2019 College Baseball Top 25 Chat (3/25/19)
Click here to see our Top 25 rankings.
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. I'm running a few minutes late, so let's get right to the questions.
- How far was UConn from breaking into the top 25 after a series win at Houston?
Teddy Cahill: UConn got off to a really nice start in the American with a series win at Houston. Mason Feole was very good on Friday and the Huskies continue to put together pretty solid performances overall. UConn was very nearly in the Top 25 after beating Louisville on Opening Weekend and then kind of floated a bit off the bubble after losing the next weekend at Charleston. I think they're back in contention now, but it's crowded among teams just off the rankings. I do think the Huskies break in eventually. They have another big weekend coming up at UCF.
Jeffrey (Jackson, MS):
- Were you more impressed by Mississippi State's hitting or disappointed by their pitching this weekend against Auburn? Also what are your predictions for next week's key series against LSU?
Teddy Cahill: Disappointed by the pitching, I think. Mississippi State hit really well, there's a ton to be said for scoring 35 runs in the final two games. But Auburn was without Davis Daniel and Jack Owen in the rotation. The Tigers aren't the deepest team on the mound to begin with and without those two, it got pretty light at the end. So, the fact that Mississippi State needed its big comeback on Sunday to win the series was a little disappointing. But Auburn hits really well, too. I'm looking forward to seeing how Mississippi State responds on the mound this weekend against LSU.
- As a fan of the Frogs, I’m concerned with their inconsistency this season.. what does TCU need to do to get on a more consistent path and working towards being worthy of a regional host spot?
Teddy Cahill: We got into this a bit on the podcast today, so I'd encourage you to look for that when its released later. But to summarize what Dave Serrano said on the podcast, TCU is still searching for a third starter to complement Lodolo and Williamson, who had one of his worst starts of the season against Texas. And the Frogs aren't playing crisp defense right now, Johnny Rizer's insane catch notwithstanding. They have a team fielding percentage of .968, which just isn't good enough to play at the level they're used to. Those are two areas TCU has typically excelled in under Jim Schlossnagle. I think TCU can find another pitcher who can hold down a rotation spot. I'm not as sure about the defense.
Bear James (Seal Beach, CA):
- Always look forward to your College 25 chats and podcasts. How has Ryan Garcia of UCLA looked to you since his return from injury? Do you think he will eventually become the Friday starter? Any concerns about their bullpen? Thanks!
Teddy Cahill: The reports on Ryan Garcia the last two weeks have been very good. After Garcia pitched against Oregon State, John Savage told me he was close to looking like he did in January, before his injury. The Bruins slow played Garcia's return and it looks like that strategy has allowed him to jump back into it close to 100 percent. I don't think Garcia has to move to Fridays. I think Pettway is doing just fine there. Maybe it happens, but the order of those two shouldn't much matter. I'm also not particularly concerned with the UCLA bullpen. I think there's plenty of talent there and as the Bruins continue to get healthy, the depth will improve.
Johnny Cardinal (Palo Alto):
- How do my Cardinals look this year so far? Are we the best on the West this year?
Teddy Cahill: No, I'll take UCLA. But Stanford is very impressive, as I've detailed before, this is a team with a dynamic lineup, a solid pitching staff and some exciting athletes around the diamond. I've been bullish on the Cardinal since the preseason and they've only bolstered that feeling so far this spring.
- Looks like ECU is starting to round into form. Does this team appear to be getting to the preseason hype and in regional hosting shape?
Teddy Cahill: Love when we get international visitors in the chat. Yes, I was impressed with ECU when I went out there Friday night. I went into more depth on the Pirates today in Off the Bat, so I'd encourage you to check that out, but the cliff notes version is that I think they've found their stride. Last weekend the pitching was really good. It wasn't as good this weekend, but the offense stepped up in a big way and they've swept three straight series now. The schedule is about to stiffen and how ECU handles that will be interesting to follow, but I think it has found a formula that works on the mound and with everyone healthy in the lineup, the offense is humming along.
- Georgia Tech has now won the series against Virginia (one strike away from a sweep), won the series at Louisville (being one strike away from a sweep), and was one strike away from taking the series at Miami. Is this a team that you feel is on the brink of making a big splash with real postseason potential?
