#3 UCLA Baseball 2020 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 Pac-12
 UCLA Logo
UCLA was clearly the best team in baseball heading into the postseason. The team earned the number one overall seed and did not lose a weekend series the entire season. But, of course, things did not go well during the NCAA Tournament. It took the Bruins five games to win the Los Angeles Regional and then they were shocked by Michigan in the Super Regionals. With all of that success, UCLA lost a lot of key players, but this is still one of the most talented teams in the country and there are plenty of players ready to step up and be the next star in Westwood.
2019: 52-11, 24-5
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Savage
Key Departed Players:
Jack Stonach, IF, .317 BA, 2 HR, 34 RBI
Michael Toglia, IF, .314 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI
Ryan Kreidler, IF, .300 BA, 9 HR, 45 RBI, 12 SB
Jake Pries, OF, .284 BA, 12 HR, 41 RBI
Jack Ralston, P, 2.66 ERA, 11-1 W/L, 101.1 IP, 110 SO
Ryan Garcia, P, 1.44 ERA, 10-1 W/L, 94.0 IP, 117 SO
Key Returning Players:
Garrett Mitchell, OF, .349 BA, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 18 SB
Jesse Bergin, P, 4.43 ERA, 5-0 W/L, 67.0 IP, 76 SO
Holden Powell, P, 1.84 ERA, 4-3 W/L, 49.0 IP, 65 SO, 17 SV
The pitching staff that was absolutely dominant with Jack Ralston and Ryan Garcia leading the way will now be led by Zach Pettway. Pettway was UCLA’s opening day starter last season, but he had an up and down sophomore campaign after a great freshman year. Last season he boasted a 4.55 ERA, the highest on the team. As a freshman, he went 8-4 with a 3.35 ERA and struck out a team high 78 batters. He also has amazing control and that was not lost last season despite the down year. Nick Nastrini and Sean Mullen barely played as freshmen with so much talent around them, but they will now be asked to live up to their potential and serve as regular weekend starters. The bullpen is in great shape with Kyle Mora leading the way and, when the game is on the line, UCLA has one of the best closers in college baseball to call upon. Holden Powell sported a 1.84 ERA last season and earned 17 saves, which was second most in the nation. If the pitching is anywhere near where it was last year, UCLA does not need to do much hitting. Garrett Mitchell is by far the most proven hitter, batting .349 with six homeruns, 41 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 2019. Noah Cardenas, Mikey Perez and Matt McLain showed plenty of promise as freshmen and will be asked to do much more as sophomores. Add in newcomers like junior college transfer Pat Caulfield and redshirt freshman JT Schwartz and UCLA has the potential to have a better offense in 2020. UCLA’s postseason success though will largely depend on the pitching. If those younger arms can live up to their potential, do not be surprised to see UCLA in Omaha for the first time since they won it all in 2013.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament