College Baseball Top 25 Chat (3/11/19)
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. It was a fun weekend around college baseball, highlighted by Mike Martin reaching 2,000 career wins. Congrats to 11 on reaching that remarkable milestone. We've got plenty to talk about, so let's get to your questions.
Barry Bonds (San Francisco):
- Ever hear of this small school in a small state named ArizonaArizona? I believe their nicknamed the Sun Devils? I heard their record is 15-0. Probably not good enough to “crack” your top 25 because they probably should have beat their opponents by a wider margin.
Barry Bonds (Arizona):
- Pretty stupid of you guys to not rank Arizona.
Teddy Cahill: I appreciate the Home Run King taking time to log in to the BA chats. And pretty impressive that he got questions in while apparently flying from San Francisco to Arizona.
- All sun devils fan want to know why Arizona State is not ranked?
Teddy Cahill: I guess I'll give this a serious answer. Arizona State was very, very close. Ultimately, the reasons Arizona State isn't ranked this week is pretty much the same it didn't make the cut last week. The Sun Devils have played one (1) road game and have yet to play a series against a team projected to make regionals. So when things get tight at the back of the Top 25 and we have to split hairs, this is where we end up. All that said, shouts to the Sun Devils. It's been a great run to start the year.
Matthew (Baton Rouge):
- How close is Texas A&M to cracking your rankings? I imagine a series dub over Vandy would do the trick.
Teddy Cahill: Texas A&M is also a popular subject in the chat and the Aggies have just missed the ranking in each of the last two weeks. Yes, win a series this weekend against Vanderbilt and A&M will be ranked. It's been very close as it is.
Francisco (Atlanta, GA):
- No love for Clemson ? Is BA staff tar heels fans ?
Teddy Cahill: Yes, the publication that had Clemson ranked the highest in the preseason (and probably still has the Tigers the highest) has no love for Clemson.
- Thoughts on Coastal Carolina thus far?
Teddy Cahill: I've been pretty impressed. Coastal cleaned up during its own tournaments, which had some pretty solid competition this year. And then this weekend the Chants go 1-1-1 in Seattle, which has to be kind of disappointing, given that they had a lead in the ninth against Oregon State and couldn't hold off San Diego on Friday. But that's also probably the farthest possible trip for Coastal to make and it did so having played (and swept) Wake Forest in two midweek games. So that was probably the toughest week on Coastal's calendar and it did a pretty good job with it. The offense has been good and the young pitching staff seems to be rounding into form. There's a lot to like with this team.
- BA is losing some credibility in my eyes for not having Arizona State ranked in the Top 25. Any reason why a team that's undefeated and is #6 in the RPI right now isn't ranked? Meanwhile there are five and six loss teams in the Top 25. What does ASU need to do to be worthy in your opinion?
Teddy Cahill: Can we please not talk about RPI on March 11? The numbers are not anywhere near normalizing yet and won't really be viable until the end of the month. I mean, 12-1 Indiana State is No. 4 in RPI. Should we be ranking the Sycamores ahead of the Sun Devils? (No disrespect to Indiana State, which is off to a great start.)
Tim (Salt Lake City):
- Where does Nebraska sit on the national radar after a decent weekend in Waco? Sort of a weird start to the season for them--taking 3/4 from Texas Tech and Baylor, but only 3/5 from Riverside and Sam Houston State. Not to mention getting absolutely Rutschmanned by OSU...
Teddy Cahill: That's an excellent question. If you're asking in relation to the Top 25, Nebraska isn't anywhere near it due to that 6-7 record. But the Huskers are definitely arrow up and the last two weekends have been very encouraging after getting swept by Oregon State in Arizona. I would not be at all concerned with the loss to Sam Houston State - that's a very solid program. So I'd look at it more as going 3-2 against the Texas schools, and that's a strong showing. Going into the year I thought Nebraska would bounce back from last year and I'm feeling better about that after the last two weeks. The Huskers are pitching pretty well right now and I think that's been a big key.
