College Top 25 Chat With Aaron Fitt

 Q:  Brett from NYC asks:
thanks for all the good info and chatting every week. Any thoughts on
the play of Todd Frazier (especially after his big weekend)? Do you
think Rutgers can make the tourney?? thanks….

Aaron Fitt:
Hello everybody, sorry I’m a couple of minutes late — college Mondays
are a grind around here! One reason for the delay – I was finishing up
Three Strikes, which will be available on the college blog in a few
minutes. It deals with Frazier’s moster weekend and his rising stock,
among other things, so I’ll refer you to that. As for the Scarlet
Knights, I think they absolutely can make the tournament. Right now I’d
have to consider South Florida the favorite in the Big East, but
Rutgers actually has the best league record at 7-2. I think Rutgers,
St. John’s and Louisville all have legitimate shots to win that league.
And it might yet end up being a two-bid league, because those are all
quality teams. West Virginia is also dangerous because of its offense,
and Seton Hall and Notre Dame because of their pitching, but it will be
an uphill battle for those teams.

 Q:  Robert K from Clemson, SC asks:
will Stephen Clyne start getting some coverage? He’s allowed only 1
earned run all season. In fact, he’s allowed that one earned run in his
last 40 something innings pitched going back to the end of the 2006
season. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

Aaron Fitt:
Sorry to keep schilling for the College Blog, but if you check out
Friday’s post about Moskos making his debut in the weekend rotation,
there’s an extensive discussion of Clyne.

 Q:  Carlton from Columbus, Ohio asks:
How close is Ohio St. to being ranked?

Aaron Fitt:
As we discussed in this morning’s podcast, I think whoever wins next
weekend’s Ohio State-Michigan series is very likely to wind up in the
rankings come Monday. We might have ranked the Buckeyes this week had
their series not been sabotaged by bad weather.

 Q:  Drew from Los Angeles asks:
I know its still a little early, but who is your favorite to win the PAC-10 based on the first two weekends?

Aaron Fitt:
Man, this is a tough one. Arizona is on fire, and I believe that might
actually be the most balanced team in the conference. Arizona State’s
offense is just awesome, and I like the way the rotation shapes up with
Mike Leake pitching on Fridays. But I’m going to stick with the Beavers
for now, even after their sweep at the hands of Arizona last weekend. I
love OSU’s pitching, and I think the offense is capable of
manufacturing runs and getting big hits, much the way last year’s
offense operated. Mitch Canham has really risen to the challenge of
leading that lineup this year. Canham and Brett Wallace are my
favorites for Pac-10 player of the year.

 Q:  Jonathan from Mobile, AL asks:
do you think of Troy’s series win over Coastal Carolina? Granted, the
two wins came in the bottom of the ninth, but do you think this could
be the thing to get Troy going and lead them into a regional? Also,
what do you think about Clint Robinson and the year he is having at the

Aaron Fitt:
I very nearly picked Troy in the Upset City this weekend (I know, easy
to say now after my East Carolina pick made me look so foolish…) The
Trojans are a tough home team (they gave Arkansas all it could handle
earlier this year), and they showed a lot of character in pulling out
those ninth-inning victories against a very good Coastal club. I still
worry about Troy’s starting pitching a little, but I really like the
lineup– Robinson, Dew, Ramirez, Craze, Felix and Weidlich are all good
players. Robinson has some serious pop — he showed it with wood bats
in the Valley League last summer, and it’s nice to see him keep it
going this spring. Definitely a guy whose draft stock is on the rise.

 Q:  Bob Doyle from Chicago,IL asks:
what is your overall opinion of CCU and the CCU bullpen? Were the last
2 games against troy a minor bump, or a sign of a much larger problem?
We have given up about 45 runs in the last 2 innings of games this year
(64 innings).

Aaron Fitt:
Nice piggyback question on the last one. You know, I really thought
Gary Gilmore had found his closer solution when he moved David Anderson
to that role, and I still think he’s the right guy back there. Even
though he blew the save Saturday, he actually tossed two scoreless
innings of relief before the fateful ninth. Kent Altman and Dustin Koca
have also been pretty solid back there, but Travis Risser has been a
disappointment (and he gave up two more runs Sunday). I really think
they need more out of him in order to stabilize the pen, but I don’t
think it’s in disastrous shape by any means. Coastal is 28-5, lest we
forget — it’s not like the Chanticleers have been blowing games left
and right, this weekend aside.

 Q:  CavMan from Hooville, Va asks:
what is your impression of my Cavaliers now after the recent lackluster
performances against the Dookies and VMI? In my opinion, the main
culprit is offensive production. Do you think that it will continue to
be problematic for the Hoos in the upcoming weeks in light of recent
subpar performances against mediocre pitching (Va Tech, VMI, and Duke)?

