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Chat: Preseason Top 25 Edition

The Virginia Cavaliers made history last season by winning the program’s first national title, and now we anticipate another jaw-dropping season in 2016. Who will win the national title? Which team will make the biggest rise? Which players will increase their stock the most?

In addition to answering those questions and more in our first chat for the 2016 campaign, national writers Aaron Fitt and Kendall Rogers took all of your burning questions about the rankings and more.

Kendall Rogers
Hey all, we will be here at 2 p.m., Eastern, to take all of your questions. In the meantime, leave your question!
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about 6 hours ago

Aaron Fitt
Happy New Year, everybody. Hope you’re all as excited for the 2016 season as we are. Let’s chat!
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about 2 hours ago
Comment From GT Todd
Where does Georgia Tech rank nationally and in the ACC? Who’s the top freshman in their class?
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about 2 hours ago

Aaron Fitt:
The Yellow Jackets were one of the teams we debated for our last few spots in the Top 25 — they are not far outside the rankings. In fact, Notre Dame and Wake Forest were also in that discussion; I think the ACC will be very competitive and deep this year. That’s a really nice veteran lineup for Tech, and if the pitching holds up, that team will be dangerous. Sounds like the Jackets are deeper on the mound than they have been, too. I expect Jonathan Hughes to make the biggest impact early on, out of those freshmen. He looks ticketed for the weekend rotation.
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about 2 hours ago
Comment From Watson
Who will who will be freshman of the year in college baseball?
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about 2 hours ago

Aaron Fitt:
I haven’t decided on what my official pick will be yet, but I’m leaning toward TCU’s Luken Baker. I think he’ll make a huge two-way impact, as a weekend starter and a middle-of-the-lineup bopper.
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about 2 hours ago
Comment From Tom (Austin, TX)
You’ve got Mississippi State ranked after a dismal performance in 2015. Are they really back against a schedule that has some tough SEC road series? What do you think the ceiling and floor are for Coach Cohen’s bunch? What do you expect from the change at pitching coach?
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about 2 hours ago

Aaron Fitt:
We were pretty aggressive with the Bulldogs, considering their struggles last year and the fact that they do still have some legitimate question marks. They’re going to be relying on some newcomers and some returning players who have talent but have not really proven themselves yet, like Gavin Collins, Reid Humphreys and Brent Rooker. But we’ve heard very good reports on these guys from scouts who’ve seen them, and I think they’re ready to put it all together. And I really like the pitching staff, which is very deep with power arms and has a dynamite one-two punch with Dakota Hudson and Daniel Brown. So there is risk with this team — the floor is missing the NCAA tournament again if some of the guys we’re expecting to break out do not. But the ceiling is high, like Omaha.
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about 2 hours ago
Comment From Tyler
To Aaron, how can you say Oklahoma State is going to run away with the Big 12 when Jim Schlossnagle is still coaching at TCU and Kirk Saarloos is still their pitching coach?
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about 2 hours ago

Aaron Fitt:
Thanks for listening to our podcast, Tyler! Put it this way: TCU’s coaching staff is really good, and so is its young talent, but that team is young. They’ll have ups and downs along the way; the Cowboys are considerably older and also very talented and deep. And picking OSU to run away with the league is no slight on any other coaches — after all, Louisville ran away with the ACC last year, winning their division by 7 games over Florida State, and we all know Mike Martin can coach. Vandy ran away with the SEC one year, going like 26-3 — and that league is loaded with good coaches. I just think in 2016, Oklahoma State is a clear cut above the rest of the league.
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about 2 hours ago
Comment From Micah
What’s going on with Auburn? They were headed in the right direction but have had the weirdest offseason. Do they have any real chance to compete this year?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Very turbulent offseason, obviously — but I still do like that roster, and I believe in the ability of that strong coaching staff to get the most out of those guys. There may be a little adjustment period as the staff and the players acclimate to each other, but by the middle of the season I expect Auburn to be quite frisky. That’s a team that I expect will make an appearance in the Top 25 at some point this spring, and could stick around in the rankings for a while if they get hot.
