Chat with Will Kimmey
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, we'll have ESPN.com college baseball Insider Will Kimmey stopping by to chat about the College World Series. Coverage of the CWS starts Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN and continues through June 29. All games can be seen on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN3.com.
Kimmey has served as a studio analyst for college baseball coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU since 2005. He worked for Baseball America from 2001-2006, covering college baseball from 2004-2006. Fans can find him on Twitter: @willkimmey.
Send your questions now and join Kimmey Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
So what does Jungmann and the horns have to do to spring this upset?
Will Kimmey (10:59 AM)
It's an upset by seeding, but these are two top flight teams. It won't really be an upset either way. Taylor Jungmann is one of the nation's best big-game pitchers. He's just got to be himself: control the strike zone, keep the ball down and keep the game close. Texas is the best defensive team in the nation, so it should be able to hang with the Gators late into the game. Once you're there, Augie Garrido can help get a run across.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Does the Players who got selected automatically go play in Minor League Baseball after the College World Series?
Will Kimmey (11:01 AM)
No, players will negotiate with the teams that drafted them to reach contract agreements. The seniors will likely sign a little quicker because they have less negotiating leverage, and you'll likely see some of them play this summer. As for the first-round guys, they're not going to sign until the August deadline and might not make their pro debuts until fall instructional league. And for the pitchers, a lot of whom topped 100 innings or more this year, they might not throw until next year.
Epps: Spartanburg, SC [via mobile]
Ok we've got Virginia and UNC (the #1 and #3 national seeds)...will an ACC team FINALLY win the CWS?!!!!!!!!
Will Kimmey (11:03 AM)
The ACC hasn't won the CWS since Wake Forest in 1955. Recently, the ACC has sent plenty of teams to Omaha, even having four in 2006. So it's had chances and just not cashed in (UNC was in the finals in 06 and 07). I don't think the drought really has any effect on the teams or players; it's just a quirky thing. Virginia and UNC both have great clubs this year, and both are more than capable of winning the title this year.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Columbia, SC [via mobile]
What kind of role do you expect me to play for the Gamecocks in Omaha this year?
Will Kimmey (11:05 AM)
Getting anything out of Jackie Bradley would be a huge lift for South Carolina. He took batting practice yesterday and will continue to be evaluated. I can surely see him pinch running. Swinging a bat, and hitting for power, with that wrist injury is going to be tough, and he's not played in several weeks, so there will be rust from not facing live pitching. I can't predict a second straight CWS Most Outstanding Player award for him, but I think even a pinch running or defensive replacement appearance could give the club an emotional boost.
Jared Ptusker (SC)
How many times has a team repeated as National Champions in college baseball?
Will Kimmey (11:06 AM)
Last time it happened was 06-07 with Oregon State going back to back, and before that LSU in the 90s. It's so tough to just get back to Omaha. In fact, that 07 OSU club was the last defending champ to even advance to the CWS the next year before South Carolina did so this season.
If Austin Maddox is unable to play do you think that the Gators have a deep enough roster to cover all bases, including the use of Vickash Ramjit at 1st and Toledo closing.
Will Kimmey (11:08 AM)
Ramjit and Toledo have both been solid in the post-season as replacements, and I think Florida probably has missed Maddox more as the shut down reliever than at the plate, as his power fell off this year. He's still a threat to homer at any time. I believe Brian Johnson's injury is more detrimental, losing the No. 2 starter and a regular DH from the left side. Both are expected to play, but then again that's what Florida said before Super Regionals as well. No question, Florida's better with both of them, but it is so deep, it could still win it all without either.
Nate (Omaha )
How do people outside of Omaha feel about TD Ameritrade Park? There are some strong opinions around here, just wondering how people around the country view the new park.
Will Kimmey (11:10 AM)
Most have fond feelings for Rosenblatt because of the history there and the personal experiences. I think the new park will be the story of this CWS, and I'm excited to get out there tomorrow and get my first view. Overall, it's a good thing that our sport is something that can justify having a $130 million spectacle built--it says good things about the growth and health of the game. But I will miss the old yard on the hill.
