College Chat With Will Kimmey

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

 Q:  Jason from Omaha asks:
is Texas ranked in the top 10 with 5 loses in their first 10 games. I
know we respect there program, but let the teams more deserving be
ranked up there….ie Arkansas

Will Kimmey:
Texas was discussed as a move down candidate, but there weren’t any
teams down below it to bring up considering Oregon State, CSF, Tulane,
Mississippi State and Missouri lately. Texas has won 5 of its last 7
games after an 0-3 start. Arkansas’ start is impressive, but other than
the Texas Christian game, have any of its opponents been anywhere near
the caliber of what Texas has seen? Just making this point with respect
to teams like Long Beach State, CS Fullerton, Pepperdine, USC that have
some losses that have come against good teams.

 Q:  Max from Louisiana asks:
the new rules regarding regionals, is it this year that teams from the
same conference can be placed in the same regional? Also, does this
apply to host teams matched up for Super Regional, i.e. Arkansas
Regional winner vs. LSU Regional winner? Thanks.

Will Kimmey: No, a proposal that would have allowed teams from the same league to play in the same regional (for conferences with at least 50 percent of their membership in the tournament) was voted down. Didn’t make a ton of sense to me, I thought the proposal was a good idea. . The super-regionals don’t have any stipulations like that, but generally No. 1 seeds aren’t brackted with No. 1s from their own league. These matchups more typically take place when a lower seed wins. Had Arizona held off CSF last year in regional play, it would have faced Arizona State in supers. There will be, for 2007, seeding of the top 16 national seeds rather than just the top 8 as they are now. That, too, could produce more intra-conference matchups at the regional level.

 Q:  Cory from Hattiesburg,MS asks:
What are your thoughts on Southern Miss this year? IMO, this is the
deepest and most talented Southern Miss team since 2003. So far they’ve
started 4 very talented freshmen in the field and have quality depth in
the pitching staff. Mix that in with stars like Marc Maddox, Trey
Sutton, Daniel Best and Cliff Russum this team has a ton of talent. How
far do you think this team can go? Personally, I’m predicting this is a
super regional team and a second place CUSA finish(behind Rice). This
team might could even win a regional host. Also how far out of your
rankings is USM?

Will Kimmey:
That was a nice debut week, but you’d have liked USM to finished off
the weekend with a win if you’re a Golden Eagles fan. Having healthy
pitching seems like the biggest key, because USM seems to hit every
year. Russum was solid and closer Daniel Best was great over the
weekend. I’ve got this club in regionals for now, but super-regionals
would take a bit of an upset. Southern Mississippi made the worksheet
this week, one of the tools we use when compiling the rankings. The
worksheet looks just like the Top 25 tracker, but it contains info on
about 35-50 teams depending on the week.

 Q:  John Mercier from San Diego Ca. asks:

Will Kimmey:
John, thanks for the thoughtful question, but let’s go easy on those
caps next time. As for USD, it played really well through two games,
but burned its No. 3 starter Matt Couch in order to preserve the win
Saturday, and that left the Toreros a bit short on the mound Sunday
against a tough USC lineup. The Toreros are for real, and this isn’t
just a fluke start. The pitching, as detailed in the weekend preview,
is legit. The position players are all veterans of two or three years
of NCAA and summer league play. Top to bottom, it’s a nice club. As for
Snyder, there’s a reason he’s batting third on a team this good.

 Q:  Mike from Newtown, Ct asks:
I am a huge Texas fan, but after watching the Longhorns start off 0-3,
and seeing all 3 games in person last week at the College Classic in
Houston, I feel that their youth and lack of experienced leaders
outside of the pitchers will make this team struggle to reach 40 wins?
I think if Coach Garrido had 2 or 3 more Clay Van Hooks(experienced
role players), he’d be much happier! Do you agree?

Will Kimmey:
Last year’s club had those experienced role players, guys like Robby
Hudson and David Maroul, and that did seem to work out OK. Sure,
everyone wants more experience. He’d probably be happy with the Yankees
lineup, too. But he’s playing with what he’s got and you’ll never hear
him disparage his players or the makeup of the roster. I’m still one
that believes Texas’ young guys will come around. It tends to take some
time to acclimate to the way Garrido coaches, especially from a mental
preparedness perspective.