Aaron Fitt:
I really don’t think the offense is such a big problem. Yes, they miss
Jeremy Farrell, but they’ve been OK without him, and his return will
give them a big boost. The bigger issue, I think, is the Saturday
starter spot, where Matt Packer has turned in back-to-back shaky
outings. I wouldn’t be shocked if Pat McAnaney takes over that job
before too long. Packer’s done a good job for them on the whole, but
McAnaney’s more experienced, he’s healthy now, and he’s been throwing
better of late.

 Q:  Matt Rosche from Omaha, NE asks:
Nebraska’s 16-1 victory over Mizzou last Sunday, their win over
Creighton last Tues night, and their series over OK ST. this past
weekend, how would they have to perform this week and weekend to get
back in the rankings? They have midweeks against Iowa and Wichita St,
and weekend series with Oklahoma. Would 4 out of 5 get the job done? I
know they have been suspect, but Watson and Dorn have been sharp
lately, and the hitting has come around? Where do you see them fitting
in at the end of the year?

Aaron Fitt:
Nebraska dug itself a pretty significant hole by losing its first three
conference series before bouncing back this weekend. Honestly, right
now the Huskers aren’t really in the top 25 picture. If they win four
out of five this week, they’ll certainly put themselves back in the
picture, but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee a top 25 spot. I do think
the Huskers have enough pitching to make a run, but with seven teams
ahead of them in the Big 12 standings, there is little margin for
error. That’s why we left Nebraska out of our projected field of 64 in
the midseason report, though we had the Huskers on the fringe.

 Q:  Matt from Miami asks:
Who has the best infield in the nation? Who has been the most disappointing team and player this year?

Aaron Fitt:
Whenever Jemile Weeks gets back from his groin injury, Miami might have
the best infield. I really like Rice’s infield when Friday and Luna are
healthy, and I really like Virginia’s when Jeremy Farrell his healthy.
Arizona State has a highly underrated infield; Oklahoma State’s infield
can really really mash with Mach, Mangini, Ridling and a healthy Jordy
Mercer; Ole Miss has a nice group now that Cozart is hitting; Wichita
State’s group is underrated, and so is Florida State’s, where Thomas
and Hallberg are very nice players up the middle. You also have to like
South Carolina now that Travis Jones has caught fire. Tough question to
answer, and I’m having trouble answering it. But gun to my head, I’ll
take Miami — even with weeks out, Roger Tomas is a very able backup.

Aaron Fitt:
As for biggest disappointments, I hate to keep dumping on Georgia, but
the Bulldogs are 11-21, and they started the season at No. 27 in our
preseason Top 50. And Josh Fields certainly has not performed like a
first-team preseason All-American; he’s probably been the most
disappointing player, though his stuff is still good and I bet he’ll
still wind up in the first round.

 Q:  Bertram from Taiwan asks:
can you tell me about Cody Adams from Southern Illinois? His numbers
are very impressive thus far. What kind of competition has he faced?
Does he really hit 96? Where (if anywhere) does he fit when talking
about top sophomores?

Aaron Fitt:
Adams is a name that has popped up a number of times recently — one of
the better breakout candidates of 2007. I’ve heard he’s been up to 96,
but I plan to do a little more digging this week to find out more about
him. I’ll get back to you on this one.

 Q:  Ernie from Avenel, NJ asks:

Do you foresee Brett Cecil being drafted as a closer or are there some teams looking at him as a starter ? Thank you


Aaron Fitt:
I think he could go either way — it will be up to the team that drafts
him. He could move quickly as a closer, but some teams think he’s got a
real chance to develop into a top-notch starter. Myself, I’d be
inclined to fast-track him in the pen, especially if I was a contending

 Q:  Patrick from Louisiana asks:
find it hard to believe that Louisiana-Lafayette is still not in your
top 25. Their RPI is 19, SOS in the 60’s at the moment… and they are
26-7. Do the Ragin’ Cajuns have to go undefeated two weeks in a row to
get ranked? So we lost one game to Western Kentucky over the weekend,
in terrible conditions and a 10 inning loss… we have the best offense
in Louisiana and one of the best of the region.. Two solid starters and
an incredible closer. The only question mark in my mind is we need a
legitimate Sunday starter… so far no one has stepped up. So where do
you rank the Cajuns and what do they have to do to get your respect?
And one more question if possible.. do you see Louisiana-Lafayette
possibly hosting a regional with LSU being down this year and our
attendance near the top in the nation?

Aaron Fitt:
We discussed the Cajuns at length in our top 25 meeting and addressed
them again in the podcast today; they are right on the cusp of the
rankings. They still lack a true signature win on their resume, but I
give them credit for sweeping Florida Atlantic a few weeks ago and
beating a decent Florida International team last week. I would have
liked to see them sweep Western Kentucky this weekend. They’ll have a
chance to really prove their mettle against legit opponents the next
two weeks against Troy and Arizona State — both very tough road
series. As for hosting, I think you bring up a good point, and I
wouldn’t be shocked to see them wind up hosting, though we did not
project them as a host in our midseason field of 64.