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt
Kendall is on his way shortly, I promise.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Matt
What do you think of Missouri’s SEC slate having games against LSU, Vandy, Miss State, and others? Think they can handle it?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Matt,
That is certainly a tough grind, but I think Missouri has a chance to really surprise some teams this year. We all know about Tanner Houck, but Reggie McClain is back and a veteran, and Ryan Howard is really surging at the moment from an offensive standpoint. I think the big key for these to get big arm Bryce Montes de Oca on track and consistent. If he can be consistent, that makes this an outstanding 1-2-3 rotation.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Michael
Hey guys, just wondering who you guys think the top Big Ten team this is going to be, and how close they were to cracking your Top 25?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Michigan was the one team we took a hard hard look at. I really like what Michigan has coming back in the way of pitching, and Benedetti is a bona-fide stud and can hurt you in a variety of ways. The Wolverines, along with Maryland and Iowa were very much in the discussion. I also think Indiana, Nebraska and Illinois could very well be regional teams.
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
I would add that we also did discuss Maryland and Iowa. Hard to get a handle on that league… I might still like Maryland the best of the group, but from talking to coaches I get the sense that a lot of people are expecting good things from Michigan this year.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Reed
How close does the next set of SEC teams rank. (i.e. Mizzou, Ole Miss, Alabama, Kentucky)
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
We had a really hard time separating that group of teams, along with Arkansas and Auburn. All of those teams were in serious discussion for a spot at the back of the Top 25, with Alabama probably at the rear of that group of teams. Of the SEC teams outside our rankings, I probably like Kentucky the best, but Ole Miss and Mizzou are also very intriguing.
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about an hour ago
Comment From slmnsam1
Defense was the main issue last year with Texas A&M. How do you see the defense working out with new additions like Boomer White, Campero, etc.?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
SLM, Great observation. I totally agree, defense was a major major issue, and the inability to turn double plays quickly and consistently was an issue to me, too. However, Campero is a much more refined fielder than Allemand was last year, and I think Birk will be improved up the middle. The most interesting thing about this team defensively is the move of Nick Banks to CF. He lost 10-12 pounds from the fall and is slated to start there on opening day. I’m intrigued to see what the big bopper does defensively.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Vikan
Given all of the glowing praise I heard in the offseason from you for the Ragin’ Cajuns, I was surprised to see them in the back half of the poll. Seems like with those arms and some fairly potent bats they’d be higher.
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Fitt and I had a pretty spirited debate about the Cajuns. He’s a little more bearish on those guys than I am, understandably so with the offensive question marks. I just feel like the Cajuns will hit enough, and have more depth than any time in the Robichaux era. I think the sky is the limit for this team with Marks, Leger, Guillory, Harris and Lee. That’s just an outstanding group of arms.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Mike
What do you guys see TCU’s ceiling being this year? Obviously 2017 is going to be their big year with their stud freshman and sophomore class, but this is the best raw talent Schloss has had since the 2010 CWS team. Luken Baker has legit early first round talent and we all know what Schlossnagle has done with his Texas-two sport athletes, turning them into great baseball players. He always gets the most out of his kids. So whats their ceiling? Personally, I see them rematching with Texas A&M in the supers, this time in Aggieland,
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
I think you nailed it — TCU will be a juggernaut in 2017, and a very exciting, talented young team in 2016. If those freshmen mature quickly, look out. You’re absolutely right about Baker, he’s the real deal. And Josh Watson sounds like a heck of a player — he’ll likely start every day in left field as a freshmen, and TCU fans are going to love his hard-nosed approach as well as his explosiveness. If this team gels late, I could see them making another deep postseason run.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Chris Dana Point
Changes to the ball were universally credited with improving the college game last year. Any similar changes on the way this year that may continue the trend?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
We are in pretty good shape right now, and there are no new significant changes in the docket. Not having miserable weather this February would help those numbers improve even more, IMO.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Russell
How far is Rice outside your top 25?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Owls are right there in the mix. Fox, Duplantier, Otto is a very very solid rotation. My approval of those guys is pretty well documented on this site. With that said, I do have some serious question marks about the offense. There’s plenty of athleticism there with Charlie Warren, Ryan Chandler and Tristan Gray, among others, but I want to see some of these bats really step up this spring. I have question marks about the offense.
