Today we welcome Brian Foley from the college baseball blog appropriately named The College Baseball Blog. Brian is the editor of the blog and a BC Guy, so we sat down with him to talk Boston College baseball, the ACC and this season's outlook.
BCI: Jeff and I don't know much about the BC baseball team. What can you tell us about this year's squad?
TCBB: This year BC's squad has started out strong with a 7-1 start. BC entered this season with some major question marks on the mound as they lost Terry Doyle to graduation and Dan Houston to the MLB Draft after last season. They have used sophomores John Leonard and Pat Dean as two of the starting pitchers. Senior RHP JB McDonald is currently holding down the number 1 starter role and freshman Mike Dennhardt has pitched the Sunday game the last two weekends but might not be an weekend starter in the ACC.
BCI: The other day Boston College beat Samford 19-13. Sounds more like a football score than a baseball score. Is this a sign of a potentially explosive Eagle offense, or poor Samford pitching?
TCBB: BC's bats are young and powerful. They have been hitting the ball a ton during the early part of the season by scoring over 10 runs in four out of their first eight games. The real question will come this weekend with the start of ACC play.
BCI: We turn now to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Who is the team to beat this season in the ACC?
TCBB: North Carolina is clearly the best team in the conference with three pitchers including Alex White who will be selected in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft. (Number 3 rated prospect by TCBB). Matt Harvey who has been the number 3 starter since his freshman season in 2008 is expected to be a first round pick in 2010. (Number 42 rated prospect by TCBB)
BCI: What team is currently flying under the radar that might make some noise this season?
TCBB: I love what TCU is doing right now. They went out to Fullerton and won a series against the Titans and look like a solid team for this season.
BCI: Do you think the plans for the new baseball facility on the Brighton Campus will go through, and to what extent does the lack of first-rate baseball facilities hold Boston College back from competing in the ACC?
TCBB: The plans will eventually go through if the community around Boston College can step up and give in a little. They are complaining about every single thing about the facility from the turf to the installation of lights at the facility. The lack of a first class facility is severely hurting the program as Clemson's number 2 starter is from Swampscott in Chris Dwyer while Worcester MA native and LLWS participant Keith Landers turned down a scholarship offer from the Eagles to head down to Louisville.
BCI: We know that the Eagles have basically been non-competitive in the ACC since joining the conference in 2005. But how do the Eagles stack up to other Northeastern I-A programs? Who are the teams to beat in New England?
TCBB: Non-Competitive?? Really....I take offense to that since the team has been in the hunt for a spot in the ACC Tournament every season during the final weekend. If BC had played Virginia Tech last season, they would have been in the ACC Tournament as the Hokies were clearly the worst team in the conference.
BCI: All we meant by non-competitive is we haven't made the ACC Tournament in our 3 years in the league.
TCBB: The top program in the northeast right now is St. John's year in and year out as they are a fixture in the NCAA Tourney. I have spoke to a few scouts in New England that believe that Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire has the best talent in New England which is saying alot for Jayson King's program.
BCI: Last year, Eagles fans briefly got to see P Chris Lambert pitch for the Detroit Tigers. How about any future pro prospects on the current Eagles roster? Do any of our players have a shot at someday making a major league roster?
TCBB: This is the problem with people nowadays. They think that every great college player is easily going to get a chance at Major League Baseball. The failure of players in the Minor Leagues is extremely high so to be able to play at Double A or Triple A is a great accomplishment. You need a lot of luck to be in the right place at the right time to get your chance at the next level.
The best pro prospect right now on Boston College is Tony Sanchez who was an All-Star in the Cape Cod League this past summer. (TCBB Number 48th prospect) He might be able to sneak into the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft and is really loved by many people in the industry for his work ethic.
Mike Dennhardt is only a freshman but is expected to become a force on the mound for the next couple of years. Mickey Wiswall has a solid bat but needs to work on his defense to get more solid on that side of the ball. Michael Belfiore is expected to transition into a relief pitcher in the Minor Leagues with his devastating breaking ball.
BCI: One of my favorite BC sports while at school was the men's ice hockey team. Unfortunately, living in New York, it's a little difficult to follow I-A ice hockey. As a college baseball junkie living in Massachusetts, do you find it hard to follow the sport, given that the lion's share of the best college baseball programs are down South? How do you keep up with all the games?
TCBB: I can keep up with games very easily with the Internet now and we can watch games from all over the nation over our computers. We also have a dish at The College Baseball Blog's offices where we Tivo every game on TV and break down the film.
BCI: Give Eagles fans some hope and make a prediction. Will this program make the College World Series in 5 years? 10??
TCBB: I think BC can be COMPETING for a spot in Omaha very quickly as New England has plenty of solid baseball players but they need to stay home instead of going south. Lets first worry about making the ACC Tournament before talking about Omaha.
BCI: We'll get you out of here on this. Quick hitters. Most dominant college baseball player you have ever covered.
TCBB: I just started following College Baseball again in 2005 but the most dominant position player I have seen is Matt Wieters who was outstanding at Georgia Tech. I would put Shane Robinson of FSU up there as he had a very odd sounding bat that I can still hear ringing in my ears. The most DOMINANT pitching performance I have seen is from Andrew Brackman who was wild but touched 98-99 on the radar guns against Boston College.
BCI: World Baseball Classic. Do you like it? And what country wins this year?
TCBB: I love the World Baseball Classic but I love an international sporting event as other countries take things so serious when compared to US fans. I think the Japanese defend their title as they really care the most about the event. I heard Ichiro was testing out his arm in the bullpen if needed to pitch in an emergency. That is how much they care.
BCI: Last one, we are assuming you follow the Major Leagues? Who's your team? Who wins the World Series this year?
TCBB: I follow the Boston Red Sox but I would like to see the Tampa Bay Rays win the title as MLB has some major problems with the Haves vs. the Have-nots.
Thanks for joining us Brian.
For all your college baseball needs, go check out The College Baseball Blog.
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