D1Baseball Weekly Chat: May 9Top Stories
Sam Smith: What in the world happened to my Vols this weekend
Kendall Rogers: Sam — Give Kentucky credit for making some BIG pitches and getting some big hits, but I thought Tennessee kind of looked checked out over the weekend. Not sure if it was because of the crap weather or what, but not the typical energy the Vols usually play with. WTS — I suspect the Vols will establish normalcy at home this weekend.
Brad: I know UConn’s schedule has been very light but is there any viable scenario you see where they move into the discussion for hosting?
Kendall Rogers: Brad — The RPI is sitting in the mid 30s right now, and would probably need to get into the mid20s to have a shot. With that said, there’s definitely a pathway there. If UCONN cruised the rest of the regular season and destroyed the field in the Big East tourney, it would have around 50 wins with a Top 10 human ranking. That would be a tough team to turn down as a host if UCONN is within striking distance.
Big 12 Fan: Texas is now back inside the top-16 in RPI with a road series win at WVU. With only five regular season games left (TX Southern, SHSU, KU (3)) do they need to go 5-0 in those games to host? Would a 14-10 Big 12 record be enough for them to host?
Kendall Rogers: Big 12 — If the Longhorns are 14-10 in the league and play well in Arlington, that would very much be a strong hosting resume, IMO, when you look at some of UT’s higher-end wins. I would probably lean toward UT hosting in that situation, but it’s still very fluid.
Guest: After Auburn dropped the series to Arkansas, where do you see their host chances now? Still top 10 RPI but only 13-11 in the SEC currently.
Kendall Rogers: I have Auburn finishing regular season play with 16-17 conference wins, so that, combined with a strong RPI, would be enough to host, at least in the first round. Win 17 or more and Auburn is in the top eight discussion, IMO. I think AU finishes at 17-13.
Tyler: Is there any pathway for Charlotte to snag an at large bid out of CUSA?
Kendall Rogers: Tyler — Sitting at 83 in the RPI right now as a C-USA team, the 49ers have a LONG way to go to even get in striking distance. CHAR needs to get in that 40-50 range to have a shot.
Tim: Is Old Dominion in the Field of 64 now with the road series win over Southern Miss?
Kendall Rogers: Tim — ODU is an interesting case, because it has 6 wins vs. RPI Top 50 teams (Which is solid for a mid-major), and is up to 41 in the RPI. However, ODU is still sixth in C-USA. I think ODU is out as of today … but clearly trending upward.
Tortured Tiger: Has there ever been a team like Clemson that seems to be equally as possible to be a 2 seed somewhere with a (admittedly unlikely) strong finish to the season as it is they straight up don’t make the tournament? Seems crazy that a 31-17 team that’s currently #18 in RPI still has work to do to be in the NCAA tournament. Weird year for the Tigers…
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, very weird year. A week ago I would have told you Clemson was dead in the water at 6-14 in the ACC. Now, after sweeping Georgia Tech, it feels like Clemson will get in if it wins its last two series, especially if it can sweep BC. Hell of a ride for those Tigers.
HornFan: Is it just me or is the “bubble” situation for both hosting and getting in fairly soft this season? It seems like in listening to the Nerdcast there’s only about 18 teams each week being discussed for hosting and about 66-67 teams total for 64 spots.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah I think you’re right, that’s as good observation. Some years it feels like we’ve got 24 strong hosting candidates and 70 at-large candidates. This year, the pool has definitely seemed smaller for both.
Hollis: If ole miss can win the last two series vs lsu and Texas a&m, would they be in contention to make the tournament? And if not, how would they have to do at Hoover?
Kendall Rogers: Hollis — That would put Ole Miss at 14 SEC wins going into Hoover. I would *think* winning game in Hoover would probably get Ole Miss in given its RPI would be in that 30-40 range. But that’s assuming there are no upsets in other conference tournaments.
Jayrok: You were clear last week that it would take a lot to move the Vols out of first place. Wondering how the conversation went after their series at Kentucky? They looked a bit more human. If they were swept, would your decision have changed?
