College Chat With Will Kimmey

Moderator: Will Kimmey will begin taking your college questions at 1 p.m.

 Q:  Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
If the Fab 50 freshman were redone and put out today would Jordan Danks still be number one? What would the top ten look like?

Will Kimmey:
There’s a great chance he would, because that list, like the lists for
sophomores, juniors and seniors, are based on ultimate ceiling and
draft potential. So, while Danks is hitting .174 with nine strikeouts,
he’s still a great future pro. As for freshmen who have impressed
early, you’ve got to put San Diego’s Josh Romanski right near the top.
He’s hitting .391 and has two saves. UC Irvine’s Scott Gorgen has
thrown 14 scoreless innings in two starts, so we like that. Jarred
Bogany went 8-for-11 this weekend in his LSU debut. What’s interesting
about the freshmen is how much things can change with all of them as
the season progresses. Opponents will adjust to them, and how they
handle that and a longer season will be fun to track.

 Q:  Scott Tebeau from Michigan asks:
What impact do you think that new head coach davd grewe will have on the spartans in his first year?.

Will Kimmey:
The last time a Notre Dame assistant took a new job, Brian O’Connor’s
Virginia Cavaliers came within a game of winning the ACC. I don’t think
that’s going to happen at Michigan State this year because the Big 10
isn’t an easy league to win with those four-game weekends and Grewe
needs time to bring in his own players and work in his system.

 Q:  Tom from Columbia, MO asks:
I be concerned about Missouri’s offensive and defensive performance
last weekend in Charleston? I know Scherzer was out, but splitting the
four games wasn’t exactly what anyone had in mind. Besides, even with
Scherzer, it’s tough to win when you make more errors than hits.

Will Kimmey:
I was concerned as well. I agree that Scherzer’s absence wasn’t why the
Tigers managed but four hits Thursday. His not being able to go was
most evident Sunday, when Missouri had to scramble to get through nine
innings after having gone through starters 2, 3 and 4 already.
Missouri’s weather doesn’t lend to as much live hitting and fielding as
does the climate in Texas or the South, but East Tennessee State and
Washington State were dealing with the same issues. So the start is
troubling, and this coming week will say a lot about this club.
Remember, Missouri played clubs of about the caliber in early going
last year and hammered them.

 Q:  David from Sonoma State University, CA asks:
Tell me how underrated Cal Poly SLO is……..

Will Kimmey:
Probably not much at all. It’s a top 20-30 team. It’s struggling right
now on Fridays as Gary Dailey’s gotten knocked around a little the last
two weeks. But Sundays had been a problem before a big performance by
Evan Reed this week. Meanwhile, the offense is scoring, which certainly
helps matters. Poly plays San Diego at home March 3-5, and that series
should tell us a lot about where each team is. At the moment, I’m
inclined to say Poly’s better offensively (four straight double-digit
hit games) while USD is better on the mound.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
a bit has been said about the Georgia Tech offense, but what about the
pitching? I’m waiting for David Duncan to show his stuff on the mound.

Will Kimmey:
All the arms from 2005 are back, which is both good and bad. It’s good
because Blake Wood, Tim Gustafson, Lee Hyde and Ryan Turner should be
more experienced and better in general. It’s a little bad because those
guys were merely good and not great a year ago, and I believe you need
at least one great arm to win the CWS these days. Duncan, the freshman
from Ohio, has that type of arm, but he might be waiting until more
midweek games crop up to start showing it off. John Goodman could play
a key role as well after losing last year to injury.

 Q:  Bill from Atlanta, Georgia asks:
Enjoy the chat every week. My question to you is about the Tulane
baseball club. They are starting a very young club and the pitching is
just extreme! When the young group learns to play at the CWS level, and
the trio of Emaus, Hamilton, and Southard get their bats going, do you
see them not only geting back to Omaha, but winning it?

