NCAA Baseball Chat With Teddy Cahill (5/11/20)

Image credit: Oklahoma's Dane Acker (Photo by John Williamson)

Teddy Cahill: It’s been about two months since the college season was cancelled. While there haven’t been any games, there has been a lot happening. So, let’s talk about that or the 2021 Never Too Early Top 25 we released today.

305 (Miami):

     How many kids from Florida 2020 class make it to campus..I believe they have 2 of the top 2 way players in the country going there in Colby Halter and Jordan Carrion. Carrion is going to be a dude in the next level in my opinion once he gains the weight.

Teddy Cahill: I think pretty much anyone but Zac Veen could make it to Gainesville next year. Coby Mayo, Colby Halter and Timmy Manning are all going to get some interest from scouts and could definitely be picked as well, but that Florida class is deep and talented. It’s going to be a premium class again and definitely is a part of why Florida is the early favorite next year.

Matt (Va):

     Which freshman had the best performances this brief past season?

Teddy Cahill: Alabama’s Connor Prielipp was 3-0, 0.00 with 35 strikeouts and just six walks and five hits in 21 innings. Virginia outfielder Chris Newell was hitting .407/.545/.729 with four home runs and eight stolen bases. Those are two that really stand out to me. Jack Leiter was doing his best to live up to the hype he came into school with. Peyton Graham was very impressive as well. A lot of freshmen were doing well in the early going. Really wish we could have seen more from them this spring.

Jeff (NY):

     What are your thoughts on players going to the Cape next summer in lieu of traveling internationally to play for USA?

Teddy Cahill: As in 2021? I don’t know. That’s so far away. Who knows where the world will be by then.

Leo (Westchester):

     What are your thoughts on Carter Young and Robert Moore’s freshman seasons? Are they similar type players? Both potential first round picks?

Teddy Cahill: Young and Moore were both off to very impressive starts to their careers. Definitely both have first-round upside as well. I think I was impressed by how well both hit in the early going. Young’s defense wasn’t a surprise, that was part of the reason he was as prominent as he was in high school. And any time you see a player like Moore roll into college in January and flat out rake in February, that’ll definitely get your attention. Looking forward to seeing more of them in the coming seasons.

Keegan (Nebraska):

     I didn’t follow the Bruins closely in 2020 but I got the impression their offense could be stagnant at times. With Mitchell gone, could offense be a problem for UCLA in 2021 and how far did pitching go to earn them the number 3 spot?

Teddy Cahill: With UCLA, the pitching is always going to be a big part of why the Bruins are as good as they are. The Bruins offense was young this year – they just lost Toglia, Strumpf, Kriedler, Stronach, Ydens and Pries to the draft – but was still pretty solid with a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the lineup. Guys like JT Schwartz and Michael Curialle stepped up. Matt McLain took a big step forward. Those guys will all be a year older next year and should continue to make strides and the incoming recruiting class is impressive as well. Losing Garrett Mitchell is tough, but UCLA at this point has proved that it is recruiting and developing at a high enough level to reload, rather than rebuild.

Matt (Nashville):

     Any chance Bitsko doesn’t sign and makes it to UVA?

Teddy Cahill: Certainly. Guys don’t reclassify like that if they’re not at least thinking about school and you don’t have to look any farther than Nate Savino and Mike Vasil to see how good Virginia is at getting prominent pitchers to pass on the draft to come to Charlottesville. But MLB teams are going to give it their best shot to get Bitsko into pro ball next month.

Trey (Goldsboro, NC):

     Thoughts on ECU? I expect us to lose Gavin Williams and potentially Burleson and maybe HS Commit Moreno. Other than that there should be a foundation of solid returners and plenty of pitching depth.

Teddy Cahill: I like East Carolina’s potential in 2021. The Pirates were just out of the Top 25 and I’d look for more about them at BA tomorrow. Alec Burleson is going to be very interesting to see in this draft. Right now it seems like he’s right on the borderline in terms of getting drafted. Him staying or going is something I’m very interested in and will probably sway my opinion of ECU a lot. He’s just such a special player.