- Who’s more overrated between LSU and Texas? Texas sweeps LSU and then goes to Stanford and absolutely embarrasses itself..is Stanford that good and Texas that lousy? Augie Garrido would be livid watching this team attempt to play defense and would give another memorable tongue lashing. The Texas team that showed up in Stanford won’t even make a regional if they don’t wake up.
Teddy Cahill: Oh, so Texas is now overrated because it went 1-3 on the road against a top-five team? Cool.
Russell (Austin, Texas):
- In my opinion there were 2 bad things that happened to Texas this weekend. One, was Stanford Pitching. Their pitching was just on point this weekend and Texas bats just couldn't do anything. The 2nd bad thing was, Texas just left too many runners in scoring position. I mean I had to count at least 20 total runners scoring position (maybe more). What did you take away from the series? Thanks.
Teddy Cahill: For a more reasoned take on the Horns, we go to Russell. I think I took more away from a Stanford perspective than Texas. I really think Stanford is very good, as I think I've probably made clear over the last eight months or so. But to see the Cardinal do what they did to the Horns, I thought said more about them. That said, Texas needs to play cleaner defensively and to get more from its starting pitching. That's going to be true all year, no matter the opponent. The Horns don't have the kind of offense to consistently overcome those problems against good teams.
- Would you move UCLA (or Oregon St.) up to #1 if either team swept the series regardless of how Vandy plays this week?
Teddy Cahill: I would not, personally. But we would probably discuss No. 1 at least. If Vanderbilt wins a conference series on the road against a team that essentially ranks No. 26 or 27, I would have a really hard time penalizing it. I would also caution you that the last person that asked some version of this question was an LSU fan going into the Texas series.
- How good can this Stanford squad be? They aren’t hitting very well as a whole but they seem to be rolling because of the pitching, bullpen, base running, and taking advantage of mistakes. Do you think this exams break comes at the perfect time to get their hitting back on track? Do you see this team finally breaking through to Omaha?
Teddy Cahill: Stanford just dropped 21 runs in the last three games against a good Texas pitching staff and a week before scored 17 over three games at Fullerton. I think the Cardinal offense has already gotten on track. The timing of the exam break probably isn't ideal either way because the Cardinal have a lot of momentum and now have to sit for 12 days. But they're used to doing this every year and they have a nice runway to get back into it after the break with Utah and Washington State. And, yes, since I put together my first 2019 Eight for Omaha, I've had Stanford in there. Big believer in this team.
- I know Clemson made a strong statement with their sweep, but how do you justify jumping them ahead of South Carolina one week after SC’s series victory. Especially considering it was a home-neutral-away series
Teddy Cahill: Probably the trickiest part of the Top 25 this week. On the one hand, South Carolina just won that series a week ago. On the other hand, Clemson went out and swept a top-five team, a better series result than what's on South Carolina's resume. I think it's tough because that SC-Clemson series /just/ happened, but ultimately, that's how loud the sweep of North Carolina was to push the Tigers back ahead of the Gamecocks. I'm not sure there's a right answer though.
Justin R (Mississippi):
- What are you thoughts on Ole Miss? They have a powerful batting lineup but it seems like their weakness is their starting pitching.
Teddy Cahill: Yeah, that's Ole Miss. That was Ole Miss coming into the year too. The Rebs have done well through these first four weeks, but I'm also not sure we've learned a ton. I think Ole Miss tried to schedule decently, hosting Long Beach and visiting Tulane on the weekend, but the Dirtbags and Green Wave aren't at their peaks right now. And Wright State is a consistent regional team. But as SEC play starts, we're about to find out a lot more about Ole Miss and it's running out of time to get its pitching straightened out. I think the offense can continue to carry it for a while, but eventually the Rebels have to find a way to arrange the staff that works. That's all pretty much what I've been saying for two months about Ole Miss. I do still trust them to find that setup sooner than later.
Rahm (Sellwood Oregon):
- Who do you think has the best overall pitching staff including starters and bullpen?
Teddy Cahill: I feel like Rahm may be fishing for an Oregon State answer here. And he might get it. The Beavers are very strong top to bottom. I think North Carolina, despite the showing over the weekend at Clemson, is another strong option. Texas A&M has a great 1-2 punch in the rotation and a lot of power arms in the bullpen, but not as much experience there. Florida probably deserves a mention for staff depth, but the rotation ranks behind Oregon State and Clemson. And Mississippi State's pitching staff has started the season very well behind Ethan Small and JT Ginn.