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about an hour ago
Comment From TWOBOYSPOPPY
Stanford, what is the possibility of them making a run
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Pretty interesting team, especially if Cal Quantrill can come back strong from Tommy John surgery, but I don’t expect that to happen right away considering the timing of his surgery. They also have some talented guys in the lineup that haven’t really produced yet (Bryce Carter, Austin Barr, Jack Klein) — they have a lot to prove, but there is regional upside. We’ll see — Pac-12 looks pretty deep this year.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Mitchell
Thoughts on Arkansas and their chances with the tough schedule they have? Houston neutral site, home and home with Oklahoma State, Florida/TAMU at home, South Carolina/LSU on the road.
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Tough schedule, but I learned a long time ago not to doubt Dave Van Horn and his staff. I actually think the Hogs will have a pretty salty pitching staff with Dom Tac, Keaton McKinney, James Teague, and of course, Zach Jackson leading the way. The offense doesn’t look explosive on paper, but there are plenty of experienced guys back, including Bernal, Eagan, Nomura, and others. I think this team has a chance to be much better than even we expect them to be.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Reed
Lets be real here guys, Oklahoma State has had great teams in recent years and just simply haven’t been able to put it together in the postseason. What’s different this year? Why so much faith in the Cowboys, Mr. Fitt?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
You know, they’ve been pretty darn good every year of the Holliday era. I know they haven’t gotten over the hump to Omaha yet, but it’s only a matter of time — it took Corbin and O’Connor a little time to get over that hump too. But great coaches get there, and OSU has great coaches. And this roster is really exciting — especially on the mound. I think this might wind up being one of the deepest pitching staffs in the country, just loads of power arms.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Titanfan4
How do you see the big west shaping up this year?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
I think Fullerton is the clear-cut team to beat this year… and I think the rest of the league is down. I liked the Big West last year, but I’m not terribly excited about it this year. Long Beach might be my No. 2 team there, and then Irvine. Feels like a two-bid league.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Jackson
What are your expectations for the CAA and specifically CofC and UNCW?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
I don’t think Charleston will be as good as last year, but still a regional-type club. I saw UNCW this fall and really liked their club; probably the favorite for me this year in that league.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Brian
Two part question concerning the SEC…who has the deepest pitching staff and who has the deepest lineup?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Hm. I think the answers are Florida, and Florida.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Daniel
As an LSU fan I get tired of seeing non conference schedules that look like this Cincinnati, Sacramento St., Fordham, and Ball St. That schedule is not going to get the young bats ready for the SEC! What more can be done to help further encourage big time programs to schedule good in the non conference?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Actually, I think Sacramento State and Ball State are both going to be regional teams this year — and both have a number of guys who should be drafted. You’re catching those teams at a good time — they won’t hurt your RPI, and they’ll give you a nice test. Be careful what you wish for though — both of those teams have enough talent to steal a game or two in Baton Rouge if LSU isn’t careful. Cincinnati is still light on the mound, but that team has some talented young players in the lineup — they were very freshman-heavy last year.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Wilson Boyd
Can John Pawlowski do at WKU what he did at CofC?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Wilson,
I think he’s got a chance to. They’ve done some nice facility upgrades up there at WKU, and it’s an intriguing area in the sense the Toppers can go to the upper Midwest, while also dipping into the Deep South quite a bit. Obviously I don’t think they will become Louisville, but they can geographically recruit like the Cards do, for sure.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Patrick
What are your thoughts on the Big West this year? Any hope for my Anteaters to surprise us with an NCAA birth?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Patrick,
I’m not too bullish on what the Big West looks like on paper right now. I do think two things, though: Cal State Fullerton will be very solid, and UCI has the pitching to make some serious noise. I also think UCSB will be a regional type of club despite some significant losses (Andrew Calica will have a big year), and I’ve gotten some decent buzz on Long Beach State. Big West? Solid conference this year, not a great conference, though.
