College Podcast: Discussing The Preseason Top 25
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy discuss the newly-released preseason Top 25.
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Putting together the preseason rankings this year presented a particular challenge. On one hand, much is known about the teams in the mix to be ranked because, for the most part, they return everyone from last season, and on paper, that would seem to make things easier. But on the other hand, every team being more experienced and talented than usual makes it hard to draw comparisons between teams and also, with the 2020 season being so short, it's hard to know how much to take into account last season's results.
What wasn't particularly difficult was ranking Florida No. 1. The Gators raced out to a fast start in 2020 to reach the top spot in the rankings and they were the no-brainer choice to begin this season in that same spot after they brought back just about everyone.
UCLA at No. 2 and Texas Tech at No. 3 represent the next tier of teams in the rankings, as each is exceptionally talented, but neither has quite the combination of talent and proven capability that Florida has. After those three, there is a group of teams with more questions to answer but with national title upsides like Mississippi, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Louisville.
Among the toughest teams to peg in the rankings are Louisiana State and Miami, which have polar opposite roster makeups. LSU is in great shape on the mound with the return of Jaden Hill, Landon Marceaux and A.J. Labas, but has questions in its lineup. Miami, meanwhile, has maybe the best position player in college baseball in Adrian Del Castillo and perhaps the best power hitter in the country in Alex Toral, but it turns over its entire weekend rotation.
Because so many teams bring back a majority of their best players, there were a number of teams deserving of Top 25 honors that just couldn't be squeezed in when it was all said and done. Chief among them are Arizona State, Clemson, Oklahoma State and Pepperdine, all teams that should spend much of the 2021 season in and around the rankings.