UCLA baseball has eight players picked in 2015 MLB Draft

Four more UCLA baseball players were picked today to end the 2015 MLB Draft, making for a total of eight Bruins selected.

Outfielder Ty Moore, left-handed pitcher Grant Watson, infielder Chris Keck and reliever Tucker Forbes were each drafted, with all of but Forbes going by the end of the 18th round.

Here is the total draft haul out of UCLA this year:

RHP James Kaprielian, Jr. — First round, 16th overall, Yankees
SS Kevin Kramer, RJr. — Second round, 62nd overall, Pirates
RHP Cody Poteet, Jr. — Fourth round, 116th overall, Marlins
RHP David Berg, Sr. — Sixth round, 173rd overall, Cubs
OF Ty Moore, Jr. — 12th round, 367th overall, Pirates
LHP Grant Watson, Sr. — 16th round, 486th overall, Giants
INF Chris Keck, Sr. — 18th round, 527th overall, Rockies
RHP Tucker Forbes, RSo. — 30th round, 906th overall, Giants

A number of Bruin signees were also drafted: Continue reading

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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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UCLA opens NCAA Regional with 7-2 win over CSU Bakersfield

Coaches, as John Savage explained recently, want a little bit of adversity. The 50-year-old is no exception. Currently in charge of what could be the best team in his 11 years at UCLA, the last thing he needs is for wins to come too easily, for the Bruins to start coasting.

But he also needs his team to bounce back from any stumbles — and at this time of the year, to bounce back quickly. He got that on Friday night.

Opening the NCAA Regional as the No. 1 overall seed, UCLA gave up an early one-run lead to Cal State Bakersfield. The Bruins then scored for six straight innings, methodically building a 7-2 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Continue reading

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UCLA’s John Savage wins his first Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor

UCLA coach John Savage is surrounded by players as he hoists the College World Series championship trophy on June 25, 2013. (Eric Francis/AP)

UCLA coach John Savage is surrounded by players as he hoists the College World Series championship trophy on June 25, 2013. (Eric Francis/AP)

Even UCLA’s most accomplished baseball coach can break new ground. On Wednesday, John Savage was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time.

Savage had been named national coach of the year by multiple publications in 2013, following the Bruins’ first and only College World Series title. However, the conference’s top honor had eluded him until his 11th season in Westwood, one during which UCLA set a school record with 22 wins in league play.

The Bruins, who lead all Division I teams with a 2.16 ERA, earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament on Monday and will host a regional this weekend. Their first game is against Cal State Bakersfield at 8 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Closer David Berg (7-1, 0.73 ERA) was also named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, becoming the only Bruin to earn the honor twice in his career. Continue reading

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