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about an hour ago
Comment From HawkTalk
Florida faces all six of the SEC ranked teams (getting no favors with all four beasts of the SEC West). Does their elite pitching give them any kind of shot at 2013 Vanderbilt’s 26-3 record?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Against that schedule, I don’t think so. Amazing how much of a difference the unbalanced schedule can make for teams that are on the borderline.
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about an hour ago
Comment From eight26
Of the top 25, which team has the most risk to fall out and which has the potential to play above their current rank?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Eight,
A lot of the ranking of the Carolinas is based on true upside. I can see either of those teams very much out of the Top 25 if some of the guys we believe will step up do not step up. Meanwhile, I think ULL could be a national title contender if the offense is better than we expect it to be.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Guest
Does NC State have enough offense to get to Omaha? pitching looks solid.
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Yeah, I think the lineup will be good. Knizner-Palmeiro is a great place to start, and I expect Joe Dunand will blossom into a star as a sophomore — he’s an exciting talent. They really like Xavie LeGrant too — should be an impact freshman. Then throw in the Shepard boys to provide some pop. I think that’s a very balanced club.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Mercator88
Where’s Maryland? They come off their second straight year of winning a Regional Round, have a top 25 freshman class, and return a significant number of upperclassmen.
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Well, they also will have their hands full replacing guys like Martir, Wade, Lowe, Mooney, Robinson and Cuas — that’s an extremely talented and experienced core that is now gone. I actually still believe Maryland could be the team to beat in the Big Ten because they have recruited well to restock the cabinets, and they still have a nice group of veterans led by the amazing Shawaryn… but it’s unrealistic to expect them to be as good as they have been the last two years given their losses.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Dan
Best pitching staff in the AAC?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Dan,
I still go with Houston here. When you look at the Cougars, that’s an outstanding one-two punch with Seth Romero and Andrew Lantrip, and Bubba Maxwell will be a big-time stopper on the back end if he can stay healthy.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Brian
How does this Florida team stack up with some of the best teams in college baseball in recent years?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
The most talented team hasn’t won the CWS in a long time, but I would stack this Florida team right up in the same breath as the other most talented teams I’ve seen in the last half-decade: 2015 Vandy, 2014 Virginia, 2013 Vandy, 2012 Florida. Each one of those had a ridiculously talented roster but couldn’t win it all in Omaha. We’ll see if this group of Gators can break through.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Cajuns18
The Ragin’ Cajuns are entering this year with very high expectations. What are your thoughts on the Cajuns pitching staff? Specifically, the “Big 3” Freshmen from last year and the 2 incoming studs, Nick Lee and Hogan Harris.
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Deepest staff Robe has had, IMO. Lee and Harris are bona-fide studs, for different reasons. Lee has such a tough downhill angle and he’s got velocity to go with good overall stuff. Harris has a very very soft CB, but can sit 88-92 with his FB from the left side. I think both have strong seasons.
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about an hour ago
Comment From CanesFanPlus
What do you think of this years Miami lineup vs last year? Do you think Miami’s lineup could put up the same kind of numbers this year vs last year? Thanks!
