Image credit: Jimmy Glowenke, Dallas Baptist (Photo by John Williamson)
To see our top 25, click here.
Teddy Cahill: Welcome to this week’s college baseball chat. I’m running late but we were making certified audio gold, as ABCA legend Jeremy Sheetinger would say. So make sure to check the podcast out when it hits your favorite app later in the day. Anyway, to your questions
Jeramey (Locust Grove Ga):
- Who wins the ACC regular season championship?
Teddy Cahill: Speaking of the podcast, Dave, Joe and I ran through our picks for several conference champs on this week’s edition. This was probably the easiest one. Louisville is two games up going into the final weekend on Georgia Tech. Miami is 2.5 back right now with a game still to play at Wake Forest. This is Louisville’s to lose. Feel pretty good about the Cardinals getting it done though they have a tough opponent with Florida State coming to town.
Caleb (Greenville, N.C.):
- Does ECU have a chance to crack the top 5 with 4 games left?
Teddy Cahill: In the Top 25? I’m not seeing ECU in the top five next week. Beating Memphis this weekend is not going to move the needle really, so you’d need some carnage in front of the Pirates. Win the AAC Tournament title as well and we’ll see where things stand going into Selection Monday.
- Why is Stanford ahead of Mississippi State. State has a better record vs top 25 and a much more better resume. I don’t understand that.
Teddy Cahill: Stanford has lost one (1) series, which was to the No. 1 team in the country. It did not get swept. It also is tied for the Pac-12 lead. Mississippi State, while producing a great resume, has two series losses, including one sweep and is not winning its division. Am I cherry picking? Yeah, but so are you. They’re both good. Keep winning and this will all shake out in the end.
Jimmy Garner (Rockford):
- Is JT Ginn the presumptive favorite for BA Freshman of the year? Is the Binelas kid from Louisville a challenger? Del Castillo from Miami? TY Sir!
Teddy Cahill: I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked at a Freshman of the Year shortlist in probably a month. Those guys are all having great years. But I will note that at this time last year, the eventual Freshman of the Year, Kevin Abel, was not the favorite and may not have even been in a top three. Still a lot of baseball to be played.
Joey Knuckles (Queens):
- Why no draft love for the Small kid from Miss St.? Huge results, left hander, great size, track record. What am I missing here?
Teddy Cahill: Lack of a plus pitch? Ethan Small’s going to go pretty good. But if you’re wondering why he’s not being looked at with Lodolo and Manoah and Kirby and Thompson, that’s what’s holding him back.
- Why does ECU have such a high RPI when they play against weak competition in conference. Is there non conference that good?
Teddy Cahill: ECU’s nonconference strength of schedule is 17, so, yes. They’ve gone on the road a lot and won a lot of those games. They’re 18-8 in road games, have done well to avoid bad losses and just won a lot overall. That’s a pretty good formula to a strong RPI.
Frank D (Morrisville, NC):
- ECU is well on its way locking up a top 16 National Seed and hopefully A Top 8 National seed. With that said would the committee look at past local teams which were on ECU schedules this year and avoid sending them here, like an Elon, Campbell, UNC..? Diversify the regional while still maintaining a region?
Teddy Cahill: The committee has not done a great job of that in the past, to the point that I no longer even think about it when putting a projected field together. Especially in the cases where all they’ve done is play a midweek game, if it makes sense geographically, they’re very much on the table. Fullerton and Stanford play an annual series and yet for the last two years Fullerton has gone to the Stanford Regional. So, just because ECU played some midweek games with Elon, Campbell and North Carolina, they’re all very much on the table for Greenville.
Trevor Johnson (Athens, Georgia):
- What is UGA’s ceiling this postseason if Emerson Hancock is able to return to form and be the pitcher he was early to mid season, and what is UGA’s biggest weakness?
Teddy Cahill: 1) National champions. 2) Offense. Nice to mix in some simple questions with the really complicated hypotheticals we get this time of year.
