NCAA Super Regional Preview

Super Regional Preview

We nailed 13 of the 16 Super Regional teams with our “Regional Preview” last week, underestimating Oklahoma, and TCU while overestimating Georgia Tech. An .813 batting average isn’t bad but we’ll aim for a perfect 8 for 8 in making our Omaha predictions. This weekend’s matchups will give fans a taste of 116 players that were selected in this week’s MLB draft. UCLA leads the way with 11 players drafted, and that doesn’t even include their Sophomore ace pitcher Gerrit Cole who was an unsigned 1st round pick (NYY) in 2008. Well enough of this palaver, let’s get this show on the road.

AUSTIN SUPER REGIONAL

Texas v. TCU:

TCU went 3-0 to breeze through their regional thanks to strong pitching performances by Freshman LHP Matt Purke (6.1IP 6H 3ER 2BB 9K) v. Arizona and Junior RHP Steven Maxwell (8IP 3H 0ER 2BB 11K) v. Baylor. Purke was an unsigned 1st round pick in 2009 (TEX) but he’ll get his toughest matchup of his college career regardless of which of the Longhorns “Three Headed Ace Monster” (patent pending) he faces.

Texas possesses the best pitching staff in the nation led by sophomore LHP Taylor Jungmann, who disposed of Rice last weekend going 7.2IP 2H 1ER 2BB 7K. New MLB draftees RHP Cole Green, RHP Brandon Workman and closer RHP Chance Ruffin make Texas too difficult to beat and the 2009 CWS Runner up will make a return to Omaha.

Projected Winner: Texas

TCU Drafted Players (6):

Bryan Holaday – C. Detroit – 6th.
Greg Holle – RHP. Milwaukee 11th.
Steven Maxwell – RHP. Minnesota – 12th.
Matt Curry-1B. Pittsburgh – 16th.
Tyler Lockwood – RHP. Boston – 25th.
Paul Gerrish – RHP. Houston – 42nd.

Texas Drafted Players (8):

Chance Ruffin – RHP. Detroit -1s.
Brandon Workman – RHP. Boston – 2nd.
Cameron Rupp – C. Philadelphia – 3rd.
Cole Green – RHP. Detroit – 4th.
Kevin Keyes – OF. Washington – 7th.
Connor Rowe – OF. Washington – 21st.
Russ Moldenhauer – 1B. Washington – 24th.
William Sheperd – 1B. Cincinnati – 47th.

CHARLOTTESVILLE SUPER REGIONAL

Oklahoma v. Virginia

Oklahoma needed just three games to get though their regional, although it took 10 innings in each of their first two contests against Oral Roberts and North Carolina. Zach Neal is pitching well enough that he could steal the first game of this series but Virginia holds the advantage in almost every category.

Virginia got a scare from St. Johns who forced and elimination game by beating them Sunday 6-5. Ace Danny Hultzen hasn’t been as sharp in his last several starts but he’s still the best pitcher in this Super Regional. Virginia also has more depth in their staff as RHP Robert Morey matches up well against most #2 pitchers in the nation and Kevin Arico was one of the most effective closers in the nation. Virginia also wins the offensive battle and Jarrett Parker is the key. The athletic outfielder sets the tone for veteran leaders Phil Gosselin and Tyler Cannon.

Projected Winner: Virginia

Oklahoma Drafted Players (5):

Daniel Black – 2B. Florida – 14th.
Zach Neal – RHP. Florida – 17th.
Steven Buechele – 3B. Texas – 18th.
Jeremy Erben – RHP. Arizona – 22nd.
Jason Chowning – RHP. Houston – 28th.

Virginia Drafted Players (9):

Jarrett Parker – OF. San Francisco – 2nd.
Phillip Gosselin – 2B. Atlanta – 5th.
Robert Morey – RHP. Florida – 5th.
Kevin Arico – RHP. Cincinnati – 10th.
Dan Grovatt – OF. Pittsburgh – 11th.
Tyler Cannon – 3B. Cleveland – 12th.
Tyler Wilson – RHP. Cincinnati – 35th.
Kenny Swab – C. Atlanta – 35th.
Neal Davis – LHP. Philadelphia – 36th.

CLEMSON SUPER REGIONAL

Alabama v. Clemson

Big Jimmy Nelson of Alabama holds the edge on Clemson ace Casey Harmen. Alabama 2B Ross Wilson has been starting for 3 years for the Crimson Tide and provides veteran leadership. Clemson is led by Kyle Parker, who’s also the QB on their football team and the only player in DI history with 20 HR and 20 TD passes in the same year. A first round pick with the Rockies, when his run to Omaha is complete he’ll need to work out the details to determine if he can still play football after signing his baseball contract.

