College Chat With Will Kimmey

Moderator: Will Kimmey will stop by at 1:30 p.m. ET to discuss college baseball.

 Q:  Bob from Texas asks:
Best Pitcher, Infielder, Outfielder, and Utility this year in college baseball?

Will Kimmey:
Welcome, and for the second straight week I’m eating and chatting. I’m
full of Kimberly Jackson’s marshmellow-peanut butter-chocolate brownies
today. (If you send me food, I’ll mention you in a future chat, if the
food’s good.)

Will Kimmey: Andrew Miller, Emmanuel Burriss, Drew Stubbs, Mike Felix.

 Q:  Ty from Fullerton, CA asks:
think with Glenn Swanson (89 pitch, 14K,no hitter on Tuesday) and
Justin Cassell currently pitching their best ball of the season along
with superb freshman Scott Gorgen and Blair Erickson on the backend UC
Irvine can be a very dangerous team in regional play. Their pitching
can shut people down and their attacking small ball offense can really
frusturate teams. Where do you think the Anteaters will be sent for
regional play and how do you think they’ll fair?

Will Kimmey:
This Anteaters team reminds me a lot of the 2004 version that went to
Notre Dame as a No. 2 seed. I thought that team had a strong chance to
win because of its pitching staff, solid defense and opportunistic
offense. Erickson, Swanson and Cassel were all members of that team,
led by ace Brett Smith. I see Irvine as a No. 3 seed this season, but
as for where it will end up, that’s nearly impossible. Arizona State
would make the most geographic sense right now, but it’s more likely
the Eaters will be flying to the Midwest or East.

 Q:  Dean from Tallahassee asks:
Is Florida State the most overrated team in College Baseball? They haven’t won a meaningful series this season. Thoughts?

Will Kimmey:
Most overrated is always tough. Depends on expectations, I’d guess. But
you’re right. The best team Florida State has defeated in a three-game
series is either Maryland or Minnesota, and neither of those teams will
make the NCAAs without winning a conference tournament first. You can’t
like the Sunday loss that contained more FSU errors than hits. The
recent 3-7 slide isn’t good at all, and next week’s series at Wake
Forest suddenly has me thinking about making like Lee Corso and
strapping on a Deacon Head as a prediction.

 Q:  Dean from Tallahassee asks:
Who will be the first college catcher off the board in this June’s draft?

Will Kimmey:
I think it’s still Florida’s Brian Jeroloman, because for all the
struggles he’s found at the plate this year, he’s been remarkable
defensively behind it.

 Q:  Doug from Tallahassee asks:
With the 1st pick in the 2006 draft….the Royals select?

Will Kimmey: Tim Lincecum.

 Q:  Mike from Mobile asks:
South Alabama at 32-15,on a 10 game win streak (albeit against
competion they should beat), and ranked 35 in the latest RPI’s how do
you see USA’s postseason shaping up? Is this a team that could do some
damage in the Regionals?

Will Kimmey:
USA fans (Hacksaw Jim Duggan included) would have loved to have seen
the team not get swept at Troy, because that all but assures the Jags
of no better than a No. 2 finish in the league. So they’ll either need
to win the conference tournament or hope Troy does to feel comfortable
about making the NCAA tournament. I don’t see South Alabama winning a
regional. PJ Walters can beat anyone, and helped USA past Tulane
earlier this year, but he can’t pitch every game and the team lacks the
depth to go head-to-head for the four games or so it’s going to need to
win a regional

 Q:  Matt from Buffalo, NY asks:
Notre Dame took care of UCONN this weekend. Is this team for real and do they have a shot at Omaha

Will Kimmey:
Yes and yes. But Notre Dame was for real before this weekend. Think
about this: Derik Olvey transferred out of there over the summer
because he couldn’t crack the top 4 in the ND rotation. So he’s at LSU
and one of the best pitchers there. Arkansas freshman David Hum also
transferred out of Notre Dame for playing time concerns, and he’s
batted in the middle of the order several times for the Razorbacks.

 Q:  Tim from Manhattan asks:
What is going wrong for the Purdue Boilers, Miami Hurricanes and USC Trojans and do they still have a shot at a Regional?

Will Kimmey:
Purdue has run into the two best teams in the Big 10 in the last few
weeks, Michigan and Ohio State. Miami just won a huge road series at NC
State, moving back into the rankings. It’s a down year for Miami, but
still a very solid one overall, especially for such a young club. USC
has done the two steps forward, one back all year and is barely
floating above .500. I was surprised it lost at Washington State over
the weekend, as I figured it had the offense to win a slugfest or two

Will Kimmey: It’s hard to see any of these three
teams hosting, unless Miami finishes the year blazing hot. Miami is
comfortably in the NCAAs, USC probably needs to finish among the best
five teams in the Pac-10 to get in, which should happen. Purdue’s
probably got to win the Big 10 tournament to get in at this point.