Teddy Cahill: I, as ever, remain skeptical of Georgia Tech. But this weekend was huge. I think the starting pitching has been very encouraging and the Yellow Jackets have some very intriguing pieces offensively. Maybe I'm just stuck in once bitten, twice shy mode with Georgia Tech, but I'm still looking for a little more. I just don't think they've had a complete weekend yet. Maybe that isn't being fair to the Yellow Jackets, but I'm still not totally sold on this being a team with serious postseason potential. But I do think they're going to regionals and then who knows, especially with the way Curry and Thomas are pitching.
- Is Georgia the best best baseball team in the best baseball conference(SEC) and what is wrong with Florida?
Teddy Cahill: I'll ride with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt right now, but I'm very interested to see Georgia's pitchers against Vanderbilt's hitters in a few weeks. I'm very impressed with the Bulldogs right now coming out of that series win against LSU. I think that pitching staff stacks up with anyone and they have some some nice depth to the lineup. As for Florida, that was a weekend to forget. The pitching is not where Florida is accustomed to it being. I think that can still get corrected, to an extent. And the Gators really need Dalton and Langworthy to get going. I've believed they were going to come around eventually and am probably still in that camp, but in some respects they're also running out of time to do so.
- What do you think about Texas A&M? A lot of people thought that Doxakis and Lacy would have to be at their best to beat good teams, but Texas A&M proved they could win a series without great performances from both. Also, what do you the about the Texas A&M bats this weekend? Braden Shewmake?
Teddy Cahill: If we're talking about this weekend, I'm not sure that I'm reading much into that. But I didn't think they were at their best against Vanderbilt and A&M still found a way that weekend. So, yeah, I think that's been encouraging. Also encouraging is Shewmake's turnaround the last two weeks. I thought he was showing signs of a breakout during the Shriners College Classic and it's really come out the last weeks. Him heating up is great news for the Aggies' offense. Overall, Texas A&M has been very impressive all season. It's going to be a dogfight in the SEC West.
- Coastal Carolina is out to a fast start as always in the Sun Belt. Is Thier any teams that can challenge them? I was able to see UT Arlington complete the sweep of Ga State on Sunday, and it ended up a great pitchers dual. Does Arlington or any other schools have what it takes? Thanks
Teddy Cahill: Ultimately, no. But I'm very interested in seeing how Arkansas State competes with Coastal Carolina this weekend. The Red Wolves are off to a really nice start and just won a series against South Alabama. Joe Healy wrote about them last week and I'd encourage you to check that out. But it's a weird year in the Sun Belt. Troy has taken a step back, South Al and Louisiana-Lafayette aren't quite at the level they're accustomed to. Texas State and Georgia Southern are also intriguing teams to watch.
- What do you think of Southern Miss’ recent run of success and do you think they continue? Also what do you think their ceiling is this year?
Teddy Cahill: Southern Miss has been pretty impressive the last couple weeks, especially in CUSA play. And, yes, I think it can continue. I thought the Golden Eagles would be pretty good coming into the year and, also, CUSA isn't very good this year. Southern Miss already has a road sweep of LaTech, which should be one of its main contenders. Outside of FAU, I'm not sure who's challenging USM this year. Western Kentucky and Marshall have a had a couple good weekends, but I don't see them as being on the same level as USM and FAU. So, I think USM's ceiling would be league champions and capable of making some noise in the tournament, but probably is a little short on pitching to really match up well in a super if it gets there.
- How close is USM getting into the polls after winning 11 out of its last 12?
Teddy Cahill: To wrap up the Southern Miss talk, it got the Golden Eagles back into consideration for the Top 25, but, as I mentioned earlier, the field of teams in consideration is pretty crowded right now.
- Do you think Arizona State is finally back? They haven’t played anyone yet, but they had this type of schedule the previous two years and lost to these bad teams
Teddy Cahill: I don't think we can declare Arizona State "back" until the Sun Devils go to Omaha. I think that's the level that was established for that program throughout its history. So, yes, ASU is very much improved and I think it has the potential for a deep postseason run. But until the Sun Devils are in Omaha, they're not all the way back. I know that's super lofty. But it's one of the historical powerhouses of the sport.
Dave (Newark Ca):
- What teams from the middle of the pack can make a run. Cal, Arizona, Washington, Oregon?
Teddy Cahill: UW is not in the middle of the pack in the Pac. The Huskies are off to a 5-1 start and a pretty solid 14-5 overall. Very interested to see UW this weekend against Oregon State. So taking UW out of that mix, I'll take Arizona, I guess. Oregon is pretty banged up on the mound. I like Cal, but I'm not sure it has enough horses to make that jump. Arizona is an enigma right now, but I'll bet on the offensive potential. I don't feel great about that pick though. It feels like the Pac-12 has already tiered out with Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington in the top tier, Arizona, Cal and Oregon in the middle and USC, Utah and Washington State below them.