Projected Winner: Alabama

Alabama Drafted Players (8):

Jimmy Nelson – RHP. Milwaukee – 2nd.
Josh Rutledge – SS. Colorado – 3rd.
Ross Wilson – 2B. White Sox – 10th.
Jake Smith – 3B. Philadelphia – 15th.
Tyler White – RHP. Detroit – 20th.
Justin Woodal – LHP. Tampa Bay – 26th.
Jason Townsent – RHP. Pittsburgh – 31st.
Clay Jones – 1B. Detroit – 32nd.

Clemson Drafted Players (6):

Kyle Parker – OF. Colorado – 1st.
Michael Freeman – SS. Arizona – 11th.
John Hinson – 3B. Philadelphia – 13th.
Jeff Schaus – OF. Cleveland – 27th.
Casey Harman – LHP. Cubs – 29th.
John Nester – C. Oakland – 39th.

GAINESVILLE SUPER REGIONAL

Miami v. Florida

This Miami team doesn’t have the same star power as they did in 2008 when Yonder Alonzo and Jemile Weeks led them to Omaha but then Freshman Yasmani Grandal and Chris Hernandez were big contributors on that team. Hernandez was the Freshman National Player of the Year and Grandal has been a mainstay behind the dish.

Florida has a mix of veterans and young talend, from Senior Matt den Dekker to Freshman All American 3B/C Austin Maddux. Neither team is particularly deep on the mound but Florida can hit with anyone.

Projected Winner: Florida

Miami Drafted Players (5):

Yasmani Grandal – C. Cincinnati – 1st.
Chris Hernandez – LHP. Boston – 7th.
David Gutierrez – RHP. Minnesota – 18th.
Scott Lawson – 2B. Tampa Bay – 29th.
Iden Nazario – LHP. St. Louis – 30th.

Florida Drafted Players (6):

Kevin Chapman – LHP. Kansas City – 4th.
Matt den Dekker – OF. Mets – 5th.
Tommy Toledo – RHP. Minnesota – 32nd.
Hampton Tignor – C. Angles – 36th.
Justin Poovey – RHP. Angles – 41st.
Matt Campbell – RHP. Cincinnati – 43rd.

LOS ANGELES SUPER REGIONAL

Cal State Fullerton v. UCLA

Fullerton plays my style of college baseball. They like to bunt, they like to run, they basically like to keep applying pressure to the defense. One thing they could work on is taking walks. Gary Brown may have been the fastest guy in the draft and he walks less than 3% of the time. I don’t get that. If your best tool is your legs, why not try to utilize them more by being selective and getting on base? The Titan staff is led by RHP Dan Renken, who seemingly has been there forever.

UCLA, as mentioned earlier, has 11 players that were just drafted. They’re second only to Texas in terms of quality pitching. RHP Gerrit Cole leads the staff and will go in the first 10 picks next June. Fellow Sophomore Travis Bauer and Junior Rob Rasmussen round out the rotation while Dan Klein is their stopper. Fullerton’s Christian Colon may be the biggest name in this regional but give me pitching depth on a 3 game set any day.

Projected Winner: UCLA

Cal State Fullerton Drafted Players (9):

Christian Colon – SS. Kansas City – 1st.
Gary Brown – OF. San Francisco – 1st.
Corey Jones – 2B. Detroit – 7th.
Dan Renken – RHP. Cincinnati – 25th.
Kevin Rath – LHP. White Sox – 26th.
Kyle Mertins – RHP. Atlanta – 28th.
Chris Floethe – RHP. Arizona – 29th.
Carlos Lopez – 1B. Detroit – 37th.
Billy Marcoe – C. Seattle – 41st.

UCLA Drafted Players (11):

Rob Rasmussen – LHP. Florida – 2nd.
Dan Klein – RHP. Baltimore – 3rd.
Matt Grace – LHP. Washington – 8th.
Garett Claypool – RHP. Philadelphia – 11th.
Matt Drummond – LHP. Baltimore – 20th.
Chris Ciovinazzo – OF. Colorado – 21st.
Erik Goeddel – RHP. Mets – 24th.
Brett Krill – OF. San Francisco – 25th.
Nick Gallego – 2B. Arizona – 27th.
Mitchell Beacom – LHP. Kansas City – 36th.
Blair Dunlap – OF. Baltimore – 43rd.

