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CWS Super-Regionals recap and CWS field

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We’re through the initial field of 64, through the regional play, and now we’re through the super regionals.  Here’s a review of the action from the 6/6/14 weekend and a look at our CWS field of eight for 2014.

From a draft perspective, the super-regionals feature a number of high profile guys, as noted by MLB.com’s Joey Nowalk here.  Tyler Beede, Max Pentecost, Brandon Finnegan, UVA’s trio of 1st-2nd rounders (Derek FisherMike Papi and Nick Howard) and Maryland’s ace/2nd rounder Jake Stinnett are all names to watch.  Lots of good pitching in this super-regional.

Here’s how the super-regionals went down: we’ll look at these regionals in the original order of the top 8 national seeds.  Blue identifies the super-regional winners.

  • UC Irvine at #16 Oklahoma State: In Stillwater UC Irvine once again proved doubters wrong, sweeping two games quickly on the road to qualify for Omaha.
  • College of Charleston at Texas Tech: Texas Tech squeaked by Charleston 1-0 in the opener despite a stellar performance from local kid Taylor Clarke (8ip, 5 hits, 1 run).  Texas Tech won the 2nd game of the regional by the same score; Charleston’s pitching staff gave up 2 runs in 18 innings and lost both games.  Texas Tech to Omaha.
  • #3 Virginia hosting Maryland: Maryland (behind 2nd round pick Stinnett) shocked UVA in the opener 5-4, putting 5 runs on Virginia’s ace Nathan Kirby and knocking him out in the 5th.  Does Maryland have the pitching though to hold off the consensus CWS favorites?  Not in the 2nd game; Uva roared back to win 7-3 and force the tiebreaking game.  There UVA continued to batter the Maryland pitching staff and advanced to Omaha 11-2.
  • Stanford at #13 Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt destroyed Stanford in the opener (they were up 10-0 by the end of the 3rd) but Stanford took game 2 to force a super-regional tie-breaker.  In game 3 Vanderbilt jumped all over Stanford’s starter en route to 5 first inning runs and an eventual easy win.
  • Kennessaw State at #12 Louisville: Louisville outmatched the upstart Kennessaw State team and won two straight to return to Omaha.
  • #6 Louisiana-Lafayette hosting #11 Ole Miss: In game one Louisiana-Lafayette’s offense put 9 runs up in the first 3 innings and held on for a 9-5 win.  But Ole Miss fought back to win game 2 and force the tiebreaker.  In the deciding game, Ole Miss broke open a close, rainy game with 4 in the ninth to advance 10-4.
  • #7 TCU hosting Pepperdine: TCU got 6 decent innings out of its ace (and first round pick) Finnegan and held on for a 3-2 opening win.  Pepperdine forced the tiebreaker with its own 3-2 win in game 2.  In the decider, TCU won a back-and-forth affair by taking the lead with 2 runs in the top of the 9th and survived a rally to advance.
  • Texas hosting Houston: Texas took both games from Houston 4-2 and then 4-0 to qualify for Omaha.

CWS Field: UC Irvine, Vanderbilt, Louisville, and Texas on one side, Texas Tech,Virginia, Ole Miss and TCU on the other.

Interesting field; There’s just 2 national seeds left in this field (and just four overall), the lowest number of advancing seeds in the history of the tournament.  Its very much tilted to the lower side, with the two remaining national seeds in one bracket.

Quick predictions: Vanderbilt on one side, UVA on the other with Virginia as national champs.  Why not, eh?

Who are the Nats targeting at #18 plus Mock Draft review of top5 picks

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Lots of pundits think the Nats are taking Fedde at #18.  Photo via chicagonow.com

Lots of pundits think the Nats are taking Fedde at #18. Photo via chicagonow.com

The annual amateur/Rule-4 draft is upon us.  Wendy Thurm posted a nice overview of the festivities, kicking off today, June 5th.   Who is going at the top, and who do we think the Nats are going to take with their first round draft pick (#18 overall?)

Lets check in with some experts and pundits.  Unlike in years past, there’s no real consensus #1 overall pick this year thanks to a host of factors.  But the top-5 is relatively consistent no matter who the pundit.  We’ll talk about predictions for the first few picks plus who they think the Nats will end up with.  (Link to the draft order for the first few rounds to show all the missing picks and supplemental additions from MLB.com).  Note that all the Keith Law and Jim Bowden links are ESPN insider.  Profiles on the frequent top-5 picks and the names being associated with the Nats potential picks are below the list of pundit’s mock drafts:

