Ex-Trojans finding early success in minors, recruits staying unsigned

July, 2, 2010
7/02/10
5:45
PM PT
It has been three-plus weeks since the 2010 MLB draft.

In other words, it's time for a checkup on the state of the USC baseball program. Four 2010 Trojans were selected in the June draft — right-hander Andrew Triggs (24th round, Cleveland Indians), outfielder Mike O'Neill (31st round, St. Louis Cardinals), right-hander Kevin Couture (32nd round, San Francisco Giants) and first baseman Beau Brett (35th round, Los Angeles Dodgers).

Three have signed.

O'Neill agreed less than a week after the draft with the Cardinals and reported to the Class-A Batavia Muckdogs, where he's hitting .333 with three RBIs, a double and a triple in 21 at-bats. Couture signed June 17 and has found success as a reliever with the Class-A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings and earning a win.

Brett, draftable as a 21-year-old sophomore, signed with the Dodgers on June 21 and is hitting .158 in 19 at-bats for the Arizona League Dodgers, a rookie-level team.

Triggs has yet to sign. Nursing a sore throwing shoulder, he said before the draft he planned to wait to sign until later in the process.

Meanwhile, shortstop Angelo Gumbs (Torrance, Calif./Torrance), a Trojans signee, remains unsigned as a second-round selection of the New York Yankees. A fourth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays and fellow USC signee, junior college right-hander Austin Wood (Niceville, Fla./St. Petersburg College), also remains unsigned.

In fact, except for outfielder Frankie Christian (Upland, Calif./Upland) all eight Trojans recruits are currently unsigned.

Christian, a 19th-round selection, signed the week after the draft with the Mariners and is playing rookie ball in the Arizona Legaue, but 11th-rounder Joc Pederson (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) and the Dodgers have yet to agree on a contract. Pederson is spending the summer playing in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League, hitting .303 with no homers and four RBIs in 33 at-bats for the Waimea Waves.

Outfielder Omar Cotto (Puerto Rico/Bonneville School), catcher Jake Hernandez (Los Osos, Calif./Los Osos), left-hander Kyle Richter (Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) and shortstop James Roberts (San Francisco/Archbishop Mitty) all remain unsigned.

The deadline for players to sign is still a long way away — roughly six weeks from now, on Aug. 16, coinciding almost directly with the start of USC's fall semester.

Former USC shortstop Grant Green agreed to a deal with the Oakland Athletics "30 seconds" before the deadline a year ago, he said.

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