The Staff Discusses The State Of USF Baseball

If only we had 10 more Randy Fontanezes... maybe we wouldn't be having this staff discussion.

FROM: Voodoo 5
TO: Ken DeCelles, GarySJ

I read Toro's post about our offensively inept baseball team, and noticed he stopped short of making any conclusions other than it will take a Big East tournament run to get into the NCAAs. (Of course, that's assuming they actually qualify for that tournament, and since they're 7-5 and haven't faced any of the top teams in the league yet, even that might be in question.)

There's also this uncomfortable stat. According to CollegeSplits.com, who has their own power ranking system, as of April 21 USF is the 10th best baseball team... in Florida. Every public university in the state that plays Division I baseball is ranked higher than USF except for Florida A&M and Florida Gulf Coast, who kicked our asses twice already this year. Jacksonville and Stetson are also ahead of the Bulls, and Bethune-Cookman isn't very far behind. We're just barely the top-ranked school that's abbreviated USF -- San Francisco is only two spots behind. That's horrible, even with the inferior facilities that existed before this year. Is it time for a change?

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FROM: Ken DeCelles
TO: Voodoo 5, GarySJ

It could be time for a change. It might be different if this was a young team going through some growing pains, but as Toro pointed out, there are a lot of upperclassmen in the everyday lineup.

And the fact that we are the 10th best team in the state is horrible.

I would have been happy with Lelo getting one more season if the team showed improvement earlier, but now I'm ready for a change. Some coach from a smaller program around the state will see a gold mine with the new facilities and the amount of talent in the Bay area.

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FROM: Voodoo 5
TO: Ken DeCelles, GarySJ

He's been here five years, so these are all his players. The offense is so bad that he's resorted to bunting in just about any late-inning comeback situation instead of having his hitters swing away and try to get more than one run across. There's no telling how much damage he let Lazer do to the current pitchers when he was the pitching coach (and to the prospects of getting top-flight college pitching prospects to sign here as long as Lelo's still in charge). Louisville got substantially better after he left. And who's to say that the kids he's recruiting (who are at least somewhat highly thought of) don't take a look at this team and its historical struggle to get players into pro baseball and decide, "You know what, I think I'll just go ahead and get drafted and sign"?

 

FROM: Ken DeCelles
TO: Voodoo 5, GarySJ

You even saw that last year where kids like Austin Knight were being drafted in the 37th round and signing minor-league deals. Even players who choose not to sign don't even come to USF at all and go the JUCO route like Ozney Guillen.

And you saw after Prado left Louisville that even the players knew they had a better thing going with their new coach. Might be the same way with USF next year.

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FROM: GarySJ
TO: Ken DeCelles, Voodoo 5

I'm usually not this guy, but... how can USF baseball be this bad? We're the only southern school in a northern league, and surrounded by ludicrously productive high school programs. Finding Big East-level baseball talent ought to be like finding grapes in Napa Valley. Again, I'm usually not this guy, but contending for an NCAA bid/conference title most years ought to be the least we accept.

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FROM: Voodoo 5
TO: GarySJ, Ken DeCelles

Does it seem like Prado is doing just enough not to get fired? Every time I'm on the brink of going off, they win two straight or something. Worst possible situation.

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FROM: GarySJ
TO: Voodoo 5, Ken DeCelles

As bad as USF baseball has been, in a league full of northern teams, they're a long way short of "just enough to not get fired." Again, I'm not usually this guy... but I think Prado's results have been piss-poor.

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FROM: Ken DeCelles
TO: GarySJ, Voodoo 5

With the win against Stetson Tuesday night, it FINALLY brought the record up to .500. This team should not be losing series to Elon, Evansville, and West Virginia. This team shouldn't be splitting a four-game series with Bethune-Cookman. This team should not be getting curb-stomped twice by our former satellite campus. It's the most frustrating team on campus because this team should have had the easiest transition from Conference USA to the Big East, and they haven't come close to competing for a conference championship, let alone an NCAA bid.

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FROM: GarySJ
TO: Ken DeCelles, Voodoo 5

I'm willing to be the bad cop on this one...

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FROM: Ken DeCelles
TO: GarySJ, Voodoo 5

I don't there's a good cop among the three of us. I think we all agree that this just isn't working, and Lelo's time has run its course at USF. Firing his assistant coaches last year gave Prado one more season, and unless there is some extreme improvement over the last month of the year, it's not going to be enough to keep his job.

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FROM: Voodoo 5
TO: Ken DeCelles, GarySJ

Unless of course it is, at which point I might be mad enough at the embracing of mediocrity that it could last me the entire summer.

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