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College : : Story
PG Preseason College Chat
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MORE: College Top 25 | Top 25 BreakdownPreseason All-Americans | College Premium Blog | Subscribe to CB Ticket



2:05
Hey all, I'd like to welcome you to our Preseason College Baseball chat ... get your questions in, and as I posted earlier, we have a very in-depth 8,500 word breakdown of each Top 25 club: http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=7935 (CBT)

 
2:06
Comment From Greg 
Do you think Colby Suggs will prove to better than any college bp pitcher was last season?
 
2:08
Greg -- I think Suggs will be one of the top two closers in college baseball, and certainly will be an elite pick in the MLB draft come the summer. Suggs' story is a good one, as evidenced by our feature earlier this week: http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=7931 ... The thing I like about Suggs is that in addition to his mid 90s fastball, he's a stocky kid with such a hard-nosed attitude. That's who you want closing out games. I'm interested to see if he uses that curve a little bit more this spring.
 
2:09
Comment From Mike 
Do you see the UK Wildcats starting the season with Cousino, Zeller, and Boehm in the OF or some other combination?
 
2:10
Mike,
I think you can go ahead and pencil in Cousino and Zellers for obvious reasons. As of right now, I'd look for Lucas Witt to start in LF, with Boehm starting the season as the designated hitter. That all can change, however.
 
2:11
Comment From Daniel 
Hey Kendall, you ready for some college baseball?
 
2:11
Daniel,
that's safe to say ....
 
2:12
Comment From Jeff (D.C.) 
What will Michael Barash's early enrollment mean for LSU this year?
 
2:13
Jeff,
Will be interesting to see where Barash fits in, if at all this season. The Tigers already have an All-American starting catcher in Ty Ross, while freshman Chris Chinea is expected to back him up this spring. It might not be a bad idea for Barash to redshirt, but we'll see what happens.
 
2:13
Comment From Daniel 
Best bullpen?
 
2:14
Daniel,
I'd have to go with the nation's No. 1 team going into the season, North Carolina. There are some other fantastic bullpens out there, but the Tar Heels are just silly loaded with Chris McCue, Tate Parrish, Chris O'Brien, Shane Taylor, Mason McCullough, etc, leading the charge. That's an impressive stable of arms to say the least.
 
2:16
Comment From Bill 
Heard Jace Fry had TJ surgery for Beavers, how's staff looking without him?
 
2:17
Bill,
Yes, the Beavers will be without Fry this season, but I think they'll be just fine. OSU is loaded on the mound with Matt Boyd, Ben Wetzler and fast rising prospect Dan Child leading the charge. Tony Bryant is also an excellent arm in the closer's role. OSU could be a bit deeper bullpen-wise, but I like this club a lot.
 
2:17
Comment From Daniel 
Best weekend rotation?
 
2:18
Daniel,
Would have to go with UNC, UCLA or Oregon State in that regard. All three teams looking very good in that regard. Also keep an eye on Kentucky, who should have a great rotation with Jerad Grundy, Corey Littrell and AJ Reed back. The lone loss from that group is talented lefty Taylor Rogers.
 
2:18
Comment From Guest 
what are you expectations for the Miami Hurricanes this season?
 
2:21
Guest -- Miami is a team a lot like Texas to me. A lot of talented players that have something to prove. It's precisely the same reason the Longhorns are barely in our Top 25, and Miami is in the next 10 to watch. The 'Canes have an experienced ace in Eric Whaley, but a lot hinges on how Bryan Radziewski and Andrew Suarez bounce back from injuries, and how Javi Salas does in the rotation. I actually like AJ Salcines a lot in that closer's role. In addition, the offense must rise to the occasion. Coach Morris told me 1B David Thompson and OF Grant Heyman, both freshmen, were really impressive in the fall. Watch out for those two.
 
2:21
Comment From Chris 
Thoughts on SEC? Impressed with UK last year; can they do it again this year or even make Omaha?
 