  • MLBDraftInsider’s Chris Crawford has done a host of Mock Drafts this spring (the sixth version dated 5/28/14 and the “near final” version on 6/2/14, his penultimate mock on 6/3/14, his “really final” board on 6/4/14 and his “final mock ever” on 6/5/14)  and in his last mock has come down on the Nats taking Hoffman. Predicted top 5 in final mock: Aiken, Rodon, Nola, Conforto, Gordon.  Same movements that Law is projecting at the final minute.
  • ESPN’s Keith Law put out his first mock draft on 5/16/14, his second on 5/27/14, his third on 6/4/14 and his final/last on 6/5/14 and had the Nats on Erick Fedde, calling it a “lock” in the industry.  Top 5 in the latest mock: Aiken, Rodon, Nola, Conforto, Gordon (only list on here without Kolek in top 5).
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo posted a mock on 5/16/14, another on 5/30/14.  One last one 6/5/14.  In his latest he went Aiken, Jackson, Rodon, Kolek, Gordon.  He has the Nats taking Jeff Hoffman, saying that it could come down to “financials” and who is willing to go over-slot.
  • MLB.com’s Jim Callis posted his latest mock on 5/23/14 and one last one 6/5/14.   He went Aiken, Jackson, Rodon, Gordon, Kolek.  He has the Nats on Hoffman as well, but in the description basically says he says Hoffman could go top 10 and/or the Nats could take Fedde.
  • MinorLeagueBall’s Matt Garrioch posted his first mock draft early (3/10/14), his second on 5/19/14.  His top 5: Rodon, Kolek, Aiken, Jackson, Gordon.  He has the Nats on Kyle Schwarber.
  • ESPN’s Jim Bowden posted his Top-10 picks on 5/28/14, trying to think like the GM of each top-10 picking team, and went Rodon, Aiken, Kolek, Jackson and wildcard Freeman.
  • BaseballAmerica’s John Manuel has posted mock drafts on 5/9/14, 5/16/14 and v3.0 on 5/25/14 and his final the day of the draft 6/5/14.  His top 5 in his most recent mock: Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, Conforto, Gordon, with the Nats on Fedde.
  • GradingontheCurve’s Shaun Kernahan put up his mock draft 5/29/14.  He went Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, Jackson, Gordon with the Nats on Gatewood.
  • MinorLeagueBall did a community Mock Draft on 5/30/14 (so, not full of expert opinion but interesting nonetheless to see what the crowd-sourced opinion on players is).   They went Aiken, Jackson, Rodon, Kolek, Gordon with the Nats taking Conforto.  Based on where Conforto is now being projected, there’s little chance he survives to #18.
  • BaseballInstinct’s Thomas Belmont has a top-200 draft board that isn’t a mock draft but lists top 5 as Aiken, Jackson, Kolek, Rodon and Toussant.  #18 is Grant Holmes, who I would be surprised if the Nats picked despite his pedigree.  He posted his mock draft on 6/4/14 where he follows his board, but I have a problem with his rankings considering what the professional reporters above are showing for top 5 and for the Nats.
  • PerfectGame’s Patrick Ebert posted a bunch of mock drafts; in his last one on 6/4/14, he went top-5 of Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, Gordon, Nola with the Nats on Bradley Zimmer.
  • Si.com’s Dave Perkin (a former professional scout who does some writing) posted a last-minute mock 6/5/14 online.    He goes Aiken, Rodon, Kolek, Freeland, Jackson with the Nats on Beede.  I like this scenario.

How do I think the top 5 will go?  I like Aiken #1, Rodon to the Marlins (for the cuban-american/quick to the majors factors), then Kolek.  From there I have no idea; the Cubs by all accounts want a college arm but the next best one (Nola) isn’t worth the #4 spot.  Maybe they take a college bat (Conforto?), maybe they go BPA.  I’m guessing they bite the bullet and play the hand that they’ve been dealt and get Jackson or Gordon 4th, with the other going 5th.

ACTUAL DRAFT RESULTS: Aiken, Kolek, Rodon, Schwarber and Gordon.  Who was closest?   hard to tell; Schwarber came out of nowhere, and nearly everyone had Rodon before Kolek.

A quick overview of the names in discussion for top 5 selection:

  • Carlos Rodon: lhp from NC State; was the heavy consensus 1-1 overall pick all winter, but a rough spring and high pitch counts have dropped him on most people’s mock boards.  Scout.com has a detailed scouting report and video.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Brady Aiken is a prep lhp from San Diego who could be just the third high school pitcher ever picked #1 overall.  Scout.com has a detailed scouting report and video.  Keith Law scouting video.
  • Alex Jackson is a prep C also from the San Diego area.  Scout.com has a detailed scouting report and video.  Scouting video from Keith Law.
  • Tyler Kokek is a prep RHP from Texas with big time stuff; 100mph velocity on his fastball.  Scouting video from Keith Law.
  • Aaron Nola is a polished RHP friday starter for LSU who may not overpower you with velocity, but is a good pitcher.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Nick Gordon is a prep SS from Florida.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Michael Conforto is a junior OF from Oregon State.
  • Kyle Freelan is a lhp junior starter from Evansville.  He has good velocity, a good slider and great control.
  • Max Pentecost is a C from Kennesaw State who may be a stretch to go top-5 but should be top-10.
  • Touki Toussaint is a prep RHP from Miami, FL who is considered the second best prep RHP arm behind Kolek; he doesn’t quite have the velocity but he has better secondary stuff.

