College Top 25 Chat With Aaron Fitt: March 26

Moderator: Aaron Fitt will chat about the College Top 25 and college baseball in general at 2:30 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Joe from Long Beach, CA asks:
Why such a big drop in the rankings for the Dirtbags after narrowly losing the series against Fullerton?

Aaron Fitt:
Good day everybody. The five-spot drop for Long Beach State was more of
a cumulative penalty for losing its last two weekend series — albeit
against top-15 teams — and being just 13-9 overall. I have a ton of
respect for what that team has accomplished this year against that
schedule, which is why they’re still a top 25 team despite that
lackluster record, but we gave them a bit of a pass last weekend
against Wichita State, so we punished them a bit this week for dropping
a second straight series.

 Q:  Mr. Commodore from Nashville asks:
you going to be previewing the Cocks vs. Dores series later in the week
and if not could you do so now? How can the Dores fair against South
Carolina pitching after not having too much going on this weekend?

Aaron Fitt:
I am likely to be highlighting that dandy of a matchup in weekend
preview, but here’s my quick take: Vandy was right in that series at
Arkansas and very nearly won it, as Friday’s game went extra frames. I
think Vandy’s weekend rotation is a little more stable right now until
Arik Hempy gets himself ready for SEC competition (he’s not yet–he’ll
pitch tomorrow at Elon and be on a 50-60 pitch count). South Carolina
has the advantage of being at home and having a better offense, even
without Lonnie Chisenhall, I think, but Vanderbilt has a pitching edge.
Like the Vandy-Arkansas series, it could go either way. Give the ‘Dores
credit for going into Arkansas, a top-10 team and conference foe, and
nearly winning the series. I know Vandy was the No. 1 team, but that’s
about what you’d expect them to do in that series.

 Q:  David Warren from Lancaster, South Carolina asks:
losing Chisenhall and Fuller, do the Gamecocks have a top 25 team
sitting in the dugout? Do you consider South Carolina the cream of the
crop in the SEC?

Aaron Fitt:
Of course it’s a top 25 team; we’ve got them No. 1 right now. It hurts
them, but the impact will be felt more in the next few years than this
year. This team is deep enough to withstand this hit this year,
particularly with the return of senior outfielder Robbie Grinestaff
from his hamstring injury. He slotted right into Chisenhall’s spot this
weekend and is an adequate substitution.

 Q:  nate from oxford asks:
zack cozart the first college SS taken in the draft? He started out
slowly but is now over .300? also, where does will kline project to go
in the draft?

Aaron Fitt:
At this moment, I’d probably say Josh Horton will go first, but it
could go either way. Cozart’s bat is somewhat of a question mark, even
after his recent hot stretch, and Horton’s defense is a question mark
— I’ve seen him boot a number of routine grounders this year. The
physical tools are there, but he needs to develop some of Cozart’s
consistency in the field. Still, I’ll give Horton a little edge. Kline
has been climbing draft boards, and right now I’ll predict he goes in
the gargantuan supplemental round.

 Q:  Logan from Homer, Nebraska asks:
Is Brett Wallace the best hitter in amateur baseball as of right now?

Aaron Fitt:
Great question. I think I might give a tiny edge to Pedro Alvarez, but
Wallace might very well be No. 2 for me. He’s got the big power, and
he’s got such a mature approach — just a tough, tough out.

 Q:  John Darnell from Oxford, MS asks:
did you think of Mississippi’s performance against Alabama last
More specifically, what did you think of Lance Lynn and Zack Cozart? I
know previously you had stated that you would take Zack Cozart off of
your preseason all american list, and I wondered if you though last
weekends performance shows he is coming out of his slump.

Aaron Fitt:
Just to clarify, I would leave Cozart on my all-america list, just
might bump him from first team to second team. Still a great player and
a great prospect, and he has had big offensive games the past two
Sundays — a very good sign. Lynn looks legit — he absolutely shut
Vanderbilt down last weekend, and there are some very tough outs in
that lineup, and then he struck out 10 again this weekend. There’s a
guy with some helium in the draft class of 2008.

 Q:  Matt B from Memphis, TN asks:
How do you see the Arkansas pitching situation shaking out as SEC play gets underway?