Will Kimmey:
Pitching will have to carry this team, and playing games at Zephyr
Field with a more athletic OF should play to that strength. The offense
is young now aside from the names you mentioned, but you have to like
the weekend SS Cat Everett had at the plate, with key hits in
Saturday’s rally. Tulane needs (and believes it will get) big years
from Aja Barto and either Nate Simon or Anthony Scelfo to bulk up the
offense. Omaha is a possibility, but winning it all might be too big a
wish this year.

 Q:  G dub from Baton Rouge, LA asks:
I know people always chide LSU fans for having unrealistic
expectations, but 2006 might be different. We lost 17 seniors from last
year’s squad, and losing at home in our own Regional with so much
talent on board hurt. Could LSU be in for one of the worst seasons
since the early 1980’s, and a coaching change?

Will Kimmey:
This surely will be a rebuilding season, there’s no doubt, and those
haven’t come around much in Baton Rouge. Perhaps the fans will enjoy
playing the role of underdog and get behind this young, scrappy group.
Clay Dirks and Derik Olvey mean LSU will be a tough team at least in
the first two games of every weekend, so there is hope. LSU fans will
keep calling for Smoke Laval’s replacement until he wins the CWS or
magically turns into Skip Bertman. Neither will happen this year.

 Q:  Kelly from Palo Alto, Calif. asks:
did you think of Kansas taking two of three from Stanford this weekend?
Was it a product of Stanford being overhyped with the sweep of
Fullerton last weekend or is Kansas for real?

Will Kimmey:
Kansas is a solid, experienced club. The result was a little of a
surprise, as I could have seen maybe a 2-1 Stanford win. But Ritch
Price has built the program through transfers (we saw Tulane ex-pat
Ricky Fairchild start Saturday and former Stanford pitcher Kody Quick
on Sunday, plus Milner and Schweitzer leading the O) but also has
strong four-year types including, Sean Land, Matt Baty and his sons,
Ritchie and Ryne. Both Stanford and Kansas look like NCAA teams now.
Stanford hasn’t hit much better than average this year, but it pitched
really well against Fullerton. Kansas just swung the bats better
against the Cardinal.

 Q:  Greg from Denver asks:
Max Scherzer or Drew Stubbs in terms of MLB impact?

Will Kimmey:
I’m down as a Scherzer guy, but you’re looking at two first rounders.
Stubbs could be a gold glove center fielder the day he’s draft, and
you’ve got to think that he’s going to hit and run well to boot.
Scherzer could either be a top of the rotation arm or a dominant
closer. Both are quite valuable, but for strict value, you might take
the position player if Scherzer ends up a closer.

 Q:  Lance from Atlanta, Ga asks:
Georgia Bulldogs open up this weekend. How do you think they will fair
early on and will UNC-Greensboro pose any problems for them? Thanks for
the chat

Will Kimmey:
Georgia’s going to look fairly different this year, but so will UNCG,
which could be a little down after losing Chris Mason, a two-way guy,
from last year’s club. Beckham and Piesel will make a new left side of
the infield, and your outfield will look pretty similar. Josh Morris
must rebound offensively. Brooks Brown could be a difference maker on
the mound. Still, in the SEC all this might not be enough to make the
SEC tournament. Then again, last time we counted out the Bulldogs, they
ended up in Omaha.

 Q:  Mike from SoCal asks:
What’s the overunder on how many SBs Pepperdine’s Adrian Prtiz will have at the end of the season.

Will Kimmey:
He’s one of the quickest players in the college game, and he’s really
made strides offensively since his freshman year. He’s got four bags in
six games, and he could make a run into the 40s.

 Q:  Gerard from Naples FL asks:
I have been watching relief pitcher Darren O’â„¢Day at UF. He has been
consistent in putting up good numbers but has been overlooked in the
draft. How do you feel his performance in the World Series last year
will affect his chances of being picked in a respectable round this
year? Where do you feel he will go if he performs well this year? The
Gators looked strong this weekend and I am hoping the Gators can get
back to Omaha this year.
Thanks for taking my question.

Will Kimmey:
O’Day has proven an excellent college reliever, and those are valuable
commodities, especially on a club like Florida that has the offense to
make a comeback against any deficit. But not every college star turns
into a big draft pick, because that’s based as much on stuff and
projectability as it is what kind of stats you’re producing. O’Day
falls a bit short in the stuff category and probably projects as a
major league middle reliever. Those pieces are needed at that level,
they’re just rarely drafted in the first three or five rounds.

