Jan. 23, 2007
Los Angeles - Baseball America has tabbed five former UCLA baseball players - Dave Huff, Hector Ambriz, Wes Whisler, Ben Francisco and Paul Oseguera - as the top prospects within their respective Major League Baseball organizations, according to the publication's 2007 prospect guide.
Huff, a key starter on UCLA's pitching staff in 2006, has been ranked the No. 10 prospect in the Cleveland Indians' organization. Last summer, the left-handed pitcher logged 7.2 innings in four games for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (short A). In the spring, Huff led the Bruins' staff with 129.2 innings pitched and 100 strikeouts. A first-round draft selection by Cleveland, Huff recorded a 7-4 record and 2.98 ERA as a junior at UCLA.
Ambriz, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2003, 2005-06) and key starter last season, has been slated as the No. 22 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. In 15 games with the Missoula Osprey (rookie) last summer, Ambriz recorded 52 strikeouts and issued just 11 walks in 42.1 innings. The right-hander posted a 1-3 record and 1.91 ERA for Missoula and recorded three saves. Drafted in the fourth round by Arizona, Ambriz combined with starting pitcher Osbek Castillo to combine for a no-hitter against the Casper Rockies on Aug. 20. The Placentia, Calif. native pitched in 57 games over three years for UCLA, totaling 249 career strikeouts in 296.0 innings.
Whisler, a three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2002-04), has been ranked the No. 29 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization. Last summer, Whisler split time between the Winston-Salem Warthogs (advanced A, Carolina League) and the Birmingham Barons (AA, Southern League). He made 20 starts on the mound for Winston-Salem, posting a 2.97 ERA in 118.1 innings pitched. Whisler recorded a 4.43 ERA and 2-3 record in 44.2 innings for Birmingham. In three years at UCLA, he accumulated a .304 batting average, 34 home runs and 129 RBI at the plate. As a pitcher, he compiled an 11-14 record, a 4.99 ERA and 172 strikeouts.
Francisco, a two-year letterwinner at UCLA (2001-02), earned honorable mention accolades from Baseball America as a member of the Cleveland Indians organization. One year ago, Francisco recorded a .278 batting average in 134 games for the Buffalo Bisons (triple-A). An outfielder from Santa Ana, Calif., Francisco tallied 17 home runs, 32 doubles and 59 RBI for Buffalo. He played for the Tomateros de Culiacán (Mexican Pacific League) in December 2006 and posted a .280 batting average in 66 games. While at UCLA, Francisco compiled a .358 batting average, 12 home runs and 79 RBI.
Oseguera, the Bruins' top relief pitcher in 2006, was named an honorable mention by Baseball America as a prospect in the San Francisco Giants farm system. Last summer, the southpaw posted a 2-1 record and 3.72 ERA in 29.0 innings for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (short A). A two-year letterwinner at UCLA, Oseguera excelled as a junior last season, recording a 1.66 ERA in a team-high 29 appearances. He registered 47 strikeouts and just nine walks in 48.2 innings and compiled a 3-1 record.