With the 2014 Major League Baseball season getting underway earlier this week, five former UCLA baseball players find themselves on the opening day rosters for 2014. In addition, a total of 28 former UCLA players will continue their professional careers in the minor leagues.
Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh Pirates), Brandon Crawford (San Francisco Giants), David Huff (San Francisco Giants), Casey Janssen (Toronto Blue Jays) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies) are currently on the active rosters for their respective major league clubs.
Cole (2009-11) enters his first full season in Major League Baseball after being called up to the Majors by the Pirates in June of 2013. He started 19 games for Pittsburgh last season, going 10-7 with 3.22 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 117.1 innings pitched. Additionally, Cole started two games in the 2013 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, winning Game 2 for the Pirates by allowing just one run on two hits in six innings. In his last four regular season starts, Cole went 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA while allowing just 19 hits.
Crawford (2006-08) played in 149 games as the starting shortstop for San Francisco in 2013, batting .248 with nine home runs and 43 RBI. In 2012, he helped the Giants to their second World Series title in three years, playing in 143 games at shortstop for the club. His former UCLA teammate, David Huff, is entering his first season with the Giants after spending last season with Cleveland and the New York Yankees. Huff has appeared in 69 games in his Major League career, amassing 21 victories.
Janssen (2001-04) is in his eighth season at the Major League level, all of which have come with the Blue Jays. He serves as the team's closer and last season led the team in saves with 34. Utley (1998-2000) enters his 12th season as a full-time major leaguer in 2014, all which have come with the Phillies. He has led Philadelphia to two National League titles, one World Series championship and has been selected to play in four MLB All-Star Games in his career.
Former UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer (2009-11) will begin the season in Triple-A, but could see time in the majors later this season. Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, made his major league debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in June of 2012. Bauer made four starts for the Cleveland Indians last season after being traded to the ballclub before the 2013 season. Overall, nine former UCLA players (Hector Ambriz - San Diego, Bauer - Cleveland, Charles Brewer - Arizona, Alden Carrithers - Oakland, Jermaine Curtis - St. Louis, Cody Decker - San Diego, Erik Goeddel - N.Y. Mets, Rob Rasmussen - Toronto, Josh Roenicke - Washington) will begin the 2014 season at the Triple-A level and will look to push for a spot on a major league roster later in the season. Brewer and Curtis made their Major League debuts with their respective ballclubs last season while Ambriz and Roenicke pitched in the Majors last season for the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins respectively.
UCLA also has numerous former players who are now coaching in Major League Baseball. Ron Roenicke, who played at UCLA in 1977, begins his fourth season as the Milwaukee Brewers' manager. Torey Lovullo, who starred for the Bruins from 1984-87, is in his second season as the bench coach of the defending champion Boston Red Sox. Dave Roberts, who played at UCLA from 1991-94 and is the school's all-time leader in stolen bases, begins his fourth year as the San Diego Padres' first base coach. Finally, Mike Gallego, who was an infielder for the Bruins from 1979-81, enters his sixth season as the third base coach for the Oakland A's in 2013.
In the 94-year history of UCLA's baseball program, 72 Bruins have had the opportunity to play Major League baseball, nine of whom played under current head coach John Savage (Ambriz, Bauer, Brewer, Tyson Brummett, Cole, Crawford, Curtis, Huff and Roenicke). The most recent UCLA player to make his major league debut was Cole, who made his debut for the Pirates on June 11, 2013. At least one player from every UCLA baseball team from 1965-2011 has advanced to the majors.