 Q:  Blake Guyer from Madison, WI asks:
Matt Mangini the real deal? He’s still hitting around .700 and I saw he
had two homeruns in Saturday’s game. He has obviously upped his
prospect status. Who are some other guys who have dramatically
increased their draft standing at this point in the season?

Will Kimmey:
Oh, he’s legit. We rated him the top prospect in the Northwoods League
over the summer, and that league produces all kinds of talent; it’s
probably second to only the Cape these days. Poor Mangini is in a
tailspin right now, he was at .800 on Saturday afternoon before going
1-4 the rest of the way. He’d better hope he doesn’t get benched.

Will Kimmey:
Other risers at this point include Brandon Morrow, who’s showed his
stuff with command. Josh Butler has proven a legit Friday guy with
great stuff. Cyle Hankerd’s hot start at USC following a great summer
in the New England Collegiate League has helped. I think Brad Furnish’s
no-no yesterday will help, but he also was pretty inconsistent against
Rice the previous week. But people like his arm. Look for Nebraska’s
Tony Watson to move a little as well. Otherwise, it’s still really
early at this point, and one game doesn’t normally do the trick. It’s a
track record thing, whether the record is statistical success or
showing plus tools.

 Q:  bret schencker from sugar land, texas asks:
How come tulane did not move up at all?

Will Kimmey:
This goes for every team’s ranking: Remember teams don’t play in a
vaccuum, so the performance of teams around them in the rankings have
an impact. Florida’s playing like a No. 1 team right now, but can’t
move up after sweeping Miami because Clemson’s already in that spot and
isn’t vacating with a 3-0 week. Arkansas is in a similar spot, where no
teams above it lost, so where did it have to go? The wins are surely
noted. It’s hard to know what to take from Tulane’s sweeping Penn
State. Wins are obviously wins, and Tulane did that, but knocking off a
team that hasn’t been outside much yet is more a holding serve weekend
as opposed to the kind of quality win that vaults teams above others.

 Q:  Garrett from Montebello, CA asks:
being swept by Long Beach State, OF Cyle Hankerd and RHP Ian Kennedy of
USC have been lights outs. The loss of Bily Hart and Jeff Clement seems
minimal to this point but the pitching outside of Kennedy has been very
inconsistent. What do you think about the USC rotation and do you think
Hankerd and the USC offense can stay anywhere close to hitting (.351)
like they have through the first eleven games?

Will Kimmey:
USC’s rotation looks like it might end up being Ike and two freshmen:
Ryan Cook, who’s got great stuff and shouldn’t surprise you when he
dominates a few good teams, and Tommy Milone, who fills up the zone and
should be a very solid college pitcher. These guys might bounce between
good, great, average and ugly, but that’s what happens with two
freshmen in the rotation. The offense is legit. Hankerd is raking, Duda
should provide some power and Frost has been swinging it well. USC
might not hang double-digits up every night, but it will be much better
offensively than last year, when most of the current lineup sort of
waited for Clement to get a big hit while they adjusted to the game at
this level.

 Q:  David from Spring, TX asks:
TCU showing signs early of having a solid core of starters and we all
know they can hit the ball where do you see them going? Where do you
see Furnish projected to go in June? And do you see Demel as a legit
friday night starter?

Will Kimmey:
After last weekend, I was sure TCU was going to score lots and have
trouble late in weekends when its pitching thinned. So this week, it
struggles to score runs and gets a Sunday no-hitter. Uf. Demel might be
the only constant in the rotation; Arrieta and Furnish both have really
good stuff, but are inconsistent in their command. They’ll dominate on
good days and be ugly on bad ones. Overall, this athletic club is still
better than a year ago, because the hitters are in place and even
without Mr. Sure Win Lance Broadway on Fridays, the pitching is likely
better overall. Furnish could jump to the first if he’s more like he
was Sunday, or he could be in the third or fifth if he’s not, because
someone will take a chance on his arm even if he struggles.