Aaron Fitt:
Right now I think it’s something to be a bit concerned about, just
because the burden on four pitchers (Schmidt, Welker, Todd and Keuchel)
looks to be very significant now that Seibert is done for the year. I
really think Todd profiles very well at the back of the bullpen, but
the Hogs need Keuchel to step forward and hold down a rotation spot so
they can keep Todd back there. Welker’s development is very
encouraging, and Schmidt is Schmidt. Expect to see more and more of
Travis Hill and Chris Rhoads in the bullpen.

 Q:  Joe from CA asks:
close is Maryland in your ranking of top 25, they took 2 of 3 from
Clemson this weekend, should of taken 2 of 3 at Miami prior weekend and
took 2 of 3 AT NC State?

Aaron Fitt:
If we had an open spot in our Top 25 this week, Maryland would have
been a leading contender to fill it, along with Missouri, Arizona,
Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulane, Ohio State, Stetson and College of
Charleston. I think all of those have worthy cases for the rankings.

 Q:  Dave from Austin,TX asks:
you give us a list of your projected top 8 seeds and who do you think
has the best chance of making that list before the season is over?

Aaron Fitt:
Interesting question. I’ll preface by saying I think the SEC teams are
going to beat each other up — it will be hard for any of those teams
to win one of the top seeds, I think. I’ll go with Florida State as the
top overall seed; they’re already 26-1 and 6-0 in the conference, they
don’t have to face Virginia, they get North Carolina and Clemson at
home… seems like a recipe for ACC success. I’ll go Oregon State at
No. 2 (even though the RPI typically doesn’t do the Beavers any
favors), Texas at No. 3, Virginia at No. 4, Vanderbilt at No. 5, North
Carolina at No. 6, South Carolina at No. 7, Rice at No. 8.

 Q:  Dan Mattheis from Fairfield, CA asks:
since seeing Rice in Fullerton earlier this year, I’m convinced that
this is one seriously over-rated club. With nine losses, a 2-4 record
against ranked teams, and a bunch of less than convincing wins against
weak teams, how in the world is Rice still in the top 10, or even the
top 15?

Aaron Fitt:
I don’t think it would be wise to base your judgment of the Owls solely
on that weekend in Fullerton. After a rough start to the year, Rice
rebounded with quality wins against Long Beach State, Florida Atlantic,
Nebraska, TCU, Texas Tech and now Southern Miss. They haven’t been
dominant like you’d expect a consensus preseason No. 1 team to be, but
they’re not ranked No. 1; they’re No. 8. Considering how much losing
Cole St. Clair hurt that team, it’s pretty impressive the Owls have
done as well as they have. There are still plenty of pitching
questions, but the lineup is outstanding, the coaching is good, and the
pitching depth is still solid. They just need some standout
performances to solidify roles on that staff. Matt Langwell might be
the answer as the Saturday starter, but we don’t know yet. I’m still
not convinced Bobby Bramhall is the answer at closer; he’s a nice
piece, but I still think Ryne Tacker will be in that job before too

 Q:  John from Harrisonburg, VA asks:
Aaron, have you heard yet about the severity of Jemile Weeks’s injury? I’m just curious…

Aaron Fitt:
Weeks, who left Sunday’s game against Virginia after trying to leg out
a bunt in the sixth inning, was seen on crutches after the game. I got
a report from one reader and blogger who attended the game that Weeks
injured his groin, but I have not confirmed that as of yet. Obviously
if he misses an extended period, this will be a serious blow for the

 Q:  Evan from Macon, GA asks:
is Cory Gearrin of a solid Mercer team a legit Sandwich pick guy or
does he fall because he doesnt have the mid 90’s heat of Fields, Cecil,
and Kunz?

Aaron Fitt:
I think he is a potential sandwich guy, but more likely a 2nd-4th
rounder. It does sound like he has shown more velocity this spring than
he did last summer in the Cape, running his fastball into the low 90s.

 Q:  Brandon from Myrtle Beach asks:
the Chanticleers staying put at #15 for two consecutive weeks, I’d like
your to get your expertise on an individual level…
What do you believe the future prospects are of Andy DeLaGarza, David
Sappelt and Chris Raber? All three are having fine seasons and while
Raber and DLG are finishing up their careers at Coastal Carolina,
Sappelt is only a sophomore and appears to me to have a tremendous

Aaron Fitt:
Sappelt is the best prospect of that group. He’s undersized at
5-foot-9, but he’s got very good speed and he can certainly hit, as
evidenced by his recent 16-game hitting streak. Exciting player, a
little reminiscent of Georgia Tech’s Danny Payne. But two-way player
David Anderson is probably the best pro prospect on that team, thanks
to his impressive size and strength.

