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D1Baseball Weekly Chat: April 8

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4118: How do you see the roles on the LSU pitching staff shaping up once Marceaux and Hill return?
Kendall Rogers: 4118 — That’s a great question. At this point, I think Hess and Henry are solidified into the rotation. Henry’s stuff looked excellent over the weekend and I love his demeanor. Walker could be the odd man out, but I do love his approach, his velocity is back to normal and he’s been effective for the most part. WTS — Marceaux and Hill are both very talented. For now, I don’t see the rotation changed, but we’ll see what happens.


Frank Durham: ECU seems to be in a groove and getting better.  Minus the 2-0 loss to Houston, provided the Pirates can take all the remaining series; AAC regular and tournament champs, how do you like their chances as a Top 8 protected seed?
Kendall Rogers: Frank — I like where ECU sits as of today. I really liked this team over the weekend. I didn’t think ECU was overly flashy in two of the three games, but it showed versatility by being able to win the finale with pitching. Jake Kuchmaner was impressive with a hard-nosed approach and his FB/CH/CB combo, while the bullpen impressed me as well. Alec Burleson doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but it was 86-88 and he had excellent feel for the CB. We already knew ECU’s offense was really good, but I was impressed with its depth on the mound.


Kevin: What’s the skinny on Missouri? I pretty much wrote them off after getting swept by Arkansas in Week 1 of SEC play but now it seems like they’re a new team (taking 2 of 3 from Ole Miss, UK, and possibly from A&M if it weren’t for a travel curfew). Should the (LSU) Tigers be worried seeing as they have to go TO Mizzou? Please tell me they have no elite LHP as that appears to be LSU’s kryptonite.
Kendall Rogers: Kevin — Missouri will be a test for sure. Though the Tigers struggle against good pitching from an offensive standpoint, they are loaded on the mound. TJ Sikkema has been outstanding this season, and he will likely start the finale, while Jacob Cantleberry has surprised and Tyler LaPlante is a pitchability guy. Fred Corral has done a great job with this pitching staff. I’ve definitely got a potential upset alert on this series.


jimlawson: With a RPI of 5 how can you justify such a low ranking for UC Santa Barbara? I am a UCI fan, so my perspective is not emotionally charged.
Kendall Rogers: Jim — Sometimes, the RPI inflates teams. It happens all the time, and I think that’s happened with UCSB. Do I think UCSB is a really solid club? You bet. They’ve got a real weapon at the back-end with Michael McGreevy and a strong ace in Jack Dashwood. There’s depth on the mound and the lineup is good, but from a resume standpoint for rankings purposes, where’s the meat on the bone? As good as UCSB has been, it does lack high-level wins so far.


RebelSwag: Kendall, roller coast week for Ole Miss. Saw latest projections have us a #2 seed. Do you see Rebs as likely hosting provided they finish with a respectable showing in SEC play? Does the UNA loss affect those chances at all, meaning do we need to win more than usual SEC games to feel good about hosting?
Kendall Rogers: Rebel — I do think Ole Miss will be in that territory at the end of the season. The No. 3 spot in the weekend rotation is still in the same spot and is a question mark, but that’s such a good offensive lineup. Scoring 40 runs in three games against Florida is pretty impressive.


Alex: Is the Sun Belt looking like a one bid league this year?
Kendall Rogers: Alex – It certainly seems like it right now unless someone not named Coastal Carolina wins the conference tournament. Arkansas State has plummeted from an RPI standpoint over the past week or so.


Matt: What’s the latest on Kevin Abel? Is it time for Beaver fans to worry?
Kendall Rogers: Matt — I continue to hear he’s doing bullpens, but anytime someone misses a month for a “sore back”, you start to wonder if that type of language is a cover-up for something else. Time will tell.


Adam: How can Miami move off of the bubble and be a lock to make the post season?
Aaron Fitt: Keep on winning series and get that conference record above .500. This weekend was definitely a big step in the right direction. Ultimately I like the trajectory Miami is on and suspect they’ll reach that 14-16 win mark in ACC play, which should be enough for an at-large.


AJC12 : Is the AAC shaping up to only send 2 or 3 teams to regionals?
Kendall Rogers: Right now, the AAC would be a two-bid league. Could something change down the stretch? Absolutely.


Thomas: This might sound crazy to say this early in the season, but I think Georgia is almost a lock to win the SEC regular season championship after their series win over Vandy. I don’t see any teams in the west catching them because there are too many good teams that will beat up on each other. Do you agree?
Aaron Fitt: I think you’re right that Georgia is in the driver’s seat, and your point about the SEC West teams beating each other up is a good one. I would never call any team “almost a lock” because the SEC is so rugged, but I do think Georgia is really good, and winning that Vandy seat put the Dawgs in great position in the conference race.


