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2018 CWS Super-Regionals recap, CWS field and predictions

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(Just realized I forgot to post this earlier this week!  CWS started yesterday; this is a recap of the super regionals with predictions and key names to watch in the CWS).

Here’s a recap of our CWS coverage so far for 2018:


CWS Super Regionals were played this past weekend.

Super Regional Recaps:  I’ve got these ordered by they way they’ll be playing into the CWS field (i.e. by bracket, with former Natioanl seeds 1,8,5,4 in the top and 6,3,7,2 in the bottom).  And this is the order they’re listed on d1baseball’s Tourney Central, the quickest way to find results.

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: Brady Singer overcame a leg injury in the first to throw a quality start while his offense spoiled Casey Mize‘s likely final collegiate start to get Game 1.  In game 2, Auburn could do nothing with Jackson Kowar, but got two runs late including a walk-off in the 9th to force a decided against Florida’s closer.   The two teams played a classic 3rd game, with Florida eventually advancing on a walk-off homer in the 11th to advance to Omaha for the fourth year in a row.
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech:  Texas Tech got the first game 6-4.   Duke pounded them 11-2 to force the decider.  There, Texas Tech won 6-2 to advance.
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina: Arkansas showed why they’re a tough out, with their offense lighting up in a game one win 9-3.  Nats 10th rounder Carson Shaddy was a huge factor here, hitting a bases-clearing double in the 7th to break open the game.  In game 2, South Carolina got a solid start from Reservoir HS grad Cody Morris to force the deciding 3rd game (Note: Shaddy again had a solid game for Arkansas, and our 15th rounder Evan Lee got into the game as a match-up lefty for one batter).  In the decider, Arkansas jumped on South Carolina early and cruised 14-4 to earn a trip to Omaha.  Shaddy had another huge game with 3 RBIs.
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas: Tennessee Tech upset Texas 5-4 in the opener.  Texas won game two 4-2 to force a deciding third game.  There, Texas took the series against pesky Tennessee Tech to advance.
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota: OSU continued their dominant post-season by beating Minnesota 8-1 in the first game behind nearly a CG from OSU ace and lightening rod Luke Heimlich.  They had to work a bit harder in game 2, but Oregon State still advanced to their 2nd straight CWS 6-3.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: UNC got to Stetson 1st rounder Logan Gilbert, putting 4 runs on him in 5 innings and holding on for the game 1 victory.  UNC made quick work of Stetson in Game 2 to advance to the CWS.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: In a game dominated by poor pitching and errors, Mississippi State’s junior undrafted outfielder Elijah Macnamee hit a walk-off 2-run homer to take game one.  Vanderbilt scored 3 runs late, including a walk-off homer in the 9th, to take game 2; our two Vandy picks Reid Schaller and Chandler Day got the hold and the win by pitching the 8th and 9th in this gameMississippi State took game 3, getting a couple runs off of Day’s long-relief effort but exploding for four runs in the 11th to advance.
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington: UWash got to CSF starter Colton Eastman in the 7th, and put enough runs on the board to make the lead stick in game 1.  Fullerton got revenge in game two 5-2 and forced the decider.  There though, Washington won in extra innings to advance to their first ever CWS.

My CWS Predictions: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas on one side, Oregon State, Stetson, Vanderbilt, Cal-State Fullerton on the other.

Actuals: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas on the top, Oregon State, UNC, Mississippi State, Washington on the bottom.

I got the whole upper bracket right, whiffed on most of the lower bracket.

 


CWS Field and Profiles

Top Bracket:

  • #1 Florida: 47-19 overall, 20-10 in the SEC.  1st place SEC-East regular season.
  • #9 Texas Tech: 44-18 overall, 15-9 in Big-12.  3rd place Big-12 regular season.
  • #5 Arkansas; 43-19 overall, 18-12 in the SEC.  2nd place SEC-West regular season.
  • #13 Texas: 42-21 overall, 17-7 in Big-12.  1st place Big-12 regular season.

