2019 College Baseball Top 25 Chat (4/1/19)
To see this week's Top 25, click here.
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week's college baseball chat. I'm coming to you from Mississippi, where I got to check out the new Dudy Noble Field, which is outstanding, and LSU's series win against Mississippi State. Great weekend of baseball all around. Let's get to your questions
- How close was Georgia Tech to cracking the Top 25? And what do you make of the ACC this year? Is it down?
Teddy Cahill: Georgia Tech is close. One of the first teams out of the rankings this week. The Yellow Jackets have been playing well over the last few weeks, highlighted by that series win at Louisville, of course. Big week coming up for Georgia Tech with a trip to Auburn on Tuesday and then a home series against North Carolina that might decide the division. Overall, yes, the ACC is down. NC State is having a great year. Clemson and Louisville look solid. Clearly, we believe in North Carolina and I think the Tar Heels have shown over the last couple weeks how good they are. Georgia Tech is looking good. But there's a lot of mediocrity here. Most of the conference is bunched up around .500 and I don't think that's because everyone is really good like in the SEC West. I think it's because the teams are all generally solid. Now, this is all being graded on a curve. The ACC is often right there with the other power conferences in terms of strength. I don't think it is this year, either in terms of elite teams like the Pac-12 has or elite depth like the SEC has.
Drake S (Willow Spring):
- What could possibly be keeping you from including North Carolina State in your Eight for Omaha? Not winning enough?
Teddy Cahill: While we're talking about the ACC - I have concerns about NC State if it gets matched up with a high-end SEC pitching staff. It's basically the same concern I've had about State and Clemson the last couple years. Now, I think this Wolfpack team is deeper on the mound than those teams were (and Clemson still is). But it still doesn't have the high-end starters it's likely going to need to beat a team like an Auburn or Texas A&M either in regionals or super regionals. How is it going to fare against elite arms? If you can't match fire for fire on the mound, that typically doesn't end well. Maybe the draw works out and State doesn't have to do that. Maybe I'm still selling this pitching staff short. Maybe the Pack can just bash their way to Omaha. But, right now, that's why it isn't in my Eight for Omaha.
- Do you think NC State can make a deep post season run? Also your prediction vs South Carolina tomorrow night?
Teddy Cahill: Now, can NC State go on a deep postseason run? Sure. Baseball's an unpredictable sport and that Wolfpack lineup is dangerous and they clearly know how to win. As for Tuesday night, I'm not about to predict a midweek baseball game, but NC State has fared rather well in those so far this season. But South Carolina really could use a good showing in Charlotte.
- Any chance there could be 4 Pac-12 teams hosting regionals? How many could host supers? What affect would that have on 2 seed SEC and ACC teams traveling cross country?
Teddy Cahill: Absolutely. In last week's Field of 64 projection we had Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA all hosting and that'll be true again on Wednesday in our next update. In theory they can all host supers, but I assume you mean how many can be top-eight seeds. It's unlikely all four would be. They all have to play each other and while that's not going to hurt their RPI, it means they're taking conference losses and it's just going to be hard to have everything line up right. Three seems more realistic. Two seems almost guaranteed, even at this early stage. As for 2 seed teams coming west, I don't know. It may not even be SEC/ACC teams. At least one of and probably both Irvine and UCSB will be 2 seeds. The Big 12 can supply a two seed or two as well. And I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the WCC champ as a 2 seed right now. It's not easy to go on the road in a regional, regardless of whether you're crossing the country or not. And it's not going to be fun playing any of those four teams, regardless of where you do it.
- What has UConn done to impress you?
Teddy Cahill: Gone 15-9 away from Storrs, won a series against Louisville and start its AAC slate with series wins at Houston and UCF. I think the Huskies are just a good team. Mason Feole being back at the front of the rotation is significant and they have a pretty deep staff behind him. They can score runs in a few different ways. If anyone is going to challenge ECU for the AAC title, I think UConn is the team to do it.
Logan Field (Michigan):
- Is Hunter Bishop to the Tigers at 5 realistic?
Teddy Cahill: Personally that's a bit rich, just when you consider that Rutschman, Vaughn and Witt in some order are likely to be the top three picks. But Bishop is absolutely raking and has always had the tools that he's putting together now. It would not be out of character for the Tigers if it happened, especially with the lack of a true power arm at the top of this draft class.
