Kevin Kramer is second UCLA player picked in 2015 MLB Draft

UCLA shortstop Kevin Kramer was picked No. 62 overall in the MLB Draft on Monday night, becoming the second Bruin selected in 2015.

Kramer was picked by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round, 46 spots after right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian went to the New York Yankees. The infielder had missed the 2014 season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder, but was a key component of the team in 2015. As a redshirt junior, he ranked second on the team in batting average (.323) and first in walks (36).

Last month, Kramer estimated that his shoulder was at about 85 or 90 percent of the way to full health, but expected to be completely recovered sometime this summer.

The Pirates clearly didn’t have serious reservations about Kramer’s torn labrum, making him the highest-drafted UCLA position player since Jeff Gelalich went 57th overall in 2012.

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UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian drafted No. 16 overall by Yankees

James Kaprielian was taken by the New York Yankees as No. 16 overall in the MLB Draft, becoming the first UCLA baseball player to go in the first round since 2011.

On Monday, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound pitcher joined a club last entered by Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, fellow right-handers who starred for the Bruins before going No. 1 and 3 overall four years ago. Cole actually helped convince Kaprielian to sign with UCLA.

UCLA coach John Savage said he noticed Kaprielian’s curveball the first time he saw him pitch as a high school sophomore, as well as a “good, physical, projectable body.” Continue reading

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MLB Draft: UCLA pitcher James Kaprielian a likely first-round pick

This evening, UCLA baseball will likely produce a first-round draft pick for the first time in four years.

Right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian, the Bruins’ Friday ace for the past two seasons, is projected to go off the board early in the MLB draft, which starts today at 4 p.m. PT. As a junior, the 6-foot-4 prospect led the Pac-12 with 114 strikeouts, and combined with closer David Berg for the first no-hitter in UCLA history.

Teams had expressed interest in drafting Kaprielian (10-4, 2.03) in the first two rounds in 2012, but Kaprielian product was set on attending UCLA. He was eventually taken in the 40th round by the Seattle Mariners, and became a reliever on the Bruins’ 2013 national title team as a freshman.

UCLA coach John Savage said that Kaprielian was somewhat underrecruited coming out Beckman High in Irvine, calling him a “football guy” who slipped through the cracks. That he wasn’t a big factor on the travel circuit suppressed his stock too.

“There wasn’t as much hype around him,” Savage said. “But we knew that he potentially could be a weekend starter. We saw his projection and his upside. We knew that this guy could pretty special. …We knew what we had.”

Based on numerous mock drafts, Kaprielian appears to be a lock for the first round. He is projected to go No. 10 overall by Sports Illustrated, No. 12 by ESPN, and No. 16 by Baseball America and MLB.com.

The last time a UCLA player was drafted in the first round was 2011, when pitchers Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer went first and third overall, respectively.

Here’s a list of all the Bruins ranked in Baseball America’s list of top-500 prospects: Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Utah and Duke to play at Madison Square Garden

» After falling in the Sweet 16, Utah will get another shot at Duke this December at Madison Square Garden.

» Famed Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar is facing doping allegations, including ones surrounding former Oregon runner and Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp. ProPublica and the BBC collaborated on the investigation.

» Theo Robertson, who was a part of Cal’s conference title team in 2010, is now a video intern for the Golden State Warriors.

» Former UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin now works in the Notre Dame athletic department. He talked to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about adjusting to life after football. Continue reading

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