#12 UCLA Baseball 2018 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
UCLA had a forgettable trip to the NCAA Tournament last year, losing to Texas and San Diego State. However, getting to the tournament was the goal for the young Bruins last season. Now Coach John Savage’s team has much higher expectations after the youngsters performed relatively well in 2017. There were some ups and downs, but expect UCLA to be much more consistent this time around.
2017: 30-27, 19-11
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Savage
Key Departed Players:
Sean Bouchard, IF, .306 BA, 9 HR, 43 RBI
Brett Stephens, OF, .278 BA, 2 HR, 21 RBI
Griffin Canning, P, 2.34 ERA, 7-4 W-L, 119.0 IP, 140 SO
Key Returning Players:
Daniel Amaral, OF, .282 BA, 1 HR, 21 RBI
Michael Toglia, IF, .261 BA, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Ryan Kreidler, IF, .241 BA, 4 HR, 25 RBI
Chase Strumpf, IF, .239 BA, 7 HR, 30 RBI
Jon Olsen, P, 2.86 ERA, 7-1 W-L, 85.0 IP, 80 SO
Jake Bird, P, 2.75 ERA, 5-5 W-L, 55.2 IP, 42 SO
Chase Strumpf and Michael Toglia were just a couple of the many freshmen who were thrown into the mix last season. Strumpf only hit .239, but he proved to have a powerful bat. Toglia hit .261 with eight homeruns and 33 RBIs. Fellow sophomore Ryan Kreidler showed plenty of potential as well. Daniel Amaral adds some leadership and consistent hitting to the group. The junior hit .282 and stole 16 bases. The batting should be improved with more experience, but the pitching is where UCLA could emerge as a CWS contender. Junior Jon Olsen is garnering plenty of preseason accolades after going 7-1 in 15 starts with a 2.86 ERA last season. Jake Bird and Justin Hooper, an intimidating 6-8 lefty, also have starting experience and will help replace the loss of Griffin Canning. Consistency will be key for UCLA this year. They have the potential to compete for a Pac-12 title, but they can’t afford too many bad losses along the way if they want to surpass teams like Oregon State and Stanford in the Pac-12 pecking order.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament