SEC "Q&A": Baseball America's Aaron Fitt > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC "Q&A": Baseball America's Aaron Fitt

    The SEC "Q and A" series talks to the players, coaches and media that make the Southeastern Conference the best in the country. Today's edition talks with Baseball America's Aaron Fitt. Fitt covers college baseball for Baseball America and was a co-host of last year's SEC "Live BP Show". 

    SEC Digital Network: Were you surprised at all by the order of finish predicted by the SEC’s coaches?

    Aaron Fitt: I wouldn't say surprised at all. My predictions differ a little bit, but not greatly. I think the West is pretty wide open, and while LSU looks like the favorite, I could really see those top four teams (LSU, Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss) finishing in almost any order. I'm a little higher on Ole Miss and Georgia than the coaches, but I understand why they finished where they did in the voting. Both teams have some question marks, but I like the talent on both teams.

    SEC Digital Network: Many analysts predict Florida to win the league’s championship. Talk about the collection of talent in Gainesville and the key steps that need to be taken to insure the talented crop of sophomores develop even further this season?

    Aaron Fitt: Florida is No. 1 in our preseason rankings because I just don't see any weakness on that team. It's incredibly deep in all facets, especially on the mound. It has better power in the middle of the order than most teams out there, with Austin Maddox, Preston Tucker and Brian Johnson. The Gators play great defense, led by Nolan Fontana and Josh Adams and Mike Zunino. And did I mention they are absurdly deep on the mound? That coaching staff does an amazing job; I'm not the slightest bit concerned that those talented sophomores will fail to take another step forward this year.

    SEC Digital Network: Who has the best weekend rotation in the SEC?

    Aaron Fitt: I'll give Vanderbilt a little edge over Florida here because of the Sonny Gray factor—he's the dominant ace in the league. And Vandy's pitching depth is almost as good as Florida's.

    SEC Digital Network: Does South Carolina have a chance to make national waves again this season? Do they have the league’s top player in Jackie Bradley Jr.?

    Aaron Fitt: Certainly, South Carolina looks like a strong Omaha contender once again. The Gamecocks have to answer some questions in the weekend rotation, but I have faith that lefties Tyler Webb, Michael Roth, Adam Westmoreland and Steven Neff can provide some answers. Bradley was our pick for preseason SEC player of the year--he can do it all. Just an electric player, and so much fun to watch.

    SEC Digital Network: From a MLB Draft standpoint, how many first round picks will the SEC have this season? Who is your mind will be the first SEC player chosen?

    Aaron Fitt: Right now we've got four SEC players projected as first-rounders: Sonny Gray, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jason Esposito and Mikie Mahtook. Gray or Bradley should be the first off the board--it's a toss-up who goes first. I could really see Alex Meyer jumping up into that first-round mix also, if he can harness his dazzling stuff.

    SEC Digital Network: How many teams from the SEC will make the NCAA Tournament?

    Aaron Fitt: Eight. My picks are Florida, Vandy, South Carolina, LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Auburn and Georgia. I think Kentucky has a fine chance also to finish in that top eight, or give the SEC nine regional teams. Tennessee would be my sleeper, but I'm not sure the math works out in the Vols' favor, because the league won't get 10 teams.

    SEC Digital Network: What will be the effect of “the clock” this year in terms of game time and how it will affect the flow of the game and college baseball as a whole?

    Aaron Fitt: I think it will have very minimal effect, just as it did in the SEC tournament. It really did not come into play there, and I suspect it will not come into play often this spring, either.

    SEC Digital Network: Discuss the impact of new bats being used in college baseball. How will this change the offensive landscape and which SEC team will benefit the most from this rule change?

    Aaron Fitt: The new bats will have a much greater impact on the pace of play than the clock. The bats will really diminish offense significantly, and that will make the games go much more quickly. You'll still see home runs, but players will have to square balls up to hit them out, rather than missing the sweet spot and still getting metal-bat homers. Pitching and defense will be crucial, and I think Florida and Vanderbilt are constructed to benefit most, because both are loaded with quality arms and good defenders.