Bottom Bracket

  • #3 Oregon State: 49-10-1, 20-9-1 in the Pac-12.   2nd place, Pac-12 regular season.
  • #6 UNC: 43-18 overall, 22-8 in the ACC.  1st Place ACC-Coastal division regular season.
  • Mississippi State; 37-27 overall, 15-15 in the SEC.  5th Place, SEC-West division regular season.
  • Washington: 35-24 overall, 20-10 in the Pac-12

CWS field review by the numbers

  • SEC: 3 teams
  • Pac12: 2 team
  • ACC: 1 teams
  • Big12: 2 teams
  • National top 8 Seeds: 3
  • Regional Hosts (i.e. top 16 seeds): 6
  • First time programs: 1 (Washington)

CWS Field thoughts

An interesting field.   The entire bottom half of the tourney was decided before any of the upper half, as six of the eight super-regionals went the full 3 games.  At first glance, its easy to predict the two best teams here (Florida and Oregon State).  But its hard to not see what Mississippi State has done lately.  They finished 15-15 in SEC play … but that included them sweeping both Arkansas and Florida late just to get their league record up to .500.  They’re incredibly hot, just flipped the script on Vanderbilt, and is not a team i’d want to mess with right now.  The upper bracket has more seeds, but the lower bracket might be a tougher road for the favorite Oregon State.

Florida beat Arkansas 2 of 3 in their season series, but it was in Florida.  On a neutral field its hard to say who might win.  In the bottom , Oregon State will open with conference rival Washington, who they took 2 of 3 against (again at home).   Its hard to see a Texas-Texas Tech rematch but if they do meet, Texas took 2/3 on Texas Tech’s field and should be slightly favored on a neutral field.

Quick predictions:

Final: Oregon State over Florida.

Player Star power in this CWS: By team, here’s the top-end draft talents

  • Florida features top picks Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Jonathan India
  • Texas Tech’s top pick was a Supplemental 2nd rounder Grant Little.
  • Arkansas had three upper round picks: 3rd rounder Blaine Knight, 4th rounder Eric Cole and 5th round C Grant Koch.
  • Texas’ highest draft pick is the son of Roger ClemensKody Clemens, drafted in the 3rd round.  Also features role player Andy McGuire, from Madison HS in Vienna, drafted in the 28th round.
  • Oregon State features Nick Madrigal (#4 overall), plus 1st-day picks Trevor Larnach and Cayden Grenier, as well as the controversial 1st round talent Luke Heimlich.
  • UNC had just one top 10 round pick, RHP 6th rounder Rodney Hutchinson.
  • Mississippi State’s ace Konner Plikington slipped to the 3rd round.
  • Washington had and 8th rounder A.J. Graffiano and a 9th rounder Willie MacIver.

Nats 2018 Draftees in the CWS: thanks to the Nats strategy of drafting only College players, they drafted a ton of guys who are playing in Omaha.  By team:

  • #5 Arkansas features 10th rounder Carson Shaddy, the Arkansas starting 2B as well as our 15th rounder Evan Lee, a role-player on the team this year.  Shaddy had a massive super-Regional at the plate and will look to continue in the CWS.

College CWS tournament references:

2018 CWS tournament: Regional Results, Super-Regional Pairings

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CWS coverage for 2018:

Now we’re through the Regionals and the field has been winnowed from 64 to just 16.

We’ll review the 16 regionals in order of the larger bracket.  Bold is the host and Bolded Red is the winner.  We’ll also highlight significant players and/or guys who are big names in the upcoming draft as we get to them.

It was a crazy set of regionals; by Sunday night only 6 of the 16 brackets were decided; a slew of regionals were forced to monday games (two weather delays involved).  And we saw one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.  Read on.


Regional Recaps

1. Florida region finish: Florida, FAU, Jacksonville, Columbia.  FAU gave #1 overall seed a scare, but ultimately lost in the final.  They did put a beat-down on Florida #2 Jackson Kowar, which may have cost him 25 slots in the draft.
16. NC State region finish: Auburn, NC State, Army, Northeastern.  #3 seed Northeastern does not do a good job defending critics of their getting an at-large bid.  NC State inexplicably loses to Army to open the regional and cannot overcome Auburn to lose on its home turf.

2. Stanford region finish: Cal-State Fullerton, Stanford, Baylor, Wright State.  The #2 overall national seed goes out to perennial power Fullerton, losing two close games.  Fullerton advances as a #3 regional seed, probably under-seeded when all is said and done, but Baylor really under-performed here.
15. Coastal Carolina region finish: Washington, UConn, Coastal Carolina, LIU-Brooklyn.   Host CCU out early; they lost to Washington in the winner’s bracket and then Leesburg’s Zack Hopeck gave them 5 solid innings in the elimination game but the bullpen fell apart against UConn.  Pac-12 Washington advances as the #3 regional seed.

