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D1Baseball’s Weekly Chat: March 11

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SEE ALSO: Top 25 Rankings | Rogers Weekly Rewind | Aaron Fitt on Seattle Showcase


Bob: Aaron and Kendall, after catching Rutchman at both the Surprise and Seattle tourney, do you still think he is the number 1 pick in the MLB draft?  Who do you see as the 2nd and 3rd picks?
Kendall Rogers: Bob — For me, Rutschman is definitely still the No. 1 pick in the draft for now. He just has it all. He runs the bases well, he’s a premier catcher with a great arm and he’s certainly an outstanding hitter. As for the 2/3/4 spots and such, it’s hard to tell right now because of all the high school talent as well. And even in college, Graeme Stinson was the top pitcher on the board in the preseason and his stuff has been down, so even the No. 2 college spot is very much wide open at the moment.


Tex: How close was Sam Houston State to making the top 25?  RPI pretty good but had both Texas Tech and TCU games cancelled
Kendall Rogers: Sam is in the mix right now with several teams, including UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Illinois, etc. As I wrote in the fall and Aaron wrote here recently at the Frisco Classic, we really like their club — Wesneski is a stud on the weekend, Mikolajchak is electric and I really like that lineup with my man Colton Cowser as one of the ringleaders.


Casey: Is La Tech the best team in C-USA with USM’s downfall and Rice slowing down?
Kendall Rogers: Casey — That’s a good question, and I thought that was a distinct possibility until the Bulldogs got demolished in the series finale against Arkansas. The one thing to consider is that Tech still doesn’t have one of its best pitchers in David Leal. I would have Tech/USM/Rice all in pretty much the same group. All have pluses, but have noticeable warts.


Kevin : What are thoughts on the USC UCLA dodger stadium game?
Kendall Rogers: Clearly, the Trojans need to show something this season. USC has plenty of talent, but it’s hard to get out of it when you get stuck in a losing culture. Not saying that’s what Dan has created, but that’s what he inherited. Until USC experiences big success it’s hard to get out of that mindset. With that said, it’s TBD how much Lynn Swann actually cares about baseball. And USC also isn’t the job it used to be. It’s an incredibly expensive school in a bad part of Los Angeles. UCLA is a better job by a mile.


ATXDude: I see you guys didn’t move Texas down after losing 3/4 at Stanford. I’m high on this team, but I’m still not sure they’re a top-15 caliber team, mostly because I haven’t been impressed with LSU this year. Does the defense concern you guys and do you guys tend to agree that at the end of the year that Texas will be in the 20-25 range?
Kendall Rogers: ATX — I’m glad you asked about that. We really struggled keeping Texas in the same spot as last week, but it made no sense to drop the Longhorns behind LSU at this juncture after dominating LSU for much of the weekend two weeks ago. WTS — with Petrinsky (And now McCann) hurt, I’m definitely a little concerned about this team’s defensive play with the Tech series coming up. Of course, Tech has its own issues with Josh Jung banged up right now.


Sam : is Ucsb close to joining the top 25
Kendall Rogers: Sam — UCSB was in the discussion, though to be honest, no one was passing up Clemson (after sweeping UNC) and Arizona State (off to a 15-0 start) in the pecking order. There’s no doubt UCSB is on our radar, though. Checketts and his staff are doing a terrific job. Ben Brecht kicked off the weekend in impressive fashion and Tevin Mitchell was huge from an offensive standpoint. Love the direction this program is headed right now, and I think they’re the best team in the Big West right now. Fullerton clearly has some issues.


Bmac: What do you guys think of the Auburn vs Tennessee series this weekend?
Kendall Rogers: BMAC — I think that should be a terrific series. Assuming Davis Daniel isn’t going to pitch this weekend, I think the Vols have the advantage outside of Tanner Burns, though Jack Owen has been outstanding as well. I do think Auburn is clearly a better offensive team, but we will see what happens this weekend. I think I like Auburn, albeit in a very close series.


Jonny : After seeing the sooners in Houston do you believe their pitching staff is legit ?
Kendall Rogers: Jonny — I liked what I saw from the Sooners. They showed really solid pitching depth in the middle game where Wiles went out early and the offense got going in the final two games of the series. Diego Muniz is a really exciting young player and I came away extremely impressed with veteran third baseman Brylie Ware. OU is definitely one of those teams in the discussion for the Top 25 — but no room this week.


Dylan: Hey, what you guys think of the New Mexico lobos so far? They’ve had some pretty good wins to start off the season, I know they lost twice to Oregon State but what do you guys think?
Kendall Rogers: Dylan — I actually really liked this club in Surprise. Yes, the Lobos lack premium pitching depth (they always do because of obvious constraints), but Justin Slaten is as good as anyone’s Friday guy and the offense is solid with the Mang’s and others leading the charge. UNM is a horrible team to play on the road in ABQ. Fullerton found that way over the weekend.


