It would be easy to live in the past in regards to the past success of USC Baseball. With 12 national titles and scores of professional success it would be easy to talk about “tradition” and legacy and such but it really is pointless. USC’s last national title was in 1998 since then SC hasn’t done much on the national stage. Other programs have done well but no other program has approached the success of the great Rod Dedeaux but those days are gone.
The problem is getting top prospects to stay committed when they are top draft picks. With all the big money being thrown around to these kids it’s not hard to see why it’s tough to build a solid roster. Of course there is no one-and-done rule in college baseball so it is more of a chess match for college coaches to put all the pieces together.
Recruiting top players is a balancing act: You want to offer scholarships to good players, but not too good.
Last year, all 17 high school players selected in the first round of baseball's June amateur draft signed professional contracts.
USC lost out on infielder Mike Moustakas, a Chatsworth High graduate who was taken No. 2 overall by the Kansas City Royals and received a $4-million signing bonus. The Trojans also lost outfielder Mike Stanton, a Sherman Oaks Notre Dame graduate who was chosen in the second round by the Florida Marlins.
UCLA had recruits taken in the first and second rounds who never spent a day on campus. Cal State Fullerton lost Chatsworth's Matt Dominguez, a first-round pick who signed with the Marlins.
"When you get them to commit, they don't look to be a first- or second-round player," Kreuter said. "Stanton looked like he was going to be a fifth-rounder. Moustakas looked to be a low first-round to second-round guy, and from talking to the family, if the money wasn't right. . . . Then he's the second pick. Who can forecast that? It went down to the last 15 minutes. He almost ended up here."
Sure, it would be easy to piss and moan about the “horrible” job Chad Kreuter has done. You could try to compare his lack luster record to Mike Gillespie’s but that’s pointless. It’s easy to say that Gillespie only missed the post season 2 times in his coaching career at USC but its not like Gillespie was going to the finals every other season so that sort of “success” doesn’t play well with me.
I’m not happy with SC’s record under Kreuter but I also know that it isn’t entirely his fault. He has recruited some pretty good talent but if the talent goes straight to the pros for the big bucks its hard to blame Kreuter. That doesn’t let Kreuter off the hook for some of the lackluster play this season so he needs to find a way to make it work. With SC losing to Wazzu last night its clear they will not make the post season this year and that’s disappointing. With all the other distractions going on it’s hard to see how Mike Garrett can give this the time it deserves.
Unfortunately it’s another disappointing end to the season.