 Q:  Glen from Minnesota asks:
will the Minnesota Gophers crack the top 25? With a record of 14-5 and
a rpi in the top 10 i think they should be considered.They also have
Gary Perinar who can pitch with anybody in the nation, along with a
very good bullpen!!

Aaron Fitt:
That’s another team I meant to mention in that group of teams just
outside the top 25. Big Ten is very, very interesting this year —
Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan are all regional-caliber teams. Only
two are likely to make regionals, however.

 Q:  Eric from Huntington Beach asks:
Boy a tough loss for Long Beach yesterday. How do you think we will do against Irvine this weekend?

Aaron Fitt: That was a tough loss indeed. I’ll probably take the Anteaters at home next weekend.

 Q:  Dan Mattheis from Fairfield, CA asks:
we create the “Hard Luck Pitcher Award” and just give it to Tyson Ross
now? After giving up three hits, one walk and striking out 16 on
Friday, Ross took his fourth loss on the year. He’s 2-4 with a 2.18 ERA
and a .210 BAA.

Aaron Fitt: I second that nomination.

 Q:  Mark from Fort Worth, TX asks:
that the majority of OOC games are out of the way and with all the
teams in the MWC playing atleast 1 conference series, how do you
winning the MWC? I know TCU was the preseason favorite, but with their
struggles in some games do you see BYU or SDSU challenging for the
conference crown?

Aaron Fitt:
I’m sticking with the Horned Frogs, but I think the Aztecs could give
them a run. BYU isn’t bad either, but for me that’s clearly the third
team in the group.

 Q:  Terrence from Sonoma, CA asks:
good can Barry Enright from Pepperdine go in the draft? He just seems
to win, win, win… where do you see Adam Olbrychowski going? He is 5-1
there as well! Thanks for the chats.

Aaron Fitt:
There aren’t a lot of great college righthanders in this year’s draft,
which could help Enright’s stock climb into that mammoth supplemental
round, though I think he’s more of a third-round type. Olbrychowski has
good enough stuff to be a top-five rounder, but he still needs to get
more consistent.

 Q:  Matt P. from Raleigh asks:
it gonna take for N.C. State to bust into the polls. They started 8-0
with a huge win over #19 East Carolina. With studs Stallings and
Brackman the ACC should definately watch out for the Pack in the coming

Aaron Fitt:
The Wolfpack is in the mix as well, but right now I’ve got them behind
Maryland, if only because the Terps went to Raleigh and took two out of

 Q:  Dan Mattheis from Fairfield, CA asks:
sophomore Kyle Russle (who came in this year as the #48 sophomore in
the country and the 4th rated Longhorn sophomore) is proving to be a
witch who can swing it with a 1.403 OPS. That’s just sick. Where is
Russel at on those lists today?

Aaron Fitt:
I haven’t spoken with any scouts about Russell yet this spring, but
based solely on his ridiculous production, he has moved up definitely
into the top 20 in that sophomore class, and maybe the top 10. Some
scouts were scared off him by what they saw in the Cape last summer,
but his stock has more than rebounded from that hit, I would think.

 Q:  Luke from Jacksonville asks:
How do you see the A-Sun playing out this year? Could it be a two-bid league?

Aaron Fitt:
Possible, but I doubt it. I suspect only Stetson will get in, unless
the Hatters lose out on the automatic bid. That’s the one team that
really has a resume for an at-large bid, in my opinion. Check out
today’s Three Strikes on the College Blog for more.

 Q:  Matt from Tempe asks:
What do you think about ASU’s weekend at USC? Would they have been ranked higher this week if they had swept the Trojans?

Aaron Fitt:
I don’t think so — there was nowhere for them to go. All the teams
ahead of them won their series. But that was a nice weekend for ASU,
going on the road against a quality conference foe and nearly getting
the sweep. We all know how important Mike Leake is for them, but don’t
forget about Josh Satow, who comes up with big games week after week.
Again I refer you to the College Blog for more on the Sun Devils.

Aaron Fitt: That’s all I have time for today. Thanks for all the good questions — fun chat today. See you next week.