College Baseball Top 25 Chat (2/25/19)
Miss any of our coverage this weekend? Here it is:
- Updated Top 25
- Off The Bat, Leading With A Top 25 Showdown
- Emerson Hancock Is Looking Like An Ace
- Friday Night Roundup
Now, onto the chat...
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. You have a lot of questions, so let's get to them.
Logan (Newnan GA):
- Good morning. I'm an NC State grad, and the WP have a great start. Do you think we will be in the top 25, and, if so, then where at?
Teddy Cahill: Lot's of interest from NC State fans today after a strong weekend at Coastal Carolina's Baseball at the Beach Tournament. It's a nice 7-0 start for NC State after sweeping Bucknell on Opening Weekend. I think the Wolfpack are a good team, have thought that all along. They're hitting, like you'd expect them to, and Patrick Bailey and Will Wilson are living up to their potential. Evan Edwards is off to a nice start too. I've been impressed with the pitching in the early going. That bullpen looks to be solid. I still have questions about the rotation, but between the offensive firepower and the bullpen depth, I think NC State won't need to rely on its rotation. I fully expect to see NC State work its way into the Top 25 this spring.
Jeff (Greenville, NC):
- Is this looking like a repeat of the 2017 ECU team that had plenty of preseason hype and potential but never lived up to it, or are the two losses (Campbell, and Monmouth) just early season problems? I am aware that Spencer Brickhouse and Bryant Packard are out with minor injuries, however.
Teddy Cahill: Wow, two losses - one in a midweek game - and you're ready to declare this season a bust? That's aggressive. The loss to Campbell really isn't much of a concern at all - Campbell has its pitching stacked to start a top-five rounds pick in midweek games right now. Also, that's a good Campbell team that went to regionals last year and is the favorite in the Big South this year. As for Sunday against Monmouth, losses happen. It's not ideal in any way to lose to that team and give up eight runs, but it's a long season. It's far too early to panic.
- How close were the Illini?
Teddy Cahill: Obviously, there were no teams moving in or out of the Top 25 this weekend and as every team posted a winning weekend except for Southern Miss - which went 1-2 at No. 9 Mississippi State - we didn't spend much time evaluating all the teams on the cusp of the rankings. That said, the way Illinois has started the season - going 6-0, including this weekend's sweep at FAU - has been impressive. I was curious to see how the Illini would do without Bren Spillane, but so far losing the Big Ten player of the year hasn't slowed them much. Very interested to see how they fair this weekend with four games against regional teams from last year - including a pair against Northeastern, a team Illinois may have extra motivation against given the way Selection Monday played out a year ago.
- What sort of year should I expect from Drew Mendoza. It seems like a lot of people were bullish last year, and after a seemingly good year his draft stock has taken a hit. What am I missing?
Teddy Cahill: First of all, I'm a huge believer in Drew Mendoza. He's a big part of why I believe in Florida State so much and he's on the cover of the College Preview issue for a reason. So I'm expecting a big year. Now, as for his draft stock, that dip you're talking about isn't so much to do with his offensive production. He was banged up last year and went to the Cape unable to play in the field. There are questions about his ability to stay at third base and he'd done little to answer them over the first two years of his college career. Also, given the expectations on him out of high school, people were looking for a big breakout last year and it didn't come. So I think all of that came together to a point where people haven't been talking about him as a top-10 pick - or really even in the first round - any more. He can change that this spring though if he does have that huge season.
Derek (Baton Rouge):
- If LSU and Vandy both go undefeated this week, who’s #1 on Monday?
Teddy Cahill: For me, Vanderbilt. But I'm sure we'd talk about it. I'm just not going to penalize a team in a week it goes undefeated. If someone wanted to flip them, I don't think that would be wrong, that's just not how I approach this exercise.
- With Southern Miss committing 7 errors and hitting just above .150 for the weekend USM was still just a hit or out away from taking the series. What do you think this USM team is capable of if they start swinging the bats like I know they can and solidfy their defense?
Teddy Cahill: I think Southern Miss has a lot of upside - that's why we ranked it No. 21 in the preseason. The Golden Eagles have a bonafide star in Matt Wallner, a deep lineup, Walker Powell has stepped up well at the front of the rotation and the bullpen has some nice pieces to it, as it showed this weekend. I think Southern Miss can come out of this weekend feeling pretty good about itself and the way it went toe-to-toe with Mississippi State in Starkville.
Matt Ratz (Twitter):
- How close is Tennessee to cracking the top 25?
Teddy Cahill: Like I said earlier, we didn't spend much time evaluating all the teams on the edge of the Top 25 because of the way the weekend played out. What Tennessee has done to this point has been rather impressive - 7-0, only allowed four runs all year and swept an Indiana team that I think is rather good. The Vols look like they have a chance to take a jump in the SEC and I'm eager to see how they handle that competition in a couple weeks.
