Four Former UCLA Ballplayers to Compete in Arizona Fall League

Oct. 3, 2011

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PHOENIX - Former UCLA baseball players Charles Brewer, Gerrit Cole, Brandon Crawford and Brendan Lafferty have been assigned to play in MLB's Arizona Fall League, which opens its season on Tuesday.

Crawford played in the major leagues (San Francisco Giants) and minors in 2011, while Brewer and Lafferty pitched for double-A ballclubs. Cole was a junior at UCLA in the spring and did not compete in the minors last summer.

The Arizona Fall League (AFL) is an offseason league operated and owned by Major League Baseball that attracts the top prospects in minor league baseball each fall. Founded in 1992, the six-team league features a schedule that runs from the first week of October through the third week of November.

Brewer, a right-handed pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, will pitch for the Salt River Rafters this fall. He went 5-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts for the double-A Mobile BayBears in 2011, missing two months of the season with a broken hand sustained from a line drive comebacker. A three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2007-09), Brewer went 12-10 with a 4.88 ERA in 39 career games (27 starts).

Cole will make his professional debut pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox. He did not pitch in the minor leagues after agreeing to terms on a minor league contract with Pittsburgh Pirates in August. A junior at UCLA in 2011, Cole was selected first overall in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Cole went 6-8 with a 3.31 ERA in 16 starts for the Bruins in 2011. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound product from Santa Ana, Calif., logged four complete games during his junior campaign, recording 119 strikeouts and 24 walks in 114.1 innings. In three seasons at UCLA, Cole finished second on the school's all-time strikeouts list (376), going 21-20 with a 3.38 ERA in 50 games (49 starts).

Crawford will play shortstop for the Scottsdale Scorpions for the second time in his career. The native of Pleasanton, Calif., played for Scottsdale in the AFL in 2009. He batted .204 with three home runs, 21 RBI and 22 runs in 66 games for the San Francisco Giants last season. Crawford posted a .265 batting average with four homers, 24 RBI and 27 runs in 43 games in the minor leagues, splitting time between San Jose (single-A) and Fresno (triple-A).

A three-year letterwinner at UCLA (2006-08), Crawford concluded his collegiate career with a .319 batting average, 20 home runs, 13 triples, 44 doubles, 136 RBI and 145 runs. He started all 179 games during his three seasons with the Bruins, making 177 starts at shortstop.

Lafferty will pitch for the Surprise Saguaros in his first stint in the Arizona Fall League. A 6-foot-4 left-hander from Riverside, Calif., Lafferty went 4-3 with a 4.48 ERA in 30 relief appearances between two Kansas City Royals minor league teams in 2011. Lafferty went 2-3 with a 4.57 ERA and one save in 19 games for the Wilmington Blue Rox (single-A, Carolina League). He went 2-0 with a 4.32 ERA and two saves in 11 appearances for the Northwest Arkansas Travelers (double-A, Texas League).

A four-year letterwinner at UCLA (2005, 2007-09), Lafferty concluded his collegiate career going 7-8 with a 5.50 ERA in 94 games (91 relief appearances). He redshirted for the Bruins in 2006, before serving as a vital left-handed relief pitcher in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In four seasons, Lafferty totaled 119 strikeouts and 64 walks in 147.1 innings.

Other former UCLA baseball players to have recently competed in the Arizona Fall League include right-handed pitchers Hector Ambriz and Tyson Brummett and left-handed pitcher David Huff. Following their stints pitching in the AFL, Ambriz and Huff pitched in the major leagues.

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