Despite losing over 100 games in his first five seasons, USC baseball coach Chad Kreuter made a splash today by signing eight players for the class of 2011 usctrojans.com reports.
The signees are: outfielder Omar Cotto-Lozada (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Bonneville HS); right-handed pitcher James Guillen (Covina/Damien HS); catcher Jake Hernandez (Rancho Cucamonga/Los Osos HS); outfielder Joc Pederson (Palo Alto/Palo Alto HS); left-handed pitcher Kyle Richter (Santa Margarita/Santa Margarita HS); shortstop/right-handed pitcher James Roberts (Cupertino/Archbishop Mitty HS); left-handed pitcher Bobby Wheatley (Villa Park/Orange Lutheran HS) and right-handed pitcher Austin Wood (Niceville, Fla./St. Petersburg College).
“I am very excited to get this group of student athletes on campus at USC,” said Kreuter. “All are committed to receiving a great education and wanted to make the USC experience part of their lives. All of them could have easily bypassed college and pursued professional baseball by indicating their signability to the MLB scouts on and before Draft Day. Most of this class could have been selected in the first seven rounds of the MLB Draft. Their strong commitment to USC speaks volumes. All are committed to each other and the idea of having a major role in the future success of the program.”
In his tenure as head coach, Chad Kreuter has been less than impressive in leading the most storied baseball program in NCAA history. However, there is room for optimism as this new class joins the Trojan family. Six of the eight prospects were drafted in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft, including three in the first twelve rounds. Austin Wood, a 6’4″ right handed pitcher from Florida, highlights the class. Since the starting pitching was inconsistent at best in 2009, it is refreshing to see four highly-touted pitchers joining the staff. For Kreuter’s sake, he must hope these players have an immediate and appreciable impact because he is clearly on the brink of losing his job.