Midwest Aggie: A&M saw a SEC caliber arm in Legumina last week and looked hopeless. I’m worried that they will spend the entire season trying to win games 1-0. What level of optimism do you have in the bats scoring enough to keep them in contention for hosting? Or if this performance keeps up, will they be in danger of missing the tournament all together?
Kendall Rogers: Midwest — A&M definitely still has something to prove from an offensive standpoint, but as you said, the pitching staff is very, very good. At some point, the offense has to step up though, because as you saw in the opener, John Doxakis finally looked human and the Aggies lost as a result (Legumina, as you saw, is really good). The proof is in the pudding as they say — and we’ll find out about the Aggies sooner rather than later. I love the arms ,though.


Brandon: Could Emerson Hancock be the first college pitcher off the board next year?
Kendall Rogers: I suppose that’s possible, but my money is on Tanner Burns right now with Kevin Abel and other right behind him.


William : Thoughts on Mississippi State/Florida series in Gainesville this weekend? Florida has started slow but they are still Florida. Interested to see how the State bats fare against the Gators arms.
Kendall Rogers: William — About as much of a tossup series as you can get ,IMO. Both teams have played pretty well on the weekends, and I really like the one-two punches for both in Mace/Leftwich and Small/Ginn. I think this series comes down to the final game of the series, where I do think UF has a slight advantage, assuming Tyler Dyson is on. I think I lean UF at home — but MSU winning this series wouldn’t remotely surprise me.


Cowtown Bill: TCU looks like they have the bats this year and two elite starters. But the third weekend starter seems to be a problem. Who can step up if Janczak does not make it back to his old self?
Kendall Rogers: CB — That’s the million dollar question. I am willing to give Jake Eissler a mulligan, though. It was his first start of the season, and crazy things can happen in those situations. You get amped up, etc …. If Eissler can’t do it and Janczak continues to struggle, the Frogs might be in some trouble, at least from a starting pitching standpoint.


Alex: Saw that Vandy led the nation in pitching number of strikeouts per 9 innings. They seem to be doing it without an elite Friday starter (Fellows is no Price/Gray). What has been your impression of their pitching so far? Seems like their offense is going to continue to have to pile up runs in order to stay on top.
Kendall Rogers: Alex — That’s the one concern I have with the Commodores, and another person asked about that series against A&M this weekend. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Vandy’s pitching does, and how A&M’s weak offense (at least for now) fares against Vandy’s arms. That’s the matchup of the weekend in that series, IMO. The one thing I can say about Vandy is that it possesses premium pitching depth.


Ben: What do you make of the Stanford-Texas series?  Was it surprising for you considering the Stanford bats have been statistically not as good as people expected?
Kendall Rogers: Ben — Stanford dominating the final game of the series was a little surprising, but I’m not surprised at all they won the series. Stanford is a very solid club and will be tough to beat on the weekend in league play with Brendan Beck/Erik Miller leading the charge on the mound. Beck showed excellent pitchability in the opener and Miller was obviously outstanding in the series finale. It was good to see Kyle Stowers back in the lineup, too.


Taylor : #2 vs #3 in Cali this weekend. Got any eyeballs on that matchup? Big beaver fan here-what’re your takeaways from the beavs so far? Offense is a work in progress imo but the pitching has been unbelievable. It seems like every guy coming out of the pen hasn’t given up a run yet. Keep up the good work!
Kendall Rogers: Taylor — Oregon State is pretty much who we thought it would be coming into the season. A stellar pitching staff with an offense that would have plenty of highs and lows. I’d rather have that situation as opposed to major issues on the mound.


Kevin: Big boy season starts this weekend in the SEC. Which teams have surprised you both good and bad over the first month of the season? Out of the good, who do you think has staying power?
Kendall Rogers: In terms of surprises in a good way, you’d have to go with Tennessee. I thought the Vols could be OK this year, but one loss at this juncture? Really surprising. I obviously don’t think the Vols will keep this up, but I think they have a good enough team to certainly make a regional. The pitching has been rock solid with Stallings/Linginfelter/Crochet leading the way, while the offense is doing more than enough to take care of business. In terms of disappointments, I’m not really sure I have one, though LSU’s pitching woes is a story line for sure.


Jeffrey: What are your thoughts on DBU 7 straight wins? How close are they to cracking the Top 25?
Kendall Rogers: Dallas Baptist is one of those teams in the discussion for the Top 25 for sure. The pitching has improved from last season and guys like Burl Carraway have taken a huge step forward since last season. Really intrigued to see what DBU does the rest of the season. Could be one of those mid-major clubs that snags an unexpected regional host.


Bo: Any teams outside the top 25 that you could see breaking in over the next few weeks?
Kendall Rogers: Bo — Totally off the top of my head — UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Miami, DBU and Illinois are teams in the Top 25 mix — but more are in the discussion as well.