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
It won’t be as good as last year’s lineup — they’ll really miss Thompson and Iskenderian and Kennedy. But Collins has a chance to be the best hitter in the country, and if Heyward and Abreu live up to their ability behind him, that lineup will still be fearsome. I’m betting on the Hurricanes to score a lot of runs once again.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Travis
With Kyle Johnston and Morgan Cooper returning to head up the rotation for the Longhorns, do you think they will be able to replace losing 4 key contributors (Ben Johnson, CJ Hinojosa, Connor Shaw and Brooks Marlow) from last year’s team and score enough runs to contend for a Big 12 title?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Travis,
I don’t consider Hinojosa and Marlow to be major losses at all — if anything, the Longhorns will probably be better without those two. I do feel like Ben Johnson is better than people give him credit for. Keep an eye on Kody Clemens … he’s a fire-starter for Texas.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Jerry
Who do you see in the WAC? There are a lot of good players in that conference that tend to get overlooked.
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Should be a good year for the WAC — I like Sacramento State, Grand Canyon and Seattle. All three of those teams have some legit talent. Paul Panaccione is a really good player for Grand Canyon, the best hitter in the league. And I think Sam Long has a chance to go pretty good in the draft for Sac State.
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about an hour ago
Comment From HawkTalk
Has there been a tougher path to hoe recently (based on preseason expectations) than Vanderbilt’s early May stretch that has 3 @ TAMU, 1 vs. Louisville and 3 @ Florida. Is that one where winning 3 or 4 might be enough to have momentum going into the last weekend of the year?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
Hawk,
that is an incredible stretch, and incredibly tough, too. That also goes back to one of my issues with the expanding power conferences. For instance, you can go in a season and not even play A&M or LSU, or you can play both. There’s a serious imbalance of schedules in the SEC and it gets kind of annoying sometimes. I think it very much diminishes the regular season crown to an extent.
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about an hour ago
Comment From JT
Some have said that this season in college baseball could be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Do you all think the outlook is that bright?
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about an hour ago

Kendall Rogers:
JT,
Well, every season is exciting for me. But, I do feel like (I think Aaron will agree) that we had debate for more teams in the 20-25 range than we usually do, or did last year. That tells me there’s some serious depth.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Chris Dana Point
Considering schedules, who do you two guess be this year’s team that starts the season with a “silly” run, like 18-2 or better?
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about an hour ago

Aaron Fitt:
Hope you’re enjoying that South Orange County weather — I’m sure missing it right now. To answer your question, I’ll go with Kentucky — a team that has opened the season with those kinds of runs before. Their nonconference schedule is quite manageable again this year, and that veteran weekend pitching will give UK an edge against most teams it plays.
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about an hour ago
Comment From Joe Cool
Pac 12 looks loaded with 5 highly ranked teams. What makes the Beavers the top ranked team from the conference?
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44 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Joe,
Terrific question. Though there is some slight concern with me on Heimlich and Eckert being front-line guys in the rotation, I do feel like there’s some premium depth in that OSU bullpen (remember, Engelbrekt is back, too), and the offense should be very solid with several returning hitters and some instant impact freshmen. With that said, the Pac-12 is so loaded at the top, no order of finish would surprise either of us THAT much.
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44 minutes ago
Comment From Gamecock Fan
Not that I object, but what makes you put the Gamecocks in the top 25 after last year’s disaster?
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44 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Well, last year is not this year — the roster is different, the returning players are a year older, and marquee programs like this always rebound. I still believe in that coaching staff, and I think that roster is actually quite deep and balanced. This will be a better season in Columbia.
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44 minutes ago
Comment From John
The Missouri Valley had a banner year last season but that does not translate into your preseason rankings. How close were DBU and Missouri St. to cracking the top 25?
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41 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
I think we probably talked more about Missouri State — to me, that’s might be the team to beat in the MVC this year, but the Bears did lose a number of key guys and figure to take a step back from where they were a year ago. The league is really pretty wide open. I expect Wichita State to be better — that’s probably the darkhorse to keep an eye on. Feels like Todd Butler’s guys have been lying in the weeds, and they’re about due to pounce.