- What is your impression of Small and Ginn at Miss State?
Teddy Cahill: Very, very good. I don't know what you're supposed to say about when one guy has 40 strikeouts, two walks and 14 hits in 24 innings and the other guy has 32 strikeouts, three walks and 13 hits in 25 innings. Looking forward to seeing them against a surging Florida offense this weekend.
Al (Greenville NC):
- Love the chats Teddy! While it’s still early, does it look like it could be a down year across the board for the American Athletic Conference? Also, how do you see the N.C. State- Florida State series going this weekend?
Teddy Cahill: It doesn't look like a banner year for the American, I think that's fair. Right now, only five of the nine teams are above .500 and two of those are sitting at 7-6. East Carolina, which came into the year ranked No. 12, is unconvincing at 12-5, though it did beat Ole Miss in Oxford on Wednesday. Tulane (10-6) was just swept at home by UC Santa Barbara. Central Florida (10-5) just lost a home series to Penn State. Perennial power Houston is sitting at 7-7, but that record is better than it looks. South Florida (7-6) just lost a home series to Liberty. So it's not great overall for the conference. But I think it's still probably a three-bid league, which is what we had coming into the year. UH may be trending toward a similar year to what it had last year when RPI was a struggle into May, but eventually found its stride. ECU still looks solid and UConn has some good series wins even if its only 7-6, and given how many road games it plays, RPI won't be an issue. Some other team, whether it's Tulane or one of the Florida schools, will probably get into the mix. All in all, it'll be fine for the conference. But it's also probably not going to finish this season ranking No. 4 in conference RPI, as it did last year.
- Given USM’s struggles is La Tech the best team in C-USA?
Teddy Cahill: Maybe? We'll find out (maybe) this weekend. I think those two teams are still the two best in Conference USA, but Rice has been playing better over the last two weeks, even though it did lose a home series this weekend against Oklahoma. And both Florida Atlantic and Florida International are dangerous. But this weekend's LaTech-Southern Miss series is going to be a fun one at the Love Shack.
Bear James (Seal Beach, CA):
- Teddy, Wonderful chats each week. Stanford looked impressive over the weekend in taking 3 of 4 from the Longhorns. Any predictions on the UCLA vs. OSU match up this week? How do you think the Pac12 race will shake out this season? Could we see 2 or possible all 3 in Omaha?
Teddy Cahill: I currently have two (UCLA and Stanford) in my Eight for Omaha and Oregon State is right on the edge of the field for me. So, yeah, three is definitely possible. I think it'll be a fun weekend in Westwood with Oregon State taking on UCLA. I'm really interested to see the matchup between the Beavers' pitching and the Bruins' bats. I think that's the key matchup, but the reverse is also intriguing. UCLA's pitching wasn't quite as good this weekend as it has been, while Oregon State's offense is still coming together. Should be a great series to open Pac-12 play
Jack (Dallas, TX):
- What are your thought about each team ahead of the Texas Tech @ Texas series this weekend?
Teddy Cahill: Should be another fun series this weekend in Austin. Texas Tech was a different team on the road last year and the early indications (albeit in some terrible conditions in Frisco) are that it will be again this year. Texas is hard to beat in Austin, but the Horns' pitching will have its work cut out for it. I think this one should be rather close and I'll give the edge to the home team, but I don't think anything would surprise me this weekend. It'll be two very good teams going at it in Disch-Falk to open Big 12 play.
- After the first couple of weekends of the year, how does the Big 12 look? Injuries hurting teams everywhere.
Teddy Cahill: Can I kick this can down the road a week? That Texas-Texas Tech series is going to be a big one in the standings. Baylor is really hurting. TCU has been a bit mixed, which is frankly to be expected given the turnover in Fort Worth. Oklahoma has been impressive and Oklahoma State is coming off a nice weekend in LA. Should be another fun spring in the Big 12.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions. I'll be back here next week to do it again.