- Looking at the SEC schedule, teams like Arkansas and Texas A&M seem to have an easier road in the SEC than other SEC teams. If Arkansas and Texas A&M have better SEC records than another team like MS St. or LSU but don't play as tough a schedule, how would that factor into seeding for hosting?
Teddy Cahill: It will be built into the RPI and SOS and, potentially, top-50 wins. So, the committee is fully capable of looking at those resumes and seeing that Mississippi State and LSU played Florida and Georgia and Arkansas and A&M played Vanderbilt and not Florida and Georgia. But, more importantly, they all play each other. So, if one of them just takes care of business, the SEC crossover games won't mean as much.
Andrew (Hattiesburg MS):
- Do u think Mississippi State can win the CWS with the pitching of Ethan Small and JT Ginn as well as the bats the offense is having so far? Also are they the best team in the country now?
Teddy Cahill: Still taking UCLA as the best team in the country. Could Mississippi State win the CWS? Sure. The Bulldogs are No. 2 for a reason. But I think they're going to need to shore some things up behind Small and Ginn because it's unreasonable to think they're going to pitch at the same level they did in the first month all year. The offense is potent enough to help cover some regression, but they can't be expected to carry the pitching staff all year.
Steve (Long Beach, CA):
- Long Beach State? That is all
Teddy Cahill: 3-19. Oof.
Adam (Highland, IN):
- HUGE Gator fan and little worried as of late, but not too much. Offense much better than years past, pitching will come around, but 1-5 isn't as bad as it sounds, since it came against 2 of the best teams IN THE NATION, RIGHT?! Should I start to worry about them even getting to 14 or 15 SEC wins and possibly missing the tourney? Thanks for all you do!
Teddy Cahill: Would not be worried about getting to .500 in the SEC. Florida has played its first two SEC series against top 10 teams, including one on the road. 1-5 is bad, absolutely, but I think the Gators can go at least 14-10 the rest of the way. The East is not the juggernaut division in the SEC.
- Alabama's SEC schedule is brutal, will they have to finish at least 500 to make a regional?
Teddy Cahill: Probably. The committee made a big deal of conference record last year in leaving Kentucky out. It still took A&M, which finished under .500 in conference, but it got close to even with its SEC Tournament run. Each year is unique, but I think a hypothetical 13-17 SEC record is going to leave Alabama on the wrong side of the bubble, especially because the nonconference slate isn't doing a ton to bolster the resume. That said, I think the Tide are improved this season, even if it's hard to see when you look at conference record.
- A rough week for the Horns, embarrassing loss vs Arkansas on Tuesday, an ugly win vs the Hogs on weds and a choke job vs tcu over the weekend. Should fans be worried this is who Texas is, a team who struggles offensively and doesn’t have the “it” factor in the clutch and chokes in games they have no business losing?
Teddy Cahill: So, Horns fans have just forgotten last weekend against Texas Tech when Texas came back to win Friday and Sunday and win a marquee series? And the finale against LSU? Yeah, Texas is just lacking the "it" factor. That's definitely it.
Ryan (Grand Island, NE):
- Big midweek showdown between Creighton and Nebraska. Creighton coming off a weekend sweep of Maryland. What are your thoughts?
Teddy Cahill: Honestly, I'm just glad the weather has cleared up to the point where they can play this game. It's been a brutal early spring weather wise for those schools.
Abel (Lyon France):
- As of right now, I can understand why you guys think UC Irvine is the team to beat in the Big West due to Fullerton sreuggling..... But I saw UC Irvine and their SOS is like 225, while Fullerton is somewhere in the toptop 15 per usual. Is Fullerton a good distance from the top 25, or do you guys take that brutal schedule into consideration? P.s, how bout Hank Laforte and his 64 game on base streak 🤤
Teddy Cahill: We're definitely looking at things like strength of schedule, but the RPI and SOS numbers still aren't telling a full story. The Anteaters have two really solid series wins against Washington and St. John's on the resume already. Fullerton definitely has played a harder schedule, but 11-10 isn't going to cut it for the Top 25, especially when four of the losses are against New Mexico and James Madison. I'm very interested to see what Fullerton does this weekend against UCSB. I think that will be a good measuring stick as Big West play begins.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions. We'll do this again next week after what should be another fun week of college baseball action.