 Q:  Marc from Austin asks:
Is Texas right fielder Kyle Russell human ? Discuss …

Aaron Fitt: Nope.

 Q:  will from colton asks:
64 team prediction did not include UC Riverside, but the scouting
report said they would be a very tough out in a regional. With the Big
West looking to take a different shape in 07, does Riverside make the
regionals with a solid record and 2nd or 3rd finish in conference? Also
the scouting report mentions only three of Riverside’s arms but is
dubbed “maybe the best staff in the country” who else is your opinion
is a key contributor to UCR? I love your work, thanks for all you do
for college baseball.

Aaron Fitt:
Riverside was the last team we cut out of the field of 64 — we just
don’t think it’s likely the Big West will get four bids, and it will be
hard to ignore Long Beach’s superior RPI. If the Highlanders make a
regional, they will be a very tough out. I’m not certain they’ve got
enough offense, but as I discussed in Three Strikes today, I think
they’re very capable of making a run. Before the season, I thought UCR
had a real good chance to win the conference, and I still think that is
possible, though I would consider UC Irvine to be in the driver’s seat.

 Q:  Jason from Mobile, AL asks:
are your thoughts about Mississippi State? They continue to improve and
are winning critical games against the top tier teams of the SEC.Do you
think they have a chance of winning the SEC Championship?

Aaron Fitt:
I really like the lineup, especially Easley, Rea and Moreland, but I
doubt they have enough pitching (particularly in the bullpen) to win
the SEC.

 Q:  Cornelius from Stockton, Ca asks:
Barry Enright is putting together quite a career at Pepperdine. What round do you see him going in this years draft?

Aaron Fitt:
There’s a serious shortage of quality righthanded pitching in this
college class, which could help Enright climb as high as the second
round despite stuff that is hardly overwhelming. He’s just a terrific
competitor, and that makes his stuff play up.

 Q:  Eric from Miami asks:
Miami winning back to back ACC series against 2 very good teams, how
close are they to getting back into the rankings? Also do nyou see this
young team making a late run just as they did last year?

Aaron Fitt:
They are close to returning to the rankings, we just want to see that
conference record get back to or above .500 before we pull the trigger.
But I think it’s a team very capable of making a run similar to last
year’s Omaha push. Of all the teams outside the 15, Miami is the one
that I think is the most dangerous in the postseason.

 Q:  Brandon from Tempe, AZ asks:
all of the Big Ten games got wiped out this weekend because of temps in
the teens. Included in this was a key series between Michigan and
Minnesota, both of which are league contenders. How do you see this
impacting the conference race come the end of the year and voting in
the polls (if applicable)?

Aaron Fitt:
It’s too bad that series didn’t get played. It might end up giving both
teams an advantage over Ohio State, which will still have to play both
Michigan and Minnesota. The Wolverines and Gophers, meanwhile, avoid
one of their most difficult conference series. Whoever won that series
would have gotten a nice boost, but the loser would have had some work
to do.

 Q:  Ben from Houston asks:
potentially Berry, Tacker (if Graham sticks with his plan), and Savery
(whose outing was more impressive than the numbers indicated Sunday),
how does Rice’s weekend rotation for the stretch run compare across the
nation? If Tacker does translate his bullpen success as a starter,
where do you see him going in the draft?

Aaron Fitt:
I think that would be a very strong group. I see Tacker as this year’s
Bryce Cox, who made a late run into the top couple of rounds in last
year’s draft.

 Q:  todd weber from st. louis mo asks:
who will make a better pro; matt brown , corey brown or dunnigan of oklahoma?

Aaron Fitt:
Wow, great question. Right now, my gut says Matt Brown — best
combination of tools, makeup and relative polish. But I like all three.

 Q:  bob from greenville, sc asks:
do you think Clemson’s Moskos will do in the starter role? Where do you
see him, along with Chalk and Harbin going in the draft? Thanks for the

Aaron Fitt:
I think Moskos will emerge as one of the best starters in the ACC by
the end of the season — he’s got a starter’s repertoire, and I think
this move was brilliant, with Clyne dominating back in the bullpen.
Moskos will go in the top half of the first round, and Chalk probably
profiles as a supplemental first-rounder. I really don’t know where
Harbin will end up… perhaps 8th-10th round range, but that’s just a
guess. He’s a tough guy to peg because of his size, but he’s a very
accomplished college player.

 Q:  Brian from Natchez, MS asks:
you think Maineri expected to have this tough of a go when he took the
LSU job and how long do you think it will take him to turn it around?

Aaron Fitt:
Yeah, I do think he expected this, really. He knew this was going to
take a year or two to turn around, and I think LSU has done OK all
things considered, even after dropping a series against Auburn. I have
a lot of faith in Paul Mainieri though; I bet they’re one of the
nation’s big turnaround stories next year, and he’ll have them
contending for Omaha before you know it.

Aaron Fitt: That’s all for today. Have a good week, everyone.