 Q:  Tom from Columbia, MO asks:
the Missouri Tigers finally got back to winning this weekend, plus they
got Max Scherzer back, apparently healthy. He looked rusty but still
effective. My question is this: what do the Tigers need to do to make
the NCAA Regionals? Are series wins against Texas Tech and Texas, plus
an undefeated non-conference and a good showing in OKC enough? Or do
they have to win the Big 12 tournament?

Will Kimmey:
I think Missouri needs to win the Big 12 tournament, which would be a
stunner if it happened give this team’s inconsistency all year. It
currently sits in seventh place in that league, and has series at Texas
Tech and against Texas remaining. I have a hard time seeing the Tigers
winning more than two of those games, because Dan Law Field is such a
tough place to play and Texas is just a really good team.

 Q:  Dan from Fairfield, CA asks:
thanks for the chat. If it wasn’t for BAs college coverage, I’d have
nothing good to say about Mondays. Despite going 0-2 the last two weeks
and giving up 9 runs, only 2 of those runs were earned, and he is
getting very little help from his team offensively, or in the field.
Morrow himself, has looked very sharp. What does Miller have that
Morrow doesn’t? In your mind, what can we expect from Morrow as a

Will Kimmey:
Dan, I’d say it sounded like you had a case of the Mondays, but I’d get
my butt kicked for saying a thing like that around here. The biggest
advantage for Miller over Morrow is that Miller throws with his left
hand. That’s huge. He’s also three inches taller. And he’s shown better
command for a longer period of time, helping out his track record.
Morrow seems very boom or bust, because of his past command problems
and the fact that he’s just burst onto the scene this year after really
struggling previously. I’d be more suspicious of guys like that. But
still, he’s dominating hitters for the most part, and his season and
skills dictate that he ought to be a Top 10 pick.

 Q:  Jennifer from Transplated Nebraskan asks:
is it just me or is Nebraska’s offense carrying its pitching, instead
of the other way around? Do you think draft-eligible sophomores SS Ryan
Wehrle and LHP Tony Watson will be drafted–and will they leave?

Will Kimmey:
It’s true to an extent, and sort of the opposite of what we all thought
could happen to Nebraska. Then again, remember it was Charlie Shirek
and Johnny Dorn that won the Texas series a week ago by keeping Texas
off the scoreboard. But that offense has shown it can score as many
runs as needed. Some weeks, that’s 3, some weeks it’s 11.
Draft-eligible sophomores have a bit more leverage than juniors,
because they can ask for a great deal, turn it down and still do it all
twice more. Their decisions will be based on what kind of money they
end up looking at, and I think Watson’s profile as a hard throwing
lefty with command means he’s out. He’ll be drafted high enough, given
the dearth of lefties, to cash in.

 Q:  Matt W from Norman, OK asks:
don’t know about you, but the Sooners are surprising me this year. That
13 game winning streak is the longest in more than a decade. What has
been the secret to their success this year and what should we expect
from them in the postseason?

Will Kimmey:
I’m with you, Matt W. The secret there is great starting pitching, very
good defense and a team that is very mature and experienced overall. It
plays a lot of close games, but never panics in tight spots.

 Q:  david from ms asks:
do you tink of the resurgence of the ole miss rebels? Do you think they
have a chance to catch Alabama for the s.e.c title and garning a
national 8 seed?

Will Kimmey:
It’s impressive. Ole Miss, in the past, had been a fast-starting team
that tended to fade down the stretch. It got hot late last year, and
has done the same this year. The ’06 reason comes from having such a
young and unknown collection of arms. The Rebels lost about 90 percent
of their innings from 2005 and it simply took time to figure out what
they had and what roles each of their pitchers could succeed it. Now,
the talent is taking over. Catching Alabama might be a tall chore,
because I like the Tide’s closing schedule of Florida and Tennessee.
Hosting a regional could be realistic with a top 3 SEC finish.

 Q:  Matt from Atlanta, GA asks:
been 50+ years since an ACC team has won a national title. In the past
few weeks, it appears that all of the leading contenders in the ACC
have been exposed with significant weaknesses which will haunt them
again come playoff time. Do you see any ACC team being able to
seriously challenge for the National Championship?

Will Kimmey:
Yes. North Carolina’s weakness is consistent defense right now, but
aside from that, it’s hard to not like that team’s chances. Andrew
Miller, Robert Woodard and a resurgant Daniel Bard make that team
virtually unsweepable and quite formidable in a super-regional. The
bullpen of Jonathan Hovis and Andrew Carignan is stout as well, and
remember Carigian was still emerging as a dominating closer when UNC
lost its only series of the year (at Georgia Tech). I’ll buy the flaws
with the rest of the league, but gosh, every team in the country has
flaws for me.

 Q:  Chris from San Jose, CA asks:
are your thoughts on the WAC? Even with Rice leaving, the conference is
pretty strong. How many teams from the conferece do you think will make
it to the regionals? And is San Jose State one of them, they just had a
nice weekend, sweeping a good home team in Nevada-Reno.

