2020 College Baseball Top 25 Chat (2/17/20)
Teddy Cahill: Baseball is back. Real games with real results that will count all year long. So let's talk about them.
Sandy (The Hammer, ON, CAN):
- Is Michigan really the class of the Big 10 so much so that there is no other Big 10 team in the Top 25?
Teddy Cahill: Well, yes and no. Yes, I think Michigan is the clear-cut favorite. No because Ohio State was ranked No. 24 to start the season and we really didn't want to pull the Buckeyes out this week. But someone had to go to make room for Ole Miss. I think Ohio State, Minnesota and Indiana are all teams to look for in the Top 25 in the weeks to come.
Brock (Allen, TX):
- My Red Raiders were dominate this weekend, although it was against inferior competition. Thoughts on the Round Rock classic this weekend? The marquee teams are Texas Tech and Standford (playing Saturday).
Teddy Cahill: I have no thoughts about Texas Tech beating the brains out of Houston Baptist and Northern Colorado other then good for the Red Raiders for not messing around. As for this weekend, it's an intriguing field. Tech and Tennessee are going to face a step up in competition after weak opening slates. Stanford needs to bounce back after losing a home series to Fullerton. Houston really needs to bounce back after losing a home series to Youngstown State. Mostly I'm looking forward to learning a little bit more about those teams, I guess.
- The Horn faithful have been calling for bigger bats. Should Texas fans be more impressed with the offense or the pitching in the sweep of Rice?
Teddy Cahill: Maybe the pitching? The offense is ahead of the pitching at Rice right now. I know that's a strange idea, given how good Rice has been on the mound traditionally, but there are a lot of unknowns on the mound for the Owls. Mostly, I think Texas fans should just be happy with three road wins to start the season. We'll find out a lot more when the Horns are back in Houston for the Shriners College Classic in two weeks.
Russell (Austin, Texas):
- I was impressed by what I saw from Texas this weekend. I know they are a far cry from Texas Tech and OSU and even Oklahoma, but still was good to have a sweep of Rice at their own ballpark. Thoughts?
Teddy Cahill: Mostly answered above, but I'll just note here that I don't think the Horns are all that far behind those other teams if they play to their potential. The upside in Austin is significant
- Did Louisiana Tech get mentioned in the Top 25 discussion? I know it’s early but swept a ranked UL Lafayette and Southland preseason favorite in Southeastern. 2 of the 3 games were shutouts and only gave up 1 hit in 2 of 3 games.
Teddy Cahill: They did not. Honestly, we barely discussed Top 25 candidates this week. Finding room for Ole Miss was hard enough without throwing a LaTech or A&M or Fullerton into the mix. Now, if the Bulldogs keep that up, we'll be talking about them sooner than later. They're one of the best teams in CUSA and should be capable of challenging Southern Miss and FAU for the title. But it's also going to be a trying year in some respects without a home field. Interested to see how it plays out.
Bobby (Newark NJ):
- For northeastern teams, what is the best early season scheduling approach? Not sure what a team like Rutgers gets out of playing a top tier squad like Miami down south right out of the gate
Teddy Cahill: That's been going on between Miami and Rutgers for years and has a lot to do with relationships between coaching staffs. More broadly, if you're chasing an at-large bid, you do have to challenge yourself on some level to help your RPI. UConn and St. John's typically play that game especially well. When Northeastern got a bid two years ago it had played an incredibly ambitious schedule, which ultimately paid off. You'll take some lumps doing it, but if you want to give yourself a chance at a regionals bid, you have to because you don't have chances to boost your RPI in mid-week games or, in some cases, you have to overcome a lesser conference RPI.
Jason Rodriguez (Lyon, France):
- College baseball is back baby!!! Cal State Fullerton made a pretty solid statement this weekend, taking 2 of 3 from a young but still talented Stanford team. Zach Lew looks like an All American, and the pitching, so far, looks like it's back to Titan standards. Is it foolish to get excited over 1 weekend? Cause after last season, us Titan fans don't mind waiting another 27 years to watch the postseason from home.
Teddy Cahill: Obviously, it's foolish to go overboard based on one weekend. That's true all year long, not just on Opening Weekend. That said, Fullerton got off to a really nice start. I thought it was a good, solid all-around weekend for the Titans at Stanford.
- Who’s your prediction to win the Golden Spikes award? I think you know what name I’m looking for by where I’m from lol
Teddy Cahill: Spencer Torkelson
Jake (Dallas, TX):
- One of the major story lines of the weekend was Ole Miss taking the series against Louisville. My concern with Ole Miss is the bullpen, especially the lack of left handed arms. Do you believe this will be an issue for Ole Miss going forward?
