Prado overhaul: Eight Bulls won't be back
Five days after finishing a 34-26 season, first-year baseball coach Lelo Prado continues to overhaul USF's roster, confirming that eight underclassmen who combined for 104 starts will not be brought back next season.
"Everybody knew from the beginning this was going to be a year where we were figuring things out," said Prado, whose team improved on a 23-35 record and reached the Big East semifinals. "It wouldn't be fair to keep them here if they're not going to be playing. I wish them all the best of luck."
Most notable among those not returning are catchers Braulio Pardo and Brad Karns, who combined for 59 starts and 27 RBIs. Pardo, a sophomore from Gaither, has been granted his release, while Karns, a junior from Okeechobee, will finish his degree at USF but not be on roster. Also gone are junior Jose Le'Roy, who started 26 games but batted .205, and freshman Ryan Soares, whose .263 average was the highest of the players cut loose. Gaither's Greg Coffman, who redshirted this season, also will not return.
Prado also let go three relief pitchers -- junior James Rowe, sophomore Matt Wagner and freshman Daryl Lewis -- who combined for 31 appearances but each had ERAs of 13.50 or higher. Rowe and Wagner will stay at USF to earn their degrees. They join former pitchers Ryan Lau and Davis Bilardello, who combined for 25 appearances before leaving the team during the season. Of the 10 players who won't be back, all but Wagner were recruited to USF by longtime coach Eddie Cardieri, whose contract wasn't renewed last summer.
Just as three of USF's key players this season -- pitcher Danny Otero (Duke) and infielders Walter Diaz (Miami) and Charles Cleveland (FSU) -- were transfers, Prado said his staff will be busy this summer looking into players leaving other programs. Starting next summer, baseball players transferring from one Division I program to another will have to sit out a year, making for expectations of a high turnover of players this summer.