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College Baseball Top 25 Chat (2/18/19)

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Ethan Paul (Photo by Cliff Welch)

Click here to see this week's College Top 25.

Teddy Cahill: Welcome to the first Top 25 chat of the year. Coming to you live from Tempe Diablo Stadium, where BYU and Cal are finishing up Opening Weekend. Let's get to your questions

Jason R (Costa Mesa California): 

    What a great inaugural MLB4 Tournament, a lot of good baseball played!! Out of those 4 teams, which 2 do you see having the best seasons? Truthfully, I believe in a few months, when the pitching settles down a bit, I think Fullerton is an Omaha team. Your thoughts??


Teddy Cahill: The MLB4 Tournament was a fun one at Talking Stick. Four great programs, a great stadium, a lot of fun overall. I'll take Vanderbilt and TCU as the two teams to have the best seasons from that group. The Commodores are No. 1 for a reason and while the pitching staff didn't have its best weekend, I think the pieces are there and the bats will help carry them while the pitching gets settled. TCU impressed me. The rotation has a chance to be one of the best in the country and the new-look lineup looked very good after being stymied Friday night. I like Fullerton as well and I think they're going to continue to improve throughout the season. They're always a tough out in the NCAA Tournament, so I will never be surprised by a Titans team getting to Omaha.

Dave (California): 

    Why is BA so high on UC Irvine while Cal State Fullerton is not on your radar screen. What are you all seeing that I’m not?


Teddy Cahill: Who said Fullerton wasn't on the radar? We have the Titans as a regional team and they're sitting right outside the Top 25, as they were for the Preseason ranking. I was surprised when we finished the Preseason Top 25 without the Titans, but only so many spots to go around and they got squeezed at the end. As for what's to like about UCI? Start with the pitching. That's a high-end rotation with Andre Pallante, Tanner Brubaker and Trenton Denholm and Jordan Bocko and Taylor Rashi at the back of the bullpen. Christian Koss is one of the best shortstops in the country and there's enough offense there to make it work. I'm very high on the 'Eaters this spring.

Mick (Chicago): 

    Are we in rare times with a plethora of draft eligible & underclassmen middle infielders in college baseball or am I overrating them?


Teddy Cahill: 2015 was just four years ago and that draft had Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman go 1-2 and three more college shortstops follow them out in the first round. So, while this year has a great crop of college middle infielders, it's not that. It's probably rare in terms of overall talent, but not a generational group.

Andrew (Baton Rouge): 

    I may be biased, but I think LSU may have a shot to win it all this year. The Tigers showed some grit this weekend pulling out some games with clutch hitting and relief pitching while being tied or trailing late in games. Is this a cause for concern or is it an indication that the boys from Baton Rouge are already in mid-season form?


Teddy Cahill: Neither? It was Opening Weekend. It was good that LSU went 3-0, probably not so good that it was in tight games with some of those teams, but all in all, it was one weekend. We'll know a lot more about LSU in a couple weeks after it travels to Texas. All that said, obviously, the Tigers are national title contenders. They're No. 2 for a reason and that team is brimming with talent.

Kevin (Mississippi): 

    How should Southern Miss fans feel about the sweep over Purdue?


Teddy Cahill: Purdue is a bit of a mystery to me right now. The Boilers were very good lat year and made a regional. But there's been a lot of turnover from that team. How good are they this year? I'm not sure yet. But I think Southern Miss fans can feel pretty good about that sweep. This weekend will be a much bigger test, however.

Russell (Austin, TX): 

    Texas looked good this weekend, especially their pitching. My question is, do you think Bryce Elder is going to be the ace of the pitching staff, or is it too early to think that?


Teddy Cahill: If you define ace as Friday starter, it sure looks like it. If you're looking for ace to mean a little more than that, I think we need to see more. It was a very good start, absolutely. But ULL hasn't been particularly offensive the last few years. I'll be interested to see how Elder matches up against the likes of LSU and Stanford in a few weeks.

