Top 25 Chat (April 24)

Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week’s college baseball chat. Let’s get to your questions.

brennen owens (Clemson sc): How was it justified to move Clemson down after winning the series over a top 25 team? UNC has a worse percentage record, worse rpi, and went 2-2 in the last week. Also you have Auburn jumping clemson with 4 more losses? I can't see logically why clemson wouldn't have moved up above UNC for the 3 spot. Definitely shouldn't have fallen behind Auburn IMO.
Teddy Cahill: Clemson moved down because while it beat Wake Forest, it also lost a series to Florida State. Because the final game of that series was last Monday, we had not had a chance to react to that. If that series had finished on Sunday, the Tigers would have dropped a couple spots last week. It’s a little abnormal, but this is what the ACC’s TV deal has wrought.

BeaverFan (Portland): We know the Beavers aren't going to just coast on in to finish the season, but, realistically what is the minimum they need to do to lock up a top 8 National Seed?
Teddy Cahill: I think at this point Oregon State just needs to go win the Pac-12. The Beavers have a five-game lead with 12 to play. If they don’t blow that and don’t do anything crazy like losing that series against Adaline Christian, they should be set for a national seed.

Michael (Louisville, KY): Going 3-1 against top 10 teams this week, where do you see this Kentucky team finishing the year? Is a top 8 national seed out of the question? Is the mid-week win against UofL discounted because its a mid-week or is it truly significant?
Teddy Cahill: A national seed is definitely possible for Kentucky. The Wildcats are sitting at No. 5 in RPI and leading the SEC East. And they have a manageable final month. That series in Gainesville on the final weekend of the regular season will likely play a big factor in the national seed race. As for the midweek win against Louisville, it’s not the same as winning a series against Louisville, and Kentucky did lose to Louisville earlier in the year, but it definitely counts in the RPI and is a nice piece for the resume and the team’s confidence.

Big Spur (SC): Another frustrating year for my SC Gamecocks. I feel like we have an extremely talented team that has fallen from projections of national seed and hosting, With our biggest series win being Tennessee, is their reason that we miss the tournament for the second time in three seasons. Obviously, a big series this weekend but I want to hear your thoughts.
Teddy Cahill: South Carolina is still in pretty good shape. The RPI is still strong at 23 and the Gamecocks are 9-9 in the SEC. That’s all solid. Obviously the trend is in the wrong direction right now, but they’d still be in the tournament right now. If South Carolina can just get it going a little bit better, it’ll be just fine. But the next two weekends against Kentucky and at LSU won’t be easy.

Quinn (Charleston): Looking into St.Johns season it's interesting to see that they are doing as well as they are while missing two opening weekend starters. Do polls take account for injuries of key players? Also any insight on freshman pitcher Sean Mooney who has almost 60 innings pitched and almost a 1.00 era?
Teddy Cahill: Early in the season we might account for a player being out if he’s expected to return and help the team. But at that point of the year we’re still doing a lot of projecting. By now, we’re more ranking teams on their resumes, regardless of who is or isn’t playing. But St. John’s has done a nice job of weathering some injuries and Mooney has been a big part of their continued success. He wasn’t as high profile as some of their other recruits this year, but he’s getting it done.

Mike (Oregon): The PAC 12 is pretty strong, top to bottom. Now that the Beavers are getting Drew Rasmussen back, does that strengthen their chances for a deep run ?
Teddy Cahill: Oregon State already had all the pieces necessary for a deep postseason run. Throwing Drew Rasmussen into the mix only helps deepen the Beavers’ already very strong pitching staff.

chris (san diego, ca): How does a team like Mercer get in to the top 25 over the WCC leader LMU (27-13)??? Yeah, they have a good record but they're beating teams nobody has ever hear of. The only teams they played that are on college maps are FL A&M and GT and they lost all four games!!! Seems ridiculous and not very well thought out.
Teddy Cahill: If you’ve really never heard of teams like East Carolina, Bradley or Samford, I feel like that’s on you. But, more to the point, Mercer leads the country in wins and hasn’t lost a series. It’s RPI is No. 31, meaning it would be in range for an at-large bid if it doesn’t win the SoCon Tournament. Loyola Marymount is a team we’ve discussed for the rankings before and it hasn’t lost a weekend series. But there is a difference between 35 and 27 wins and LMU probably wouldn’t be in the NCAA Tournament if it doesn’t win the WCC Tournament due to its No. 77 RPI. I am very much looking forward to seeing how LMU does the next few weekends against San Diego and Gonzaga, two of the other WCC contenders.

