USC: Angelo Gumbs

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.

Triggs goes in 24th round, USC commits taken early and often

June, 8, 2010
6/08/10
10:16
PM PT
Last week, USC right-hander Andrew Triggs said he expected to go anywhere from the fourth to the 40th round in this week's MLB draft.

It turns out he was right.

The redshirt sophomore was selected in the 24th round (720th overall) on Tuesday by the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first Trojan player to be chosen in the 2010 draft.

Triggs, who entered the season ranked as the No. 38 overall draftable prospect by Baseball America, suffered a shoulder injury in April that prevented him from finishing out the season as the Trojans' No. 1 starter. After undergoing Tommy John Surgery during his senior year of high school, Triggs sat out his first year at USC but developed into a bona fide weekend starter during his redshirt freshman season.

Triggs said last week that he would take all of MLB's allotted time — until mid-August — to attempt to prove to whichever team drafted him that he was healthy and worthy of a hefty signing bonus. If he and his family deem the the eventual offer not up to par, Triggs said he has no qualms with returning to school for his redshirt junior season — after which he would still retain the all-important negotiating aspect of leverage to return to school.

While Triggs was USC's only selection through two days of the draft, six high school prospects who have committed to and/or signed with the Trojans were chosen on the draft's second day.

The highest of those was shortstop/outfielder Angelo Gumbs (Torrance, Calif/Torrance), a second-round choice of the New York Yankees. Right-hander Austin Wood (Niceville, Fla./St. Petersburg College) was taken in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Rays, outfielder Joc Pederson (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) was taken in the 11th by the Dodgers and center fielder Omar Cotto (Puerto Rico/Bonneville School) went to the Toronto Blue Jays in the 12th.

Outfielder Frankie Christian (Upland, Calif./Upland) and catcher Jake Hernandez (Los Osos, Calif./Los Osos) wrapped up the selections, taken by the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers, respectively.

Each of those players now face the choice to either sign with a major-league organization and receive a signing bonus or head to USC, where — excluding the possibility of a transfer — they will not be eligible to be drafted until the 2013 draft.

As for 2010 Trojans, remaining possibilities include center fielder Mike O'Neill, catcher Keith Castillo, right-hander Kevin Couture and infielder Joe De Pinto, with only De Pinto possessing the opportunity to return to school next year. Rounds 31-50 of the draft will happen Wednesday.

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