Fullerton’s Phil Bickford leaves program

Rick-Vanderhook-is-not-happy-with-the-umpires-decision.-Photo-Shotgun-SpratlingAccording to a release from Cal State Fullerton baseball, RHP Phill Bickford has decided to leave the Titans program to continue his baseball career elsewhere. Bickford went 6-3 with a 2.13 ERA in 20 appearances including ten starts with Fullerton in the 2014 season. He spent the summer in the Cape Cod League with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox where he made 14 appearances (1 start) with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 2.25 while serving as the closer accumulating eight saves.

Cal State Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook released the following statement on the loss of Bickford.

“I was shocked and obviously disappointed. In my experience, when a student-athlete makes a decision to go to college and play baseball on scholarship, it behooves him to stay in school until after his junior year as typically his market value increases. That said, everyone has decisions to make, and we wish Phil luck in his future athletic endeavors.”

It is expected that Bickford will join an Independent or a JuCo program this fall to make himself eligible for the 2015 MLB Draft.

  • Bill Go

    Why bother with the comment as the kid exits? Stuff happens. Just wish him well.

    • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

      I agree with you 100 percent. I believe there is some major turmoil going on right now with the Fullerton program after the Vanderhook scandal this past season and the top assistant going to Nebraska.

    • eight26

      He told Vanderhook on such short notice that the Titans are not able to replace him. The comment could’ve been much worse, given that.

      • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

        I think I have reported this week at least ten student athletes that are transferring…It isn’t as uncommon as you think…

        • eight26

          None of those are potential #1 picks at a blue blood program.

          Bickford can and should make the decisions that are best for himself. He doesn’t owe anyone anything.

          But to paraphrase George Costanza, “We’re living .. in a society here!” The decent thing to do is give people a heads up, if your decision affects their lives too.

          • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

            Yes, we are living in a society here but Vanderhook knew it was a risk taking him in the first place…The kid didn’t just become a first round pick his senior year of high school.

          • eight26

            Sure it was a risk. But Dietrich is on the short list of best pitching coaches in the game, no?

            Seems like Phil could’ve spent the next two years developing in relative comfort as a collegian rather than busing it from city to city in SS, LoA, A, then AA by the end of year 2. He’s nowhere near big league ready. He’s 75% upside right now.

          • http://collegebaseballdaily.com/ Brian Foley

            The faster you get in the minors, the faster
            you get up to the majors in theory…start the clock in the majors and you can make more money with a big free agent deal.
            He is still going to be busing in the minors after three years at Fullerton or two years…

          • eight26

            Then he should have signed with the Jays.

      • Bill Go

        Fair enough. I get his frustration. But, maybe keep it in house vs a public statement. I don’t see how that helps him or anyone involved. In the end, these coaches are dealing with young men with a lot of different factors motivating them. Who knows why this kid left? And yeah, would have been nice for the Coach to know immediately after the season. But, August is not as bad as it could be.

        • eight26

          Phil probably hasn’t had anyone tell him “no” since just before he threw a baseball for the first time. Vanderhook’s statement should serve as a warning to the young man about how to go about your business as a professional. That’s how saying something publicly could help Phil. But I doubt he gets the message.