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MLB draft could steal USF juniors, signees

With another college baseball season finished at USF, another potentially difficult time follows, as the Bulls like most college programs could lose key juniors and signees to next week's MLB draft.

The most obvious possible losses to the returning Bulls are junior pitchers Andrew Barbosa and Randy Fontanez, who finished among the Big East's top pitchers and accounted for 11 of USF's 16 conference wins. Baseball America ranks them as the 60th and 63rd draft prospects in the state of Florida, which a year ago translated to roughly the 20th round of the draft.

Other returning Bulls could be drafted as well, most notably outfielders Stephen Hunt (team-high 44 RBIs), Junior Carlin and Ryan Lockwood. Junior Derrick Stultz, who entered the year as USF's No. 2 starter but missed the entire season recovering from shoulder surgery, could also be drafted based on his 2009 performance.

And has been the case in recent years, USF coach Lelo Prado could lose some of his incoming recruits to professional contracts if they're taken high in the draft. The Bulls signee most likely to be drafted first is Kyle Waldrop, an outfielder from Fort Myers who has been projected to be picked in the first five rounds. Baseball America lists him as the No. 138 prospect in the draft -- for reference, the average signing bonus for a high schooler taken in that range last year was about $180,000.

"The pro thing, we'll have to wait and see how that plays out, to play it by ear," said Waldrop's father, Greg, on Monday. "Kyle loves the university, really loves the coaches at USF."

Waldrop was a three-sport standout at Riverdale High -- USF also recruited him in football. His family has been season-ticket holders for Bulls football for several years, and his brother Cody is a USF junior. The Waldrops saw Prado at a state all-star game in Sebring over the weekend and told him they would sit down with him before the draft to talk about Kyle's options.

"If the draft were to be a situation Kyle could be excited about, we would consider that, but otherwise, he's excited about playing ball at USF," his father said.

The other five signees USF announced in the fall are not highly rated by draft sites, but Miami Monsignor Pace's Ozney Guillen, the son of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who is expected to play for the Bulls, is also a potential high draft pick. So, too, is Fort Lauderdale's Michael Carballo, a Bulls commitment rated as the state's No. 35 prospect by Baseball America, a ranking likely to translate to the 11th round or so.

-- Matt Stull, the right-handed junior pitcher from St. Petersburg Catholic who missed this season with injury, will not return for his final year rather than undergo additional surgeries. Stull, who is close to graduating and was honored with USF's seniors at their final home game, had a career record of 7-2 with a 4.80 ERA, including five wins as a redshirt freshman in 2008.

[Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:25am]

    

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