 Q:  Don Bennett from Tarpon Springs, Fla. asks:
why did Andrew Miller pitch for the Tar Heels on Saturday after he was announced to start on Tuesday vs Coastal Carolina.

Will Kimmey:
Seton Hall lost 9-7 in the first DH game Sunday, scoring three times
against Daniel Bard, so it looks like UNC played it safe and tossed the
ace out there to make sure nothing silly happened by starting a
freshman who missed last year with injury (Luke Putkonen) on a cold
day. Saving Miller for Coastal might not have been such a necessity
after UNC saw CCU drop to 1-4 after losses to George Mason and
Pittsburgh on Saturday.

 Q:  Matt from Spokane, WA asks:
Bulldogs. They have gotten off to a pretty good start having already
beaten teams like Arizona State and Oregon State. What are your
predictions for conference success, and a possible tournament berth?

Will Kimmey:
I think any team in the West Coast Conference not named San Diego or
Pepperdine probably needs to start dreaming of what a third-place
finish can do for it. I’ll take the Bulldogs there. They needed to
build off those wins from last week, and going 1-2 at New Mexico State
wasn’t it. So it’s hard to rate Gonzaga as a big threat right now. If
it beats Washington this weekend, things might be looking up again.

 Q:  Ed from Arizona asks:
do you see Arizona State as a club. They have not played extremely well
out of the shoot. Can they improve to be a top 10 team. Pitching and
young players seem to be their key to success.

Will Kimmey:
Arizona State is young, so that tells you it’s going to be something of
a roller coaster ride this year. Even some of ASU’s experienced arms,
Brenehan and Zinicola, have been guys who have struggled to find
consistency from one week to another in their careers. This club could
end up like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates as the season moves on: it
might pull a big upset one week and get bounced by a lesser team the
next. Sweeping Houston after last week’s 0-for-Surprise was a big step
in the right direction. Top 10 might be pushing it, but the ups and
downs of the season could take it in and out of the Top 25 on a weekly

 Q:  Alex from Pelham, AL asks:
Olvey has looked great so far and Matt Liuzza is starting to hit, what
does LSU need to do to position itself for a regional this year?

Will Kimmey:
Win about 35 games, 15 of which come in the SEC. Raise those numbers by
about 6 and 3 wins to become a regional host. Olvey’s start is
impressive, for sure, but we can’t get carried away with results from
this weekend and next (vs. Temple) because these aren’t clubs that
should be going into Alex Box and competing with LSU’s talent–even if
you believe this could be a down year for LSU.

 Q:  Todd from Little Rock AR asks:
Could Arkansas Nick Schimdt be the best pitcher in the SEC this year?

Will Kimmey:
He’s off to a great start. If he doesn’t allow any hits all year, I’ll
assure you he’s our player of the year. Book that now. I’ll bet you
dinner at Nolan Richardson’s house that he yields a hit next week
though. Seriously, he and two more sophomore lefties (Vandy’s David
Price and Tennessee’s James Adkins) would be my dream rotation for that
league right now.

 Q:  David from Port Coquitlam asks:
Will, like Huston Street and Craig Hansen, are their any college
pitchers this season that have a chance to be pen guys right away for a
big league team?

Will Kimmey:
Chris Perez of Miami, Blair Erickson of UC Ivine and Mark Melancon of
Arizona are the three that immediately come to mind. None might jump
immediately to the majors, but those are the three top closer profile

 Q:  Chase from Oxford, MS asks:
Rebels torched a terrible St. Louis club over the weekend, and the
entire nonconference schedule isn’t intimidating. Will we know anything
about them until Vandy comes in for SEC play. I know this gives the
inexperienced arms some time to play.

Will Kimmey:
The UCLA series just before that will be telling. UCLA is a really
tough team. Its bats are young, but the pitching it top-notch. It’s
hard to fault SEC or ACC teams that play weak schedules because they
build the gaudy RPIs without having to face top caliber teams. That’s a
flaw in the system and there’s no reason for coaches to change if they
are still able to prepare their teams sufficiently. But as fans, and I
count myself as one, it’s more fun to see matchups between top teams
from separate conferences and I think it helps teams get better even
when they lose.