2:23
Chris,
This is going to be a huge year for the SEC. The league is always good, but the league seems to be on even another level this season with so many highly ranked teams. I think Kentucky has the weekend rotation, offense, and of course, the closer in hard-throwing right-hander Trevor Gott. But as always in the SEC, it's about pushing your way through all the tough opponents.
 
2:23
Comment From Josh 
Big time follower of these chats and of the Auburn Tigers. Where do you see them finishing this year? Do they not have one of the deepest lineups in the SEC with returners Tella, Cooper, Wacker, Glevenyak and Austin?
 
2:24
Chris,
Auburn will be pretty solid this year, but there are just some SEC teams ahead of them right now. I'd probably put them a couple of spots behind A&M in the next 10 out of the rankings. I think the Tigers once again will have a solid offense, and I'd keep a close eye on newcomer 3B Damek Tomscha. Pitching-wise, Rocky McCord should have a good year after such a strong summer, and lefty Daniel Koger is an experienced arm to have in the No. 2 role. If the Auburn pitching staff steps up, this team can far exceed preseason expectations.
 
2:24
Comment From Jeff (D.C.) 
Was Colin Poche expected to be a weekend starter for Arkansas? What do you see happening with him?
 
2:25
Jeff,
No he wasn't ... and my guess is that Dave Van Horn handles it, this one time, internally. Wouldn't want to be on DVH's bad side -- I'll say that much.
 
2:25
Comment From Pat (Chicago) 
Tulane lost its two best hitters in Schaffer and Schneeberger and its closer but returns everything else. Will they finally get back to the NCAA's after missing out last year because of a low RPI? Thanks.
 
2:27
Pat,
Good news for Coach Jones and his staff, I think Tulane takes a big step forward this season and finishes 2nd or 3rd in C-USA with Rice and USM as the other two teams to watch. Tulane should have an excellent rotation with Alex Byo and David Napoli leading the way, but I'd keep a very close eye on No. 2 starter Tony Rizzotti. The TCU transfer was up into the mid 90s with his fastball during fall workouts. Offensively, I get the feeling this is going to be a fun team to watch. To answer your question: The postseason drought will be over.
 
2:29
Pat,
Good news for Coach Jones and his staff, I think Tulane takes a big step forward this season and finishes 2nd or 3rd in C-USA with Rice and USM as the other two teams to watch. Tulane should have an excellent rotation with Alex Byo and David Napoli leading the way, but I'd keep a very close eye on No. 2 starter Tony Rizzotti. The TCU transfer was up into the mid 90s with his fastball during fall workouts. Offensively, I get the feeling this is going to be a fun team to watch. To answer your question: The postseason drought will be over.
 
2:29
Comment From Josh 
Sad day when two schools from Kentucky are ranked higher than the once mighty Texas Longhorns. Think Augie's act is wearing thin in Austin?
 
2:30
Josh,
Not sure what act you're talking about in regards to Augie, but I think this is an important year for the Longhorns. Augie obviously felt like he needed to interject some energy with the program by adding Tommy Nicholson. It'll be interesting to see how T-Nich pans out this season. I know he really preached an aggressive mentality during the fall, and that needs to transfer over. The Longhorns will miss P John Curtiss, but have plenty of arms ... it all hinges on the offense.
 
2:32
Comment From Me 
Does moving to the CAA next yr hurt Monte Lee and the Cougars. CAA a 1 bid league, SoCon has had as many as 3.
 
2:32
Me,
Could hurt from a bid standpoint should the Cougars not win the conference tournament, but like Nebraska to the Big Ten, could force more programs to care a bit more about building stronger programs. No reason why the CAA can't be the same quality as the SoCon.
 
2:32
Comment From Les 
Wondering your thoughts on the Big West. It seems the conference has fallen on hard times in recent years outside of Fullerton. I know that Checketts has UCSB on the rise and UCI is solid, but it seems the majority of local So Cal talent is heading to programs that benefit from having FB in the BCS. Thoughts?
 