Will Kimmey:
Sweeping Nevada this week doesn’t earn the credit it normally would
given that those players were likely a bit more concerned with the
death of their teammate Steve Masten earlier in the week. The WAC has
some parity, though La Tech, Fresno State, Hawaii and SJSU have all
played well, none are really great. I like Dallas Baptist, but it
should come into the home of a league leader and win a series in a
strong league. And it did that at Fresno over the weekend. Color this a
one-bid league.

 Q:  Ed from Houston, Texas asks:
it looks like Rice and Houston will both host regionals in this area as
they are the dominant CUSA teams this year. Does Tulane still have a
shot to host a New Orleans regional at Zephyr Field as a 3rd CUSA rep.?
What will they need to do to solidify a host spot? Thanks for your

Will Kimmey:
I can’t imagine Tulane ending up as a host based on its season, unless
it’s as a No. 2 seed and a goodwill gesture to that part of the country
from the committee. This isn’t to say that Tulane isn’t good (we
discussed it as part of the Top 25 in this morning’s meeting after it
won a nice series at ECU), but hosts tend to be among the nation’s best
16 teams, and that’s not where this Green Wave team is now. It’d need
to basically run the table to get in that conversation

 Q:  Bill from Birmingham, AL asks:
the conference tournaments have much effect on the NCAA selections? It
appears that often the at-large teams are already determined. Thanks.

Will Kimmey:
The bigger conference tournaments tend to help mete out some seeding
options. Like two years ago, South Carolina finished third in the SEC,
but won the tourney to garner No. 2 national seed. Or sometimes a
mid-level team in one of those upper-tier leagues can play itself into
the tournament with a good conference showing, as Missouri did in 04 by
making the Big 12 final. The mid-level leagues shape the tournament
most when a poor team wins the automatic bid, making the conf regular
season champ an at-large and squeezing a bid from the bubble teams. I’d
still prefer to see more leagues keep the sanctity of the regular
season intact and award their bid to the reg season champ; that’s how
the Pac-10 and Big West roll.

 Q:  Nate from Chicago asks:
Tech’s potent bats went silent this weekend against a very mediocre BC
team. For a team that doesn’t have an exeptional staff, their offense
was suppose to be there strong point. I know it is just one weekend,
but is this performance a little alarming?

Will Kimmey:
Losing Danny Payne and Steven Blackwood for the final two games of that
series was crippling, especially Payne. Here’s a leadoff man who’s
emerged as the team’s best hitter for average and power this year. It’s
likely Payne dislocated his shoulder, which could put him out 4-6
weeks. We’ll find out more on that this week. Yes the weekend was sort
of shocking. Tech has series wins against Clemson and North Carolina,
but has lost to Boston College and Maryland. Go figure.

 Q:  josh from Baton Rouge asks:
was wondering why quin stuart from LSU is leading the sec with homeruns
20 and batting over 300 and he is not on anybody list for top prospects
same for darren Clark from southern university 10 homruns 120 at bats
same as last year both have the most power in the south hands down. Can
you help?

Will Kimmey:
Sure. Not every good or great college player will go on to have the
same role in the pros. Sometimes it’s because a player has a swing best
suited for the more forgiving aluminum bat. Sometimes it’s because a
guy is strong, but takes a long arching stroke that would lend to way
more strikeouts at the pro level, where pitchers are more crafty and
have better velocity. Same goes for pitchers with great numbers but
fairly average stuff. Success in college doesn’t always equate to
success at the pro level.

 Q:  Eric from Irvine asks:
What eight teams do you see who have the inside track to home field in the super regionals?

Will Kimmey:
Rice, Clemson, Alabama, North carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Cal
State Fullerton. With Clemson, Notre Dame, South Carolina all stalking.

 Q:  Tex from Austin asks:
CSF’s fall from #1: I realize the top 4 teams are kind of breathing the
same air right now, kind of like being on the same expedition up
Everest… doesn’t really matter if another guy is 3 feet higher than
you, you’re still sitting up around 29,000 feet up.
Still I was surprised by CSF’s slip. To keep the geological metaphors
going, is this the equivalent of a mini-quake? I.e. the pressure for
them to move from #1 has been slowly building over the past month or so
and the earth under them finally gave in and shifted?

Will Kimmey:
There’s no pressure. It’s just a choice we made this week by looking at
the macro view of those four teams. All four were really even, but
Rice, UNC and Nebraska have been sweeping people left and right lately,
while CSF has been more a 2 of 3 team. We let that ride for a few weeks
there, but when teams behind the Titans are running off 18-1, 17-1,
13-1 streaks, you can’t ignore when they are 8-4. But those four teams
for me are all so close right now. It was a tough call, but we felt
like the right one.

Will Kimmey: That’s all we’ve got time
for today. To finish on the food tip, John Manuel just showed up with a
couple pizza slices for me, so it’s chow time again. See you next week,
when I promise to spell marshmallow correctly both times I type it.