Kendall Rogers: JAYROCK — Great question. Aaron, Roons and myself certainly discussed moving Oregon State to No. 1. OSU is playing at a very high level. With that said, the Vols have been unreal all but one weekend this season, and their entire body of work dwarfs the Beavs’ at the moment. It’s definitely a mulligan, but one mulligan that is definitely deserved. WTS – I think the separation between Tennessee and OSU is a lot less than I thought it was a week ago. I watched two of the games between the Beavs and Ducks and was extremely impressed with the Beavs. Getting Pfennigs back is huge for the Beavs, too. Check out Aaron’s piece today on those guys — great stuff.
Kendall Rogers: Also, just to get on the record, Cooper Hjerpe is my slam dunk pick for Pitcher of the Year in college baseball. Yeah, not exactly going out on a limb… but an unreal season. I was intrigued that Aaron thought he was a mid-first-rounder, too.
Alex from Atascocita: ECU seems to have found its winning ways as the season is quickly reaching the end of the regular season. Seems like AAC is going to come down to the final weekend showdown between Houston at ECU. If ECU can finish regular season with 37 or 38 wins and regular season title, can the slide into an at large or will then still need an AAC tournament crown knowing the AAC is weak this year? Also, thoughts on the 9 inning no hitter for CJ Mayhue on Friday? Tough not getting credit for a true no-hitter since it went to extras.
Aaron Fitt: Hi Alex — by reeling off back to back sweeps, it now does feel like ECU is in much better at-large position if it doesn’t win the AAC tourney. The RPI has jumped from the 50s to No. 37, and I think if it stays inside the top 40, they’re safe. In the 40s would be on the bubble but still have a decent shot. Mayhue is awesome — always loved him in the bullpen, but he clearly has the pitchability to thrive as a starter in college, as that amazing performance showed. Smart move by ECU to move him into that Friday role. You’d still like ECU’s chances in the postseason better if they had both Whisenhunt and Mayhue, but at least now they’ve found a legit shutdown Friday night guy. I think that’s a major difference maker.
Guest: If Mercer wins there final two series, Vmi at home and Samford on the road, how far do they need to make it into the socon tournament to keep the at large? I know we have limited opportunities for quad one wins ( Georgia Southern midweek and potentially Wofford if we meet them in the Socon tournament).
Aaron Fitt: Getting swept at WCU was obviously a big setback, but the Bears are still in good RPI shape at No. 33. Without a conference regular-season title, I think they need to stay there in the mid-30s to have an at-large shot, and the RPI Needs Report says they can finish in the top 32 if they win seven of their last eight. So a strong finish is definitely important, because the history for teams that don’t win regular-season titles in leagues like the SoCon isn’t great for at-large bids.
BR: Seems like the top 6 CUSA teams are rolling right now. Still only a two bid league? (Southern, ODU, LA Tech, UTSA, MTSU,FAU)
Kendall Rogers: BR — I am starting to think Conference USA will morph into a three-bid league. Suddenly, its RPI, which was around 8-9 earlier this spring, is now sitting at a very very solid 5. What a tide turner for that league. How do you dissect all those teams from a postseason standpoint, too? Very difficult.
Todd: Kentucky’s road to the tournament?
Aaron Fitt: At 9-15 in the SEC and No. 58 in the RPI, the Wildcats still have a ways to go, but this weekend definitely gives them a shot. The RPI is the bigger obstacle, because even winning two out of three in their last two weekends to get to 13-17 in the league will probably leave them outside the RPI range an SEC team needs to get in. The Needs Report says they need to finish 8-0 to land in the top 45 heading into Hoover, and I doubt you’d see an SEC team with a losing conference record get a bid outside the top 45 in the RPI. So they’ll probably wind up having work to do in Hoover regardless.
WV Fan: WV took one from Texas but it was a home series for WV and one of the losses was ugly. Did the weekend hurt or help their postseason chances?
Kendall Rogers: WV — Tough series loss, but honestly, it didn’t really change much for WVU. 39 RPI — 10-8 in the Big 12, and a favorable weekend to end the regular season. I think at worst WVU finishes league play at 13-11 with a solid RPI. That should do it barring a disaster at Globe Life in a few weeks.