2:34
Les,
I don't think a lot has changed in what the Big West is recruiting, it's just the way things are out there right now. Cal State Fullerton is going to be pretty good, and I also think UC Irvine will be very solid with the Andrew Thurman, Matt Whitehouse and Evan Brock weekend rotation. UCSB will continue to get better. The main teams I want to see more out of are Long Beach State and UC Riverside. LBSU's continued struggles surprises me ... I really thought Coach Buckley would have a very quick fix.
 
2:34
Comment From Ben 
What was the final factor in putting UNC over Arkansas & Vandy...seems like UNC has more lineup questions than the other two?
 
2:35
Ben,
Wouldn't say UNC has more lineup questions than Arkansas. The Hogs have some holes to replace in Carver and Reynolds from a squad that didn't exactly light up opposing pitchers last season. Vanderbilt will have a solid lineup, but I think UNC has the better weekend rotation and bullpen.
 
2:35
Comment From Jamie 
How do you see the Hogs newcomers hitting this season?
 
2:36
Jamie,
I know the Hogs really, really like designated hitter Willie Schwanke (DH) and SS Brett McAfee. With Carver gone at SS, McAfee's role might just be the most important on the team, position-player-wise, entering the season.
 
2:37
Comment From Brandon 
How will Maryland rebound after losing Eric Bakich? Are they a regional contender?
 
2:37
Brandon,
Maryland is still a work in progress type of situation, but I'll say this, the Maryland coaching staff with head coach John Sfecz has not skipped a beat on the recruiting trail. Very impressed with what they're doing in that regard.
 
2:39
Comment From Brett 
If Southern Miss sweeps Missouri first weekend, will they enter top 25?
 
2:40
Brett,
I had a really tough time NOT ranking Southern Miss. I think the Golden Eagles are going to be really good this spring. I really like the one-two punch on the weekend with starting pitchers Jake Drehoff and Andrew Pierce .... I also liked what I saw from Bradley Roney down at Rice last season. That lineup is going to be very salty as well with Mason Robbins and others leading the way. I'd look for this team to be a Super Regional (or better) type of club by season's end.
 
2:41
Comment From Guest 
Any FIU consideration in Top 25 discussion ? Pitching down there may be pleasant surprise later in season...
 
2:44
Guest -- Florida International will once again have a pretty salty club. The one guy I'd watch out for is C Aramis Garcia. I really look for him to have a huge year in the Sun Belt and establish himself as one of the nation's better catchers.
 
2:44
Comment From ERIC 
Vanderbilt has some talented freshman. Can they fill the holes offensively and defensively in an infield that lost a big contributor in Gomez at SS and a weak 3B. What about Kemp at 2nd? Will he stay there?
 
2:46
ERIC -- Coach Corbin told me in Chicago earlier this month that the chances were great that Kemp would stay at second base. However, he didn't completely rule out him playing the outfield either. As for the other positions, I heard really nice things about 3B Xavier Turner and SS Dansby Swanson during the fall. Time will tell if they can make the smooth transition.
 
2:46
Comment From Pat (Chicago) 
As an add on to my earlier question, who is the best pro prospect on the Green Wave? Thanks again.
 
2:47
PAT,
Randy LeBlanc, who is back from an injury, and has a power arm, is a guy to watch. He needs to improve his command, but the tools are there. But as I mentioned earlier, I'd keep an eye on Tony Rizzotti. Huge fastball in the fall and his stock will skyrocket if he does well in the weekend rotation.
 
2:50
Comment From Jamie 
Who is the best pitcher in the SEC?
 
2:51
Jamie,
Would go with Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek. Tall, physical, frame with a big-time fastball and good secondary stuff, particularly the slider. He could end up being the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft this summer.
 
2:51
Comment From Guest 
Did you expect Tadlock to have such early recruiting success at TTU? Also, how far down is WVU compared to rest of league?
 
