Texas has enough pieces in place to possibly win multiple American League West titles.
Now that the days of Oakland’s Big Three are over and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s dominant era has reached its twilight, the American League West is waiting for its next perennial pennant winner. The Rangers, with their fine core of offensive firepower and a surprisingly effective rotation, may be the heirs apparent to a role they’ve strived for since their dominant runs in the 1990s. Still, the question remains: will this Rangers team be just a flash in the pan or a dynasty in the making? Taking a look at the dominance of the current team and the contractual status of their nucleus of talent should make the answer a little clearer.
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A look at the eight-team field set to play in Rosenblatt Stadium's final CWS.
Over the past few years much discussion centered around the future site of the College World Series, with the tournament outgrowing aging Rosenblatt Stadium. Omaha will continue to host the tournament into the foreseeable future, but it will move out of Rosenblatt next season and to the new, $128 million TD Ameritrade Park. Although neither Texas—winner of the first CWS at Rosenblatt in 1950 (as well as the last held at another site, 1949 at Wichita)—nor its coach Augie Garrido, who has won more CWS games at Rosenblatt than anyone--won’t be present, traditional powers, Florida State, Arizona State, Clemson, and South Carolina will be. TCU, UCLA, Florida, and Oklahoma round out the field.
While 14 of the 16 top seeds made the super-regional round, only three of the top eight national seeds will be making the trip to Omaha. Most notably, two of the nation’s top three teams throughout the regular season—Texas and Virginia—lost their super-regionals to underdogs TCU and Clemson.
A look at the four best-of-three series that begin Friday.
Friday's four super regional matchups in the NCAA Tournament feature seven of the eight regional top seeds, and the eighth team—No. 2-seeded Vanderbilt—upset Louisville by the narrowest of margins, a 3-2 victory in the decisive seventh game of the regional. Overall, this year has been as expected—no three or four seeds advanced, only one second seed is hosting a super regional, and six of the eight national seeds are, as expected, hosting a super regional. Today, I’ll break down Friday’s super regionals in Austin, Tallahassee, Los Angeles, and Gainesville. Tomorrow the Tempe, Clemson, Myrtle Beach, and Charlottesville super regionals, which start on Saturday, will be previewed.
To win one of the 16 four-team regional tournaments and thereby progress to a best-of-three super regional, a team must win three games—either finishing 3-0 and wrapping up its business on Sunday evening, or 3-1 and winning a single winner-take-all Monday matchup against a team to which it has already lost. This year, eight teams (Oklahoma, Arizona State, South Carolina, TCU, Texas, Florida State, UCLA, and Florida) all top seeds—finished their regional undefeated.
A conversation with the voice of the Rangers about baseball in Texas, using stats in broadcasting, and answering the question, WWVSD?
Eric Nadel is a baseball-broadcasting legend in Texas. The radio voice of the Rangers is now in his 32nd year calling games in Arlington, making him the longest-tenured announcer in franchise history. A five-time winner of the state’s Broadcaster of the Year award, the 59-year-old Nadel is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
Some of what the mill cranks out proves to be true, but other stuff not so much as we near the July 2 signing window.
The Video Notebook
Now that I've presented 25 scouting reports for July 2nd prospects (here and here) along with videos of the top players (all of them which you'll find here), you may be wondering what I have to left write about, with all of the crucial information already written and still 10 more days until players can sign. First, the ranking of players is always changing, though I'm not going to edit that list just yet. If there's one thing I can tell you about this market, it's that something is always happening. Every call I make not only yields solid information and teaches me something new, but there's at least one off-the-wall item mentioned as well. Maybe it's a function of a maturing market where everyone isn't on the same page yet, or perhaps there's just more to be made from misinformation in a free market. Probably both, and some other factors, but rest assured, I have more than enough material. The trick is to figure out what is most legitimate, and of that, what is most important. I've been working the phones as the signing period nears, so here is your information dump, notebook-style.