MLB.com reports that seven of these guys will be in-studio during the draft (all high schoolers), including a couple that may drop out of the first round (could be a bit embarassing for both them and MLB).

The names associated/predicted with the Nat’s #18 overall pick:

  • Erick Fedde was UNLV’s friday starter before going down with the dreaded Tommy John injury, diagnosed on 5/10/14.  Before his injury Fedde was projected in the same general area where the Nats are picking … which makes me question this prediction.  I could understand if Jeff Hoffman falls (a projected top -5 pick) to #18 grabbing him … but here I don’t know if I’d agree with picking a guy who you won’t see for a year and a half in uniform.  Though that being said, BA had Fedde ranked #8 in their top-200 pre-injury draft rankings, so perhaps grabbing him at #18 could be appropriate.
  • Tyler Beede: RHP Vanderbilt starter, who was a projected top-10 pick thanks to his amazing sophomore season (14-1, 2.32 ERA and a Golden Spikes finalist), before a rough season (7-7, 3.49 ERA and 92/41 k/BB in 91 innings) dropped his draft status.  He turned down a big bonus out of HS as a Toronto 1st rounder and that apparently (combined with unknown/unstated “make-up” issues) has him dropping fast.  Personally, I think he could be a steal at #18.  BA’s Aaron Fitt profiled Beede on 5/29/14.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Kyle Schwarber, C/1B power hitter from Indiana.  Listed as 6’0″, 240.  .340/.450/.623 on the year with 12 homers, 27/41 K/BB ratio in 215 ABs.  Great numbers if he’s really a catcher; some listed him as C, others at 1B.  Question: Big10 baseball isn’t exactly the SEC; are his stats padded thanks to playing a bunch of weak programs all year?
  • Jeff Hoffman was ECU’s friday starter and a consensus top-5 predicted pick (perhaps as high as #3) before being felled by TJ surgery (diagnosed on 5/8/14).  I think he’s a huge long-shot to make it to #18 because Toronto picks twice in the top 11 picks and it makes complete sense for them to use their 2nd pick to take Hoffman, save some slot money and basically temper their draft risk by virtue of having a second high pick.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Jacob Gatewood is a prep SS from Fresno, California who has a ton of power for a middle-infield bat (he won the prep home run derby held during last year’s all-star game festivities), even if he has to move off Short to 3B.  Gatewood gets some mention as a potential Nats pick, but this seems very much out of Mike Rizzo‘s style.  I cannot see the Nats taking a high school player unless someone falls to them unexpectedly.  Scouting Video from Keith Law.
  • Casey Gillaspie is a 1B from Wichita State with huge power numbers in 2014: .389/.520/.682 with 15 homers and 28/58 K/BB ratio in 211 ABs.  But, like with Schwarber, do you draft a guy who is already locked into first base?  Are his numbers a mirage thanks to the weaker Missouri Valley Conference?
  • Michael Chavis is a prep OF/3B from Georgia who Crawford has the Nats taking in his mock draft … but which I cannot believe will happen.  I just don’t see Rizzo taking a HS player, practically ever, unless there’s huge upside or value.
  • Brandon Finnegan: friday LHP starter for national seed TCU.  Undersized but a big-time arm.  Not the prototypical pick for Rizzo (he likes big, tall guys).
  • Grant Holmes is a big RHP prep pitcher from South Carolina who likely goes before #18, but if he’s sitting here he could get a look.
  • Bradley Zimmer is an OF with a brother already in pro ball from San Francisco.

Who do I like for the Nats at #18?  Honestly, I think picking TJ surviver Fedde at #18 might be an overdraft.  Now, if Hoffman fell there I’d grab him … but most pundits put Hoffman at #11 (Toronto’s extra 1st rounder).  I’d love to take a crack at Tyler Beede; he was so good last  year and I don’t think he’s forgotten how to pitch.  I like Finnegan too.  Maybe they go with a college bat.  But one thing seems certain; I just cannot see one of these HS names at #18.  I think they’ll take someone whose quicker to the majors.

ACTUAL DRAFT RESULTS: In what may have been the worst kept secret of the draft, Nats take Fedde.

 

CWS Regional Results w/ Draft Prospect highlights

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College Baseball’s Field fo 64 was winnowed to just 16 over the 5/30/14 weekend, setting up Super Regionals to be played the weekend of 6/13/14.  Here’s a recap of the action.  There were a TON of upsets all throughout the weekend.

