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.
Taking a major-league mound for the first time, Gerrit Cole wasted no time filling his highlight quota.
Two years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Cole first overall out of UCLA, where he struck out 346 batters over three seasons. On Tuesday, he did the same against Gregor Blanco, punching out the the San Francisco Giants leadoff man on three pitches.
Cole also connected for a two-RBI single on his very first at at-bat, giving the Pirates their first two runs in an 8-2 win. He easily outdueled former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum for the victory, finishing with two strikeouts, no walks, two earned runs and seven hits through 6 1/3 innings.
While his overreliance on his fastball could be a concern going forward, the 22-year-old is a potential star on a club chasing its first winning season since 1992.
“He was impressive,” said UCLA coach John Savage, who watched the game with his team after practice. “I thought he filled up the strike zone. He didn’t get ahead of himself. I think you saw a potential No. 1 starter growing up, maturing. I contribute that to going to college, what he went through here, being a Friday night guy for three years. I think he’s just grown up too.”