Tuesday, November 12

UCLA commits, players selected in MLB first-year player draft


This post was updated at 8:15 p.m.

When the clock started ticking for the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday, a Bruin was the first to hear his name called.

Well, a potential Bruin, that is.

UCLA commit Brady Aiken, a left-handed pitcher out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, was selected with No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Astros in the first-year player draft. He is the first high school pitcher taken as the top pick since 1991 and only the third-ever left-handed high school pitcher to be drafted No. 1 overall. With a signing bonus maximum of $7.9 million and reportedly close to already signing a deal with Houston, he is unlikely to ever set foot on Bruin Walk.

“I sat down with my adviser and my trainer and my parents and I really had the goal that I wanted to be the best player in the country,” Aiken said in an MLB Network interview. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of early mornings working out. … Hard work in the offseason truly paid off for me in the spring season.”

Through the first 10 rounds, current UCLA baseball players Shane Zeile and Max Schuh have been drafted.

Zeile, a junior catcher, was drafted in the fifth round (No. 160 overall) by the Detroit Tigers. He led the Bruins with a .324 batting average, never hitting below .300 at any point in the season. He also led the Bruins with 28 RBI, a .401 on-base percentage, .421 slugging percentage, 21 multi-hit games and 70 hits. He also threw out 18 would-be base stealers, tying for the Pac-12 lead. His draft spot is valued at a $293,900 signing bonus.

Schuh, a redshirt junior southpaw reliever, was selected in the seventh round (No. 211 overall) by the Baltimore Orioles. As the team’s setup man, he led the team with 37 appearances out of the bullpen. He struck out 34 batters in 29 innings with a 1.55 ERA, holding opponents to a .214 batting average. Schuh’s signing bonus is valued at $179,900.

In the final 30 rounds on Saturday, two more Bruins were selected, both of them relief pitchers.

Redshirt sophomore Jake Ehret was drafted in the 14th round (No. 425 overall) by the Cincinnati Reds, joining former Bruin teammate Zack Weiss, who the Reds drafted last year in the sixth round. The setup man struck out 15 batters in 20 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.25. As the hardest thrower on the team, he limited batters to a .232 batting average.

Junior closer and former Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, David Berg, was selected in the 17th round (No. 516 overall) by the Texas Rangers. The sidewinder compiled a 3-2 record with 11 saves and 1.50 ERA despite missing 14 games with a biceps injury. He limited opposing batters to a .202 average in 48 innings. After racking up numerous honors and accolades the past three years, Berg has likely completed a dominating college career after walking on to the team as a freshman.

UCLA has also had three other high school signees potentially poached in the draft on Friday night.

Pitcher Grant Hockin, out of Damien High School in California, was selected in the second round (No. 61 overall) by the Cleveland Indians. Shortstop Josh Morgan of Orange Lutheran High School in California was drafted in the third round (No. 95 overall) by the Texas Rangers. The Astros took another UCLA commit in the fifth round when pitcher Jacob Nix from Los Alamitos High School in California was selected No. 136 overall.

Eleven draft-eligible Bruins were not selected by any major league club, most notably junior pitcher Grant Watson and all four of UCLA’s seniors.

Compiled by Jason Drantch, Bruin Sports reporter.

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