2:52
GUEST -- I expected Tadlock to have some recruiting success because of the outstanding staff he has with Ray Hayward and J-Bob Thomas, but Top 25 recruiting class in the first summer good? Not at all. That staff is doing some serious work on the recruiting trail ... we'll see if it translates to W's on the field.
 
2:52
Comment From Guest 
Will it be another walk in the park for Coastal Carolina or can someone else win the Big South?
 
2:55
Guest,
Liberty will be pretty solid, but I like Coastal Carolina once again. I was thinking long and hard about the Chants in our rankings. Really like that rotation with Tyler Herb and Austin Wallace, while Ryan Connolly is a very quality arm. I'd look for Jacob May, a versatile athlete, to have a big year at the plate. Good club.
 
2:56
Comment From Brandon 
Please tell me the Big West will get more than one regional bid this season.
 
2:58
Brandon -- I view the Big West as a two-bid league this year -- Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. Both clubs should be comfortably in at season's end, IMO.
 
2:58
Comment From Chris 
How do you see conference usa playing out this year? Also, with Tulane having many returning starters and a deep pitching staff, do you think they will make some noise this year??
 
2:59
Chris,
Don't want to give away our Conference USA preview, but I really like Rice, USM, Tulane in that order to start things ... then it's East Carolina and UCF. Should be a tough league once again this year. Yes, I think Tulane makes some noise.
 
3:01
Comment From NatsGM 
Outstanding work and thanks for doing a college baseball chat when the weather outside is still freezing! Any prospects on the 2013 MD Terps squad and how does their team do in general this year?
 
3:02
Nats,
I'd keep an eye on RHP/3B Jake Stinnett, LHP Jimmy Reed and 1B Tim Kiene. All three are very talented prospects. The most impressive prospect on this team probably is 6-foot-3, 222-pound, sophomore third baseman K.J. Hockaday, but he's part of the 2014 draft class.
 
3:02
Comment From Allen 
Who are the top five conferences in your opinion?
 
3:03
Allen,
In order:

1. SEC
2. Pac-12
3. ACC
4. Big 12
5. C-USA
 
3:03
Comment From Mike 
Which team are you most excited to watch this season?
 
3:05
Mike,
You know, it's a combination of a few teams. UNC, Vanderbilt and Arkansas all have so much back they're going to be fun to watch .... To shake things up, Louisville is the team outside of the Top 10 I'm most interested to watch. The Cardinals could finish the 2013 campaign much higher in our final rankings. That's going to be a very very good team, but it was just tough to put them ahead of some clubs. Dan McDonnell has a chance to do something big this year.
 
3:06
Comment From Denning 
Wondering what your thoughts are on Wichita State converting their outstanding closer Cale Elam to a starter...
 
3:07
Denning,
Not a bad idea..... much of the time I'm always a fan of making sure your best pitcher is in the weekend rotation if they can handle the amount of innings. For instance, I could see the argument by many that Texas closer Corey Knebel should be in the Longhorns' weekend rotation. Same goes for Elam. Not a bad move.
 
3:08
Comment From Fred 
Will Stanford play Brian Rageria in the outfield?
 
3:08
Fred,
Looking like first base right now, but he could move around.
 
3:08
Comment From StatManDu 
Hey Guys, your thoughts on Hunter Dozier (SS - SFA) .357/.431/.595, 10 HR. Comparable, or slightly better 2012 college numbers than the two SS's selected for the PG AA Team: Turner .336/.432/.459, 5 HR & Frazier .371/.482/.445, 0 HR. I know that he may project out as a 3B, but saw him play in person... he's a Beast.
 
3:09
StatMan,
Great prospect and player to bring up. I first got acquainted with Dozier two summers ago doing Texas Collegiate League prospect reports. He really impressed with coaches then with his offensive abilities, and defensive work, and he's only gotten bigger and better since that point. We have him listed as one of the top prospects in Texas, and he was absolutely in the 3-4 player mix for that final shortstop spot.
 