Cody (Fayetteville, AR): 

    I have several bones to pick with the top 25 today. Botched. (In my opinion) but, main two questions for you are 1) how the hell does Tech’s spot not plummet? I get it was a power matchup but come on. You loose, you move down that’s how it works when others in top 25 win? Same with Vandy this weekend 2) In your opinion what is Arkansas going to have to do to prove to the NCAA rankings that they’re an Omaha team? I understand why we were pretty low in top 25 to start - a lot of unknowns. But this weekend we were extremely solid I feel and I was expecting a bigger jump than to move up one spot. Note: I know rankings right now don’t really matter a whole lot and we have more reputable opponents later in the season that will mean more - I’m just curious what they see and what you think our missing pieces are because I just don’t see any


Teddy Cahill: As we go over every year, it was one weekend. The rankings are not going to be overly reactive to Opening Weekend results. Texas Tech won a series against Oregon. It wasn't the easiest series win, but it also was a much higher level of difficulty than what several Top 25 teams faced this weekend. As for what Arkansas is missing, there's plenty of star power, as I've said before. But the rotation is pretty much entirely new and replacing Blaine Knight will not be easy. Offensively, there are a lot of really good complimentary pieces from last year's lineup who need to be replaced. I think the Hogs have plenty of talent but there are a lot of unknowns - even after sweeping the powerhouse that is Eastern Illinois, but that's why everyone is being relatively cautious on Arkansas right now.

Al (greenville nc): 

    Really enjoy the chats gentlemen! Do you see NC State potentially working their way into the top 25 as the season progresses? I know they have a lot of positions and arms to replace. Also, how do you see UNCW doing this year after losing their two best hitters in Mason Berne and Ryan Jeffers, and three quality arms in Alex Royalty, Clark Cota, and Austin Warren?


Teddy Cahill: Probably, yes, NC State will be ranked this year, they almost always are. The Wolfpack are definitely going to hit. I'm more interested in how their pitching shakes out. And that's what the season is going to hinge on for NC State. Nice showing last week against Bucknell, but this weekend in Coastal Carolina's tournament will be much more telling. As for UNC Wilmington, I'm not as bullish on them this year. That's a lot to replace. I think the Seahawks are a talented group and will have some added motivation as it is coach Mark Scalf's final season, but, again, I'm curious about the pitching.

Robbie (Florence, SC): 

    What do you think about the job Mark Kingston is doing at South Carolina? Expectations aren't very high this year but things appear to be trending back in the right direction.


Teddy Cahill: When you look at how Kingston turned the team around last year and guided them to super regionals, I think that was a great coaching job. I know at South Carolina the expectation is to always have an Omaha caliber team and this year doesn't look like that kind of team, but I think they're recruiting and developing at a good level. Kingston has won everywhere he's gone. I don't think that will be any different at South Carolina.

John (Charlotte): 

    Will Virginia be okay? They just ran up against three really good teams on opening weekend, yeah?


Teddy Cahill: I think so, yes. The top half of the Virginia lineup is really solid and there's talent on the mound. But there are a lot of young players that need to adjust to their new roles, especially on the mound. It may take a few weeks, but I think the Cavs will round into form.

Mike (Racine, WI): 

    Miami had a nice start to the season sweeping Rutgers. Is this a team that we should expect to be back in the tournament after a 2 year absence?


Teddy Cahill: We did not have Miami in the Preseason Field of 64 and nothing that happened this weekend is going to change that outlook. That said, there's some very good young talent on this Canes' team. If those guys take a step forward quickly, Miami has the makings of a regional team. This weekend is going to be a very tough test, but I'm very interested to see how Miami handles going into Gainesville.

Jackson (IL): 

    Who is a better mlb prospect? Spencer Torkelson or Andrew Vaughn?


Teddy Cahill: I think if they were both draft eligible this year you'd see them get picked very, very close to each other. Torkelson's maybe a little more athletic and Vaughn is a little better pure hitter. Both are likely top 5-10 picks.

Chris (Illinois): 

    Do you see the Illini as a potential top-25 squad this year?


Teddy Cahill: Potentially, yes. Illinois made it into the ranking last year and returns an awful lot of that team, though not Bren Spillane. The Illini got off to a nice start this weekend and figure to again be in the mix at the top of the Big Ten. Illinois has some nice tests over the next month, but nothing it can't handle. If the Illini can keep this rolling, they could be riding some momentum into Big Ten play.

Corey (Raleigh): 

    Georgia Tech has a lot returning from last year. Their pitching showed flashes this past weekend and you have to think their bats will be a strength this season if they are to make it back to the tournament. What are you expecting from Ga. Tech especially going into a tough weekend series against UCLA?


Teddy Cahill: That is one of the premier series to watch this weekend. I'm intersted to see how Georgia Tech fares against UCLA's pitching, which had a great weekend against St. John's. And I'm interested to see how UCLA fares as it travels across the country to take on a solid opponent. Georgia Tech is a trendy pick to take a step forward this year. It has a chance to show why this weekend, though it won't be easy.

Teddy Cahill: That'll do it for today. Thank you all for the questions. It's good to have college baseball back!

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