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41 minutes ago
Comment From Cass
Which team do you think wins the Big Ten, and will the conference get a team (or more than one) into the Top 25?
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39 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Will a Big Ten team probably be ranked at some point? Absolutely is my answer. I actually really like Michigan and Maryland a lot — both were incredibly difficult to leave out the Top 25. I also think Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana and even Illinois will be solid, too.
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39 minutes ago
Comment From Chandler Fullman
Auburn Baseball and new head coach Butch Thompson? How will they do? Regional chances?
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39 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Chandler,
Tigers have a chance to be a solid club, not great, but solid. I would put a regional three-seed as the most likely of scenarios for the Tigers at this point.
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39 minutes ago
Comment From HawkTalk
Florida and Vandy are going to be Florida and Vandy. Despite struggling last year, South Carolina is the only other ranked SEC East squad. Will Missouri, Georgia, Kentucy or the UT LOLs have enough to make a Regional run?
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38 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
I actually think Kentucky and Missouri are going to be pretty good, especially UK. I think UK has more offensive potential, and that’s a pretty solid rotation. If Kyle Cody has a massive year, watch out for the Wildcats. Definite Omaha Sleeper potential.
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38 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Look at KR, trying to steal my Omaha sleeper from our last chat! It’s too late, Kendall — that train has left the station!
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38 minutes ago
Comment From Matt
What do you guys think is in store for Nebraska this season? Can they challenge in the Big Ten? Is making a regional a possibility? Thanks guys!
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36 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Yes, I think Nebraska can make a run in the Big Ten, and a regional. I still like that lineup quite a bit, and even though they’ve got holes to fill on the mound, I think the arms that remain are pretty talented. I’m excited to see what Colton Howell can do in the rotation, and I think Derek Burkamper and Garett King are capable of emerging as real quality weekend starters. Sounds like the Huskers like the depth of that staff too.
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36 minutes ago
Comment From Chief
How do you expect the Illini to fare this year? Big drop off in pitching but will Sedlock make the big jump? Can Shilling help as a freshman?
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34 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Yeah — like I said, the Big Ten is tough to figure out this year. I think Illinois is right in the mix again too, even after losing so many key players. They were fortunate to get Jason Goldstein and Adam Walton back to lead the lineup in the two most critical defensive positions, and the group of freshmen position players are talented, as Shotgun Spratling detailed in his fall report on Illinois. And yes, I believe Sedlock will be a real front-line horse.
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34 minutes ago
Comment From Sean
What is your thoughts on UNC offense?
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31 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
You know, I think it should be pretty solid. There’s no Colin Moran or Dustin Ackley in the lineup, but there are a bunch of really solid college hitters who should be ready to perform. Tyler Ramirez is a very tough hitter — extremely patient, and can drive the ball. I think Adam Pate and Brian Miller are in for big years as catalysts. Logan Warmoth and Zack Gahagan should take big steps forward as sophomores (Gahagan has real star potential), and Adrian Chacon is a solid veteran bat. The lineup certainly doesn’t blow me away, but I think the Tar Heels will produce a lot of quality at-bats and manufacture enough offense to win a bunch behind a very good pitching staff.
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31 minutes ago
Comment From HawkTalk
“For [Florida / Louisville / Vanderbilt / Texas A&M] to earn the overall #1 seed in the NCAAs, I think [Position Player] and [Pitcher] have to step up for them. “
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28 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Florida: Peter Alonso, Kowar/Singer — Vanderbilt: Jeren Kendall, Jordan Sheffield — A&M: Boomer White, Tyler Stubblefield
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28 minutes ago
Comment From glax21
Any chance Virginia could get back to Omaha or are they more likely to end their season in a road regional?
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27 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Well, we’ve got the Cavs ranked No. 13, which means we think they’ve got a pretty good shot to host again. That may be a little over-ambitious, because I think UVa. has some real question marks on the mound after Connor Jones — but the Cavs always pitch. Brian O’Connor and Karl Kuhn have a track record of getting their arms to perform, and you have to believe they’ll do it again this year. The lineup should be pretty solid. That program just knows how to win.
