Monday, October 21

Baseball hits eight weeks atop national rankings with six top MLB Draft prospects


No. 1 UCLA baseball boasted six players in Baseball America’s 2019 Top 400 MLB Draft Prospects list. Junior second baseman Chase Strumpf was the Bruins’ highest-ranked prospect at No. 35. (Isabelle Roy/Daily Bruin senior staff)

No. 1 UCLA baseball boasted six players in Baseball America’s 2019 Top 400 MLB Draft Prospects list. Junior second baseman Chase Strumpf was the Bruins’ highest-ranked prospect at No. 35. (Isabelle Roy/Daily Bruin senior staff)


The top-ranked Bruins have the star power to back it up.

No. 1 UCLA baseball (38-8, 16-5 Pac-12) has six players ranked in Baseball America’s list of 2019 Top 400 MLB Draft Prospects, and all six are within the top 300.

Junior second baseman Chase Strumpf, junior first baseman Michael Toglia, junior right-hander Ryan Garcia, junior third baseman Ryan Kreidler, redshirt junior right-hander Jack Ralston and junior left fielder Jeremy Ydens made the cut at No. 35, No. 62, No. 116, No. 158, No. 209 and No. 295, respectively.

In addition, Toglia and Strumpf currently rank No. 39 and No. 40, respectively, among the top 100 in the MLB.com 2019 Prospect Watch.

According to MLB.com, Toglia boasts raw power on offense and is a plus defender with the athleticism to move to a corner outfield spot at the next level. Strumpf is described to be an early-round talent due to his consistent offensive production, excellent strike zone discipline and defensive reliability at second base.

Toglia leads the Bruins with 45 RBIs and has a team-high-tying nine home runs, while Strumpf has a team-high 35 walks and a team-high-tying 41 runs.

Strumpf and Toglia were named First-Team and Third-Team Preseason All-Americans, respectively.

Garcia missed the first three weeks of the season due to a flexor inflammation and made three appearances before his first start March 24. The junior holds a 1.29 ERA and 12.4 K/9 with a 6-0 record.

Kreidler has started every game for the Bruins and has seen his average dip below .300 only once since the season opener. Ralston has a 2.57 ERA and 8-0 record in his breakout season, and the Bruins have lost only one game out of his 12 starts.

Although he was named a Second-Team Preseason All-American, Ydens has been out since March 1 with a broken finger. Coach John Savage said there is a chance he will be back in the next few weeks.

“There’s for sure a chance,” Savage said. “He took batting practice (Tuesday). Things are looking up there.”

Despite the Bruins’ program-record eight consecutive weeks atop the national rankings, they do not possess a top-25 Draft prospect like some of their Pac-12 counterparts.

No. 12 Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman is MLB.com’s No. 1 prospect and is widely believed to be the first player that will be taken in the 2019 MLB Draft next month. California first baseman Andrew Vaughn – No. 3 – and Arizona State center fielder Hunter Bishop – No. 7 – also sit atop MLB.com’s rankings.

Six Bruin commits also cracked Baseball America’s list. Corbin Carroll, Evan Fitterer, Emanuel Dean, Adrian Chaidez, Michael Curialle and Joshua Hahn made the list at No. 6, No. 97, No. 150, No. 281, No. 282 and No. 309, respectively.

UCLA’s 2019 recruiting class is ranked No. 21 by Perfect Game. By comparison, the current Bruin squad is made up of recruiting classes ranked No. 16, No. 30, No. 27 and No. 18 from 2015 through 2018, respectively.

UCLA will travel to Pullman, Washington, to face Washington State in a three-game series starting Friday at 5:05 p.m.

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Sports contributor

Venable is currently a contributor on the baseball beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's water polo beat.


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