Anthony Martial (Manchester):
- Who wins the Big Ten?
Teddy Cahill: I'm going with Michigan. I really want to say Minnesota, but the schedule very much favors Michigan. The Wolverines get the Gophers and Hoosiers at home. They don't play Iowa or Illinois. Minnesota already has a series win against Nebraska, but has to go to Michigan and Indiana and hosts Illinois. I think that's a tough ask. But - do not count Minnesota out. The Gophers are much better than their overall record indicates and have won three of the last four Big Ten titles for a reason. Regardless who the favorite is, this weekend's series in Ann Arbor between Minnesota and Michigan promises to be a great one.
Abel (Lyon France):
- Thanks for taking my questions!! Always enjoy these chats on late Monday night's here haha As a die hard Fullerton fan, I'm close to punting on this ywar,as it seems while the talent is there, the team seems a bit too young and inconsistent to be a serious contender in the Big West, let alone for a run to Omaha.... 1) Is this even a super regional team? And 2) what do you see as their biggest issue?? Thank you !
Teddy Cahill: I'm not about to count Fullerton out for anything because the Titans always seem to turn it on down the stretch and into June, but, no, this does not look like a super regional team. Frankly, it doesn't much look like a regional team right now, though I still think it will find a way to the tournament. It should clean up pretty well against Big West teams other than UCSB and Irvine. I think the biggest issue right now is that its not pitching like it typically does. Tanner Bibee has been good, but the rest of the staff is not what you're used to seeing in Fullerton. Part of it is definitely youth. The Titans are using almost entirely freshmen and sophomores on the mound and strike-throwing, typically Fullerton's forte, has been an issue. And the offense is doing pretty well, but it's not an overpowering offense that can consistently score seven, eight, nine runs to cover up some youth on the mound.
Jeramey (Locust Grove Ga):
- What are your thoughts on the SEC this year, is this as deep of a league as we have seen EVER?
Teddy Cahill: It's very impressive top to bottom. You've got some elite teams, some very impressive depth and even the teams in the cellar are capable of beating anyone in the conference. Alabama's final record may not show it, but the Tide are very much improved this year. I think it has a very real chance at breaking the record for NCAA Tournament teams and getting 11 teams in the field. It won't be easy, especially with the emphasis the selection committee last year placed on conference record, but there are definitely at least a dozen regional-caliber teams in the SEC. It certainly makes for an exciting spring.
Nick (Cloud City):
- What April weekend series has the most consequence and for which teams?
Teddy Cahill: Love this question. Let's set aside the 1 vs. 2 series we get this weekend. it's going to be awesome and might decide the Pac-12 and the No. 1 overall seed, but also it may not and both teams are highly likely to be top eight seeds anyway. Literally any SEC West series has a chance to impact the hosting race in a big way, but there's no way to pick one of them. I will give you UC Irvine at UC Santa Barbara (April 12-14) and UConn at ECU (19-21). In both cases you're talking about series that probably will determine the regular-season title and the league's hosting pecking order. It seems unlikely either conference would get multiple hosting spots, but the AAC should get one and the Big West can if either UCSB wins or UCI gets its RPI in a better range. And if Louisville beats Clemson this weekend, you can throw its series at NC State the following week into the mix. That would then have serious top-eight seed implications.
- What is your take on this upcoming series between UCLA and Stanford? Is this potentially the series of the year? Is the series winner guaranteed #1 next week?
Teddy Cahill: Speaking of that No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, as I said this should be an absolutely fantastic series. I think, yes, probably this is the series of the year. We get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 series in the regular season about every three years. So cherish this one. And, yes, they can get a ring girl to carry the belt into ring this weekend because you won't need to wait until Monday morning to find out who No. 1 will be next week. It'll be whoever wins this series. I'm not sure who wins this, I'm just excited to see it. I think both teams are very similar. Both have physical, dynamic lineups, strong pitching staffs that put an emphasis on strike-throwing and very good defenses. I think UCLA is a little older, so I guess I'd lean toward the Bruins, but at the same time the Cardinal have home-field advantage. Whatever happens I think this will be an entertaining series.
Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thanks to everyone for the questions. See you back here next week