2020 College Baseball Top 25 Chat (2/17/20)

Image credit: Texas A&M lefthander Asa Lacy (Courtesy of Texas A&M)

Click here to see our updated College Top 25. 

Teddy Cahill: Running a touch late on the podcast, will dive in to your questions here in a few minutes.

Teddy Cahill: All right, I’m here now. Let’s get this party started

Matt (Missouri):

     How is Tennessee not ranked?

Teddy Cahill: There are more than 25 teams that merit spots in the ranking. Tennessee, Texas A&M, Long Beach, etc. would all look great in a Top 25 rn.

Warren (Knoxville):

     Explain Tennessee missing from the Top 25. TTU moved up to number 2 while losing to Tennessee 6-2 and being no more impressive than the Vols in wins against Houston and Stanford. How do you reconcile moving TTU two places (#4 to #2) while leaving Tennessee (7-0) out of the Top 25 completely? I will hang up and listen.

Teddy Cahill: I don’t expect any Tennessee fans to like this explanation, but it’s not apples and organges. Someone has to be No. 2. There were no good option this week. It was Texas Tech (flaws listed above), Vanderbilt (already has a losing weekend), Mississippi State (hasn’t left home yet) or ??? And so Texas Tech is now No. 2.

Luke (Raleigh, NC):

     Tony Vitello has turned a historically bad Tennessee program into a respectable SEC team. However, they don’t have the fan support, facilities, or resources to keep him. He’s young, energetic, and is going to be a superstar. Who makes a run at him? And how soon until he makes a move?

Teddy Cahill: Tennessee fans are already mad at me, so let’s attack this question. Vitello is unquestionably a name to watch any time a big job comes open at this point. But, as I outlined in my coaching carousel primer (https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/sizing-up-the-college-baseball-coaching-carousel-in-2020/) big jobs may not be coming open this summer. So, I don’t think it’s an immediate concern at Tennessee. But Vitello’s name has already been bandied about for bigger jobs and the more he wins in Knoxville, the more that’s going to keep happening.

Hank (Long Beach):

     Are the Dirtbags legit?

Teddy Cahill: I think so. At least in the sense that Long Beach will be in the mix at the top of the Big West. But Joe is going to go into more depth on the Dirtbags in this week’s edition of Look Out For, so look for that on the website in the next day or two.

Cole (Eastern NC):

     Do you think N.C. State, with a much deeper lineup and a better weekend rotation than last year, has a chance to make a lot of noise come tournament time?

Teddy Cahill: Are we sure that NC State has those things? I think the Wolfpack is a really solid team and it’s off to a really nice 7-0 start. But it’s also JMU and Tennessee Tech. We’ll learn a lot more over the next two weeks.

Pete (Arkansas):

     With Robert Moore (Arkansas) losing draft eligibility due to early enrollment into college, how high do you see him going in the draft once he is eligible?

Teddy Cahill: Pretty well. He could have been a top-three rounds draft pick out of high school and a few years at Arkansas will only help that if he keeps producing. Could he be a first rounder? Sure, why not? But he’s only played two weeks of college baseball. We’ll find out a lot more about him over the next weeks and months.

Gerard Kwilecki (Mobile):

     Would you consider South Alabama’s 4-5 start a disappointment or an indication of a difficult schedule?

Teddy Cahill: I don’t want to read too much into it. Two of those losses are midweek games at Vanderbilt, one of which was highlighted by Jack Leiter fully living up to his hype. Two of the other losses are against Campbell and Indiana, two consistent regional teams. On the other hand, South Al lost to UT Martin at home. It’s hard not to be disappointed by that. We’ll see how they bounce back because the next two weeks of nonconference play are tough as well.

Jeramey (Locust Grove Ga):

     Stanford and Fullerton have started with 2 rough weekends. Which team is in the most trouble and why? Thanks as always

Teddy Cahill: I’d disagree with that assessment of Fullerton’s start, so definitely Stanford. Fullerton’s hardly had an ideal start, but it did win a series at Stanford. So that’s a nice feather in its cap. And then, yes it lost this weekend to Tulane, but the two losses were really tight affairs. Stanford, meanwhile, is 1-6 and has a ton of youth on the field. Getting its young players going in the right direction and quickly is critical at this point.

Jason H (Dallas):

     Thoughts on DBU and their big road series win at UNC? Legitimate Regional Host contenders and possible super regional participant?

Teddy Cahill: I’ve been saying that all fall! I really like this DBU team and that was a loud statement this weekend. The Patriots pitched really well in the two wins and showed nice resiliency to bounce back from the loss in the opener. Went into more depth on DBU today in Off the Bat https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/florida-dbu-highlight-college-baseballs-weekend-standouts-off-the-bat/

Pirate (Greenville, NC):

     Was UCF’s sweep of Auburn a possible testament to how good UCF may be down the stretch, or a mixture of them playing above their expectation and Auburn playing below their outside expectations? Also, I have been impressed by how East Carolina has been playing, but the level of competition hasn’t been great yet.BA have any thoughts on that so far?