MLB.com/Cash Kruth posted a nice summary of top100 draft prospects in action over the past weekend; using that as a guide as well as focusing on some other big time names and local teams here’s a recap of the weekend’s action.

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the national seeds.  Blue is the host city and Red is the winner.

  1. In the Corvalis regional (host/seed: Oregon State) the #1 overall seed survived a nail-biter against North Dakota State in a game where they threw their 3rd string arm (Andrew Moore, who struck out 14 in his 8 innings).  They will be tough to beat with their two aces (Jace Fry and Ben Wetzler, who both sport 11-1 records with sterling ERAs on the season) going in the next to games, irrespective of who they play.  However day 2 featured a shocker: UC Irvine destroyed the #1 overall seed 14-2, getting to Fry for 6 runs in 6 innings.  Huge upset there.  Oregon State now will need to advance out of the loser’s bracket and stretch their pitching staff to advance.  On 6/1/14 Oregon State got by UNLV behind Wetzler’s complete game 4-hit, 1-run, 10-K outing and then blanked UC Irvine in the first game of the regional final behind a nifty 2-hit shutout from long-man/4th starter Scott Schultz.  In the do-or-die game on 6/2/14, the #1 seed’s luck ran out as UC Irvine cobbled together innings and held off Oregon State’s offense 4-2.
  2. In the Gainesville regional (host/seed: Florida): Long Beach State beat UNC behind sophomore Andrew Rohrbach‘s 8 shut out inning effort; he allowed a run in the 9th before getting pulled.  UNC sophomore Trent Thornton gave up 6 runs in less than four innings and UNC couldn’t come back.  And in the night cap perhaps the biggest upset of day one occurred when dangerous 4th seed College of Charleston beat the #2 overall seed/host Florida 3-2.  Local kid Taylor Clarke started for Charleston but was removed mid-way in the 5th thanks to uncharacteristic wildness; he had walked five and put 12 guys on-base but survived with only 1 run allowed.  The shocks continued in day 2 as UNC neatly dispatched Florida 5-2, eliminating the #2 overall seed.  College of Charleston took care of business over Long Beach State to take control of the regional, and ended up advancing on 6/1/14 when they beat Long Beach a second time.  Huge upset of Florida, even if Charleston was badly under-seeded.
  3. In the Charlottesville regional (host/seed: Virginia): UVA blitzed Bucknell to open the tournament behind 7 shutout innings from mid-week starter Artie Lewicki, a strategic move leaving UVA’s ace All-American Nathan Kirby to pitch in the winner’s bracket game on 5/31/14.  There they face Arkansas, who squeaked out a win over local favorite Liberty.  In day 2, Liberty went two-and-out while UVA shut out Arkansas behind Kirby’s 8-inning 1-hit gem 3-0.   Arkansas worked their way to the final of the regional, but there they ran into UVA’s saturday starter Brandon Waddell, who threw 6 2/3rd mostly clean innings while UVA exploded for 6 in the third to put the regional away 9-2.
  4. In the Bloomington regional (host/seed: Indiana): Stanford opened with an upset win over Indiana State behind a complete game 4-hit, 1-run performance from freshman Cal Quatrill while host Indiana cruised to a win.  In the winner’s bracket game Indiana took control of the regional with a win over Stanford.  Stanford stormed back from the loser’s bracket and took out Indiana in the first game of the regional final, forcing one extra game on 6/2/14.  Indiana ended up losing the winner-take-all game in pretty heartbreaking fashion, losing 5-4 to the Pac-12 team when Stanford scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to advance.
  5. In the Tallahasse regional (host/seed: Florida State), Kennesaw got the first win of the tournament when sophomore Travis Bergen threw 8 2/3 shutout innings over Alabama and beating their Ace Spencer Turnbull.  Then the most surprising result of the day occurred in the night-cap when Georgia Southern embarrassed Florida State 7-0 in a game where they outhit the national seed 16-2 and their hurler (junior lefty Sam Howard) threw a 2-hit shutout.  Howard is a relative unknown, not even on MinorLeagueBall’s top 350-list of draft prospects; he made himself some money today.  On day 2, Alabama put Florida State two-and-out in a shock 6-5 win, while little known Kennesaw State scored 8 runs in the 11th inning to out-last Georgia Southern in a weird-looking box score 13-5.  Kennesaw’s big-time prospect (and likely upper-first round pick) Max Pentecost went 4-5 in the game with two walks to power his team.  On Sunday Alabama stormed back, blanking Georgia Southern and then beating Kennesaw State to force the extra do-or-die game.  However in the winner-take-all match Kennesaw State advanced over their SEC rival
  6. In the Lafayette regional (host/seed: Louisiana-Lafayette): Mississippi State beat San Diego State to open the regional and then in a huge upset Lafayette and their huge offense was shutout by little-known Jackson State 1-0.  Louisiana-Lafayette faces an up-hill climb now.  Louisiana took care of business over Stephen Strasburg‘s alma-mater in the elimination game and gets another shot at Jackson State, who couldn’t match up with their SEC opponent in the winner’s game.  Lafayette stormed through the elimination games, showing the offense they’re known for, beating Jackson State 11-1 and then Mississippi State 14-8 to force the extra 6/1/14 game.  Louisiana-Lafayette made up for their earlier mis-steps by taking an early 4-0 lead and holding on for a 5-3 victory to advance.