- Is there still a chance for UCSB to host a regional?
Teddy Cahill: I think yes. When UCSB lost to Riverside I feel like it got written off as a potential host, but its gotten right back on track and its RPI hasn’t suffered too much. Still no real margin for error the last two weeks, but it’s in pretty decent shape as we stand.
- Could a Valley club end up hosting?
Teddy Cahill: Yes, if that team is Dallas Baptist. As I detailed in Off the Bat today, DBU has gotten its RPI up to No. 25 and is in pole position to win the MVC regular season with a series at SIU this weekend. DBU probably needs to win out, but if it does so, it’ll have more than 40 wins, a 15-8 record on the road, at least 10 top-50 wins and both MVC titles. I don’t know that that’s a lock hosting resume, but it would make things very interesting.
Bobbruinbear (Colorado Springs, CO):
- How far away is Cal from making your top 25?They field one of the best lineups top to bottom. They will be very tough in someone’s Regional IMO
Teddy Cahill: Well, they weren’t on the radar this week after losing a series. Overall, Cal has cobbled together a pretty nice overall resume, though its lacking any sizzle. Win the series this weekend against Arizona State and the Golden Bears are probably in the mix.
- Are the Huskers in or out of the field? Decent non-conference but not that great in conference play.
Teddy Cahill: In
Matt B (Madison, MS):
- How important are mid-week games in building the Top 25 in your mind? I know those games are important in seeding, but it seems that with the regionals/super regionals and CWS being structured the way they are now (i.e. more spaced out and you can get by with fewer pitchers) teams with the best weekend rotation have a decisive advantage in postseason — regardless of mid-week performance.
Teddy Cahill: To me, they’re not particularly. That’s not a universally held opinion among those of us that that put the Top 25 together, however. They are very useful for building RPI and getting younger players some work, but when it comes to evaluating teams, it’s not a significant consideration for me. Ultimately you need to win them because it is a good measure of overall depth and we do look at overall records, obviously, but no one midweek game is going to make or break you in the Top 25.
- Who are some teams who probably won’t host but you think could make some noise in the postseason? Who should I hope NOT to see come play in the Fayetteville Regional?
Teddy Cahill: Whichever high-end SEC teams don’t end up hosting – Ole Miss, A&M, even Tennessee, though the Vols are a step behind offensively. Now, none of those teams are going to Fayetteville, so broadening beyond the SEC, I would not be excited about DBU or Illinois showing up in my regional, or Michigan, if Kauffman and Henry can get right. UC Irvine is going to be a tougher out than anyone wants to deal with. And if Baylor doesn’t host, that’s a team I wouldn’t want to see. I’ve been impressed with how well they’ve stuck together through some injuries and come out as a really strong team.
- How secure is Arkansas as a national seed in your opinion?
Teddy Cahill: Maybe don’t go 0-5 down the stretch, but very secure.
- For a seeded team in a regional would you pitch your number 2 or 3 starter in the first game against the weaker opponent?
Teddy Cahill: Depends on who the No. 4 seed was. Not all fours are created equal. Also would depend on the rest of the draw and how my team set up. In general, I wouldn’t be afraid of doing it, but there’s a ton that goes into that decision.
- What does Georgia Tech have to do in its final series vs. Pitt and then in the ACC Tournament to earn a Top 8 overall seed?
Teddy Cahill: I don’t think this is Georgia Tech operating in a vacuum. It needs to win as much as it can because Texas Tech has been red hot, ECU is holding a top-eight seed right now, Louisville is probably going to finish ahead of Georgia Tech in the standings and those SEC teams aren’t moving out of the way on their own. So I don’t see a minimum amount of work that GT can do. It’s right on that bubble right now and it can’t let off the gas.
- How much of a difference does a Coastal Division title make for Georgia Tech’s national seed case? Let’s say they win of 3 v Pitt this weekend but Miami wins the Coastal. Are they out of Top 8 entering ACCT?