With Texas and LSU squaring off for the title, what does the matchup make for in terms of quality baseball action?
It's been four and a half months since I returned to BP to cover the 2009 college baseball season, but we're set to finish the year where we began, with LSU and Texas atop the rankings. I'd love to brag that I saw this final coming all along, but to be honest, I had an inkling about Cal State Fullerton before the season began, and I picked Arizona State to win just ten days ago. The Tigers and Longhorns have always seemed like the best teams, but the best two teams reaching the finale of the season is a rarity in college baseball (cue highlights of Cinderella-story Fresno State one year ago).
With 16 quartets squaring off, a quick overview of the matchups and likely outcomes as college baseball's postseason gets in gear.
Tomorrow the second season begins in college baseball, kicking off a few weeks that will give scouts a final chance to grade prospects, give many players their final hurrahs, and give fans some of the most dramatic baseball available. Since the bracket was released in full on Monday, we've had time to lodge complaints about the mistreatment of Virginia, the snubs of Rhode Island and Eastern Illinois, and the bids handed to Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Southern Miss. All that can be put to rest tomorrow, as Virginia faces put-up or shut-up time against Steven Strasburg, and the lucky bubble teams have a chance to prove that they belong.
With post-season play getting underway on college diamonds, we get that much closer to learning who's in and who's out.
The college game's postseason began in earnest across the nation last night, as conference tournaments kicked off their action from the Atlantic Ten to the Sun Belt, and from Honolulu to Trenton. With rainy season finally coming to a close in the north, it looks like we should have a clean weekend filled with baseball to carry us through to Selection Sunday. The road to the College World Series begins with regionals in one week, which will take us straight through to Omaha in June.
The first half of an extended conversation with an OBP fiend about coming up with the Senators, playing for Billy and Yogi, and more.
Toby Harrah has been in the game of baseball for over 40 years, and the long-time infielder for the Rangers and Indians has loved every minute of it. Currently the minor league hitting coordinator for the Tigers, Harrah debuted with the Washington Senators in 1969 before going on to earn All-Star honors four times while spending all but one of his 17 seasons with the Senators/Rangers franchise and the Cleveland Indians. A shortstop and third baseman known for his patient hitting approach, Harrah finished among the league leaders in walks nine times, and in OBP six times. A right-handed hitter who broke into the big leagues under the tutelage of Ted Williams, Harrah had five seasons of 20 home runs or more and 238 career stolen bases to go with an OBP of .365. Harrah talked about his love for the game, including what it was like to play for managers like Williams, Yogi Berra, and Billy Martin, and with teammates like Joe Charboneau, Curt Flood, and Denny McLain.
The bubbles break and re-align, as the teams jostle for spots in the final 64.
Last week, I began a three-part series with the intention of projecting the 64 universities that will land bids to the NCAA Tournament. The first step is always the easiest in a project like this, as we know 30 teams will gain entry by securing the automatic bid that the winner of each conference tournament receives. I also highlighted 24 teams from 10 different conferences that already have the resumes that will result in an at-large bid. This leaves between 10 and 20 spots available to the 41 teams I had listed as bubble at-large contenders. This week (and next), these schools will be at the heart of our discussion.
Halfway into the college season, sorting through who might be seeded where, and how they can improve their lot.
There is no All-Star break in college baseball, so the halfway point of the season isn't some in-season pause that everyone can see. It's been seven weekends since the season began, however, and we have seven more weeks to endure before we start arguing about the field of 64. For now, the best tool that we have to use as a measuring stick is Boyd Nation's simulation of the NCAA Ratings Power Index (RPI), which ranks by a formula using 25 percent win percentage, 50 percent opponents net win percentage, and 25 percent win percentage of opponents' opponents (along with a weighting for home and away games). When the committee hosts its conference call to explain their reasoning for specific choices within the field of 64, no numbers are cited more often than those of the RPI.