July 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Eight UCLA baseball players, including seven recent draft selections, have agreed to terms with their respective major league organizations and will forgo their remaining collegiate eligibility.
Juniors Jeff Gelalich (first round, supplemental), Beau Amaral (seventh round), Tyler Heineman (eighth round), Scott Griggs (eighth round), Trevor Brown (10th round) and Cody Keefer (15th round), redshirt junior Chase Brewer (free agent) and redshirt freshman Eric Jaffe (11th round) have signed professional contracts after having led UCLA to the 2012 Pac-12 Conference title and the program's fourth appearance at the College World Series.
"We are really proud of these guys, not only for what they've accomplished at UCLA, but also for taking that next step in their baseball careers," UCLA head coach John Savage said. "It's a credit to their dedication and hard work the last three seasons. These players were part of the most successful class in school history. They made a major impact at UCLA, winning back-to-back Pac-12 titles and playing twice at the College World Series in three years."
Gelalich and Amaral were both selected by the Cincinnati Reds and have started their minor league careers playing for the Billings Mustangs (Rookie level, Pioneer League). A first-team All-America selection by Baseball America, Gelalich led the Bruins with a .351 batting average and 11 home runs and was selected No. 57 overall by the Reds.
Amaral starred in center field for UCLA the past three seasons, batting .313 with four home runs, five triples, 10 doubles and a team-leading 63 runs in 2012.
Heineman was drafted by the Houston Astros after having excelled behind the plate in 2012. The switch-hitter from Pacific Palisades, Calif., batted .332 with one home run, 27 RBI and 42 runs as a junior last spring. Heineman is playing in the Astros' farm system for the Tri-City Valley Cats (single-A short season, New York-Penn League).
Griggs established UCLA's single-season saves record in 2012, logging 15 saves in 17 opportunities. The hard-throwing right-hander from Alamo, Calif., went 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA as the team's closer, totaling 64 strikeouts and 31 walks in 37.1 innings. Griggs was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and has opened his professional career pitching out of the bullpen for the Ogden Raptors (Rookie level, Pioneer League).
Brown proved himself as one of UCLA's most talented, versatile players in recent memory. Playing first base, second base, third base, catcher and right field, Brown batted .321 with three home runs and a team-leading 52 RBI during his junior season. The native of Valencia, Calif., has opened his professional career playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (single-A short season, Northwest League).
Jaffe made eight relief appearances for the Bruins in 2012, allowing six hits in 7.2 scoreless innings. The redshirt freshman from Oakland was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the June MLB Draft.
Keefer batted .333 with one triple, 12 doubles, 37 RBI and 44 runs as a junior in 2012. The resident of Davis, Calif., was drafted by the Miami Marlins and ranked third on UCLA's ballclub with a .418 on-base percentage. He will begin his minor league career playing for the Jamestown Jammers (single-A short season, New-York Penn League).
Brewer recently signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The redshirt junior from Paradise Valley, Ariz., went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16.0 innings in 2012. He will begin his minor league career this weekend with the Yakima Bears (single-A short season, Northwest League).
The deadline for drafted baseball players to sign with their respective major league organizations is Friday, July 13, at 2 p.m. (PT)/5 p.m. (ET).