Sunday, October 20

Program-record 13 players selected in MLB Draft for UCLA baseball

Junior shortstop Ryan Kreidler was one of 13 Bruins taken in the 2019 MLB Draft. Kreidler went 5-for-12 in UCLA baseball's three elimination games in the Los Angeles regional. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

Junior shortstop Ryan Kreidler was one of 13 Bruins taken in the 2019 MLB Draft. Kreidler went 5-for-12 in UCLA baseball's three elimination games in the Los Angeles regional. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins continued to set program records at this week’s MLB Draft.

The 13 players taken in this year’s draft broke UCLA baseball’s program record for most Bruins taken in a single MLB Draft, a record formerly held by the 12 pro-hopefuls selected from the 2000 and 2006 squads. Days two and three of the draft had 10 Bruins picked by major league organizations.

Day two featured junior shortstop Ryan Kreidler going No. 112 overall to the Detroit Tigers, followed by redshirt junior right-hander Jack Ralston going to the St. Louis Cardinals with pick No. 215 and junior outfielder Jeremy Ydens getting picked No. 243 overall by the Washington Nationals.

This was the second time that Kreidler had been drafted and the third time for Ydens.

This season, Kreidler has started all 60 games for the Bruins and his hit total has nearly doubled from last year. He also set career-highs in almost every major offensive statistic category this season.

Ydens missed two and a half months this year due to a wrist injury, and has batted .244 with three home runs and seven RBIs since his return to the starting lineup May 14.

Unlike Kreidler and Ydens, this was Ralston’s first time being drafted. This season, the 6-foot, 6-inch right-hander leads UCLA with 11 wins, winning Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors twice and setting career-bests in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts.

The UCLA draft picks continued into day three Wednesday, when seven more Bruins were selected. Redshirt junior left-hander Justin Hooper was the first Bruin to be selected on day three – going No. 409 overall to the Kansas City Royals – followed by junior third baseman Jack Stronach’s No. 623 selection by the San Diego Padres.

Hooper missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery, but was ranked the No. 33 MLB Draft preseason Pac-12 prospect by Hooper made only one appearance for UCLA this season, pitching a scoreless 2/3 of an inning against UC Irvine on May 14.

Similar to Kreidler, Stronach is having a much-improved season, as his .330 average is third-best on the team. He has also set career-highs in hits, RBIs and on-base percentage during the Bruins’ 2019 campaign.

Three rounds later, senior left fielder Jake Pries was taken by the New York Yankees at No. 735 overall. Redshirt senior right-hander Nathan Hadley and senior right-hander Kyle Molnar were selected by the Minnesota Twins at No. 749 overall and Los Angeles Angels at No. 781 overall, respectively.

Pries has become UCLA’s everyday designated hitter and – along with junior first baseman Michael Toglia – is one of two Bruins with double-digit home runs on the year. In last weekend’s Los Angeles regional, Pries hit two homers.

Hadley posted a career-low 2.32 ERA out of the bullpen this season. Despite never starting a game in 2019, Hadley has a 0.92 WHIP and eight wins – third-most on the team behind Ralston with 11 and junior right-hander Ryan Garcia with 10.

Molnar was a Freshman All-American in 2016 but was not on the roster for UCLA this season.

In the 39th round, senior third baseman Jake Hirabayashi was taken No. 1,169 overall by the Minnesota Twins and, in the 40th and final round, former catcher Ty Haselman was selected No. 1,211 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Sports contributor

Matull is currently a contributor on the baseball beat. He was previously a contributor on the cross country beat.

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  • Richard C

    While the MLB Draft is vastly different than those conducted by the NFL and NBA, something should be done to make the first round a means to better market the game to a wider audience — airing on ESPN or FS1 — with MLB Network handling the marathon that follows.

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