3:10
Comment From WhenItStrikesMe 
Kendall, Vandy has two big position battles at 3B (Conde and Turner) and SS (McKeithan, Swanson and Campbell). Is it accurate that the true Freshmen Turner and Swanson are likely to get the respective nods? Also, if Tony Kemp is at 2B or LF, who do you expect to be the starter at the other position?
 
3:11
When,
Turner and Swanson seem to have the upper hand entering spring workouts, as of right now, but things could change. In terms of LF, should Kemp stay at second base, which is what I'm expecting, I'd look for very talented 5-foot-11, 190-pound, freshman OF Rhett Wiseman to nail down the LF spot.
 
3:12
Comment From Les 
Staying on the west coast. What are your thoughts on Andrew Thurman of UCI? He'll be the Friday guy this week and for a stretch there was the best pitcher in the conference last year.
 
3:15
Les,
Big fan of Thurman. With him back in the mix, it make the Anteaters a pretty dangerous club. We were actually very close to putting Thurman and his power arm on one of our two All-America teams. Very good chance he'd be on there if there was a third-team. Expecting a huge year out of him.
 
3:15
Comment From Matt 
Do you feel Alabama or Auburn will bounce back this season. Both Teams added some depth. Auburn has a potential first rounder in a few years in Rock Rucker, but what do you think the lose of Zach Alvord will an affect?
 
3:18
Matt,
Auburn should be fine with Tanner Cimo and Dan Glevenyak manning the middle infield positions. Alvord was a good player, but certainly not irreplaceable, IMO. Both Auburn and Alabama have some talent both offensively and on the mound, but it's really about putting all the pieces together. I'm intrigued a bit about Alabama because of how young it was last season. That team lost a lot of close games, as that South Carolina series comes to mind.
 
3:18
Comment From Raymond 
How do you see Stanford offensively ?
 
3:19
Raymond,
The sky is the limit for the Stanford offense. We all talk about Mark Appel, but that offense should be potent. I'm expecting Austin Wilson to take a big step forward, while Brian Ragira, Lonnie Kauppila, Danny Diekroeger and Alex Blandino are all back ... that's a pretty good foundation if you ask me, and doesn't include potential big-time contributors like Dominic Jose, etc.
 
3:19
Comment From Artie. C 
Whats the reason that UVA isnt in the pre-season 25?
 
3:24
Artie,
Like the Cavaliers from a talent standpoint, and I think the offense will be fine with Reed Gragnani and Derek Fisher leading the way. However, I think the weekend rotation will just be OK with Kyle Crockett and Scott Silverstein leading the way.
 
3:24
Comment From Kevin 
Any names that absolutely jumped out during Fall ball that we should becoem familair with?
 
3:25
Kevin,
Was told that Louisville stud reliever Nick Burdi, who has a huge arm, was up to 100 during the fall with improved command. Could have a huge year for the Cardinals.
 
3:25
Comment From Jeff 
Who would you say are the top MLB prospects for TCU this year?
 
3:26
Jeff,
RHP Andrew Mitchell would be the main guy. Mitchell has a nice, physical, 6-foot-3, 220-pound, frame, with a big-time fastball. The big key for Mitchell is just getting better at harnessing his pitches .... Way down the list after Andrew is RHP Stefan Crichton.
 
3:27
Comment From Daniel 
Thoughts on the Hogs moving Ficociello to 2nd base after being All-Defense his 1st 2 years at 1st?
 
3:27
Daniel,
Interesting move to say the least, as Dom is kind of a tall, lanky, guy .... but He was a third baseman at one point in time, so he can certainly move and has some athleticism. I'm intrigued to see him there.
 
3:27
Comment From Brandon 
Outside of the Pac-12, what western conference has the best year? Also, will Utah Valley finally be playing in June?
 