Mike: Was it still unanimous that Tennessee is #1?
Aaron Fitt: Ultimately it was. I was definitely on the fence after watching the Beavers this weekend — I thought they looked like a very complete team playing at an exceptionally high level right now, whereas the Vols are not currently playing their best baseball. But as Kendall mentioned, Tennessee’s overall body of work is still louder, with more high-end wins against regional teams (road sweeps of Vandy and Florida, a sweep of Georgia Southern, a series win against Auburn). The Beavers are 5-0 against Oregon and 3-1 against Gonzaga, with one win against Stanford in a series loss and a midweek split vs. Grand Canyon, but that’s it as far as wins against regional clubs. Still pretty good, but not quite as good as Tennessee, especially since the Beavers also have a few losses against teams like Wazzu, Arizona State, Cal and Utah, three of whom have losing records. I do think it’s very close between UT and OSU, but the Vols earned one mulligan week.
KR-Hates-My-Team: If selection day was today, would Southern Miss be hosting? If so, what is the bare minimum W/L record the Eagles can afford to have down the stretch to keep that host spot? Feels like the opportunity is slipping away……
Kendall Rogers: I’d probably still have USM as a host right now — but it’s not trending the right direction. USM needs to get healthy … now.
RFBleacherCreature: I want off the Clemson Baseball rollercoaster… So in a hypothetical, Clemson wins 1 in Charlottesville and Sweeps BC and finishes 13-16 with an RPI in the 18-25 range, are they in? Or still have work to do in the ACCT
Aaron Fitt: In this scenario, it’s a definite bubble case, but my gut says they’d sneak in if they were able to win at least one game in Charlotte.
Brandon: I know a lot of the rankings have to do with what the people around you do week to week. Arkansas is ranked 4th, same as last week when you projected them as the 9th seed. Do you think Arkansas is the 4th best team in the country or are they ranked there because they’ve won on the correct weeks?
Kendall Rogers: Brandon — I thought the Hogs played pretty well over the weekend. Robert Moore finally came through and they’re getting contributions from a lot of different guys. I think i would take the Hogs in a H2H series against VT, Miami, Louisville and Stanford.
Cold Weather Curious: Two Q’s. 1) Any consideration given to weather/time of year for certain results? Clemson goes 0-5 on the road against ND and Pitt in sub 40 weather with some precipitation. Are those losses weighed any differently than others?
2)Also, does the committee consider the conference teams that aren’t on your schedule aside from general SOS metrics? Clemson missed both Duke and UNC who are bottom of the table teams and teams Clemson could’ve created some separation from had they played head to head?
Aaron Fitt: One more Clemson question, because it’s a good one. (1) I have never gotten the indication that the committee digs deep enough in to consider circumstances like weather when evaluating losses. (2) Same answer. Here’s an area where I think the committee should dig a little deeper, because unbalanced conference schedules do matter, but I don’t think they actually do.
Jim from ACC Land: Does the MEAC get an automatic berth in the tourney this year? It looks like they only have 4 teams. I thought you had to have a certain number (maybe 6 or 7) of team to receive the AQ bid.
Aaron Fitt: They do still get an automatic bid. They have a year or two (forget the exact amount of time) of a grace period to get back to a larger league before they lose their AQ.
Tech Dad: If Texas Tech Wins both series vs OK State and OK, is there a chance to host?
Kendall Rogers: Tech — If Tech did that, the Red Raiders would have an RPI in the Top 32. That would mean Tech could conceivable get into hosting position with a strong showing at the Big 12 tournament. Unlikely at this point but certainly not out of the question.
Oaklandpanther: Pitt, just can’t wrap my head around this team. The struggle with a 3rd weekend arm is gonna haunt them on decision Monday I fear. How much ground do they have to make up to make the postseason? The duke series was a positive but Oakland and dropping one to nca&t hurts. Gotta think they have to take the last 2 ACC series right? And that’s a tall task in south bend
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, Pitt would be on the wrong side of the bubble as of today because of that No. 59 RPI, but at Notre Dame is a great RPI-boosting opportunity, and vs. Georgia Tech as well. But the Needs Report says they need to win seven of their last eight to climb into the top 45, and like Kentucky, I don’t see an ACC team getting a bid outside the top 45 this year, even a cold-weather ACC team. Tall task, indeed.