ATXDude: Texas fans (myself included) were extremely upset with the way Sunday’s game vs Baylor went down. Going up 6-0 in the 2nd only to have the game completely cancelled really sucks in the moment. Long term, though, how do you guys think that one game affects UT in terms of the RPI and a possible hosting bid? I realize it’s just one game, but a series road win vs a split seems important.
Kendall Rogers: ATX — I don’t think losing that game will mean much. And really, it was going to rain until 11-12, so I think it was the right call by both schools. The committee will be understanding on that game being cancelled. Short answer? I don’t think it’s going to matter at all granted UT continues to take care of business.


Michael: Wow what a week for Georgia, two mid-week road wins including one at Clemson and a series win over top 5 rpi Vanderbilt.  Last week you had the Dawgs hosting a regional, are they now projected to be a top 8 seed?
Aaron Fitt: To follow up on the last answer — yes, at this point I do think Georgia is a lock for a top-eight seed in our next projection.


SEC Least: Guys-(frustrated) South Carolina fan here, we’re definitely going to need to pull some upsets in series we’re not favored in. We let the first 2 innings of a double hitter rattle us, it seems like SC has 3 bad innings a week, but they happen to be BRUTAL innings. Getting Mlodzinski back in a few weeks will help if this offense can play up to the potential on a consistence basis. I was shocked when I looked at the SEC East standing and saw outside of Georgia & Vandy there’s a log jam. Give me some hope guys!!!
Aaron Fitt: Well, it’s looking grim, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. Just moving up a peg or two in the SEC East standings won’t really accomplish much if SC is still 4-plus games below .500 in the league — and right now they’re 6 games under .500. If they don’t find a way to get to 14 SEC wins, they’re cooked, and right now I don’t see it happening. But you want hope — and hey, South Carolina looked dead about this time last year too, and still made some noise. It could happen…


Tucker B: What is your take on NC State following a 2-2 week going against Coastal and Louisville this week? Do you think they have what it takes to potentially win the ACC and go to Omaha? Obviously, the Sunday starter is a problem for the Pack but do they have the depth to get it done? Also, its gotta be time for Tresh to get a stab at DH right?
Aaron Fitt: Yeah I still feel good about NC State, and I think they’re the team to beat in the ACC right now. I think that offense is good enough to carry the Pack to the conference title, and I still think there’s probably enough depth on that staff to make up for the lack of a consistent Sunday starter. And Tucker, I agree about Tresh — talented guy, and I suspect he’ll be getting more run in the lineup soon.


Tim: What do you think Tulane has to do to get consideration for an at-large berth into a regional? Only two series losses so far this year, to two very good teams – Ole Miss and UCSB.
Aaron Fitt: They need to boost that RPI (currently 105) up into the top 40 or so, which is a tall order. And they need some quality wins — right now they’re 1-5 against the top 50, although as you point out all those losses are against very good teams. But just playing good teams and losing to them, and beating the lesser teams, is not enough to build an at-large resumé. You need some quality wins, and Tulane is lacking them right now. But clearly Tulane is much improved, and I could see the Wave making a run in the second half.


Corey S. : After a series win at Auburn this past weekend, what questions still remain to be answered by the Razorbacks in your mind?
Kendall Rogers: Corey — I think the biggest thing is that Arkansas needs to establish some consistency on the mound. Let’s see if Wicklander, etc, can put together good back to back starts, and let’s see if the bullpen can get it rolling as well. Other than that, I feel pretty good about the lineup and obviously Isaiah Campbell.


DtownKat: Do you see Sam Houston jumping into the Top 25 at any point this year? What do you think of the Freshman Colton Cowser? What kind of potential does this kid have?
Aaron Fitt: Yes, we actually had Sam Houston as team No. 26 this week, unofficially — strongly considered ranking those guys. That’s a good club that I think will be dangerous in the postseason. And I’m a huge fan of Cowser, he really impressed me in Frisco. He’s got a chance to be a first-rounder in a couple years — it’s that kind of tools. He’s a dude.


B Easy: Does ECU have the requisite pitching and hitting to stack up against an elite team like UCLA this weekend? ECU’s SOS is much lower than the Bruins but it seems like the Pirates are playing much better than they were at the beginning of the year now that everyone is healthy and the pitching rotation and the bullpen have been sorted out. I guess the ultimate questions are: (1) Do the Pirates have more than a puncher’s chance at taking 2 of 3 on the road against what I believe is the most complete team in the nation?  and (2) IF ECU somehow prevails how will that alter the national seed projections.
Aaron Fitt: Oh I’d definitely give ECU a puncher’s chance, the Pirates are really good, and also very complete. I agree that UCLA is the real deal, but ECU is good enough to go toe-to-toe with those guys — they’re actually built pretty similarly, with real firepower in the offense, some key playmakers on defense, and fairly comparable pitching staffs. Should be a great series.