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27 minutes ago
Comment From Dirk Diggler
Where do you see Rice this year?
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27 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Dirk,
I actually think the Owls have some big-time potential despite the offense being a major area of concern for me. The reports I got on the Owls this past fall were not overly positive, but I am not going to take that as the gospel. I do really like the staff with Duplantier, Fox and Otto, along with very quality bullpen depth. But again, I want to see some hitters step up.
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27 minutes ago
Comment From Cass
Other than Kyle Hart, who do you think steps up in the Indiana pitching staff, and do you think the staff will do enough to be competitive in the Big Ten?
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26 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Jake Kelzer is the big one for me. Pitching coach Kyle Bunn talked a lot in Nashville about Kelzer’s continued development as a pitcher. If he has a big year, that would very much help the Hoosiers moving forward.
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26 minutes ago
Comment From CWSjunkie
What will it take for the Big 12 to get it’s act together and actually get a big majority of their games televised?
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24 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
CWS — You are preaching to the choir. I’ve blasted the Big 12 for over a decade about that very thing (even while I was covering the Big 12). And to no avail. There are some folks in leadership positions that are clearly not fans of promoting the college baseball brand. Things could change, though, should the LHN turn into a Big 12 Network, which is very much on the table right now.
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24 minutes ago
Comment From Eichel
Whats one weekend rotation to look out for? (Non top 25 team)
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22 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
I’ll give you a few: Kentucky (Brown, Beggs and Cody), Oklahoma (Hansen, Elliott and whoever) and Notre Dame (Smoyer, Solomon and Bielak).
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22 minutes ago
Comment From Trace
What PAC-12 freshman are you expecting to make big contributions to their teams? Specifically OSU and UCLA since they are at the top of the league.
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22 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Drew Madrigal and Cadyn Grenier are the real deal at OSU — very athletic, well-rounded players. Kyle Hooper and Kyle Molnar are big-time arms for the Bruins. I think all four of those guys are going to be very good players.
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22 minutes ago
Comment From Joe
Looks like yall went with a lot big names schools to fill the top 25, somewhat surprised there is only 1 team from the AAC in your rankings, thoughts?
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20 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
Tulane was right outside the Top 25, and ECU was in the mix as well. And keep an eye on UConn — a real intriguing darkhorse. Could see those guys really making a run. I think the American will be quite strong once again, and several of those teams will be in the rankings at various points this year, I have no doubt about that.
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20 minutes ago
Comment From Chris
What are your thoughts on Tulane? Have a shot to compete with Houston for the AAC?
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20 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Chance to be very very good, and was right on the cusp of the rankings. David Pierce likes this team a lot, and it’s easy to see why with Jake Rogers, Stephen Alemais and others leading the way. Keep an eye on newcomer Jarret DeHart, who had a strong fall. The big key for me is getting veterans like Corey Merrill and certainly Alex Massey (who has had a lot of setbacks in his career) to have strong seasons. If those things happen, Omaha is not out of the question, IMO.
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20 minutes ago
Comment From James
Do you think UCLA is a legit CWS contender this season? Obviously they lost a lot in terms of pitching, but Grant Dyer should fill in nicely in the rotation and I think they can really hit the ball, especially with Filia coming back.
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19 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt:
You’re right, there are some big shoes to fill on the mound, but I do really like the lineup, and I believe in the arms they’re now going to count on to lead the staff. Dyer is ready to be a true ace, I think — his stuff is outstanding. Dyer and Griffin Canning should be a very nice one-two punch, and those freshmen will fill in nicely behind them.
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19 minutes ago
Comment From Ben
Any thoughts on the Virginia offense? I know that the pitching staff will be a lot of new faces outside Connor Jones, but should the bats be one of the better/best line-ups in the ACC (or nation)?
