Vandy's JJ Bleday (Vandy photo)

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D1Baseball Chat: Feb .18

Chats

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Kendall Rogers: Tim — I liked how the Gamecocks rebounded from a season-opening loss on Friday. The offense got in gear on Saturday and the pitching was strong in the series finale with Reid Morgan allowing just two runs in six innings. Brett Kerry was very good out of the pen as well. I get the feeling the Gamecocks will be one of those teams that just gets better as the season progresses. Kingston is a very, very good coach.

TimSC: Thoughts on South Carolina? What is the ceiling for the Gamecocks in Kingston’s second year?



Kendall Rogers: ATX — I was really impressed with what Texas did over the weekend. Obviously Blair Henley remains a question mark, and that was something we had questions about coming into the season. But how about RHP Bryce Elder? He was dominant on Opening Day with a FB 89-92 and up to 93, with excellent feel for the breaking ball. David Pierce saw something in Elder and it looks like he was right on. Not shocking. Pierce is a wizard.

ATXDude: Early thought on Texas after taking 2/3 from Louisiana on the road?



Kendall Rogers: Steve — We already have pretty high hopes for Stott, both on the field and with his draft stick. He could certainly go up. I was talking to Paul Mainieri after the summer and he said no one made better defensive strides throughout the summer than Stott. He’s made impressive strides. I hope to get a chance to see him this season.

Steve : Hey Guys! So psyched for the new season. UNLV’s Bryson Stott went off this weekend. We already know he can stick at SS as a pro and that he makes excellent contact at the plate. But what happens if he consistently shows the ability to drive the ball like he did this weekend. What would be his draft ceiling then? Top 5 guy? Thanks for taking my question.



Kendall Rogers: Dillon — I think the Sunday starter in a three-game series will be Grant Gambrell, assuming he throws well today. The ball is pretty much in his court. He’s got premium stuff. He just needs to be more consistent and show a killer instinct out there.

Dillon: Who do you see securing the Sunday role for the Beavs on the mound. Do you think Gambrell will step up or is there anyone else who stands out?



Kendall Rogers: Steve — I saw Bleday one day plus a couple of innings on Sunday. On Saturday, he looked like the Bleday we all expected. He had a mature approach, a great frame and showed premium power from the left side. He looked the part for sure.

Steve : Aaron, I believe you saw Vandy this weekend. How did Bleday look? Where do you see him going in the draft? Thanks!



Kendall Rogers: Lance — Georgia Southern isn’t bad and anytime you can take care of business opening weekend, that’s a win. Now, if that becomes a recurring trend, then we can have that discussion. If you have enough conviction in teams in the preseason to rank them, it would be sheer silliness to drop them out after having a winning weekend. WTS — I really hated to leave UConn out, because I think the Huskies are pretty good.

Lance: I know you said UConn was left out of the top 25 because no one in front of them lost a series, but wouldn’t you say UConn’s series win over top 10 Louisville was more impressive than say, Auburn struggling mightily vs. Georgia Southern?



Kendall Rogers: Greg — I think I was more impressed by the pitching staff. To not have their best starting pitcher and still dominate St. John’s was impressive to me. Jack Ralston was a bright spot, striking out seven and allowing just three hits in six innings. Everyone else took care of business. UCLA showed why it’s an elite club over the weekend, IMO.

Greg D.: UCLA looked great over the opening weekend. We you more surprised by their bats against St. Johns or their pitching?



Kendall Rogers: Cowtown — Absolutely. I thought Janczak and Williamson were really good, and Eissler was special out of the pen. I really liked Porter Brown, Austin Henry and Jake Guenther at the plate, and clearly, Josh Watson having a big year would be huge for this team. I don’t want to go overboard from one weekend, but the MLB4 tourney made me optimistic about these guys.

Cowtown Bill: So TCU looked good obviously, but besides the starting pitching and the new bats, I was encouraged by the rest of the pitching staff. Still early, but do you think this can be an Omaha club?



Kendall Rogers: Crazy — Ask me after this weekend’s series against Arkansas. There were some good and bad spots about USC’s opening weekend against Nebraska-Omaha. I know USC has this series circle. The Trojans were so close to getting a series win in Fayetteville last season, but fell short. Much like Miami at UF, this could be a season-defining weekend for USC, too.

Crazxybbballover: What kind of year do you think USC is gonna have. Do you think Acosta and Sabol are gonna go off.