Andrew K (Virginia): Any chance that Maryland could do enough in the remaining game to host a Regional?
Teddy Cahill: With a No. 27 RPI, Maryland still has work to do and I’m not sure it has the schedule to get it done. This weekend at Indiana is a nice opportunity to boost its RPI, but after that the Terps don’t have any top 100 RPI teams left on the schedule. They’ll probably face a few in the Big Ten Tournament, but they’re really going to have to close strong to get into the hosting mix.

Jeramey (Locust Grove): What series win has more relevance Georgia Southern over Coastal Carolina or Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech?
Teddy Cahill: I guess Georgia Tech’s? The Yellow Jackets still have an impressively high RPI given their poor conference record. If they could find a way to finish strong in ACC play they may have some at-large hopes left. It’s hard to see Georgia Southern getting into that mix at this point. But that series didn’t help Coastal’s at-large resume.

Alex L (Fairfax VA): Hey Teddy, noticed that UVa sent Adam Haseley to the mound on Friday instead of Sunday this past week. Any idea why that change now? What do you think about putting a position player (CF) on the mound on Friday instead of Sunday? Pros and cons? Thanks,
Teddy Cahill: I believe Haseley pitching Friday was a result of the weather forcing Virginia to play a doubleheader on the first day of the series, though I am not sure of that. The debate on when to start your two-way star is an interesting one. I think it comes down to personal preferences, team needs and what the player is better at. If the player is primarily a pitcher, you start him on Friday because you want him at full strength on the mound. If he’s more of a position player, especially at a premium position, you probably want him in the field twice on the weekend. The setup of Haseley on Sunday has worked for Virginia, but he’s clearly good enough to be starting on Friday nights on the mound.

Pete (Denver, CO): What is your opinion of the wacky pac-12? Outside of the the Beavers there seems to be a lot of mediocre teams. Can UW, Utah, UCLA, or Cal do enough to make the field of 64? Would Arizona still host a regional if they started today? Thanks,
Teddy Cahill: We got into this a bit on the podcast today, so check that out when it goes online. But, yes, any of those teams can get into the field. They’re all hanging around the bubble as is, and have some opportunities to pick up series wins against strong competition to improve the resume. As for Arizona hosting, I’d say yes right now. The RPI of eight is too loud not to. But this weekend’s series at Stanford is a big one for the hosting race. The Cardinal have pushed to 17 in the RPI and are fourth in the league. A couple wins this weekend would really bolster their resume.

Dirtbags Broadcast (Long Beach, CA): In your opinion, what are the crucial games/series that the Dirtbags need to win in order to host a regional and/or be a national seed?
Teddy Cahill: Long Beach State needs to go win the Big West and not lose any bad series. I don’t think its path is particularly complicated. To be a national seed it’s going to need to win all the top 100 RPI games it can because it could use a bit of an RPI bump, but it’s in a strong position to host already.

Ryan (Salem, Va): Is Wake Forest a contender or a pretender? Looking at the schedule there doesn't seem to be any elite wins. Yes they avoided getting swept by Louisville and Clemson but the rest of there ACC schedule has been blah to say the least. All of there other ACC wins have come against teams that overall record for the season is barely .500. With two of the next three weekends being much of the same, it looks like they will secure a host if they do what they've done all year. Would they be one of the weaker number 1s?
Teddy Cahill: I have not been a particularly big proponent of Wake Forest all season, as regular readers will likely have picked up on. I’m still not sure what the Deacons best series win is – at Miami? By RPI it’s home vs. Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets are in last place in the ACC. That’s not really doing it for me. I’m skeptical the ACC gets five hosts, but Wake’s RPI is 11 and that might be enough to get it done. If the Deacs do host, yes, for me they’re one of the last ones in.

Eric (Cypress CA): Except for the consistent play of Oregon State and Long Beach State the west has been an overall disappointment this year..You have Fullerton Arizona and Stanford and a few others but their play has been inconsistent such as Fullerton losing 2 of 3 to Cal Poly this weekend. What is your assessment of the west and besides long beach and oregon state who has a chance at going far in the playoffs?
Teddy Cahill: I don’t like evaluating regions of the country as a whole. The Pac-12 is different from the Big West is different from the WCC, just like the SEC is different from CUSA is different from the SoCon. But of the teams out West, Oregon State and Beach are clearly set up well for NCAA Tournament runs. If Fullerton can get Colton Eastman healthy, the Titans have the talent for it. I still think a second Pac-12 team will emerge as a contender in the final month, whether that’s Stanford or Arizona or someone else.

Teddy Cahill: That’ll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions. As always, if I didn’t get to yours, leave it in the comments and I’ll try to come back and answer there.