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19 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
You know, it’s funny. If you listen to the Podcast, we talked about this very thing. I actually think the Cavs have a chance to be very solid at the plate with Thaiss, Smith, Pinero, Haseley and others back in the mix. The primary concern for me with UVa. is the pitching staff, not so much the offense. I agree, the offensive potential with this club is very solid.
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19 minutes ago
Comment From Mark
Does ASU reach 30 wins in 2016?
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19 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Will go with the over despite some serious question marks.
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19 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers
Fitt is closing up shop, but I will finish out the remaining questions on the board and close this out.
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18 minutes ago

Aaron Fitt
All right guys, that’s all for me today. Thanks for the great questions, really gets me in the mood for some college baseball. Be sure to check back every day between now and the start of the season for more preview content.
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18 minutes ago
Comment From Paul
What mid-major do you see as the most realistic to make a run to Omaha?
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17 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Louisiana-Lafayette would quality as a mid-major in this category, and I would go with those guys. If the offense comes through, loads of potential.
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17 minutes ago
Comment From 12Mom
which teams can take a run at OSU?
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15 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
12Mom,
I think Oklahoma State is the clear leader of the Big 12 right now, but I think TCU and Texas have the ability to, and both OU and Texas Tech have potential as well. OU has the two-headed monster in the weekend rotation, but the offense is a ?, while Tech is a team I received nice reports about during the fall. The Big 12 should be very solid near the top of the standings.
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15 minutes ago
Comment From DFW2012
Any guess at TCU’s weekend rotation and midweek starter?
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13 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Would go with Traver, Howard and Baker in that order, which constitutes a pretty salty weekend rotation. Look for former A&M hurler Rex Hill in the midweek. Very solid arm.
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13 minutes ago
Comment From Jose
How does Tennessee stack up? Will they be better and make a regional? If not, does Serrano survive?
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11 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Actually think the Vols have a chance to be OK if things go their way this season. The rotation should be fine if Kyle Serrano, Andy Cox and others pitch as expected, and Vincent Jackson and of course Nick Senzel are two table setters for the Vols. Even improved, it’s just tough to get real traction in a league like the SEC. The competition is just ridiculously strong.
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11 minutes ago
Comment From Greg
What’s the biggest question mark surrounding UCLA? Do they have the rotation and bullpen depth to make a strong push for a Pac 12 Title and Omaha?
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9 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Greg,
I really like Tucker Forbes, but replacing David Berg is incredibly difficult. I’m interested to see how the Bruins do without one of the top closers in college baseball history on the back end. I actually think the Bruins will be better than expected offensively. The return of Eric Filia is massive for this team.
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9 minutes ago
Comment From slmnsam1
How do you see Pepperdine faring with a new HC?
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8 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
Think the Waves have a chance to be pretty solid. The good news for Waves fans is that Rick knows what it takes to win at Pepperdine having been immersed into that culture for so long. That’s a net positive.
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8 minutes ago
Comment From Brandon
Thoughts on Bama? Is the talent there for a “decent” run this year or too little to compete consistently in the SEC this year?
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8 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
I actually like the rotation with Geoffrey Bramblett, Jake Walters and Nick Eicholtz, but the offense has to show me something. That area looks pretty suspect right now and Andy Phillips has his work cut out for him. Intrigued to see how Alabama does opening weekend against Maryland (I’ll be in the house for that series).
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8 minutes ago
Comment From Russ
How many regionals / super regionals do you see coming from Texas?
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7 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers:
I’m going to say Houston, Texas A&M and potentially TCU hosts …. once super regional at A&M.
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7 minutes ago

Kendall Rogers
All right, everyone. We will have another chat for the prospect rankings release later next week.

In the meantime, check out our College Preview Index Page, here: https://d1baseball.com/a… and Subscribe to D1Baseball.com Here: https://d1baseball.com/s…

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