Very excited about my Vols hiring Dave Serrano! What do you think of the hire and how long should we expect it to take for him to turn things around in Big Orange Country?
Will Kimmey (11:12 AM)
It's a home run. He's one of the top 10 coaches in the country. I think you'll see some California junior college kids early, and then he'll start mixing in more four year players from the Southeast, but still getting some West Coast guys in the mix. I think Tenn can realistically make regionals again in two years, and be a viable CWS and SEC contender within 5. Serrano's predecessor at Fullerton, George Horton took Oregon from no program to regionals in two years, so there's a good blueprint.
what does uva have to do to gain some respect? (have florida lose?)
Will Kimmey (11:14 AM)
Evan, we share a hometown! Hope the RVA is treating you well. Respect is a funny word. Virginia is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, so clearly everyone respects the club. It's had a fantastic year, with just 10 losses because it's so balanced and battle-tested. Danny Hultzen is the big star, and it's a shock when he doesn't win. Jeff Sackmann of College Splits has Virginia as the favorite to win the title based on his system, and I'd rate the Cavs as my pick to at least win their side of the bracket and reach the finals.
Patrick Johnson (Chapel Hill)
Im 13-1 this year. Why do I not get enough respect?
Will Kimmey (11:16 AM)
Hooray, more respect questions. I don't think anyone disrespects Patrick Johnson. He's a bonafide ace. He's more like South Carolina's Michael Roth in that his stuff might not translate to MLB draft status like that of Hultzen, Gray or Jungmann, but Johnson and Roth are each studs in the college game. We saw that as Johnson beat Mark Appel (a likely 2012 first rounder) last week and Roth beat Matt Barnes (the 19th overall pick). College is about the now, and PJ has had a great season and will be a good matchup vs Sonny Gray tomorrow afternoon to open the CWS.
It's about time there was a college baseball chat! I've been waiting all year! South Carolina Gamecocks: Underdogs or Favorites??? I think they are both. They've been here before and won it all (last year) and have experienced players. But also they have some big injuries they have overcome to get here. Jackie Bradley Jr. might be back! Go Gamecocks and REPEAT!
Will Kimmey (11:18 AM)
South Carolina has battled its way back to Omaha in a year when it has dealt with so many injuries. I love Michael Roth and that studly bullpen. And Christian Walker has really become a star this season. Still, South Carolina might not be the favorite on that side of the bracket (I'd give that to UVa). But as we found out last season, you can never count out Ray Tanner's team. It's won 11 straight postseason games dating to last year. That's impressive.
Mark (Fairfield, CT)
What do you think of Vandy's chances in the CWS
Will Kimmey (11:19 AM)
Vandy's probably my favorite as of today. It's got a very deep pitching staff, flush with a few aces and a shut down bullpen. Aaron Westlake and Jason Esposito are veterans that set the tone offensively. The only caveat is that this is Vandy's first Omaha trip, and a first time participant hasn't won it all since Minnesota in the 1950s.
Hi, Will! I've been fascinated by the recent shift of power in the SEC from the west to the east, culminating in this year's ridiculous trio of Florida, USC, and Vandy. Do you see the SEC East continuing to dominate on the national level? How will UT's hiring of Serrano affect the powers that be?
Will Kimmey (11:25 AM)
The SEC as a whole is going to continue to fare well. The league has it all: great parks, filled with adoring fans, and administrations able to leverage those parks and fan support to bolster the coaching staffs and facilities and become attractive to recruits. Doesn't hurt that most of the programs are located in or near good recruiting states either. The West isn't a slouch. LSU will be back, and young teams at Arkansas and Mississippi State should improve next year. The SEC is always a dogfight, because all the schools care and devote resources to winning. Seeing Tennessee poach Serrano from Fullerton (a better program for winning and tradition) is just another example and adds to the competition.
Will Kimmey (11:28 AM)
That's the balance of my time for today. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and asking great questions. Next stop for me is Omaha.