Cowtown Bill: Is it time to buy back in on the Frogs? The bats have remained legit all year but not the pitching which is strange for TCU. But maybe they have finally found their other weekend starter now with Chuck King?
Kendall Rogers: I think I’m bought back in on the Frogs for the time being. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and the Frogs have series wins over Texas and Oklahoma, and were a base-hit away from taking the Oklahoma State series as well. TCU is one of those typical teams that’s much better than the RPI currently gives it credit for.


Jack: Big East Predictions? anything stand out this year?
Kendall Rogers: Jack — Creighton is a really interesting team right now. The Jays are up into the 20s with their RPI and while Will Robertson is having a nice year, the ringleader for those guys right now is Jake Holton, who has eight home runs and a .382 batting average. Ed Servais seems to have a pretty solid club. Will the RPI stay where it is? Highly doubtful.


Frank: What are the odds Georgia Tech & UGA both host regionals? And if not what are the odds they end up in each other’s regional? I feel like the dialogue over the past few years has been leaning towards a true 1-64 seeding and disregarding locations/rivalries entirely.
Aaron Fitt: I now believe it is more likely than not that both Tech and Georgia wind up hosting. The Bulldogs clearly look like a lock right now, and Tech is in really good shape after winning that UNC series, combined with their earlier series win against Louisville. If Tech drops off, I suppose it would wind up in Athens, of course — but there should be plenty of other options for 2 seeds in that region, so who knows, really.


Ryan: East Coast to West Coast for a three games series is tough enough as it is, let alone against the #1 team in the country. It should prepare ECU well for post-season play though. How do you see the weekend series at UCLA going? I think if we can get out of the week at 2-2 we’ll be in good shape.
Aaron Fitt: Guys I hate to do this, but I have to get on this plane. Kendall will take good care of you the rest of the way, see you next week!


JasonJacket: My Yellow Jackets have been red-hot lately, winning series vs. Louisville and UNC and taking down Georgia and Auburn.  Do you see getting in the hosting discussion?  We have a favorable back-end schedule.
Kendall Rogers: Jason — With the RPI where it is right now and the overall resume where it is, the Jackets are in pretty good shape to be a top 16 team at the end of the year, granted it doesn’t have some sort of meltdown. Danny’s club has put itself in good position.


Connor: What are you most excited to see in the Oregon State-ASU series?
Kendall Rogers: Connor — I’m really excited to see that showdown between Brandon Eisert and Alec Marsh in the series opener. Eisert has been awesome all-season long, Marsh has been terrific outside of last week, and you’ve got two different, but productive offenses going at it as well.


Clint: Series against Texas A&M, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Arkansas over the next month. How would you rank those in 1-4 order based on importance for MSState baseball. Would you dare to make a prediction on those series.
Kendall Rogers: Clint — Given how crazy good the SEC West is this season, I would put all three of those in the important category.


BobCraig: Do the Gators miss the postseason entirely this year (Hoover and regionals)?
Kendall Rogers: Bob — I don’t think so. Yes, the Gators have been pretty erratic this season, but that is going to be the case with such a young team. I still think Florida has a run in it at some point this season, but there’s no doubt that home series against SC is pretty important. Gators need to reestablish themselves.


Carson: With all of the young talent on the roster, would Miami be a WAY too early candidate to be #1 going into 2020?
Kendall Rogers: There are several teams with young rosters out there. While Miami is one of those clubs that stands out, Florida is going to be loaded next year and Texas will welcome back a lot of talented arms, along with a strong freshman recruiting class.


Patrick: Do my UCI Anteaters have any chance of hosting a regional this year?  Even with a win at Santa Barbara this weekend, I feel like a down year in the Big West is going to end up costing them.  Thanks in advance.
Kendall Rogers: Patrick — Very unlikely at this point with an RPI of 64 and not a ton of opportunities to get that RPI up. Right now, UCSB looks like the safest bet to host as a Top 16, while UCI is on the outside looking in. Remember, they take the best 16 teams now. Geography no longer matters.


Jim: Back to back sweeps for Louisiana Tech and RPI is now at 42. David Leal is back and they are looking like the team you guys have been waiting for. What are their at-large chances looking like right now?
Kendall Rogers: Jim — I’m actually writing a little short in my trending area of a story today. La Tech is up into the mid 40s and in striking distance of making our next Field of 64. Tech’s margin for error isn’t much because Conference USA is so down from an RPI standpoint, but it is at least back into the discussion.