3. Oregon State region finish: Oregon State, LSU, Northwestern State, San Diego State; surprise 2-and-out showing from the Mountain West champ.  Oregon State absolutely destroyed this regional, outscoring their opponents 35-4 in three games.  Look out for this team.
14. Minnesota region finish: Minnesota, UCLA, Gonzaga, Canisius.  Minnesota cruised through this regional.

4. Ole Miss region finish: Tennessee Tech, Ole Miss,  Missouri State, St. Louis; huge upset here, with tiny Tennessee Tech ousting the #4 national seed Ole Miss, coming back through the loser’s bracket and beating them in a double header to end the weekend.
13. Texas region finish: Texas, Indiana, TAMU, Texas Southern.  In the end, a chalk finish though Indiana worked their way through the loser’s bracket to get to the regional final before losing a close one.

5. Arkansas region finish: Arkansas, Dallas Baptist, Southern Miss, Oral Roberts; host Arkansas wasn’t pushed til the final, overcoming regional powerhouse Dallas Baptist to advance.
12. ECU region finish: South Carolina, UNC-W, ECU, Ohio State.  Another poor showing from the Big10 as #3 Ohio State falls to CAA team UNC-W in the elimination game.  UNC-W is no slouch team, but its still an upset.  They made the region final as a #4 seed before falling to the SEC power.

6. UNC region finish: UNC, Houston, Purdue, NC A&T: UNC won a slug-fest over regional powerhouse Houston 19-11 to advance.
11. Stetson region finish: Stetson, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Hartford; Stetson dominated this regional and looks like a tough out.

7. Florida State region finish: Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Samford, Florida State.  The #7 national seed goes 2-and-out in its own regional.  There was some talk about Fla State not being as deserving of a national seed as some of its other ACC brothers … but nobody expected this.
10. Clemson region finish: Vanderbilt, Clemson, St. Johns, Morehead State.  Tough regional puts two quality teams together, and the SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt advances.

8. Georgia region finish: Duke, Georgia, Troy, Campbell.  Duke came out of the loser’s bracket after a shock opening game loss to win the regional and send the national #8 seed home.
9. Texas Tech region finish: Texas Tech, Louisville Kent State, New Mexico State; this regional  goes exactly chalk, with Texas Tech never really troubled (it won its three games by 7,6,5).


Predictions versus Actuals

My Predictions: Florida, Auburn, Stanford, Coastal Carolina, Oregon State, Minnesota, Ole Miss, TAMU, Arkansas, South Carolina, UNC, Stetson,  Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, Texas Tech

Actuals; Florida, Auburn, Cal-State Fullerton, Washington,  Oregon State, Minnesota, Tennessee Tech, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, UNC, Stetson, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Duke, Texas Tech

I got just 9 of 16 right.


Summary of Regionals statistically:

  • Just 8 of 16 hosts advanced.
  • Four of the 8 national seeds fell: #2 Stanford, #4 Ole Miss, #7 Florida State, #8 Georgia
  • #10, #12, #15 and #16 also fell: #10 Clemson, #12 ECU, #15 Coastal Carolina and #16 NC State.
  • 8 number one seeds, 6 number two seeds, 2 number three seeds, and 0 number four seeds advance to the super regionals.  
  • 1 number of #4 seeds who didn’t finish 4th in their regional; Northwestern State, Dallas Baptist (a strong #4),  Florida Atlantic, UNC-Wilmington, Kent State, Army, Wright State
  • 2: number of #4 seeds to get opening wins.  Army beat #1 seed NC State in the opener, Wright State (who beat Florida State in the opener)
  • Most surprising regional winner: Tennessee Tech, even though they were a #2 regional seed.
  • First time Super Regionalists: Tennessee Tech and Stetson.

Conference Breakdowns of the teams in the Super Regionals:

  • SEC: Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
  • ACC: Duke, UNC
  • Big12: Texas Tech, Texas
  • Pac12: Oregon State, Washington
  • Big 10: Minnesota
  • Big West: Cal State Fullerton
  • Others: Tennessee Tech, Stetson

6 of the 16 remaining teams from the SEC; no other conference has more than two.  Interestingly though, all 6 SEC teams are matched up in the super regionals, guaranteeing 3 of the 8 CWS spots to be from the powerhouse conference.


