#10 UCLA Baseball 2014 Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #10
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
#10 UCLA Baseball 2014 Preview
UCLA Team Page


UCLA went on a run at the end of last season that ended with the Bruins being crowned as the National Champions.  The Bruins started off the postseason by winning the regional they hosted and followed that up by sweeping Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regional. Those victories got UCLA to the College World Series where they went 5-0, defeating Mississippi State to win the title.  The Bruins lose a lot off of last season’s team, but there is plenty of talent left on the roster to make another run.

2013: 49-17, 21-9
2013 Postseason: CWS
Coach: John Savage

Field Players:
A lot of the key field players from last year’s team are back for this year’s campaign.  Outfielder Eric Filia and third baseman Kevin Kramer will be the leaders after appearing in all 66 games last season.  Filia hit .281 with one home run and 33 RBI’s, while Kramer hit .278 with two home runs and 42 RBI’s.  Both players drew over 30 walks and had on base percentages of .387 and .382, respectively.  Pat Gallagher will occupy the other corner infield spot after hitting .274 with one home run and 20 RBI’s.  Outfielder Brian Carroll provides speed on the base paths, having stolen 32 last year, while also hitting .258 with 20 RBI’s.  UCLA will have Shane Zeile back behind the plate.  Zeile hit .226 with two home runs and 20 RBI’s in 57 starts as a sophomore.  Tyler Chatterton is also back after seeing quality playing time at second base as a freshman. He played in 41 games and hit .257 with ten RBI’s.  Three reserves from last season, who received at least 15 starts, are back looking for more time. Chris Keck will provide help in the infield after posting a .306 on base percentage and outfielders Christoph Bono and Ty Moore will compete in the outfield. Adding depth will be infielder Brett Urabe and catchers Justin Hazard and Darrell Miller.  Freshmen outfielders Brett Stephens and Kort Peterson and infielder Luke Perisco could also have key roles.

The pitching staff last year basically relied on seven pitchers to get the job done. Bad news for the Bruins is that three of those pitchers are gone. Two-thirds of the starting rotation and a key reliever have moved on to professional baseball. The players that UCLA still has can get the job done though.  The Bruins have David Berg, who is arguably the best closer in college baseball.  Berg was 7-0 with a 0.92 ERA and 24 saves, which was an NCAA record, last season.  He drew numerous All-American honors, was the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, and was the NCBWA Stopper of the Year.  James Kaprielian will join Berg in the bullpen.  The sophomore was great last season, posting a 1.55 ERA in 34 appearances.  Batters hit just .141 against him.  The starting rotation will rely on Grant Watson and Cody Peteet.  Watson was 9-3 with a 3.01 ERA, starting 17 games, while Cody Peteet was 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 29 games, including 11 starts.  Beyond that, nobody on the roster has thrown more than four innings.  Hunter Virant and Jake Ehret threw 3.1 innings last year and Max Schuh threw 2.1.  Some of those players, or somebody else on the roster, will have to step up this season.

Who to Watch:
Max Schuh could be a name to watch this season.  Schuh joined the baseball program in 2012 after playing as a quarterback on the UCLA football team for the 2010 and 2011 campaigns.  He pitched in 12 games last season and, although his appearances only totaled 2.1 innings, he showed promise.  Seven times Schuh came in to get just one out, and he didn’t allow an earned run all year.  Schuh pitched in the Northwoods League this summer and posted a 2.07 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings.  Schuh should have an expanded role for the Bruins this season and could have a breakout year.

Final Projection:
It’s always tough to follow up a championship season and UCLA will have to do just that.  With some key losses, the Bruins have a tough task, but enough is left for another great season.  UCLA has some tough games on their schedule early and that will be an indication of how the year will go.  UCLA should be a contender in the Pac-12 and in the NCAA tournament again this season.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Kevin Kramer, IF, 245
Hits: Eric Filia, OF, 68; Kevin Kramer, OF, 68
Home Runs: Kevin Kramer, IF, 3
RBIs: Kevin Kramer, IF, 42
Runs: Brian Carroll, OF, 50
Stolen Bases: Brian Caroll, OF, 32

Wins: Grant Watson, P, 9
Innings Pitched: Grant Watson, P, 92.2
Strikeouts: David Berg, P, 78
Saves: David Berg, P, 24


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