Tom (Austin, Texas):
- Assuming Mississippi State sticks with their usual pitching rotation, can JT Ginn keep the Bulldogs in the game against Texas Tech Saturday night in Frisco?
Teddy Cahill: Absolutely. JT Ginn was excellent Saturday against Southern Miss in a big spot. Texas Tech's lineup is a little tougher than Southern Miss', but the freshman has the stuff to do it for sure. And so far he's shown the poise needed to succeed. There's a reason he was a first round pick in June.
- Fullerton is more balanced this year and scoring more runs, but they don't seem to have a consistant starting pitcher after Bibee; Should they be worried at this point?
Teddy Cahill: I wouldn't be. It's Fullerton - there's plenty of pitching on that team. The Titans are running some younger arms out there right now and they're facing premium competition. They'll be better for it by the time Big West play comes around. And, if the Titans are going to keep hitting like this, they won't need their starters to throw seven scoreless innings every time out.
- Ted, who is the best team in Nevada (Nevada or UNLV)? Nevada is off to a hot start and UNLV was on Stanford's heels all weekend. Can the MWC become a multi-bid league?
Teddy Cahill: I'll take Nevada, but UNLV is a very good team as well. There's some good baseball being played in the Silver State this year. I thought the Wolfpack's sweep at Long Beach was very impressive and the Rebels pushed Stanford to the brink. Now, can the Mountain West be a multi-bid league? We'll see. It had a good enough overall year last year for it, but no team ever separated from the pack. In a league like the Mountain West, that really helps, rather than all the teams beating up on each other. But I think it should be another fun year in the Mountain West, as I wrote about today in Off the Bat.
Abel (Newport Beach California):
- What are your thoughts on Tanner Bibee from Fullerton? 2 starts, 10 hits, no runs allowed. Looks like the next Eshelman and Eastman for Friday night's there.
Teddy Cahill: I like Taner Bibee, but I don't think he's those guys. Eshelman had elite control and Eastman throws harder than Bibee. That said, I think he's the next Fullerton ace and will be really good for the next couple years. Bibee will give the Titans a chance every Friday night against any team on their schedule.
- How close is Tulane to making the top 25 after taking 1 out of 3 from Ole Miss and probably could have won the series (maybe even a sweep) if a couple breaks go their way? (Pretty bad officiating all weekend)
Teddy Cahill: You're not moving into the Top 25 after a losing weekend. So Tulane was not a part of the conversation this week. That said, I like the Green Wave and thought this weekend was very encouraging for them. The schedule sets up pretty well for Tulane to now build some momentum going into conference play and I think it can be in the mix in the American race.
- How do you think MS State's rotation stack up in the SEC? Can't imagine many teams have a better 1-2 punch than Small and Ginn.
Teddy Cahill: That's a really good 1-2 for sure. Texas A&M probably has an argument with Doxakis and Lacy and Auburn has potential with Burns and Daniel. Florida needs Tyler Dyson to get locked in, but if he does the Gators are of course up there. Mississippi State has a good rotation, no doubt. Keegan James is very solid as a Sunday starter. I like it. It can be one of the better rotations in the conference, absolutely.
- How big of a concern is Ole Miss' pitching going forward this season?
Teddy Cahill: That is the concern with Ole Miss. I'm not terribly worried about it because I think there's a lot of depth on that staff. I think it may take some time for Mike Bianco to figure out the best way to line it all up, but I think the pieces are there for a solid staff. And with that offense, it's not like the Rebels need to be winning a bunch of pitchers' duels. I think by April they'll have it figured out. But that was my concern with Ole Miss coming into the year and it is critical that some guys step up in the rotation.
Neal (Columbia, SC):
- How close are the Gamecocks? We are crushing homers and getting better. Pitching is still questionable after all we lost though. Whats our ceiling?
Teddy Cahill: Can we revisit this in a week? Liberty is a solid team, but we didn't learn anything about South Carolina this week. Coming out of the Clemson series I think we'll have a much better feel for where the Gamecocks are. In general, however, I trust Mark Kingston and that staff to get it figured out, as they did last year after I left South Carolina for dead.
Patrick (Lake Forest, CA):
- How about those UCI Anteaters! What are their chances of making it to Omaha? Also what do you think about 3B Brandon Lewis, is he a legit pro prospect?
Teddy Cahill: I'm absolutely a believer. I had the 'Eaters as a super regional team in my Eight for Omaha predictions in July and I've been encouraged by what I've heard since then. I really like Christian Koss and that rotation is really good. Brandon Lewis has been a nice addition to the lineup, bringing a powerful bat as a junior college transfer. He's off to a strong start this spring and he'll definitely get a chance to play pro ball.
Yusei Tomato (Seattle):
- Adley and Vaughn are killing it so far! Is Vaughn's bat advanced enough to make teams overlook the whole "short right-handed hitting 1B" thing? Would Adley be in your personal top 20 prospects, were he eligible?