Kevin: The Wolfpack are 15-0, and they’ve actually beaten some good teams. Pitching depth has been key, but do you think Avent is leaning on the bullpen a bit too much? Parker and Johnston delivered solid starts this weekend, but both were yanked in the 6th at the first sign of trouble. It’s week 4, pitch counts in the 60s shouldn’t be an issue. Can Canaan Silver stay in the rotation? He’s been fine but I don’t think his stuff is good enough against the better bats in the ACC. Still would like to see Dalton Feeney get into a starting role. He’s the type who can settle down and get through a lineup 2 or 3 times. He’s been a bit shaky in relief lately. Andrew Blake looked great in long relief on Saturday. Anyone else stand out? And a quick offensive question: who can step up and get some hits at the bottom of the order? Just no consistency there whatsoever.
Kendall Rogers: Kevin — it’s a long season, so I don’t have an issue at all with Avent yanking guys in the middle innings, especially if he thinks the Wolfpack have enough quality pitching depth to get the job done the final few innings. You really want those arms fresh, so being able to win while doing that is a huge luxury at this stage of the season. Big weekend coming up for NC State!


Luke: How do you feel so far for Alabama Baseball?  We are on a 11 game winning streak and the streak is tied for the most wins since 1999.  How do you see our SEC Start being like with a tough SEC slate for Alabama? First 3 weeks- @ Ole Miss, Arkansas, @ Florida
Kendall Rogers: Luke – The Tide definitely seems to be much improved from last season, but we’ll see how they fare to begin SEC play. Mark Etheridge had some great stuff on Alabama a couple of weeks ago after that huge series win over South Alabama. It sounds like Brock Love has shown some really good stuff so far this season. I’m intrigued to see how the Tide does this weekend. They’re better. How much better? We’ll soon find out.


Andrew: Maryland has played a bit better than people expected. Do you think they have a shot at making the NCAA Tourney?
Kendall Rogers: Maryland is definitely better, but it might be difficult to get into postseason position with a few teams ahead of them in the pecking order in the Big Ten right now. But it’s still very early — so let’s let the season play out a bit more.


Spear15: Not ready to panic, but FSU’s Parrish and Van Eyk are yet to look themselves this season. Should we be concerned this is a product of Mike Bell moving on? Or more a case of a couple of guys that are yet to knock the rust off?
Kendall Rogers: Spear — Let’s see how they do as ACC play continues. Parrish is an excellent pitcher and Van Eyk clearly has premier stuff. It’s still very early as well. I’d expect them to get rolling, probably sooner rather than later.


Luke: How many AAC teams make the tourney and do you see any of them being regional / super regional host
Kendall Rogers: Luke — Right now, I have East Carolina as a lock to get into barring some crazy collapse, I think Connecticut is a postseason team and I think Houston will be there, too. UCF and USF are working from behind, IMO. UCF losing that series at home to Penn State is going to hurt for a while, IMO.


John: Do y’all believe if the season ended right now that Louisiana Tech would get into the tournament?
Kendall Rogers: John — I have USM/Rice/La Tech as potential postseason teams …. and I think two of t hose make it in. Right now, it’s a total tossup, but I’d probably have USM and La Tech slightly ahead. Rice was really working from behind from an overall record standpoint.


Cane fan in Oregon: What are your thoughts on Miami? Is this a team that can make it to a Super Regional or are they still too young and just a year or two away?
Kendall Rogers: Cane — I definitely think Miami could make a super regional if its regional pairing is solid. The Canes have a solid one-two punch with McKendry and McMahon, and I think the bullpen is really talented, albeit the unit has had some serious drama as of late. Offensively, I obviously like what Miami brings to the table. Should be a fun season in Coral Gables.


Jacob: After Clemson’s series sweep of UNC, does that say more for the resillency of Clemson to come back after a tough rivalry series loss or does it maybe give South Carolina a little more confidence (from a fan/outside perspective) that maybe their performance against Clemson was a sign of a team still with some question marks, mainly in the starting pitching area, but a lot to build around?
Kendall Rogers: Jacob — I think South Carolina fans should always feel very confident with a series win over Clemson. That was a strong series win, especially the way it ended. But I was really impressed with Clemson’s resiliency over the weekend. To blowout UNC in one of the games, while also winning in walk-offs in the other two games showed me a lot about the club’s makeup. They also got another strong start from freshman Davis Sharpe. Good gut check weekend for the Tigers.


Brad: Do you think that Arkansas is as talented as last year? I feel their pitching is vastly improved without much of an offense drop. Thoughts?

Kendall Rogers: Brad — That’s a good question. I think last year’s team was more talented, especially when you consider guys like Jackson Rutledge and Bryce Bonnin were actually on the roster. But this year’s club definitely have some quality arms in the bullpen and the offense, as usual, is talented. I’m intrigued to see the Hogs up close and personal in Fayetteville in a couple of weeks.
Kendall Rogers: All right, everyone. I have to run, but it was a fantastic chat. Be sure to Subscribe to D1Baseball at http://www.d1baseball.com/subscribe

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