Super Regional Matchups:  the higher ranked team is the host in each case.  I’ve organized this as they feed into CWS brackets, not 1-16 seeds.  In cases where neither ranked team advanced, the NCAA decides based on suitability of each site.  On 6/5/18 they announced the host sites and I’ve denoted them below.  Basically they decided to give the two more storied schools hosting duties.

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota
  • #6 UNC  vs #11 Stetson
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt (host)
  • Cal State Fullerton (host) vs Washington

 


Super Regional Thoughts/Predictions

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: Florida took 2 of 3 at home against Auburn in the regular season, beating Casey Mize in the process.  
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech: Duke advanced while other, better ACC teams did not; I don’t know if they can top the powerful Texas Tech team.
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina: Arkansas beat South Carolina in the SEC tourney opener; only time they played this year.
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas; Texas surprised me by coming out of a regional with an SEC team; you’d think they could overcome the tiny Tennessee Tech team.
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota.  Oregon State is my odds-on favorite to make the CWS final and Minnesota isn’t stopping them.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: UNC is going to have to work for this one, as they likely get beat by Stetson’s ace Logan Gilbert on Friday.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt: Vandy swept Mississippi State on their turf late in the season, and probably sweep them this coming weekend.
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington; Fullerton just easily beat a better Pac-12 team in Stanford; do we think the 3rd place Pac-12 team is going to fare better?

 

Super Regional Star Power

Lots of top-end draft picks will be playing this weekend, just ahead of the MLB draft which starts on 6/12/17.  By Super Regional:

  • #1 Florida vs Auburn: #1 overall pick Casey Mize, top picks Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Jonathan India (#5 overall) from Florida.  Great pitching match-ups in here.  
  • Duke vs #9 Texas Tech: Griffin Conine
  • #5 Arkansas vs South Carolina
  • Tennessee Tech vs #13 Texas
  • #3 Oregon State vs #14 Minnesota; Nick Madrigal (#4 overall), plus 1st-day picks Trevor Larnach and Cayden Grenier on a stacked OSU team.
  • #6 UNC vs #11 Stetson: Stetson’s ace Logan Gilbert was #14 overall pick.
  • Mississippi State vs Vanderbilt
  • Cal State Fullerton vs Washington

CWS Predictions: Florida, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon State, Stetson, Vanderbilt, CS-Fullerton

This would probably favor a Florida-Oregon State final from the initial look of it, though Oregon State’s draw is much, much deeper than Florida’s potential path.


College CWS tournament references:

CWS 2018: Field of 64 announced with Regional predictions

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First College Baseball post of the season!   And it comes with the announcement of the field of 64 for the 2018 tournament.

Here’s a nice summary of the field from d1baseball.com, including a conference breakdown.

Quick summary of the field: No Miami, no UVA, no TCU in big surprises for big programs.  The field is also missing perennial powers like Rice and Wichita State this year.  Kentucky seems to be the biggest snub … but they were sub .500 in their league and was one-and-done in the SEC tournament.  One win there and they’re probably in.  Northeastern probably the most controversial at-large bid, having their one-bid conference slot “stolen” by UNC-W but not really having earned it on their season.  There’s some sniffling at the national seeding of (in particular) the ACC teams, but otherwise most of the pundits I read think this is a pretty solid field.

Here’s your National seeds:

1. Florida
2. Stanford
3. Oregon State
4. Ole Miss
5. Arkansas
6. UNC
7. Florida State
8. Georgia

That’s a solid SEC showing; four of the top 8 national seeds and 10 teams overall in the tourney.

Next seeds

9. Texas Tech
10. Clemson
11. Stetson
12. ECU
13. Texas
14. Minnesota
15. Coastal Carolina
16. NC State.


 

Quick predictions (here i’ve put in the teams by Super Regional match-up):

1. Florida; cakewalk regional; their #2 is Jacksonville?  See you in a couple weeks.
16. NC State: Get the seed over Auburn; if they save their Ace NC State could be in the Loser’s bracket really quickly.  I think Auburn advances here.

2. Stanford: got no favors by getting the always-tough Cal State Fullerton team in their regional, but their #2 seed Baylor is manageable.
15. Coastal Carolina: gets UConn as their #2 seed and their tough arm Tim Cate.  Coastal has played tough down the stretch though and should advance.