TugboatGumbo: If LSU wins out, somehow extinguishes the dumpster fire that is their Saturday pitching and infield defense, and sweeps Ole Miss and Vandy: do you see them getting a national seed?
Aaron Fitt: Yeah I’d say so, that would get LSU to 20-10 in the league. That’s usually a pretty good target for an SEC national seed.
Captain Crunch: Can the West Coast Conference be a 2 Bid League?
Kendall Rogers: CAP — I’d have the WCC as a two-bid league right now. USD’s RPI has slipped to 48, but it will get a boost in a couple of weekends by facing Gonzaga to end the regular season. Still like where the Toreros sit.
Jason: Hey Aaron, what was the highlight of your Corvallis trip? One baseball related and one non-baseball.
Aaron Fitt: Watching Cooper Hjerpe was a real treat, even though the conditions Friday night were miserable. I remember watching Chris Sale in college, and Hjerpe had that kind of look about him — but I think his secondary stuff is better than Sale’s was at the same age, though he has less velocity (but his fastball plays way, way above its velocity — that is a premium heater at 91-92, it’s amazing). Non-baseball highlight was talking with all the fans and parents who stopped by to say hello, really warm hospitality as usual from the folks in Corvallis. Also had a good meal at Block 15.
#1 in your heart: Mississippi state may not make the ncaa field, but we would be a 1 seed in the NIT. What are the qualifications for the NIT you ask? You must be among national leaders in WLOB (walks + runners left on base). I’m not certain that’s a real metric, but I assure you we lead the country in it.
Aaron Fitt: We’ll have to ask Nerdmaster General Etheridge if he utilizes WLOB when constructing his Road to Quahog bracket.
Chris: Hey guys, new subscriber here!! Love the content, Wanted to get your opinion on Miami, what do they need to do from here in our to host and also for a national seed? Also Do you think this roster is built for Omaha? Thanks again!!
Kendall Rogers: Chris — if the Hurricanes split their final two regular season series, they’d still finish ACC play at 20-10 — that’d be pretty impressive to go with a Top 10 RPI. That would likely get it done. As for the ‘Canes, I really like the one-two punch, and having the best closer in college baseball certainly helps. Miami would be a tough team to knockout.
Triple A: When do updated positional rankings come out, and do you see any players making a huge jump?
Aaron Fitt: This week! We’ll begin rolling them out tomorrow. Hjerpe is an obvious jumper — he was No. 13 after week six, but I’d put him at No. 1 right now, we’ll see if my colleagues agree. Matt Coutney at ODU is another — somehow he didn’t crack our list at first base in week six. He’ll be stuffed way up there in our update.
Brendan Bell: Despite being behind A&M and LSU in the SEC West, Auburn does have the head to head on the road against them both. If Auburn wins their last two series against Bama and Kentucky, would they be above A&M and LSU in the hosting conversation even if they finish below them in the standings?
Kendall Rogers: Bell — Very likely, yes. Auburn would have a higher RPI than both of those teams, would have the H2H against both of those teams AND let’s not forget — the committee knows all about unbalanced schedules. The fact is Auburn had to play Tennessee on the road — A&M/LSU will not play UT.
Adam: Good morning! Okay couple weeks ago I asked what was the highest ranked RPI team to miss the field was. This was in reference to where the Gators stood at the time with their conference record and outstanding RPI. Let us get crazy, what if Gators win out and end at 17-13, 2 wins in Hoover, they backdoor into a host?! Thank you!
Aaron Fitt: Kendall brought up this scenario in our group chat this week. Yes, all of a sudden it does feel like Florida has a pathway to host, as unlikely as that seemed two weeks ago. At South Carolina and vs. Missouri are both sweepable series — not gimmes of course, and certainly the Gamecocks have proven they can beat anybody. But nonetheless, that’s about as favorable as an SEC two-week stretch can be.
Paul: Nice series win for my Trojans, was this a bigger series win or a more painful series loss for UofA?