  7. In the Fort Worth regional (host/seed: TCU), hosts TCU had to go to 11 to get their opening win (with 1st round talent Brandon Finnegan striking out 12 in 7+ innings), after which they’ll face upstart Sam Houston State.  In the winner’s bracket game, TCU advanced 3-2 over Sam Houston in a TWENTY-TWO inning game, the 2nd longest game in NCAA  history.  On 6/1/14, Sam Houston got back to the regional final but TCU held on to win the regional and advance.
  8. In the Baton Rouge regional (host/seed: LSU) the seeds held to form on day one, with Houston and LSU advancing.  On day 2, LSU took charge with an 5-1 defeat over Houston.  Meanwhile, Houston worked its way back through the loser’s bracket and outlasted LSU in extra inning to force the extra winner-take-all game on 6/2/14.  There, Houston blitzed LSU 12-2 to get the upset regional win.
  9. In the Houston regional (host/seed: Rice): local team George Mason held the lead over Rice in the 8th inning but senior lefty starter Jared Gaynor fell apart in the 8th, let in 6 runs and Rice won 7-2.  Rice moves on to play powerhouse Texas while George Mason will have to contend with SEC team Texas A&M to survive.  There GMU didn’t have the horses and was eliminated 7-3 by TAMU, while Texas handled Rice in extras.   On 6/1/14, Rice was eliminated in extras, and then TAMU forced an elimination game on 6/1 over Texas, but that was as close as TAMU got, as Texas took the winner-take-all game 4-1.
  10. In the San Luis Obispo regional (host/seed: Cal Poly): Cal Poly (behind Matt Imhof) and Pepperdine advanced to setup an all-California mid-major winner’s bracket game.  There, Pepperdine’s ace LHP Aaron Brown (a likely 4th-5th rounder) pitched a gem to upset Cal Poly 2-1.   Sacramento State embarrassed Pac-12 power Arizona State in the loser’s bracket final, setting up a rematch with the host for the right to go after Pepperdine.  Cal Poly made its way back to the regional final and a rematch with the Waves, but were handled 10-6 late sunday night and Pepperdine advances.
  11. In the Oxford regional (host/seed: Ole Miss): Ole Miss’s starting shortstop has some DC roots: Errol Robinson was featured over the weekend.  the 5/30/14 games were rained out, forcing a delayed start.  On Saturday 5/31/14 the two top seeds easily advanced to the winner’s bracket game.  There Ole Miss held on for a 2-1 victory and will face Washington again in the regional final on 6/1/14.  There, Ole Miss took another low-scoring/extra innings game to win the regional 3-2.
  12. In the Louisville regional (host/seed: Louisville): Louisville and Kansas advanced on day one.  Louisville took care of business over Kansas in day 2, setting up a re-match between Kansas and Kentucky to try to oust Louisville out of the loser’s bracket.  Kansas got the better of Kentucky in their elimination game, but was handled 4-1 by Louisville in the regional final.
  13. In the Nashville regional (host/seed: Vanderbilt): Oregon just destroyed Clemson to open the regional 18-1 and then host Vanderbilt similarly destroyed Xavier 11-0 (with 1st round talent Tyler Beede throwing 8 shutout innings and striking out 14) to setup an intriguing winner’s bracket game.   Vanderbilt controlled Oregon on day two while Xavier surprised Clemson.   Oregon made their way to the regional final, but were beaten again 3-2 by a Vanderbilt team that won its 3 regional games by a combined score of 21-4.
  14. In the Columbia Region (host/seed: South Carolina): Maryland scored 3 in the bottom of the 9th (two by virtue of bases-loaded HBPs, including the walk-off winning run) to upend ODU in the opener, bailing out their ace Jake Stinnett‘s good but not good-enough 8-inning 3 earned run performance.    They next face host South Carolina.  In day-2 ODU unfortunately went two-and-out at the hands of Campbell but the big news was Maryland’s upsetting of #15 seed South Carolina 4-3.  Maryland is now in a great position to advance out of the regional where they could play local rival UVA in the super regional.  On 6/1, South Carolina fought their way back to the regional final, where they were pounded 10-1 by Maryland for the regional upset.  Not only was this a regional upset … but this was the first time South Carolina had lost at home in something like 27 games.  In the Baseball America CWS preview, they didn’t even bother talking about this series because “South Carolina doesn’t lose at home.”  Well, South Carolina lost twice to Maryland and the Terps are moving on.
  15. In the Coral Gables regional (host/seed: Miami), host Miami struggled mightily with the below .500 Bethune-Cookman team, winning 1-0 on a walk-off wild pitch in the 9th.   They face Texas Tech next, who also struggled (comparatively speaking) with the scholarship-less Ivy league champs from Columbia.  In the winner’s bracket game Miami’s offense was exposed again as Texas Tech shut them out 3-0 to take the driver’s seat.  Miami blitzed Bethune-Cookman to make it back to the regional final, where they were losing 1-0 in the 8th inning when play was suspended on 6/1/14.  Things got no better and Texas Tech finished off Miami 4-0 on 6/2/14.  All three of Florida’s seeds are now eliminated, a huge surprise.
  16. In the Stillwater regional (host/seed: Oklahoma State): Cal State Fullerton showed why they were likely under-seeded with an opening 5-1 win over Nebraska, though they depended on a grand-slam to take the lead for good.  Meanwhile host Oklahoma State rolled to an easy victory over small school Binghamton.  In the winner’s bracket on day 2, Oklahoma State put some doubters at bay by winning a slugfest over Fullerton 13-7 to take over the driver’s seat.  Fullerton beat Nebraska to get another shot at the Cowboys, but were beaten by Oklahoma State in the regional final 6-4.

Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • 9 seeds/hosts upset, while just 7 seeds/hosts advanced out of 16.  This includes your overall #1, #2, #4, #5 and #8 seeds eliminated, some two-and-out.
  • 4 number of #2 seeds advancing, 4 number of #3 seeds and 1 #4 seed (College of Charleston) advanced to the super regionals.
  • 7 = number of regionals forced into the “extra” deciding game.
  • 9 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional (Georgia Southern, Xavier, Youngstown State, Bucknell, Campbell, Jackson State, Sacramento State, Bethune-Cookman and College of Charleston)
  • 13 = the number of extra inning games (out of 103 total played this weekend), including a 22-inning monster between TCU and Sam Houston State.  The TCU regional featured 3 extra-inning games plus a 2-1 9-inning game.
  • Biggest upsets: clearly the two Florida national seeds (#2 Florida and #5 Florida State) getting blown out and going winless in their regionals.  But the fact that all three Florida hosts were upset is pretty amazing.  Oregon State losing as the #1 overall seed is pretty shocking (even if some thought they were over-seeded).
  • Most surprising regional winner: Has to be Kennessaw State, despite its upper first round talent Penecost.  College of Charleston may have been the only #4 seed to advance, but many thought they were at least a #3 seed and maybe even a weak #2.   These were the two highest RPI teams advancing, both in the 50s.
  • The #1 ranked RPI team (UVA) and the #1 ranked Baseball America team (Louisiana-Lafayette) both advanced and are on the same side of the potential CWS bracket.
  • Exactly ONE Regionals that went pure chalk; the Ole Miss Regional.  Every other regional featured some sort of upset.
  • My predictions: just 6 out of 16 predicted correctly.  There were just a ton of upsets this weekend.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • 2 ACC teams (out of 7 that made full field).
  • 2 SEC teams (out of 10 that made full field).  This is pretty amazing; the SEC had 10 teams and 5 hosts and just two advanced.
  • 4 Big-12 teams (out of 5 that made full field).  This is the big news for me; four of the Big-12’s five teams won their regional and the lone outlier (Kansas) finished 2nd to Louisville.
  • 1 Pac-12 teams (out of 5 that made full field).  Very poor showing for the Pac-12 this year.
  • 1 Big-West teams (out of 4 that made full field).  And the Big West advancer was a shock upset in UC Irvine.
  • Both American Athletic Conference teams advanced (Louisville and Houston)
  • The remaining 4 are from one-bid conferences: Kennessaw State (Atlantic Sun), Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt), Pepperdine (West Coast), and College of Charleston (CAA).

(Link at CollegeBaseballBlog that has the full field conference breakdowns)

Super Regional Matchups:  With all these upsets, figuring out the hosts was tough.  The 8 hosts were announced late 6/2/14.