Teddy Cahill: I don't think a lack of lefties is going to be the downfall of Ole Miss. The bullpen, more broadly, is a work in progress. I like the depth of talent out there and think that eventually Mike Bianco will hit on a formula that works. If the Rebels keep getting good starts from Nikhazy, Hoglund and Diamond to shorten games, that'll go a long way to helping the bullpen.
- How much of what Nick Gonzales is doing thus far can be attributed to the hitter friendly environment he plays in? Is the power possibly major league average to above?
Teddy Cahill: If anyone still thinks Nick Gonzales is a product of Las Cruces' altitude, they haven't been paying attention. He won the Cape Cod League MVP. We're projecting him as a top-10 draft pick. That's not to say he'd have the same stats playing in Blair Field or against better competition, but if you're just looking at it from a tools standpoint, he's a premium hitter.
Eric Simmons (Thornton Colorado):
- Time to be concerned with Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock?
Teddy Cahill: no
- Could this be the year that the SEC places 11 teams in regionals?
Teddy Cahill: It's certainly possible. The conference is incredibly deep this year. But when you have one team ineligible for the postseason, you're raising the level of difficulty. So I'm inclined to say no, but if it happened, I wouldn't be surprised. Alabama will be better this year if its young starting pitchers are ready for the big stage. South Carolina has talent. The 10 teams that made regionals last year all look to be solid again. So the potential for it is there.
Jeramey (Locust Grove Ga):
- I know it's only week 1 with some pretty good competition, but both Louisville and Vandy go 1-2. Which 1-2 hurts more and what does this mean for the rest of the season?
Teddy Cahill: Louisville because it lost Alex Binelas for a month with a broken hamate. I don't think either team is going to really be hurt by a 1-2 weekend. In general, I'm more concerned with what happened to the Cardinals because the Commodores were just a couple outs from going 3-0 this weekend. The defense wasn't crisp and there are clearly things to clean up, but I think it'll happen. Louisville is now without two of its best hitters for the next month (Lucas Dunn also has a broken hamate) and we don't know what they'll look like when they return. I'm not particularly concerned about them either, but if I have to pick one, that's where I'm going.
Brendan (New York):
- What Northeast team impressed most opening weekend and do you see any cracking the Top 25 this season?
Teddy Cahill: Army? The Black Knights nearly won a series at Duke. Seton Hall was solid in Wake Forest's tournament. Honestly, maybe Merrimack. First weekend as a Division I team and it splits a four-game set at Oral Roberts. If anyone is going to get ranked out of the region, I'd expect you're looking at Boston College or UConn. The Huskies have a big opportunity this weekend in Florida when they take on Michigan. And I like BC's young talent a lot. If it comes together this spring, the Eagles could be in for another fun spring.
Eddie (Winston Salem):
- Are you intrigued any by Wake Forest headed cross country to Long Beach State this upcoming weekend after a good performance out of them last week taking care of business against Cal?
Teddy Cahill: Any sets the bar pretty low here, Eddie. So, yes. It's not a marquee series, but the way the Dirtbags started the season added some juice to this series. Always like to see teams crossing the country for series and Wake regularly does that. Will be interested to see how Wake Forest's sluggers handle Beach's pitching staff, which looked pretty good against Cal.
- Thoughts on TCU's sweep of Kentucky this weekend? They outscored them 22-7.
Teddy Cahill: Obviously that's good and seeing the newcomers play as well as they did was important. But to draw any larger conclusions from it? I don't know. I want to see more.
Eric Simmons (Thornton Colorado):
- How far away is Alabama from being a contender? I think at least another year
Teddy Cahill: Contender for what? The SEC Tournament? Regionals? The SEC West? Omaha? Alabama will go as far and as fast as it's young starting pitchers take it. If Prelipp and Jean are ready for the big time this spring, the Tide can be an NCAA Tournament team.
Donald Trump (DC):
- Besides Ole Miss, who had the most impressive opening weekend?
Teddy Cahill: Mr. President, can I direct you to Off the Bat, where I lay out why Michigan had the most impressive weekend in the country? https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/michigan-ole-miss-highlight-college-baseballs-weekend-standouts-off-the-bat/
Teddy Cahill: All right, that's going to do it for today. I'll be back here next week to talk about a new Top 25 and all the other developments around college baseball. Hope everyone enjoyed their Opening Weekend!