I recently had the opportunity of interviewing The College Baseball Blog's Senior Editor, Brian Foley, about the upcoming year for the 'Hoos. The College Baseball Blog is the premier source for all things related to college baseball. The staff over there attends in excess of 100 baseball games each season and provides round-the-clock coverage of the diamond.
StreakingtheLawn: Last year the Cavaliers had a great run to finally break through and make not only the Super Regionals, but also The College World Series. We all know about Jarrett Parker and Danny Hultzen, but who do you think other than those two can have the biggest impact this year for the Cavaliers?
Brian Foley: The guy I think will have a huge impact is Dan Grovatt who doesn't get as much press as Parker but Grovatt only led the team with a .356 average last year. I also could see Tyler Cannon and Phil Gosselin having huge years.
STL: With 95% of last years team coming back depth is certainly not an issue this year for UVa. What weaknesses do you see on this years team?
BF: I think the big weakness is the lack of depth in the bullpen. They will have some inexperienced arms taking up the 7th and 8th inning early in the season. Kevin Arico is a rock at the backend but can the Cavs get to him?
STL: After looking at the schedule for this year most will look at the UVa @ FSU series in March. I think the Gt @ UVa will be a bigger matchup with ACC and national implications. Which weekend on the Cavaliers schedule do think will be the biggest this year?
BF: I think that Florida State series is huge early in the year to show the rest of the conference that the Cavs are for real this season. Dick Howser Stadium is one of the tougher places to play in the country and the Cavs will need to bring it that weekend to show they belong in the Top Ten in the country.
STL: I don't know if you have had a chance to look at the full schedule for the 'Hoos this year but after analyzing it I think they end up with somewhere between 43-46 wins going into the ACC tournament. Does that sound about right?
BF: That sounds about right but not playing Wake Forest this season actually makes the Virginia schedule tougher.
STL: I saw you picked UVa to win the Coastal Division this year and I am sure the whole Conference (I may be a bit biased). What team is going to challenge the Cavaliers for the title of the Coastal and Conference Titles?
BF: Georgia Tech should be able to challenge the Cavs for the Coastal Division title but need to get more consistent on the mound if they can knock off the Cavs. Both FSU and GT should push the Cavs for the overall conference title.
STL: Do you think this team could be over hyped or are they receiving the right amount of attention that they deserve?
BF: As you stated earlier, they return 95 percent of the team from last year and they are a year older so the expectations are rightfully high.
STL: I think the ACC could get 8 or 9 teams into the field at the end of the year. How many teams do you think the Conference will have playing in the tournament?
BF: I see 7 teams in the tourney right now. FSU, GT, and Virginia should all be hosting Regionals and possibly Super Regionals. Miami (FL), Clemson, UNC, and Boston College should be in the regionals. I also think Duke could knock off any of those four teams from the tourney if the ball bounces that way.
STL: In regards to the preseason rankings, we are usually ranked either 3rd or 4th behind Texas and LSU. What makes those teams stand above UVa?
BF: Seriously, absolutely nothing. Texas has a great pitching staff but the Big 12 is really down this year so they should pick up a ton of "easy" wins. LSU on the other hand lost Louis Coleman out of the rotation and have some questions in the rotation. I picked LSU to finish in third place in their division in the SEC. I think Virginia is the best all-around squad and many voters get caught up on the "name" recognition with the Longhorns and Tigers.
STL: Finally, I saw that you picked UVa in a recent interview for the "Can't Miss team for Omaha" so you obviously think they will make it there. Do you think we have a legitimate shot to win the National Championship this year?
BF: Yes, but as we all know if you lose one game in the NCAA Tourney, you are now facing an uphill battle to advance.
Thanks Brian for answering all the questions we all had about the Cavaliers for the upcoming season! We look forward to hearing what you have to say about the 'Hoos throughout the rest of the season.