Easter weekend of college baseball is in the books as we approach the month of May.
It’s about that time that the bracketologists break out their tourney predictions with just month left in the regular season. Here’s how the field is currently shaping up according to Kendall Rogers. Virginia still holds down the fort as the number one team in the country but a surprise team out West is hot their heels if the Cavaliers are to slip up anytime soon.
We also now have an official list of those on the Golden Spikes Award watch list, kind of a “who’s who” of college baseball right now. Potential 1st overall pick and high schooler Brady Aiken is also on the list for some reason. I guess stud high schoolers are eligible for the award too.
The complete 2014 preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School
- Brady Aiken, LHP, Senior, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) HS
- Brian Anderson, IF, Junior, Arkansas
- Brett Austin, C, Junior, NC State
- Tyler Beede, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt
- Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
- Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
- Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
- Austin Cousino, OF, Junior, Kentucky
- J.D. Davis, OF/RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton
- Tyler Davis, RHP, Junior, Washington
- Chris Ellis, RHP, Junior, Mississippi
- Joey Epperson, OF/IF, RS-Senior, UC Santa Barbara
- Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
- Erick Fedde, RHP, Junior, UNLV
- Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
- Blake Fox, LHP, Sophomore, Rice
- Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
- Clinton Freeman, OF, Sophomore, East Tennessee State
- Jeff Gardner, OF, Senior, Louisville
- Aaron Garza, RHP, Junior, Houston
- Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
- Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
- Chris Haddeland, RHP, Junior, Linfield
- Ian Happ, IF, Sophomore, Cincinnati
- Seth Harrison, OF, Senior, Louisiana Lafayette
- Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
- Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
- Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
- Ross Kivett, IF, Senior, Kansas State
- Ryan McBroom, OF, Senior, West Virginia
- Daniel Miles, IF, Junior, Tennessee Tech
- DJ Miller, IF, Senior, Delaware State
- Corey Miller, RHP, Senior, Pepperdine
- Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
- Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, Florida Gulf Coast
- Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, LSU
- Mike Papi, OF, Junior, Virginia
- Mark Payton, OF, Senior, Texas
- Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
- A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
- Kyle Schwarber, C, Junior, Indiana
- Kade Scivicque, C, Junior, LSU
- Austen Smith, IF, Senior, Alabama
- D.J. Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
- Ryan Thompson, RHP, Senior, Campbell
- Trent Thornton, RHP, Sophomore, North Carolina
- Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
- Luke Weaver, RHP, Sophomore, Florida State
- Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
- Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco
On with the weekend highlights…….
No. 5 Florida State (30-9, 16-5 ACC) remains in 1st in the Atlantic division following a road series win at Wake Forest. Luke Weaver tossed a gem (9 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 7 K) in Game 1 while outfielder DJ Stewart set a new FSU record 58-game streak of reaching base.
No. 1 Virginia (33-7, 16-5 ACC) and No. 19 Miami (28-13, 16-5 ACC) are now tied for 1st place in the Coastal Division.
Stock Way Down: NC State (21-17, 7-14 ACC) continues to struggle, dropping a pair to..(Gasp!)..Boston College. But, top prospect Trea Turner, who’s power tool has been questioned, did hit a pair of home runs in Saturday’s game.
Sweeper Of The Week: Duke (24-17, 12-9 ACC) – The Blue Devils are rolling with a sweep at Virginia Tech and sit in 3rd place in the Coastal Division.
Making A Statement: Central Florida (25-16, 12-3 AAC) – The Knights proved they are the team to beat in the American with a huge series win over No. 13 Louisville. UCF is 18-5 in their last 23 games. Baseball America profile.
Control Artist: Aaron Garza – RHP – Houston – Garza headlines the stalwart No. 12 Cougars pitching staff and picked up a win with 6.2 scoreless innings without a walk allowed against South Florida. His 0.5 BB/9 is 5th lowest in college baseball.
(Big 12 Highlights)
Entering The Rankings: No. 29 TCU (26-13, ) – The Horned Frogs secured a big time road series win at No. 10 Texas and return to the polls. Top draft prospect LHP Branden Finnegan tossed a gem (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K) in Friday night’s win and has a chance to go in the mid-1st round.
Stock Up: No. 9 Oklahoma State (29-11, 11-4 Big 12) – With a big sweep of Kansas, the Cowboys now take over 1st place in Big 12 play and have quietly cracked the top ten of the writers poll.
Debut Of The Year: Ross Vance – LHP – West Virginia – In his first ever start for the Mountaineers, Vance only hurled a CG shutout with 14 strikeouts to win Big 12 and National pitcher of the week honors.
(Big West Highlights)
Best In The West: No. 2 Cal Poly (34-5, 11-1 Big West) - This is becoming arguably the best team in school history. The Mustangs knocked off perennial Big West powerhouse No. 19 Cal State Fullerton with a sweep and are now ranked N0. 2 in the country.
Cal Poly closer Reed Reilly, an Orioles unsigned 17th rounder in the 2013 draft, earned national pitcher of the week honors for his stellar work (9 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 16 K) out of the bullpen lately.
Stock Down: No. 25 UC Santa Barbara (24-10, 5-7 Big West) dropped three spots in the poll after losing their weekend series to Long Beach State.