 Q:  Joe from Fort Worth asks:
are your feelings about the Minute Maid College Classic, before the
weekend you predicted Rice and Texas to come out neck and neck for #1
and Tulane in a close third? Do you think that was the result? What
about Texas Christian, where do they stand?

Will Kimmey:
Well, all four of those teams finished 2-1. Texas showed it still has
to get better offensively with a young lineup, and the same is true for
Tulane. Both clubs pitched well. TCU can score, but making four errors
and running out of pitching before the end of the weekend reminded me a
lot of last year when Broadway would dominate Friday and then the Frogs
would hope to outscore opponents the rest of the way. Sam Demel was
really good on Friday and Jake Arrieta showed something Saturday as
well, though he was wild. As for Rice, you’ve got to like the spirit it
showed battling back twice from deficits to beat TCU and to take a lead
vs. Texas. One good pitch by Bryce Cox and Rice is 3-0. Rice’s offense
looks strong with Luna and Friday providing more than was expected of
them to this point, and Degerman and Savery are as good a 1-2 as you’ll
see. Rice, to me, emerged as the best team this weekend.

 Q:  Nick from Houston asks:
wanted to get your thoughts on Brad Lincoln and his first week out of
the gates and also your thoughts on the Houston Cougars and there once
again power packed schedule…

Will Kimmey:
Houston played well in that packed tournament. The next run Lincoln
allows will be his first of the year, and you’ve got to love the
game-winning bomb Wednesday. Farrington and Brown give UH three strong
starters, and this club ranks just behind Rice and Tulane in CUSA, and
could make a run at either of them with a good weekend on the mound.
The tough schedule has become a Rayner Noble staple. It’s good to play
teams like that because it makes yours better, but UH has sort of
scheduled itself out of the tournament recently, because even with the
good of those tough opponents comes losses. Trading out for one or two
easier series would pad the wins yet still keep the RPI up there. But
it’s hard to criticize a coach for playing the best when so many teams
won’t leave home or play a team anywhere near the Top 25 before the
conference season.

 Q:  Mike from Bellingham, WA asks:
are the Gonzaga Bulldogs looking to you? Pretty impressive this weekend
taking care of ASU and Nevada while winning a close one against Oregon

Will Kimmey:
When you’ve got a .516 average through seven games, you either play for
NC State or you’re Zach Woodward, and you’re darn hot. Jackson Brennan
and Ryan Wiegand are also stroking it, so you’ve got a team scoring 8
runs per and a bullpen that’s been great late to help make the late
offense stand up. Consider me impressed, and curious if this will keep
up. Washington might be a little scared in two weeks. And, hey,
Washington State won the Buccaneer Tournament in Charleston, SC, so it
was a nice week for baseball in Eastern Washington. There’s a sentence
you don’t see often. Then again, you didn’t write Oregon State advances
to the College World Series much before last year, either.

 Q:  John from Greenville, NC asks:
the deal with East Carolina this year? It seems to me they may be
underrated with all the pitching staff now back and healthy. What’s it
gonna take to get back into the top 25?

Will Kimmey:
This is a transitional year. The pitching is solid and there are a lot
of arms, but scoring runs might pose a problem. Most of last year’s
offensive stars either graduated, left for pro careers or transferred.
This season ECU might be more battling for a spot in the NCAA
tournament than a spot in the Top 25. Losing to Maryland at home
without scoring a run is not the way to make a Top 25 case.

 Q:  Rick James from Clemson, SC asks:
you think Clemson is a legit team this year even though they have so
many unanswered questions that need to be answered? (like what if
berken’s comeback is not good, who will replace harvey’s bat, and all
the left handed hitters in the lineup who struggle against LHP)

Will Kimmey:
Yes, that’d be why it’s ranked No. 1. Harvey’s gone, but the
development of guys like Harbin and Chalk and Widmann should help
offset that to an extent, and take a look at the doubles his by this
club last year–some of those likely jump the fence. Berken is the true
X factor here. There were good reports on him from the spring, but
those are only reports. He’s got to be good for this to be an elite
team, because he can be a dominator.