  • UC Irvine at #16 Oklahoma State
  • College of Charleston at Texas Tech
  • #3 Virginia hosting Maryland
  • Stanford at #13 Vanderbilt
  • Kennessaw State at #12 Louisville
  • #6 Louisiana-Lafayette hosting #11 Ole Miss
  • #7 TCU hosting Pepperdine
  • Texas hosting Houston

Super Regional Predictions:  Clearly we’ve under-rated the Big-12 teams, and now they’re hosting four super-regionals.  In each case the’re hosting an up-start/regional upset winner.  I like all four to advance to Omaha.  I think I like the two SEC teams as well; I like Ole Miss upsetting Louisiana-Lafayette.  UVA won’t be beat and for me is the clear CWS favorite right now (The BA guys liked UVA as their pre-tournament favorite despite their losses in the ACC and their dropping in the final top 25 ranking).  Lastly I think Louisville can hold off the surprising Kennessaw State.

Predictions: Oklahoma State, Texas, Louisville and Vanderbilt for one side of the CWS.  UVA, Ole Miss, TCU and Texas Tech on the other.  A very Texas CWS ahead.

College Baseball Daily’s predictions: Oklahoma State, Texas, Louisville, Stanford, UVA, Louisiana-Lafayette, TCU and Texas Tech (with some disagreement here and there).


Resources: d1baseball.com has all the regional results on one page. Their live scoreboard is great and is up-to-the-minute all throughout the weekend with links to the ESPN box scores.

CWS Field of 64 announced; teams and analysis

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CWS 2014 logo

Hot on the heels of our “local college team” post earlier this week, the full 64-team field has been announced.  (here’s a cool picture of all 64 uniforms in the tourney)

A preliminary announcement earlier on 5/26/14 stated the 16 regional hosts, each of whom is also automatically in the field.  The full field announcement came later in the day (link from College Baseball Blog and nicely formatted regional pairings from BaseballAmerica).  Oregon State got the #1 overall seed in the field of 64 and the Top 16 National seeds are:

  1. Oregon State: Pac-12 regular season champ (no tourney)
  2. Florida: SEC Eastern Division and overall regular season champion, Conference tourney runner-up
  3. Virginia: 2nd ACC coastal division
  4. Indiana: Big-10 regular season and conference tourney champion.
  5. Florida State: ACC Atlantic division champion.
  6. Louisiana-Lafayette: Sun Belt regular season and conference tourney champion.
  7. TCU: Big-12 2nd place regular season, conference tournament Champion
  8. LSU: 2nd SEC Western division, conference tourney champion.
  9. Rice: Conference USA regular season and conference tourney champion.
  10. Cal Poly: Big West regular season champ (no tourney)
  11. Ole Miss: SEC Western Division champion
  12. Louisville: American Athletic Conference regular season champion, Conference tourney runner-up
  13. Vanderbilt: 3rd SEC Western division
  14. South Carolina: 2nd SEC Eastern division,
  15. Miami: ACC Coastal Division and overall regular season champion,
  16. Oklahoma State: Big-12 regular season champion, Conference tourney runner-up

By inferring the stated match-ups of regional hosts, we infer the 9th-16 national seeds from the regional hosts: The 16 regional hosts *usually* are also the top 16 seeds of the tournament, though there have been some deviations from this in the past.  However these seem accurate based on RPI rankings and typical top-25 votes.

Seeding Analysis: I thought Oregon State was slightly over-seeded at #1; I think you have to put Florida or Florida State there based on their record, Strength of Schedule (SoS) and the conferences they play in.   Otherwise in some form or fashion I think your top 8 seeds are correct.   Some are complaining about Indiana but their RPI and BA ranks are top 8 material and there’s no team seeded 9-12 that can make a real strong case to rise.   I think teams like Houston, Washington and Texas were pretty hard done by not getting at least a regional host/9-16 seed.  How does the Pac-12 get the #1 overall seed but its 2nd best team doesn’t even rate a top 16 seed?  Meanwhile Houston is 10th in RPI and #15 in the latest BA poll, and they have to go to LSU to compete against a championship-calibre team.

(Note: CollegeBaseballBlog is reviewing every regional this week ahead of the weekend games.  Click here for an example).

Easiest RegionalsMiami, who in their 42nd consecutive CWS appearance gets Ivy league champ Columbia as its regional THREE seed and a team with a losing record as its 4th seed.  Of course, Miami’s prize will be a super-regional matchup with my tournament favorite Florida and a likely trip home.   Oregon State’s regional looks incredibly straight forward; its #2 and #3 seeds are from smaller baseball conferences and its #2 seed (UNLV) just lost their friday starter (Erick Fedde) to Tommy John.   Indiana’s regional looks pretty easy all things considered, and Florida State’s regional isn’t difficult, with middling SEC team Alabama and small conference schools to contend with.

