Friday, April 3

Six Bruin baseball players selected in 2017 MLB draft

Junior Friday starter Griffin Canning was the first of six Bruins off the board at this year's MLB draft. (Ken Shin/Daily Bruin)

Six UCLA baseball players were selected in this year’s MLB draft from June 12-14, one more than in last season’s draft.

Ace Griffin Canning, a projected first-round pick, slid to the second round and was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 47th pick overall.

Canning was an All-Pac-12 player this season, posting a 7-4 record this season for the Bruins with a 2.34 ERA and 140 strikeouts, tied for best in the conference. He also received a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

First baseman Sean Bouchard was the next UCLA player off the board after the Colorado Rockies selected him in the ninth round. He was also named to the All-Pac-12 team.

Bouchard led the Bruins in every offensive category other than walks in 2017.

[Related: MLB Draft preview – interactive webpage]

Four UCLA players – outfielder Brett Stephens, shortstop Nick Valaika and pitchers Moises Ceja and Scott Burke – were selected on the final day of the draft.

Burke was the first of the four to get picked, with the Baltimore Orioles taking him in the 20th round. The right-hander was the team’s closer for the second half of the season, sporting a 2.51 ERA. His 47 strikeouts were the most of any UCLA reliever this season.

Valaika, who was sidelined for the entire second half of the season, was picked in the 24th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He hit .225 in just 21 games before breaking his hand in late March.

The Rockies drafted Stephens in the 28th round. The Bruins’ starting left fielder rebounded after a disappointing year in 2016, boasting a .278 average and 12 doubles out of the leadoff spot.

Ceja was the final Bruin off the board, getting picked in the 32nd round by Colorado – the Rockies’ third UCLA pick in this year’s draft. He split time as a starter and reliever in 2017, garnering a 3.52 ERA overall in 61 1/3 innings.

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