MYRTLE BEACH SUPER REGIONAL

South Carolina v. Coastal Carolina

SoCar RHP Sam Dyson v. Coastal LHP Cody Wheeler should prove to be an interesting matchup in game 1. These teams are fairly evenly matched in terms of having pitching depth and hitting deficiencies. If all things are even, give me the SEC.

Projected Winner: South Carolina

South Carolina Drafted Players (7):

Sam Dyson – RHP. Toronto – 4th.
Whit Merrfield – OF. Kansas City – 9th.
Blake Cooper – RHP. Arizona – 12th.
Bobby Haney – SS. San Francisco – 22nd.
Steven Neff – LHP. Kansas City – 23rd.
Parker Bangs – RHP. Kansas City – 31st.
Jordan Propst – RHP. Kansas City – 49th.

Coastal Carolina Drafted Players (7):

Cody Wheeler – LHP. Arizona – 5th.
Rico Noel – OF. San Diego – 5th.
Scott Woodward – 3B. Oakland – 15th.
Austin Fleet – RHP. San Francisco – 16th.
Chance Gilmore – OF. Dodgers – 25th.
Keith Hessler – LHP. Arizona – 28th.
Jim Birmingham – LHP. San Francisco – 33rd.

TALLAHASSEE SUPER REGIONAL

Vanderbilt v. Florida State

This Super Regional features two teams that ousted the Big East’s two top teams as Vanderbilt defeated Louisville in dramatic fashion on Monday while Florida State disposed of host Connecticut to advance in their regional. Vanderbilt is young and led by Sophomore ace RHP Sonny Gray, a likely 1st round pick next year.

Florida State relies heavily on veteran leadership from OF Tyler Holt, SS Stephen Cardullo and UTL Mike McGee. I think we’re likely to go 3 games but Vandy will have to wait until 2011 to make it to Omaha.

Projected Winner: Florida State

Vanderbilt Drafted Players (6):

Andrew Hayes – RHP. Cincinnati – 11th.
Aaron Westlake – OF. Toronto – 22nd.
David Hill – RHP. Cleveland – 30th.
Robert Brewer – RHP. Colorado – 31st.
Andrew Giobbi – C. Seattle – 32nd.
Michael Reed – RHP. St. Louis – 41st.

Florida State Drafted Players (6):

John Gast – LHP. St. Louis – 6th.
Geoff Parker – RHP. Colorado – 9th.
Tyler Holt – OF. Cleveland – 10th.
Stephen Cardullo – 3B. Arizona – 24th.
Tiawan Easterling – OF. Florida – 31st.
Mike McGee – RHP. Arizona – 41st.

TEMPE SUPER REGIONAL

Arkansas v. Arizona State

Arkansas may have more big names left in the tournament than any other team. Zack Cox sliding to #25 overall may have been the steal of the 1st round and 2-way threat Brett Eibner hit 3 HR his first game of this tournament. Drew Smyly heads the pitching staff and Andy Wilkins may strike out a lot, but he also provides some pop in this lineup.

Arizona State is the top seed in this tournament and they’re pretty deep from top to bottom even without their expected 2010 ace LHP Josh Spence. Seth Blair is has picked up where Spence left off and redshirt 23 year old sophomore Jake Borup has been a pleasant surprise. I want badly to call for an upset here but I just can’t discount the Sun Devils.

Projected Winner: Arizona State

Arkansas Drafted Players (7):

Zack Cox – 3B. St. Louis – 1st.
Brett Eibner – RHP. Kansas City – 2nd.
Drew Smyly – LHP. Detroit – 2nd.
Andy Wilkins – 1B. White Sox – 5th.
Mike Bolsinger – RHP. Arizona – 15th.
Collin Kuhn – OF. Detroit – 15th.
Jordan Pratt – RHP. Florida – 22nd.

Arizona State Drafted Players (10):

Seth Blair – RHP. St. Louis – 1s.
Jordan Swagerty – RHP. St. Louis – 2nd.
Merrill Kelly – RHP. Tampa Bay – 8th.
Kole Calhoun – OF. Angles – 8th.
Josh Spence – LHP. San Diego – 9th.
Drew Maggi – SS. Pittsburgh – 15th.
Jimmy Patterson – UTL. Tampa Bay – 18th.
Raoul Torrez – 2B. Arizona – 21st.
Xorge Carrillo – C. San Diego – 23rd.
Jake Borup – RHP. Philadelphia – 23rd.

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