Kendall Rogers: Obviously a very talented hitter. He hit another HR today and has two homers already this season. He just has such premium power and is such a mature, excellent approach. There are concerns about Vaughn’s position at the next level, but he’s such a good hitter, he’ll still go very very high.

Baseball: What’s ur take on Andrew Vaughn,



Kendall Rogers: Eric — Southern Miss was the only team in serious consideration to be ranked, and they were really close. I think the Eagles are balanced offensively and the pitching is solid as well with some key, experienced pieces. Otherwise, I would have Rice/Louisiana Tech in the 2/3 slots in that league and then the rest. La Tech sweeping SELA on the road this past weekend was really impressive.

Eric Simmons : Why aren’t any teams ranked in the Conference USA?



Kendall Rogers: Alex — Since Crisp was very good in that role over the weekend, I would think Sully will stick with that plan going into that Miami series, too. I’m intrigued to see how Tyler Dyson does against the Canes. It sounds like he was just OK against LBSU over the weekend. I’ll be in Gainesville this weekend.

Alex: Who do you see emerging from Florida’s deep pitching staff as being the go-to closer in a close game? Nolan Crisp had two great outings this weekend against LBS. what’s your guys’ take?



Kendall Rogers: Eric — Certainly a possibility. That’s a huge, huge series for the Yellow Jackets in terms fo their reputation on the national stage. They really need to get that series to kick-start things for ACC play. I’m intrigued to see how Connor Thomas performs against a very good Bruins club.

Eric Simmons : Will Georgia Tech be in your guys Top 25 if they win the UCLA series?



Kendall Rogers: Kevin — I think Paul will work with him leading up to conference to see if they can get things figured out, because once you move Hess back to the bullpen I don’ think there’s any turning back to be done. He definitely needs to step up, though. You can’t have a shaky Friday guy in the SEC.

Kevin: More struggles from Hess as the Friday night starter for LSU. With so many talented arms, do you think it’s only a matter of time before PM moves him back to a reliever role like he was his Freshman year?



Kendall Rogers: Carson — We will find out this weekend. Granted they don’t have to take 2/3 from Florida to make a statement, but I do want to see progress. Brian Van Belle, Chris McMahon and Evan McKendry were solid over the weekend, and Adrian Del Castillo was as advertised. This weekend will be a very good litmus test.

Carson: What did this weekend tell you about Miami? Could this team hop into a host conversation before it’s all said and done?



Kendall Rogers: JD — I think for me, it looks like the Pac 12 is going to be really really good, and I think we saw this coming, but maybe not to this magnitude. Oregon looked solid over the weekend, Arizona will be good and I’m cautiously very optimistic about Arizona State.

jdsailors: Was there anything alarming that stood out to you? Whether it be a team, player, or conference? Or are we just in a holding pattern until we get some more games played?



Kendall Rogers: Aggie — The only two takeaways I have from the weekend in College Station is that A&M still has some work to do and John Doxakis is an absolute beast. He’s been amazing in his last three starts and I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the season.

Aggie Hopeful: Is it still too early for any take aways in regards to Aggie pitching from this past weekend against a decent A10 team in Fordham?



Kendall Rogers: Sam — Consider the opponent a little bit, but I was encouraged by the starting pitching, particularly Connor Noland and Jacob Kostyshock. The entire rotation only walked three batters the entire weekend, Kosty put up zeroes and Noland was impressive. I’m intrigued to see how that rotation does on the road this weekend at USC. That’ll be a much bigger test, IMO.

Sam: What did you think about the hogs this weekend?



Kendall Rogers: Jason — Brandon Williamson was really good for TCU. He had good feel for the breaking ball and the fastball was consistently 89-92 mph. I was really impressed with him. The stuff didn’t blow me away, but he simply got the job done. I’m not remotely sold on Vandy’s pitching staff, though. Those guys need to step up. There’s entirely too much talent out there to scuffle the way they did at times.

Jason: So Vanderbilts offensive production was solid in the 1st 2 games at MLB4 Elite this weekend. What do you think the issue was Sunday against TCU?



Kendall Rogers: I think UConn taking that series from Louisville. If Feole was healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised at all, but with him out of commission this past weekend, I didn’t expect the Huskies to take that series. Jacob Wallace was terrific out of the bullpen over the weekend and some scouts told me that UConn had a veteran, relentless offensive approach.