Saint Louis (23-14, 11-3 A-10) regained the lead in the Atlantic 10 over the weekend after sweeping Richmond and top draft prospect James Norwood threw a two-hit shutout. Here’s video from his recent Apr. 12 outing.
Mercer (31-10, 14-4 A-Sun) regained the lead in the Atlantic Sun as well and top prospect, infielder Chesny Young, went HAM this weekend (8-for-10, 8 RBI), earning national hitter of the week recognition.
Hoosier Daddy? No. 24 Indiana (25-11, 11-1 Big Ten) swept Michigan State to increase their 1st place lead as the Hoosiers attempt to make a late run at hosting a regional if they keep this up.
Draft Stock Rising: Kyle Freeland – LHP – Evansville – In a world without an impressive crop of collegiate lefties emerges this stud from the small school in Indiana. He tossed yet another double digit K outing this weekend and has emerged as a lock for the 1st round. His 87-to-4 strikeout/walk ratio and plus command of a plus fastball remind me of Cliff Lee.
College of Charleston (27-12, 10-2 CAA) paces the pack in the CAA at the moment and swept James Madison over the weekend.
No. 16 Rice (29-13, 16-5 C-USA) emerged with a sweep in a big weekend showdown with UAB. Impressive considering ace Zach Lemond has been shut down as of late.
Hitter Spotlight: John Clay Reeves – C – The Owls junior catcher had a big weekend (5-for-12, HR, 3 RBI) and earned C-USA hitter of the week honors.
MAC Hitter of the Week: Tyler Huntley – C – Central Michigan – The Chippewas (25-15, 12-3 MAC) have the best record in the MAC and Huntley played a big role (.450, HR, 8 RBI) in their series win at NIU.
Entering The Rankings: No. 30 New Mexico (30-11, 14-4 MWC) – The Lobos swept San Jose State and have staked their claim to 1st in the Mountain West.
We now have a three-way tie for 1st in the Southland conference: Southeastern Louisiana (where my brother played), Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and Nicholls State. I think you know who I’m pulling for.
Yes, the Ragin Cajuns (36-5, 16-2 Sun Belt) are still really, really damn good. They ‘only’ won two-of-three with UT-Arlington this weekend but still rank No. 3 in the country.
Keep On Rollin: No. 11 Washington (27-8, 14-4 Pac-12) – Another week another series win for the Huskies, this time at California.
No. 4 Oregon State (27-7, 11-4 Pac-12) had a bye so LHP Ben Wetzler‘s microscopic 0.68 ERA is still best in the nation.
No. 7 Oregon (31-10, 10-5 Pac-12) has rattled off nine wins a row and swept Washington State over the weekend. The bad news: Young stud LHP Matt Krook has to have Tommy John surgery.
No. 14 Florida (27-13, 12-6 SEC) sits atop the SEC East while No. 17 Alabama (28-12, 12-6 SEC) sits utop the SEC West.
The Gators swept Georgia and are now No. 1 in the RPI’s.
Other Sweepers: No. 21 Mississippi State (26-15, 10-8 SEC) – The Bulldogs pulled off the road sweep of Missouri to get back over .500 in conference play.
Arkansas (25-16, 9-9 SEC) pulled off a nice series win of No. 15 Vanderbilt at home. The Razorbacks rocked top draft prospect Tyler Beede on Friday for 6 earned runs in a 6-2 win.
SEC Hitter of the Week: Conner Hale – INF – LSU - Batted .587 in the Tigers series win at Ole Miss.
(Photo Courtesy Of: Wichita State Athletics)
Hitter Of The Week: Casey Gillaspie – 1B – Wichita State
I saw Gillaspie play back in late February and came away very impressed with his physicality and power potential as well his disciplined approach at the plate. Those two traits have continued as he is now batting .401/.506/.694 with 10 homers with a sick 31-to-16 BB/K ratio and looks like a potential 1st rounder. Why’s he the hitter of the week? He batted 6-for-12 with two doubles, a homer, 5 RBI, and for the hell of it – two stolen bases – over the weekend versus Southern Illinois. Baseball America has video and a nice writeup on Gillaspie in today’s three strikes column.
HM/ Austin Byler – 3B, Nevada, Caleb Adams – OF, Louisiana-Lafayette
(Photo: ECU Media Relations)
Pitcher Of The Week: Jeff Hoffman – RHP – East Carolina
Some weeks this award is made easy for me. Hoffman tossed a sensational outing that easily helped solidify his draft stock as a top ten talent. He went the distance against Middle Tennesse State, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out 16! According to Christopher Crawford, “If he pitches the way he did on Thursday against Middle Tennessee State the rest of the year, however, that No. 1 overall pick debate might just be back on.” He ran his fastball up to 97 mph, flashed a plus-plus breaking ball, and showed plus command all night. Here’s a nice story on his rise from undrafted high schooler to likely top ten pick.
HM/ Kyle Freeland – LHP, Evansville, Branden Finnegan – LHP, TCU
The latest rankings via College Baseball Writers
Draft Prospect Stat Roundup from Baseball America
D1 Stat Leaderboard via Boyd’s World
The latest RPI’s via Boyd’s World.