Teddy Cahill: UCF’s sweep of Auburn was loud. It’s too early to really know what to make of it. I was very high on Auburn coming into this season – I had them as an Omaha team as recently as last week. But UCF really handled that series well and I was impressed with the Knights’ offense. I like UCF coming into the year but with so much newness on the team it was tough to know what to expect. So I think it’s indicative of what UCF can be. I think it’s a team that can compete at the top of the American. But I don’t want to make sweeping conclusions on two weeks of play. ECU has been solid. I think that sweep of Georgia Southern was really nice. That’s a solid program with a good pitching staff. We’ll see where the Pirates go from here, but I think they’re off to a good start.

Mr. Fister (Arlington):

     What moves Asa Lacy ahead of Hancock on BA’s most recent mock? If Hancock’s stuff is so much better, then is it purely health and consistency, or are new red flags emerging with Hancock? Thanks!

Teddy Cahill: It’s February and the format which Carlos did the mock changed. So I think that’s a lot of it. I also don’t think Hancock’s stuff is so much better than Lacy. I’d lean Hancock at this point, but it’s not a huge separation. Lacy has nasty stuff from the left side. Going to be a good battle all season long to see which one ends up as the first pitcher drafted.

Jim (CT):

     How close was UCONN to the top 25?

Teddy Cahill: UConn presents a difficult resume at this point. On the one hand, it is 3-1 against Michigan, a team we clearly really like. On the other hand, it’s .500. So we weren’t going to move the Huskies in this week, but they’ve always been somewhere in the 10-15 teams just outside the Top 25. This weekend was a really nice series win for them. Would not be surprised if UConn ends up in the Top 25 sometime this spring.

Adam (Crown Point, IN):

     Happy Monday, and an especially good one after that Gator sweep over the weekend! I must say I am thoroughly impressed with the Canes arms. They are going to be a tough out and I’m sure the bats will heat up over the year. However, can I ask the question if the Gators have the best arms this year from top to bottom?! I mean Mace, Leftwich, Scott, Barco and then when everyone was down on the arms last year, AS TRUE FROSH, Spect, Pogue and Luethje are going to be massive and I haven’t even mentioned Cabarcas and Tyler Nesbitt.

Teddy Cahill: It’s a really impressive pitching staff. The frontline arms are really good and I think this weekend was a good showcase for the depth of Florida’s bullpen, which was a separator against Miami. Best staff? Maybe, but I’m ready to declare one yet. Vanderbilt is deep and I’ve said for months that its frontline arms are the best in the country. UCLA has been outstanding so far. Texas A&M was big-time stuff. Georgia is for real on the mound. I don’t know that anyone is head and shoulders above the rest yet.

Wes (Nashville):

     Respectfully, you answered why Texas Tech rose, and I can get on board with your reasoning. But you didn’t answer why Tennessee didn’t earn a spot in the top 25 by sweeping the Round Rock Classic. Could you please expound on your thought process? Did other teams somehow accomplish more last weekend?

Teddy Cahill: Again, I don’t expect any Tennessee fan to be happy with this, but the Top 25 is more holistic than that. And at this stage of the season, it’s still doing a bit of forward looking. That’s why 4-3 Louisville, with a home loss to Wright State, is ranked in the top 10. Because we still think that team is a really good, Omaha caliber team. Is this satisfying? Probably not. But ranking 25 baseball teams every week rarely is.

Richard (Indiana):

     Purdue’s season is off to a hot start. What are your thoughts there?

Teddy Cahill: Encouraged. I didn’t think Purdue was going to collapse last season like it did. Think the Boilers are playing well out of the gate, which is good to see in Greg Goff’s first season. That said, the competition, outside of Campbell, has not been exceptional. We’ll know a lot more after this weekend in Minneapolis.

Dennis (Pasadena):

     Things to watch for Frisco?

Teddy Cahill: Asa Lacy, the Aggies’ hitters against tougher competition than they’ve seen so far, UCLA’s arms, how Oklahoma State’s young pitchers react to the environment, did Illinois find itself after a mixed start to the season.

Mr. Fister (Arlington):

     Is it possible that Nick Gonsales’ hit tool is even or better than that of Austin Martins’? He’s been scorching hot to open the season.

Teddy Cahill: Maybe? Idk. They’re both really good. Austin Martin hit .400 in the SEC. Nick Gonzales has more than proven himself as a hitter, winning the batting title and Cape Cod MVP last season. He’s killing the ball right now. But it’s hard for me to get excited about it when the competition is Texas Southern and Iona.

Eric Simmons (Thornton Colorado):

     Who’s rotation do you like better UCLA’s or Vanderbilt’s? That’s a toss up for me

Teddy Cahill: I’ll take Vanderbilt. Love the UCLA rotation, but Kumar Rocker is a separator for the Commodores for me.

Teddy Cahill: That’ll do it for today. Always a fun time of year with so many teams in the Top 25 mix. Thanks for all your questions – even the guy who asked what hat we’re pulling the teams out of. Your passion is a part of the reason why college baseball is so much fun.

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