Rocketcoach7: What were your biggest surprises from opening weekend?



Kendall Rogers: Stats should be updated today. RPI will start showing in early March..

Bob: I loved your stats table last year.  When will we expect to see stats showing this year?  Also, when are the first RPI numbers available?



Kendall Rogers: Bob — I touched on this a bit ago in my piece on the Pac 12. But I do think Oregon’s offense really piqued my interest. The Ducks pelted Tech’s pitching throughout the weekend. As for the Red Raiders, they ended up having to use a few guys out of the pen I had to look at the roster to figure out who they were, so things got a little tense for those guys. I’ll wait another week and see how the pitching performs before I draw too many conclusions, but the weekend was a plus for Oregon and a little hmm for Tech.

Bob: What’s your take on the TT/Oregon series.  Is it possible that the Ducks have some offense this year, or do the Red Raiders have some pitching issues?



Kendall Rogers: Well, there are about 30 coaches I’d love to do that with. But Rick Vanderhook might get my vote. I’d have to bleep out half the road trip on my documentary, though.

Ben Upton: If you had to go on a weekend road trip (15 hours total of driving time) with 1 head coach in D1 baseball, who is it and why?



Kendall Rogers: Rutsch is as good as I’ve seen in a while. I was talking to someone in a front office the other day and they were saying they think there’s a massive step down from Rutschman to the second-best catching prospect, Baylor’s Shea Langeliers. That’s fascinating because Shea is an absolute stud. Rutschman is a premier defender and his swing/total package is just unreal.

Matt: How would you compare Adley Rutschman to recent catcher prospects?



Kendall Rogers: Boy, the Big Ten is tough to navigate right now. I still obviously like Michigan as the headliner, but Illinois raised my eyebrows over the weekend — particularly Cyrillo Watson’s start in the finale game of the weekend. Minnesota is the one team that surprised me this past weekend. The Gophers really struggled in Surprise and they’re losing again today. It’s the first weekend, though, and, so, it’s silly to draw too many conclusions.

College baseball fan: How do you see the Big Ten shaking out? We know about Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Can the Ohio State’s, Nebraska’s, and Purdue’s of the conference be good enough to give the conference a little extra balance this year?



Kendall Rogers: Sheed — Always good to start the season with a series win. Trei Cruz finished that series in style, and the Owls also had some bright spots on the mound. Jackson Parthasarthy’s outing in the finale game was especially pleasing. It’s been a tough road so far for him in his career and he struck out 8 in 6 strong innings. Bragga had to basically overhaul the strength program and didn’t inherit much from an offensive standpoint. WTS — I think he will win there moving forward. How big? We’ll find out

Dan Shedd: What are your thoughts on Matt Bragga at Rice so far?



Kendall Rogers: Guest — I don’t think the Pac 12 is the best conference, but it sure as heck could have a chance by the end of the season. I was extremely encouraged by Oregon’s offensive production over the weekend against a very good Texas Tech club. The team that stood out to me out of that league was Arizona State. The Sun Devils played at an exceptionally high level over the weekend and righty Alec Marsh threw well. I heard he was up to 93-94 on the bump. Things are most definitely trending up for the Pac.

Guest: Why does the pac 12 only have 3 teams in Top 25 even they are the best conference?



Kendall Rogers: William — Aaron will be there. I’m sure Wallner will hit, but will be floored if he’s pitching. I just think Scott Berry is going to be ultra-cautious with the talented two-way star. I was encouraged by MSU’s performance over the weekend, but also consider the opponent. USM performed at a high level against a solid opponent at home, so it will be ready. I could see this series going either way — I really like both teams — but without Wallner on the mound, I like MSU at home, I think.

William : Would love to get y’all opinion on the State/USM series in Starkville this weekend. Do you think Wallner plays the field? And will either of you be in attendance? Thanks guys!



Kendall Rogers: HT — I loved how the Beavers fought back late in the Friday game after getting stymied by a very quality arm in UNM’s Justin Slaten. Alex McGarry had a huge weekend and the Beavers got contributions from a lot of guys over the weekend. That will need to be the recipe this season. Abel was just OK — but he’s got premium stuff and there will be days where he just doesn’t have it. It was pretty much the same old Beavs for me, which is slightly surprising without Pat Casey and all those veterans from last year’s team. I liked what I saw.

hthom : What’re your thoughts on Oregon St after this opening weekend?

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