The College Baseball Blog recently had a chance to sit down with South Florida first baseman Todd Brazeal. We discussed his thoughts on being with the South Florida Bulls and advice for high school student-athletes that want to play at the next level among other things.
1. What is the best thing about playing for Lelo Prado who is a legendary coach in the Tampa area?
I think it is his attitude. He is one of those guys that when everything is going right, he is one of the happiest guys in the world. Everyone wants to play for a guys like that, but nobody likes him when he is mad.
2. South Florida is currently in first place in the Big East conference with a 2.5 game lead over Louisville. After a sixth place finish last year, what is the biggest difference this season?
I want to say that it is our production, our constant production. Last year, we only had a couple hitters that were consistent with run producing in Addison Maruszak and Joey Angelberger towards the end of the year. I have to say that, because we probably have five or six guys that constantly are stepping up and getting a big hit here and there. It seems like everyone, one to nine, is pulling for the same thing. That is something that I dont think we had last year witnessing it from the sidelines the whole time. The team chemistry on the team right now is unbelievable. Everybody is having fun. Everybody is together. No one is arguing with each other. It is a totally different atmosphere than it was last year.
3. What coach/person has been the biggest influence on your baseball career?
I’d have to say Doug Aplin, from Chamberlain, my basketball coach. I was one of those kids in high school that I thought I could walk on water. I acted like I really didn’t care. When I stepped on the basketball court, I wasn’t the best player. I was just some other kid on the court, and he brought me down to ground zero. He was just an awesome coach, and he pushed me harder than anyone has before I got here. It really got me ready for college.
4. Who is the toughest pitcher you have ever faced?
Caleb Graham. He goes to UCF now. He pitched at Gaither High School. He was just unhittable. He struck me out three times in one game on nine pitches. It was, by far, the worst day of my life.
5. Why you attend USF over other schools?
The main reason was that it is close to home. All of my family is here. The only family that I do not have here is two cousins and an aunt that live in Alabama, and another cousin that lives in North Dakota. Other than that, a majority of my family is here. Everyone loves coming to watch me play. My family has always been a huge part of my life. It is really easier to pick home over anywhere else. Lazer Collazo and Lelo Prado were awesome recruiters. They came to my house, and they acted like they wanted me more than anyone else. None of the others schools did. They would send me letters and everything, but that was it. Prado and Lazer took the time to come to my house and talk to my mom and dad and sit on my couch and play with my dog. They just showed a lot of initiative about it. It was a no-brainer as soon as they came to my house I was like, “Yeah, this is where I want to go.”
6. What advice would you give to a current high school player who wants to play Collegiate Baseball?
Do not take it for granted. Don’t treat it as if you don’t have to work hard. The thing that I learned when I got into college was at that same time, millions of kids are doing the same thing that you are doing. Just know that every day you have to get better, because every day millions of kids are getting better. Basically, just do not take it for granted. Know that every day is not promised to you, so treat every day as if it is your last.
7. What is your biggest challenge day in and day out on the field? Off the field?
On the field, it is getting in shape and getting my body right. I have gotten a lot better at getting my body in shape than what I was in the fall. I know I still have a long way to go. Off the field, I do not really have any issues. All my problems are on the field. Off the field, I always turn to baseball. So when I have a problem off of the field, I just turn to baseball and I don’t really worry about it. On the field, I guess my only problem is getting in shape and pushing myself every day to just keep getting better and better.
The College Baseball Blog would like to thank Todd Brazeal for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer our questions. Special thanks to Amy Woodruff of South Florida Media Relations for setting up the interview for us. If any other SID’s want to have a player featured feel free to contact me by clicking here.