on his year – tough to predict; 5. Wallace,
whose game reminds me a little of Billy Butler. Of course, Billy
Butler’s bat is very, very special, and it remains to be seen if
Wallace has that kind of sock, but both are guys whose bats will have
to carry them, because their bodies and defensive skills are suspect.

 Q:  Alex from Texas asks:
the offense or pitching have to step up for Texas for them to be
successful this year? There pitching didn’t look to hot this weekend or
is San Diego the real deal?

Aaron Fitt:
I do think San Diego is a legitimate NCAA tournament team, but you’re
right, Texas’ pitchers struggled this weekend. Randy Boone was
disappointing on Friday night, allowing 5 ER in 4.1 IP — he’s going to
have to pitch better, plain and simple. Kyle Walker struggled Saturday,
but it was encouraging for Alaniz to get in there and throw four solid
innings of relief. Alaniz should end up as a solid Saturday guy. James
Russell pitched quite well on Sunday, though he took the loss when
Jordan Abruzzo took him deep in the seventh inning. Russell is a fine
option on Sundays, at least until Riley Boening gets his arm ready to
go. He shouldn’t be sidelined too much longer, and his return will help.

 Q:  Travis from Columbus, OH asks:
Ohio State’s exetremely weak schedule, will they have to win the Big
Ten tournament to make the NCAA tournament or do they have a chance as
an at-large with 40-45 wins? Also how good can there returning starting
rotation be compared to other mid-majors? Thanks

Aaron Fitt:
It seems very unlikely that the Big 10 will get two bids, but if ever
there were a year where that conference has two teams who might be
worthy of bids, it’s this year. Looking at the conference, I’ve
flip-flopped back and forth on Michigan and Ohio State– both have lots
of pitching (Ohio State has its entire weekend rotation back, and
Michigan has tons of upside with Zach Putnam leading the way). We
projected both Ohio State and Michigan to make regionals in our college
preview, so I’ll stick by that forecast.

 Q:  Ethan from Half Moon Bay, CA asks:
Are there any Starting Pitchers that nobody really knew about before Friday who people should start to take an awareness to now?

Aaron Fitt:
As one of our readers pointed out in a comment on the College Blog,
Eammon Portice of High Point got off to a brilliant start against UNC
Charlotte, throwing seven no-hit innings before his pitch count
dictated the end of his day. He’s a hard-thrower who struck out 45 in
30 innings in Cape Cod last summer. High Point doesn’t play the best
competition, but I can’t wait to see what he does on May 5 against
Winthrop. Also, the Panthers have midweek games against Clemson, North
Carolina, Elon and East Carolina. I’ll be curious if Portice throws in
any of those games.

 Q:  Geoffrey Hutson from Katy Texas asks:
you comment on the Minute Maid College Classic this week-end in
Houston? Who should we look for and particularly what match ups are
worth noting.

Aaron Fitt:
I’m excited about that event — I’ll be in Houston, blogging all
weekend. The marquee event is Price vs. Rice on Friday — the top
pitcher in the country (David Price of Vandy) taking on the top team in
the country. But there’s plenty of other intriguing storylines. I’m
eager to see how Baylor’s highly touted freshmen fare against top
competition. I can’t wait to see how Arizona State’s high-octane
offense does against somebody other than Southern Utah. I’m looking
forward to getting a glimpse of Brandon Hicks from Texas A&M and
Luis Flores from Houston. I’ll break it down in more detail in the
weekend preview and on the blog.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Tony Watson be this year’s Tim Lincecum. A sophmore pitcher who was
drafted late and didn’t sign, then goes high in the first round his
junior year after putting it all together?

Aaron Fitt:
Interesting comparison there — I could see that scenario playing out.
Scouts really like Watson, a lefty with a low-90s fastball and perhaps
the best changeup in college baseball. I don’t know that he’ll go as
high as Lincecum did, but he could be a first-rounder.

 Q:  Matt from Lancaster, PA asks:
Gut reaction: Michael Taylor at the end of the season? Still teasing us or production matches potential?

Aaron Fitt:
I see Taylor following a similar course to John Mayberry. Both guys
have tons and tons of potential, and both have struggled to put it
together in college. So my gut reaction is: still teasing.

 Q:  Tobias Funke from Nor Cal asks:
How did Devin Shepherd do this weekend? Who was the top freshman in your eyes?

Aaron Fitt:
Shepherd got off to a 2-for-11 start, including an 0-for-4 on Saturday
batting in the three-hole. As for best freshman of the weekend, I’ll go
with D’Vontrey Richardson at Florida State, who went 4-for-8 as a DH
and pinch-hitter. He’s raw, but he is very talented, and he flashed it
this weekend.

Aaron Fitt: That’s all for today — thanks
for all the excellent questions, as always. Be sure to check out the
blog this weekend — will be updated live from Houston. I’ll be back to
chat again next Monday.