Teddy Cahill: The short answer on Vaughn is yes, that's why he's ranked No. 4 on our Top 200 Draft Prospects list. I have a lot more on that subject in a story in the next issue of the magazine that should be online soon as well. As for Rutschman, I haven't put together a Top 100 pro prospects list for a few years now (the timing of when we do it directly conflicts with producing the college preview). But, with that caveat, yes, he'd go right into the top 20 once he signs.
- Was wondering what you think about Oregon State’s team this year compared to last year team after losing so much talent from last year. Do you think they have a chance to make it back to Omaha?
Teddy Cahill: Oregon State absolutely has a chance to get back to Omaha, that's why the Beavers are in the top 10. They're off to a strong 8-0 start after sweeping through the first two weekends in Arizona. The pitching staff is still very, very good and they have enough offensive talent to win a lot of games. I'm still interested in seeing how some of the newer hitters fare against Pac-12 competition, but the pieces are very much there for another impressive season in Corvallis.
- Does Texas Tech's sweep over Kentucky make Oregon's performance against them look even better? The Ducks really had a chance to win all three games at Tech and then swept a talented Saint Mary's team this weekend. It's early but it looks like Jay Uhlman's frosh class is the real deal. I think the Ducks are flying under the radar. What's your take?
Teddy Cahill: Not really. I already thought what Oregon did on Opening Weekend was pretty good. What made that look better was the Ducks sweeping Saint Mary's, which is the favorite in the West Coast Conference. Oregon's definitely an intriguing team and there's a reason why we had them as a regional team coming into the spring. All that said, we've seen good starts from Oregon before. I want to see it during Pac-12 play.
- what is your opinion of what is happening with the Bears in Waco? they had a great amount of talent last year and they all came back this year except for the closer. thoughts.
Teddy Cahill: They started the year ranked No. 16 in the country for a reason. Shea Langeliers is a potential top-10 pick (though he's out right now with a broke hammate), Cody Bradford pitched for Team USA last summer, Davis Wendzel had a nice Cape, Nick Loftin is coming off a Freshman All-American season and there's a ton of experience all over the roster. I'm excited to see Baylor this weekend at the Shriners College Classic. We haven't learned much new about the Bears so far this season, but that should change this weekend as they take a step up in competition level.
Dan Shedd (Houston, Tx):
- What are your thoughts on Rice, Texas A&M and Texas State this year?
Teddy Cahill: Speaking of the Shriners College Classic, can we revisit this question next week? A&M and Texas State are off to good starts but will face much better competition at Minute Maid. Rice has struggled out of the gate, especially last week. But we'll know way more about all three of those teams coming out of this weekend's tournament in Houston.
- I know they played weaker teams to start the season. Is Georgia an Omaha contender after a 6-0 start?
Teddy Cahill: Georgia was an Omaha contender when it was 0-0 (and I knew about as much about the Dawgs then as I do today). Georgia has a lot of talent on the roster, a strong pitching staff and what should be a good defensive team. The Bulldogs need some hitters to take a step forward, but they have the pieces. Georgia Southern this weekend will be a better test, as the Eagles have pushed Auburn and West Virginia so far this year. But we'll really see what this Georgia team has once SEC play starts in a couple weeks.
- What are your thoughts on the Arizona Wildcats? They have punished lesser competition but against a good Houston team drop 2/3 including 2 Heartbreakers. They are young and talented, do you think they could make a run this year or are they still a year or two away?
Teddy Cahill: Arizona went 1-2 on the road against a good Houston team. They were close games. Arizona's fine. I think it's a regional team with a chance to be rather good if everything comes together. The Wildcats have some really good hitters in Nick Quintana and Cameron Cannon. The pitching staff should be improved, but it's also a little inexperienced. I think this weekend was probably a good learning experience for Arizona and now it can start to build toward Pac-12 play.
Jason Jaso (Lyon France):
- Fullerton vs Stanford this weekend!!! Most underrated rivalry in college baseball my friend! Who you got? And over/under on total runs scored this weekend? I'm gunna put it at 11 haha
Teddy Cahill: If this question really is emanating from Lyon that's just about the best thing that's ever happened in my Baseball America chatting career. I am all about having as many college baseball fans in France as possible. Anyway, as for your question: I'll take Stanford, but I think it is close. That's tough going on the road to Fullerton, but I like the Cardinal an awful lot this year. I just think it's a good all-around team and getting Duke Kinnamon back this weekend was big. If you're setting the o/u at 11, i"m definitely taking the over. Stanford has a good, deep lineup this season and Fullerton has scored a lot of runs in the early going. It should be a really fun series this weekend.
- How are you able to watch all of the games?
Teddy Cahill: A combination of the Baseball America G6 and a system I devised to DVR-ing all the games and then watch them at 3x speed.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thank you for all your questions. The week ahead is one of the best of the year in college baseball, so make sure to check out everything over at BaseballAmerica.com throughout the week. And I'll be back here to answer more of your questions next Monday.