3:29
Brandon,
Would go with no on the last question about UVU, while I think the WCC could be slightly better than the Big West top to bottom. Fullerton/Irvine brings a more powerful punch than just USD, but the WCC has a few "potential" teams.
 
3:29
Comment From mike 
are there any pop-up guys like kyle zimmer out there in college baseball this year?
 
3:30
Mike,
Apparently Greg Moore, the pitching coach at San Francisco, is doing something right. Keep an eye on Dons 6-foot-6, 225-pound, RHP Alex Balog. He flashed a huge arm and fastball during fall workouts.
 
3:30
Comment From Michael 
How would you rank the SEC West 1-7?
 
3:31
Michael,
1. Arkansas
2. LSU
3. Mississippi State
4. Ole Miss
5. Texas A&M
6. Auburn
7. Alabama
 
3:31
Comment From Charles 
Surprise team in college baseball to make it to Omaha this year? Who is 2013's Stony Brook and Kent State?
 
3:32
Charles,
Keep an eye on Southern Mississippi or Tulane. Both teams bring back a lot of players this spring, talented ones at that, and could sneak up on some clubs.
 
3:32
Comment From Taylor 
Who are your top freshman to watch?
 
3:34
Taylor,
I'll give you two big names to really keep an eye on this season, well, three. Fullerton RHP Justin Garza was well into the 90s with his fastball during fall workouts and will start in the weekend rotation. Offensively, keep an eye on FSU outfielder DJ Stewart and Texas SS CJ Hinojosa. Both have a chance to have special freshman campaigns.
 
3:35
Comment From Fungo 
If TCU is able to win the Big 12 in 2013, are they the new big dog in Texas, ahead of the Owls and Longhorns?
 
3:36
Fungo,
You could certainly make that a very very strong argument. I'd put many of those schools even for now though based on Omaha and Super Regional appearances, etc.
 
3:36
Comment From Jamie 
Whos the best hitter in the ACC?
 
3:37
Jamie -- I'd go with UNC third baseman Colin Moran ... then N.C. State's Trea Turner in terms of just being an electric player.
 
3:38
Comment From Robert 
Any mlb draft prospects on Purdue?
 
3:38
Robert,
Keep a very close eye on Boilermakers ace right-handed pitcher Brad Schreiber. Schreiber missed last season with an injury, but is now healthy and is primed to have a huge year for the 'Makers.
 
3:38
Comment From Guest 
Is Parker French the #1 starter in Texas? If so, does he lead Texas back to the CWS in 13 or 14 before leaving early for MLB?
 
3:39
Guest,
French should start on Fridays and finally appears to be back to 95 or so percent. He should be 100 percent by opening day. Texas has a chance to get to Omaha this year, but needs the offense to step up.
 
3:39
Comment From Dawson 
Do you except any growing pains in Columbia, SC with stars gone on the mound, in the field, and the dugout? Will Holbrook still be in 3rd base box? Thanks! Excited to see what Max Schrock can do.
 
3:40
Dawson,
I wouldn't call it growing pains at all ... I'd say the Gamecocks will be just fine on the mound even without Roth and Price. Koumas, Colby Holmes and Jordan Montgomery are all talented arms, while Tyler Webb is a guy I think has a fantastic 2013 campaign. In the field, I'd look for SS Joey Pankake to continue where he left off last season with a strong year, while like you, I'm very intrigued to see Max Schrock in action ... heard great things during the fall.
 
3:40
Comment From Jeff 
No love for Alex Bregman as a freshman to watch, taking over for Nola at SS for LSU?
 
3:41
Jeff,
Bregman is another freshman to watch for sure. He had a terrific fall for the Tigers and Coach Mainieri told me he's the type of kid who's mature beyond his years.
 
3:42
That's about all the time I have for chatting today ...... as I said earlier, College Baseball Ticket subscribers can read my in-depth breakdown of all Top 25 teams: 

http://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=7935

Thanks everyone, and we'll have a chat the first week of the season!



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