3. Oregon State; tough regional with LSU and San Diego State; Oregon State will have to earn this.  Part of me hopes they go out early so the Heimlich stories die soon.
14. Minnesota; gets two west coast teams in UCLA and Gonzaga; i do not give Big10 baseball teams much credit … but they might be able to handle UCLA this year.

4. Ole Miss; gets a tough Missouri State team (with top draft prospect Jeremey Eierman), but i’m not sure they’re that scared of their #2 Tennessee Tech.
13. Texas: i’d be more scared of TAMU as a 3-seed than Indiana as a #2 seed this year.  TAMU somehow is a #3 seed despite being a top 16 team by RPI and possibly being in the host discussion.  Meanwhile Texas is not as strong as its #13 seed in this tournament looks … I smell an upset here.

5. Arkansas: gets two traditional smaller-school baseball powers in Southern Miss and Dallas Baptist; does anyone ever know how these teams will fare?
12. ECU: gets a tough #2 in South Carolina; can they survive the SEC power?  I’m not sure they can and think South Carolina advances.

6. UNC: gets a manageable region thanks to a Big10 team as their #2 seed.
11. Stetson: two great arms in this region in Gilbert and McClanahan with USF … but Oklahoma State looms too.

7. Florida State: A solid regional here with SEC and Big12 powers.  Florida State is always a tough out though.
10. Clemson gets Vanderbilt again … which means one good team goes home early, again.

8. Georgia: they should be able to get past Duke in this weaker regional.
9. Texas Tech has to face off against Louisville, who for the first time in a few years doesn’t have a top-10 draft pick leading their line.


 

Local rooting interests in the tournament: amazingly, zero DC/MD/VA colleges made this tournament.  No UVA, no Maryland, no Liberty, no VCU or ODU or any of the CAA teams that sometimes sneak in.  Here’s a quick peek at the DC/MD/VA players I could think of who will be playing:

  • #12 Seed ECU has the former dominant LHP Jake Agnos (Battlefield HS in Haymarket) on their staff; he had 80 Ks in 60 innings split between starting and relief roles and stepped it up in the post-season tourney.
  • LSU moved Zach Hess (Lynchburg/Liberty Christian Academy) into the rotation this year and he was the saturday starter all spring; he went 7-5 with a 4.43 ERA and saw his draft stock drop significantly (he’s a draft-eligible sophomore this year).  I wonder if he stays in school another year to rebuild value as a starter.
  • #15 Coastal Carolina has several Virginia-natives in starting roles, including weekend starter Zack Hopeck (Heritage HS in Leesburg) and starting OF Kieton Rivers (Nansemond River HS in Suffolk).
  • #16 NC State has three VA-natives on their pitching staff, including staff-ERA leading Kent Klyman (Jamestown HS in Williamsburg).
  • South Carolina’s friday starter is Cody Morris, who dominated Maryland prep for Reservoir HS in Laurel.  They also feature a starting catcher Hunter Taylor from Nandua HS in Onley VA.

Significant Draft picks from the top seeds worth noting: here’s some of the guys we’re hearing rumors about being 1st rounders in June:

  • Florida; no wonder they’re #1: they may have three guys taken in the top 10 picks.  Weekend starters Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and clean-up hitter Jonathan India the players to watch, plus Michael Byrne who was All American pre-season as their closer.
  • Stanford: paced by two top-end starters getting 1st round buzz in Kris Bubic and Tristan Beck.
  • Oregon State: Nick Madrigal may be a top 5 guy and be lightening fast to the majors.  Ace is the highly controversial Luke Heimlich (if you don’t know who he is … he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated a few weeks back; google it).  OF Trevor Larnach is getting some 1st round buzz too.
  • Ole Miss; Ace starter Ryan Rolison was the top prospect in the Cape Cod league last  year.
  • Florida State: Tyler Holton was All-American last year and pre-season All American again this year.
  • Auburn: likely 1-1 Casey Mize is their friday starter.
  • Stetson: ace Logan Gilbert has seen his stock fall but is still likely a mid-1st rounder.
  • South Florida’s ace Shane McClanahan could go high.
  • Duke’s Griffin Conine has a famous pedigree and could be a 1st-day pick.
  • Texas Tech’s starter Steve Gingery has a long line of awards behind his name.
  • Clemson’s Seth Beer has been mashing ever since he arrived at school, winning the Dick Howser award as a freshman.  He could be a sleeper pick late in the 1st round.