Aaron Fitt: I would have to say the latter. USC is 8-16 in the Pac, they’re really not going anywhere. Arizona is trying to build its resumé, that was an important weekend.
Colby: A&M won two out of three against SCAR and won their midweek, yet fell to 24 in RPI. How does that effect chances of hosting? What would A&M have to do to stay in the discussion for a national seed?
Kendall Rogers: Colby — Having your RPI drop down to 24 because of one loss isn’t optimal, but the Aggies are sitting at 14 SEC wins with two weekends to go. If A&M wins both of those series and is sitting at 18 league wins entering the SEC tournament, I find it very hard to believe they wouldn’t be a Top 16 host, at minimum, even if the RPI is in the 20-25 range.
Jeffrey: What are your thoughts on DBU’s chances for potential hosting opportunity considering they are RPI #6 and SOS #4 if they win there last 2 series?
Aaron Fitt: I still think the key for DBU to host is to win the MVC regular-season title; otherwise I don’t think their strong RPI will be enough. They’re currently three games out of first place, and lost the head-to-head series vs. first-place Evansville. I’m not loving DBU’s chances.
Brendan Bell: Is the Pac 12 still a lock to get 5 bids? With Arizona and UCLA dropping tough series over the weekend, those two are slipping in the RPI. I think the Pac deserves 5 bids, but if either one of those teams doesn’t finish strong, I feel like they could be sweating a bit on selection Monday.
Aaron Fitt: I think that’s fair. Still feels like a five-bid league, but the Bruins and Wildcats are starting to run out of wiggle room. At No. 63 in the RPI, UCLA is outside of typical at-large range, but Pac-12 teams get more leeway and have gotten bids in the 60s before. I still assume UCLA’s RPI will rebound, but the Needs Report says they need to win 7 of their last 8 to get into the top 45, so you’re probably looking at an RPI around 50 heading into the conference tourney. Let’s say UCLA goes 3-3 down the stretch vs. Wazzu and at Oregon State; that would get them to 17-13 in the Pac. I think that’s enough to get a bid even with a borderline (at best) RPI.
Captain Crunch: I think Mississippi State’s at large hopes are all but gone after getting swept by Florida at home. What do you think?
Kendall Rogers: Mississippi State’s RPI is sitting at 102 and it has a 9-15 record in the SEC. Let’s just assume they win both series to end the regular season — that’s still 13-17 going into the SEC tournament with a (still) very bad RPI. It’s going to take winning those two series AND making a run in Hoover.
Gohogsscc: A series win for hogs over Vandy and Bama to finish the year lock in a top 8 seed?
Kendall Rogers: If the Hogs do just that — yep, top-eight lock for me, IMO. That would likely mean winning the SEC West by 2 or 3 games.
PNW: For Aaron, Oregon St continues to dominate with a great sweep over the Ducks. Were than any positives for the Ducks this past week or is this team trending downwards with that pitching staff that continues to give up sooo many free passes? Still a team capable of winning a regional or do they need another year to patch the roster?
Aaron Fitt: I wrote my thoughts about Oregon today in my takeaways piece, so I would encourage you to check that out. I still really like that position player group, but this weekend didn’t do anything to assuage my doubts about the pitching staff. They need to throw more strikes, and they need to get more length out of their starters. Waz indicated he will mix things up and try guys in new roles, but my gut says this team is probably a little light on the mound to win a regional. But you never know, if their bats are hot, they could slug their way through. Lots of very good players in that lineup, and they can defend.
Hoover: Maybe this is a question for the Nerd-in-Chief, but when was the last time the SEC had no teams in the RPI 26-50 range? This seems…good for mid-majors.
Aaron Fitt: I’ll pass it along to the NMG! Seems like a relevant observation, I would tend to agree with you. With teams like South Carolina, Ole Miss, Alabama and Kentucky all outside the top 50, their at-large chances are not great. And that does help the mid-major bubble teams.
Kyle Hutson: What is the most likely seed for Texas State and what do y’all think is the ceiling for the Bobcats?
Aaron Fitt: I think they wind up as a 2-seed. They’ve been so consistent this year, maybe they can win a regional — definitely wouldn’t rule them out.