 Q:  Bill from Naples, FL asks:
the season started this year, the pitching staff was very questionable
for the Florida Gators. What do you think about their starting pitching
staff, Ball and Augenstein, now this year after sweeping Miami and also
their dominant performance against Cincinatti?

Will Kimmey:
In those two guys, plus closer Bryan Ball, Florida has three guys it’s
very comfortable with on the mound in big games. This was a very
meaningful series in terms of the UF pitching finding success. We found
out much more about Florida from the Miami series than we did the BP it
took against Cincinnati the previous week. Now, once the Gators
cultivate a No. 3–and there’s enough talent on that roster to expect
it to happen–look out.

 Q:  Joe Collier from Cincinnati asks:
a pitching point of view Tennessee looks like they will continue to
show some power. But on the other hand, I have noticed that they have
been having some trouble scoring runs. Do you think they will be able
to overcome the loss or Chase Headley, Eli Iorg, Josh Alley and Eric
King and will they be able to score runs like they did last year?

Will Kimmey:
Tennessee’s offensive shortcomings, if that’s a fair word, come from
two things: One, there are still players adjusting to the game at this
level. Two, realize that it has played doubleheaders in extremely cold
weather the last two Fridays, and few batters are going to produce a
whole lot in those conditions. Surely the Vols would take all those
guys back, but Arencibia, Edmunson and Borbon all returned and Tony
Delmonico and Jarred Frazier are leading the newcomers.

 Q:  Mike Grope from Thousand Oaks Ca. asks:
weekend i made it out to Pepperdine although I am an Alumni of UCLA.
Friday i was a no show because of the rain but it seemed to me that
Friday was the only bright spot for Oregon State. Is this Pepperdine
team really that much better than Oregon?

Will Kimmey:
I was a little surprised at the outcome, but I think it showed how good
Pepperdine’s offense can be. Oregon State was a big pitching team last
year and all those arms returned. Gunderson, Nickerson and Maxwell all
got hit at Pepperdine. Barry Enright was the other surprise. He started
Tuesday in what looked like a possible audition for his spot in the
rotation. He threw well vs. Long Beach and returned for another strong
outing vs. Oregon State. Even OSU’s Friday win was tempered a bit by
the bullpen giving back a lead built with Dallas Buck on the mound.

 Q:  Tom from VT asks:
Who do you think has more MLB upside: Jon Jay or Shane Robinson?

Will Kimmey:
Neither really offer a ton of power, but both are great hitters. I like
Robinson more at the plate, and much more on the bases.

 Q:  KC from Fayetteville, AR asks:
Tulane or Pepperdine this weekend?

Will Kimmey:
Give me Tulane 2-1, because it’s playing at home. I’d be taking
Pepperdine if this was on the road. Remember, the Waves handed the
Green Wave its first loss in 2005.

 Q:  Ray from Rock Hill asks:
is winthrop going to get respect in the BA poll? They are recognized by
other polls. What is it going to take for them to jump into the top 25?
They began the season 4-2 on 2 tough road trips. Regardless of the loss
of talent at Miami and Alabama, they are still going to be in the field
of 64.

Will Kimmey:
Our rankings aren’t about who we respect. We respect all the teams.
It’s about which 25 teams we think are the best in the country at that
point, or how they’d fare against the others on a neutral field. You
see any teams near the bottom lose a bunch of games? No one can move in
if no one moves out. I’™m sure you’™ve read and noted my points about
those wins, but also note neither of those teams were ranked. We’™re
following the Eagles and like what we’ve seen thus far. But there are
25 spots, so you can be a good team that makes the NCAA tournament and
not be in the Top 25 at different points in time.

 Q:  Tim from Columbia, Mo asks:
Who do you think the Royals will take with the top pick in the 2006
draft? Will it be a college player… maybe a Missouri connection with
MU Tiger Max Scherzer? Thank you.

Will Kimmey:
It will most likely be a college pitcher, and Andrew Miller is the
leader to be that pick. Scherzer is a candidate, but Miller’s upside
and lefthandedness give him the edge.

Will Kimmey: That’s it for today. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. See you next Monday.