Five current UCLA baseball players were selected in the 2016 MLB Draft from June 9-11, with just one taken in the draft’s opening 11 rounds. The total was three fewer than 2015.
Rising seniors Grant Dyer, Luke Persico and Kort Peterson and redshirt seniors Eric Filia and Christoph Bono heard their names called on the second and third days of the draft.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Dyer, a right-hander who began the year as UCLA’s Friday starter, in the eighth round with the 227th overall pick. Dyer suffered an oblique injury that knocked him out for a couple weeks midseason but boosted his draft stock with a 2.48 ERA in his last 32 2/3 innings pitched. In a dominant sophomore year, Dyer served primarily as the Bruins’ setup man, posting a 1.83 ERA and a .176 batting average against in 42 appearances – good enough to be named to the All-Pac-12 first team.
In the next level, Dyer projects to be a fringe starter who has more upside as a reliever. According to MLB.com, the righty’s fastball sits around 90 miles per hour when he starts, but as a reliever, he hits up to 94 on a regular basis.
Dyer was the only Bruin drafted on the second day, as the others would have to wait for rounds 11-40.
The Oakland Athletics made Persico the first UCLA player drafted on day three. Persico was a 12th-round selection as an outfielder despite making 54 starts at first base and third base combined this past season. He led UCLA with a .323 average and 22 multi-hit games.
A 20th-round pick by the Mariners, Filia was the Bruins’ lone All-Pac-12 team selection in 2016, leading UCLA with three home runs and 41 walks. He was a crucial component of the 2013 national championship team after driving in five runs in the title-clinching game.
Peterson was the next Bruin picked, going to the Kansas City Royals in the 23rd round. The Mountain View native led the team with a .416 on-base percentage and tied for the team lead with 36 runs batted in. Peterson was responsible for one of the biggest highlights of the season after hitting a walk-off home run against Texas in March.
The other Bay Area team, the San Francisco Giants, selected Bono with the 1,115th overall pick in the 37th round. Bono was the Bruins’ everyday center fielder and was the last player from UCLA to come off the board. In 56 games this year, the redshirt senior hit only .183, although his nine career triples are tied for sixth-most in school history.
The draft didn’t just affect the current roster, however.
Two highly touted incoming freshman commits – La Costa Canyon High School outfielder Mickey Moniak and Chaminade College Prepatory School outfielder Blake Rutherford – were tabbed to replace Bono and Filia next season, but their statuses are up in the air. The Phillies picked Moniak first overall and Rutherford went 18th to the New York Yankees.
Like Dyer, Persico, and Peterson, Moniak and Rutherford can either sign professionally – giving up their NCAA eligibility – or spurn the MLB to attend UCLA. The deadline to sign a contract is July 15.
The Bruins now have an all-time 264 MLB draft selections, with 82 coming under the tenure of current coach John Savage.
Email Wang at [email protected] or tweet @hansondwang.