Hardest Regionals: LSU; they get Houston, a team that should have been seeded as well as conference champ Bryant.  Oklahoma State got no favors with Nebraska and traditional power Cal-State Fullerton.  Rice gets #12 RPI ranked Texas to go with Texas A&M.  Ole Miss gets 14th ranked and under-seeded Washington to go with 25th ranked Georgia Tech and a pesky 4th seed in Jacksonville State.   Florida has three teams ranked inside of the RPI #50 in its regional; no cupcakes here and it includes the best #4 seed in the tourney (College of Charleston with local favorite Taylor Clarke).  TCU gets baseball powerhouse Dallas Baptist to go along with Sam Houston State, a team ranked in and out of the top 25 all year.  Lastly Louisville has a regional that looks like a fantastic basketball tournament; they have Kentucky, Kansas and Kent State.  Kentucky and Kansas were in the top 25 as recently as earlier this month and this could be a very competitive regional.

Snubs: West Virginia was the highest RPI ranked team left out (#38) but that was mostly on their SoS; they were barely a .500 team overall and were just 9-14 in divisional play.  Next in RPI rankings missing out were Mercer (#46), UCF (#48), and UC Santa Barbara (#50).  Central Florida likely was the “last team out” and Clemson/UC Irvine were the “last teams in.”  Duke may feel a bit unfairly done by; they finished ahead of two other NCAA teams in the conference standings.  CAA champ William & Mary just didn’t have the SOS to get in after losing the conference tournament.   Wright State won its conference going 25-4 in division only to lose the tournamnet to the team that finished dead last in conference play (Youngstown State).

(Links to other analysis from CollegeBaseballDaily blog, BaseballAmerica cool facts and tidbits, and BaseballAmerica field of 64 analysis by Aaron Fitt).

Local Rooting Interests: #3 overall seed and regional host UVA.  Liberty (#3 seed in Charlottesville region), Old Dominion (#3 seed in South Carolina’s region), George Mason (#4 seed in Rice’s regional), and U of Maryland (#2 seed in South Carolina region).  Tough matchup for Liberty.  Maryland returns to the tournament for the first time in 43 years, an amazing fact.  George Mason not only has to travel to Dallas, but they get two top 12 ranked teams in Rice and Texas.  Its hard to envision any of these teams besides host UVA advancing.

Big-time draft prospects to watch: Many of the biggest names in the upcoming draft failed to make the tourney (Carlos RodonBradley ZimmerSean Newcomb and Jeff Hoffman).  But you will have:

  • Aaron Nola, LSU’s friday night starter for the 2nd year running
  • Max Pentecost catches for Kennesaw State.
  • Michael Conforto, an OF with #1 seeded Oregon State
  • Brandon Finnegan, TCU’s #1 starter (a lefty who may be in Washington’s sights if he drops to #18 in the draft)
  • Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt’s #1 starter, who was a first rounder in 2011 out of HS but who failed to sign and has purported “make-up” issues (though finding links to whatever his transgressions may be are difficult)
  • Kyle Schwarber, Indiana’s backstop
  • Erick Fedde‘s team (UNLV) is in the tourney but he isn’t; he had Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks back.  Remember this name; more than one pundit has the Nats drafting him in 2 weeks time.
  • UVA has three 1st-2nd rounders of note as discussed here frequently: Derek FisherMike Papi and Nick Howard.

See more of the guys in play by scanning down MLBdraftInsider’s latest mock draft.  And mlb.com posted its link to the Tourney teeming with talent.

Regionals run from Friday 5/30/14 to Monday June 2nd (if needed).

My Regional winner predictions: I’ll go chalk with national seeds 1-8.  After that most of the 9-16 seeds could be in trouble:

  • I think Texas beats out perennially over-ranked #9 Rice.
  • I think #10 Cal Poly doesn’t have the SoS to compete with either Arizona State or Pepperdine and will get beat.
  • I like Washington over #11 Ole Miss.
  • I think Kentucky can outlast #12 Louisville.
  • I think #16 Oklahoma State could be in trouble with Cal State Fullerton looming as a pretty tough #3 seed.
  • I worry about small-conference #6 Louisiana-Lafayette’s lofty ranking (they’re #1 in the final BA poll) but they got a pretty easy regional.
  • Despite Houston’s pedigre I don’t think they can beat out #8 LSU, and someone has to go through Aaron Nola.  And despite some complaints with #4 Indiana’s seeding their bracket is pretty easy.

Other pundit regional predictions: CollegeBaseballBlog and MinorLeagueBall/Chris Slade.

But no matter what happens, I hope they bring along the “Bat Dog” for one of the regionals :-)


Useful College Baseball links to use: BaseballAmerica, and their top-25 lists.  d1baseball.com is fantastic and is the best place to get updated information on day-to-day data, standings, and tournament results.  PerfectGame.org has the best data on college players in their vast prep database.  Warrennolan.com has the best guesses on college baseball RPIs.  NCBWA does top-30 polls and other analysis.