Conway Chauncey: Thoughts on Coastal Carolina? They’ve been hot lately. Are they still on the outside looking in?
Kendall Rogers: Conway — They are playing really, really right now. I think it’s a coin flip between the Chants and Louisiana, but give me a very slight edge to Coastal at the moment. There’s a scenario the Sun Belt gets four teams in, but I’d be surprised if it’s more than three. The conference tournament is going to mean a lot for this league, IMO.
Tigre: So I guess Georgia Tech didn’t really want to host, huh? What an odd resume they are putting together.
Aaron Fitt: Yeah, they really are a jekyll and hyde team — lots of high-end wins, and a bunch of just bad weekends. Hosting was right there for the taking, but instead they find themselves at 12-15 in the league, and in danger of sweating an at-large bid if they lose that last series at Pitt.
Matt: Another year, another May with Iowa on the bubble. Seems like the Hawkeyes are in this spot every season — owning some nice series wins but in need of RPI improvement quickly without a lot of great chances to do so. What is Iowa’s most reasonable at-large route at this point?
Kendall Rogers: Matt — I’m not in love with Iowa’s RPI right now, but if it wins its final two series, I think I’d still have the Hawkeyes in the field. They do have some solid, high-end wins.
TedD: Which likely/potential #4 seeds have opening game pitchers that pose the biggest threat to a host? And thanks for your great coverage!!!
Aaron Fitt: Ted: Looking at the 4 seeds we had last week, Campbell is the one that leaps off the screen — I would want nothing to do with Thomas Harrington as a 1 seed. That guy is a first-rounder for me, and he’s having a simply incredible season, just smothering the strike zone with four legit pitches. Tyler Schweitzer at Ball State is another.
Ben: Question about Queens – what is the 4 year transitional period and how will that affect them? Will they be eligible for post season right away?
Kendall Rogers: Ben — negative. You aren’t eligible to make the postseason until your transition period is over with. It’s the same reason that Cal Baptist, who has been very solid in D1, has been unable to play in the postseason.
Aaron Fitt: OK gang, I’ve got to run to the airport — thanks for a fantastic chat today, you guys brought the heat today. See you next week!
TTown: Prielipp is throwing a bullpen at the SEC tourny: is there ANY chance he gets into a regional game?
Kendall Rogers: The ship has sailed on Prielipp throwing for Alabama the rest of the season — he opted out. He should just be glad that Brad Bohannon is willing to let him still practice with the team after he was medically cleared to pitch. Weird situation to say the least.
Greg: What’s up with Robert Moore? 16 dingers and a .942 OPS last year, down to just 5 and .799 this year. I was certain he’d be a top-15 pick coming into the season but now it’s hard to see him going in the first round. Has anybody had a chance to see him play and has thoughts on why he hasn’t hit this year?
Kendall Rogers: Greg — I saw him against A&M, and I actually thought he hit the ball hard that entire weekend — he just had almost nothing to show for it. Certainly has not had the season he was expecting, but he did have a huge hit against Auburn over the weekend. Will that propel him to a strong finish? Time will tell.
Ryan: Alright. With the sweep over the weekend What do we think Oklahoma State has to do over the next 2 weekends to clinch the Big 12 and a national seed?
Kendall Rogers: Ryan — as long as Oklahoma State has a Top 10 RPI and wins the Big 12 regular season title, it will be a top-eight national seed, IMO. It would deserve it for sure.
Mnozil: Is Schlossnagle the Coach of the Year? Love what Vitello has done at Tennessee but they were already projected to be good preseason.
Kendall Rogers: MN – I would have Vitello and Canham leading my list. Tennessee is much better than expected, and what OSU has done given the fact that it was without two weekend starters (until Pfennigs returned recently) is pretty impressive. John Sfecz would need to be in the discussion at Va Tech, too. WTS – Schloss also should be in the discussion. What those guys have done this season is mighty impressive.
OU dad: OU can host if…..
Kendall Rogers: If OU took both series to end the regular season, it would have an RPI around 20, which would put it within striking distance of hosting with a strong showing at Globe Life. It’s still an option for sure.