Austin: I know you guys will have much more on this down the road, but how much will this season’s result affect Mike Martin Jr’s chances of getting the FSU job and who are some other candidates that could get it?
Kendall Rogers: Austin — I think FSU should do a true national search for a head coach. I think that’s an outstanding job. With that said, I think Jr. is the head coach no matter what. I think everything else is window dressing. But we’ll see. If something changes on that front I’ll let you know.


RyanTCU: With all the PAC-12 and SEC teams at the top of the rankings do you think the winner of the Big 12 regular season is a lock to secure a national seed?
Kendall Rogers: Ryan — Not necessarily. If that team isn’t in the Top 16 range, it won’t be a Top 16 seed. The committee no longer has the “balance” system. It’s a true Top 16 ranking. So, for instance, if TCU won the league with an RPI of 28, highly unlikely it would be a Top 16.


Adam: To feel comfortbale a team should be at least 500 in conference, no matter if it is the mighty SEC. At 4-8, is Florida in legit danger of missing the tourney?
Kendall Rogers: Adam — if the Gators drop that series to South Carolina this weekend, they’ll definitely have some work to do the final few weeks of the regular season to be in good shape postseason wise. I’m not THAT worried about UF just yet — but let’s see how the weekend unfolds.


Mike: Is there any way to make heads or tails of the SEC W right now?  Three teams tied for first.  The highest ranked team is in 5th.  All of those teams are in the top 12.  Is there any distinguishable front runner from that division?  Seems like it’s shaping up to be a BXII shootout where you still don’t know who the best team is at the end, someone is just going to be lucky and have time run out when they’re in the lead.
Kendall Rogers: Mike — I don’t really see a clear-cut leader between Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas, A&M and Mississippi State. All five have different strengths and weaknesses. I do think I lean LSU over the rest right now, though. LSU’s pitching staff is finally coming together and the offense is going to hit, as we all know, even more so when Daniel Cabrera returns to the lineup.


Kurt : This time next year, Oregon State’s head coach will be:
1) Pat Bailey
2) Pat Casey
Kendall Rogers: Pat Casey.


Chele: Oregon State fan here. Let’s assume Abel is going to be out for an extended period, which now seems likely. How do you think their pitching staff fairs the rest of the season without him, considering they still have big offenses left to face this season in Pac12 play, with ASU, Stanford, and even Arizona and SC after their performances this weekend?
Kendall Rogers: Chele — You know, having Abel back would obviously help. But the Beavers continue to get the job done without him. Pitching depth was a strength, and I liked Yeskie moving Eisert to the Friday role. Eisert/Fehmel is a terrific one-two punch, and the Beavers still have plenty of premier depth in the bullpen with Chamberlain/Mullholand. It’s a unique but very good situation to be in if you’re the Beavers. Getting Abel back would be icing on the cake at this point.


reece: What do you make of the upcoming series between Alabama at Mississippi State? Especially with the possibility that JT Ginn may not even pitch that weekend.
Kendall Rogers: Reece — Alabama is definitely improved this season, but for those guys to take the next step forward and to have a chance at the postseason, this is one of those series they have to take advantage of with Ginn potentially out. Right now, the RPI is at 60 with a 4-8 league record. a lot of work to do for the Tide, but the roadmap is there.


JT from Indy: Thoughts on the Purple Aces?  Top-40 RPI, series wins vs. Iowa, Creighton, and DBU.  Regional outfit if they win the Valley regular season title?
Kendall Rogers: JT — Ask me after the next two weekends against Indiana and Indiana State. If the Purple Aces take care of business those two weekends, that becomes much closer to reality. Keep an eye on Nate Reeder for the Aces. He’s had a strong season.


Steve: UCLA already has road series wins at Stanford and Georgia Tech, with a home series win against Oregon St. If they have another strong week against Irvine and ECU, how far are we from the Bruins having enough distance from the field that they can lose a series and still stay #1?
Kendall Rogers: Steve — We just talked about this on the podcast, but the Bruins are almost in a position, with another strong week, where they’ll have to totally meltdown not to be a top five/eight type of national seed. That’s such a fun position to be in … we’ll see if the Bruins have a strong week and get to that level.


Bo: How bout them #skers!!!! 4-0 week ! I know the record vs top 100 isn’t great but 4-1 vs the big 12 has to say a lot. What is the potential for this team?
Kendall Rogers: Bo — They are playing well my man. In addition to the offense going bonkers over the weekend with 39 runs in three games against Purdue, Matt Waldron is putting up insane numbers on the mound. He struck out nine in seven innings over the weekend and now has 48 strikeouts as opposed to just three walks. That’s outstanding, and it sure breeds confidence when you have an ace like that.


Kendall Rogers: All right guys — that’s all the time I have today. Be sure to Subscribe to D1Baseball, here: https://d1baseball.com/subscribe/

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