 Q:  Jason from Charleston, SC asks:
Gamecocks played a tough series against Elon this weekend winning 23.
The pitching for S.C. was very good, but do you think they will have to
carry this team again with the hitters struggling to score runs? And
how good is the pitching for the gamecocks?

Will Kimmey:
The eggs are squarely in the basket of the freshmen, and those you saw
Havens and Darnell come up with good games Sunday as the offense got on
track. Those guys, plus Smoak, must hit this season while Michael
Campbell and Cheyenne Hurst get on base. The pitching should be good,
but it was a little concerning to see this team struggle to put away
what was scheduled as a walk-over series. But give Elon credit. It’s an
experienced team that played great baseball in a tough environment.
Expect it to be a factor in the SoCon.

 Q:  Patrick from Milwaukee, WI asks:
no one expects Matt Mangini to hit .800 the rest of the year, is anyone
creating nearly as much buzz as he is this early in the college season?
What teams have as lethal of a middle of their lineup as the Wolfpack
(Mangini, Bates, Still) and Cal (Errecart & Boesch)?

Will Kimmey:
Let’s not induct these hitters into the Hall of Fame just yet. Let’s
also find some perspective. Delaware State and Hofstra will only be in
the NCAA tournament with the purchase of tickets, so while we know that
NC State can pound mediocre pitching, we have no idea what will happen
against a top team. Nebraska and Joba Chamberlain await in Charleston
this Friday, and that’s a game that will tell us a lot about both clubs.

 Q:  Steven Johnson from West Point, NY asks:
would you rank Army pitcher Nick Hill as a college player and prospect.
I saw that he was left out of your top 100, but I have heard talk he
could be drafted as high as the 3rd round depending on his Army

Will Kimmey:
He’s got good stuff (a fastball that gets to the 90s) and is a lefty,
both things working in his favor. He held Florida State to two hits and
an earned run in a regional last year, but lost 3-2. But the Army
commitment scuttles things, as it set up for Matt Foster during his
time at the Naval Academy. The government pays for students to attend
service acedemies, with a subsquent military commitment to follow in
return. His talent profile could push him into the top five rounds, but
the military commitment could drag him out of that range.

 Q:  Patrick from Milwaukee, WI asks:
summer’s Cape top prospect list included several talented yet unproven
players that really emerged over the summer, including Evan Longoria,
Chris Errecart, Brandon Morrow and Brad Lincoln. So far this spring,
those players have seemed to have carry that success over, and I’m
curious what the early word is on all of their performances?

Will Kimmey:
Longoria’s been Long Beach State’s best offensive player, Errecart and
Boesch each hit huge homers against a good LBSU staff this weekend
(they went back to back to end the Saturday game) with three for
Boesch. Morrow was great in his first outing and so-so over the
weekend, though two unearned runs didn’t help his cause. And we’ve
already discussed Lincoln today. So at least at this early point, it
looks like the list Jim Callis assembled was right on. So far, these
guys have all shown the skills that got them ranked where they were
over the summer.

 Q:  John from Fayetteville, AR asks:
only two starters gone from last year, and the fairly strong pitching
this opening weekend, I think Arkansas could go up higher than #17. How
far do you think Arkansas can go this year, SEC-wise and nationally?

Will Kimmey:
Arkansas has the talent to win the SEC if things break right. That
means all the health concerns it had last year must be a thing of the
past. Boyce and Schmidt need to make all their starts and be as good as
they were in ’05. Jake Dugger showed signs of bouncing back with two
homers Sunday. Hamblin is a nice middle of the order guy and Gentry and
Tschepikow are each poised for strong seasons. This could be an Omaha
team. Or the SEC could chew it up and spit it out, because that league
does that to good teams at times. But I’ll bank on a super-regional

Will Kimmey: That’s all the time I’ve got today. Thanks, and we’ll see you next week.