Teddy Cahill: I think it would help. But if, say Miami won the Coastal and Georgia Tech won the ACC Tournament, then it wouldn’t matter. The Yellow Jackets are one of a couple teams living that top-eight seed bubble life right now.
Pac-Man (Palo Alto):
- You have ranked Stanford 2-3 for most of the year, have talked about them as one of the most complete teams in college baseball this year with UCLA and Vanderbilt, and had only one weekend loss (to UCLA) this year. However, they are barely in the top 8 national seeds in your predictions. Is this solely due to their RPI?
Teddy Cahill: Yes. The committee and us use different criteria for our tasks. We have the luxury of looking past RPI. The committee usually doesn’t.
Johnny Cardinal (Menlo Park):
- Who wins the Pac-12 this year? Does UCLA still earn a top 4 seed even if Stanford or OSU takes the Pac-12 crown?
Teddy Cahill: UCLA and probably? It would matter somewhat how UCLA lost the title. Did it go 5-1 and Stanford or Oregon State just go 6-0? Or did the Bruins inexplicably fall on their face and lose these two series to Washington and Oregon? In the first scenario, UCLA would still be a really high seed, maybe even still No. 2. In the second, its RPI takes a hit and it slips accordingly.
- If Tech wins the TCU series, are they a national seed? Or do they need to win a game or two in Bricktown, as well?
Teddy Cahill: In this scenario does Texas Tech also win the Big 12? If it does, probably a top eight seed, as long as it doesn’t go 0-2 in OKC because at least one of those losses would likely be to a team in the 70s in RPI. If Baylor is still your Big 12 champ, Texas Tech probably goes to OKC with some work to do. But, much like Georgia Tech isn’t operating in a vacuum, neither is Texas Tech, especially without a Big 12 title.
Brian (Tempe, AZ):
- Teddy, I’m worried ASU might miss post season for the third year in a row if they don’t win one of their final two series at CAL and vs. Stanford. After a 25-1 start the mistakes of the last few years have returned. How many more wins do they need to get in?
Teddy Cahill: One, maybe two. As it stands, Arizona State has 35 wins, is 14-10 in the Pac, good for fourth place and ranks 35 in RPI. Would two more series losses put it closer to the bubble than it is today? Sure. But at 16 Pac-12 wins, it would likely finish fifth in the league and have a top 40 RPI. I just don’t see how that team gets left out, especially this year when the bubble is as bad as it is.
Michael Meyer (Florida):
- How is region for ASUN champion determined. My nephew pitches for Liberty and every week they are projected in a different region.
Teddy Cahill: The committee looks at several factors, probably most importantly geography when placing the No. 4 seeds. Liberty is one of several teams from a similar geographic footprint so it kind of moves around as the hosts move around and as its RPI fluctuates. It’s pretty hard to anticipate in the Flames’ case.
Brad Bucci (Pittsburgh):
- Does Costal have any shot to get into this. I have never aee. A team so good first half and so bad second half. Can and do you think they will win the Sun Belt?
Teddy Cahill: It’s hard for me to be optimistic about Coastal figuring it out in the Sun Belt Tournament after the last several weeks. However, the league is pretty wide open. Texas State is good but not world beating. And there’s a ton of parity behind them. So maybe Coastal can get hot and find some magic, especially with it having the tournament at Springs Brooks Stadium. It probably is still the most talented team in the league, which counts for something.
- How many teams do you think are serious nation title contenders? Would you include my Omahogs in that group?
Teddy Cahill: A dozen? Maybe 15? And, yes, Arkansas is in that group. Do what the Hogs have done in the SEC and you absolutely establish yourself as a serious national championship contender.
Teddy Cahill: That’ll do it for today. Thank you for all your questions. If I didn’t get to your NCAA Tournament hypothetical/questions, remember we will have a new Projected Field of 64 online Thursday, which hopefully will help provide some clarity.