Bill (North Carolina):

     How does Wake Forest look for 2021

Teddy Cahill: That’s such a tough one for me and part of that is that Wake has a few guys who are right on the cusp in terms of getting drafted or not, I think. The Deacs have a big recruiting class coming in as well. A lot still to sort out in Winston-Salem, I think. No matter what, I expect them to be solid and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the Top 25 at some point in the next year.

Ryan (California):

     Who in your opinion is the biggest name still available on the transfer portal?

Teddy Cahill: I don’t think it matters much who the biggest name is today. First of all, there are plenty of impact junior college players who are uncommitted right now. And secondly, who’s to say that five players more impactful than whoever I would say is No. 1 right now won’t enter the portal tomorrow? I get the fascination with the portal that you see today throughout college sports, but, truly, it’s over-hyped.

Jeff (NY):

     Thanks for the chat! Who are your top middle infielders for the 2021 season? Do Robert Moore, Joshua Rivera, and Carter Young lead the group?

Teddy Cahill: Matt McLain is your No. 1 shortstop prospect in the 2021 college class, so I’d probably include him among the leaders. Cody Morissette at Boston College would also be included and Ryan Bliss at Auburn deserves a mention. Those three freshmen are all outstanding and I’d also throw in Trey Faltine. A good number of impressive middle infielders out there.

Adam (Crown Point, IN):

     Love the too early top 25! I feel like this could of been the year Louisville had a legit chance to win it all. Those top 2 starters can go against anybody and always gave them a chance to limit damage at the beginning of the series and save the bullpen. With them losing Reid and Bobby, with they have a staff that can be legit to warrant a top 10 ranking?! Thanks!

Teddy Cahill: Louisville was definitely on the shortlist of national title contenders this year with Detmers, Miller and Luke Smith leading the way on the mound. Replacing that trio (if Smith joins Detmers and Miller in pro ball) will be tough. But Louisville has a strong stable of arms and a history of reloading. Michael Prosecky got his feet wet as a midweek starter and they’ll get Jack Perkins back from Tommy John. The recruiting class includes four junior college pitchers to provide some immediate help to the staff. And Louisville has some serious star power in its lineup, which should help as the pitching staff settles in to its new roles.

Vance (Athens):

     I was surprised to see UGA not included in the 2021 Top 25. Obviously a lot can change between now and February (understatement of the century). But I’m curious given their status as a national seed in back-to-back seasons why they wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt?

Teddy Cahill: Georgia is really tough to get a feel for right now. In a normal draft, we were expecting the Bulldogs to be one of the teams with the most players selected. Even in this system, it will still hit them hard. Emerson Hancock and Cole Wilcox were an exceptional 1-2 punch in the rotation and they’ll both likely be first-round picks. Lefthander Ryan Webb has become a big part of the staff and he’s been rising on draft boards. Shortstop Cam Shepherd already came back once for his senior year, will he do it again? What about outfielder Tucker Bradley, who went off this year? Georgia has a really nice recruiting class coming in, but it seems very likely that it will be a young team next year. I still expect the Bulldogs to be good. But as it stands today, it was hard to get a feel for them overall.

Huskers (Omaha):

     How does the 2021 draft class Louisville will have stack up to the 2016 class that had 3 first rounders? Can they repeat that next year?

Teddy Cahill: Yes. There’s a real chance that happens again in Louisville. What’s different with the 2021 group is that they’re all position players, whereas the 2016 class included Nick Burdi. Levi Usher is going to have to show he can produce like he was this year for a full season, but it’s in there. Alex Binelas should bounce back from injury just fine and Henry Davis certainly has first-round ability and tools. That trio is a big part of why Louisville is a top 10 team for 2021.

Frank (Des Moines):

     Which team do you think could most surprise people in 2021?

Teddy Cahill: Let’s wrap it up here. My easy answer right now is Alabama, a team I really wanted to jam into this Top 25. I believe what you were seeing from the Tide in 2020 was real. Slightly more off the radar, I’ll go with UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos could return almost the whole team and make some noise.

Teddy Cahill: Thanks to everyone for your questions today. I’m just glad to be talking about on-field college baseball stuff, even if we have to look forward to 2021 to do it. We’ll be updating the rankings a few times throughout the offseason, so be on the lookout for those if you’re craving college baseball.

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