The UCLA Baseball 2010 team was the one which set the stage for the 2013 championship. In reaching the championship round, the 2010 team showed that UCLA had a presence on the national scene. So, as we lurch to the finish line in 2014, let's pause to see where the 2010 stalwarts are playing major/minor league ball. We will group these by rough geography, so that you can get out your atlas, and start planning your roadtrip. Besides great baseball, you would be able to pick up baseball hats with same amazing team logos. On prior roadtrips, I have picked up caps from the Savannah Sandgnats, the Lansing Lugnuts, the Portland Seadogs and the Charleston Riverdogs. There are some amazing mascots for the current Bruin alums from 2010. So here goes...
California League (high A)-
Beau Amaral- Beau was a freshman in 2010. He paid a return visit to Omaha in 2012 as a junior, and was picked in the 7th round of the 2012 draft. He is currently playing for the Bakersfield Blaze, which is a Cincinnati Reds affiliate. If he stays there through July, I will be able to see him on a Southern California minor league roadtrip, which was already in the works.
Dean Espy- Dean was a sophomore in 2011. He was picked in the 15th round of the 2011 draft. He is currently playing for the Modesto Nuts (I told you these mascot names were solid). Modesto is a Colorado affiliate.
Pacific Coast League (AAA)-
Erik Goeddel- Erik was a redshirt sophomore in 2010. He was picked in the 24th round of the 2010 draft, due at least in part to lingering questions about a serious high school arm injury. He is currently playing for the Las Vegas '51's, which is a Mets affiliate. He had been a starter in the Mets organization, but has been converted to a reliever. He is only one step removed from the bigs.
South Atlantic League (low A)-
Cody Keefer- Cody was a freshman in 2010, and paid a return visit to Omaha in 2012. He was picked in the 15th round of the 2012 draft. He is currently playing for the Greensboro Grasshoppers (what did I say about these mascots?). The Grasshoppers are a Miami affiliate.
Southern League (AA)-
Steve Rodriguez- Steve was a sophomore in 2010. He was picked in the 15th round of the 2011 draft. He is currently playing for the Mobile BayBears, which is an affiliate of the Diamondbacks.
Eastern League (AA)-
Brett Krill- Brett was a junior in 2010. He was picked in the 25th round of the 2010 draft. He is currently playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (mascot names again). Richmond is a Giants affilate.
International League (AAA)-
Rob Rasmussen- Rob was a junior in 2010. He was picked in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft by the Marlins. He is currently playing for the Buffalo Bisons, an affiliate of Toronto. Rob has been converted to a reliever this season, after being a starter last year for the Dodgers' AAA affiliate in Albuquerque.
Trevor Bauer- Bauer was a sophomore in 2010. He was the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Diamondbacks, and won the Golden Spikes award as the best player in college baseball in 2011. He had a meteoric rise to the bigs, making his major league debut less than 12 months after he signed. He was traded to Cleveland in December, 2012. He has made one start for the Indians this season, and is currently with their AAA affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. It is a very short trip from Columbus to Cleveland, and Trevor should be back with the big league squad at some point, with the following line at Columbus (4-0, 1.12 ERA, 6 starts, 40 IP, 11 BB, 40 K).
Gerrit Cole- Cole was the Friday starter as a sophomore in 2010. He was the 1st overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Pirates, after turning down the opportunity to turn pro after being drafted as the 28th overall pick by the Yankees in 2008. Cole took a longer route to the majors, making his major league debut last June (against the Giants, with his girlfriend, UCLA teammate Brandon Crawford's sister, in the stands). Cole won that game and has become a mainstay in the Pirates' rotation. Here is his current line (3-2, 3.64 ERA, 7 starts, 47 IP, 13 BB, 39 K).
In case you still are hankering for some baseball after seeing the Blaze, the Nuts, the 51's, the BayBears, the Grasshoppers, the Flying Squirrels, the Bisons, the Clippers and the Pirates, you could pop over to Paris and catch Cody Regis, who is playing for Paris Université in the top flight of French baseball. The croissants are probably better than they are in Greensboro, but their mascot can't hold a candle to the Grasshoppers.
It is no surprise that a team as successful as UCLA was in 2010 would have this many players still competing in professional baseball. The 2012 and 2013 teams have players in professional ball, and players who are either playing or on the sidelines for this year's Bruins squad. But it is too soon for these players to have hit the heights enjoyed by Cole and Bauer. Needless to say, the future looks bright for the individual players. And hopefully, the Bruins collectively will be able to avoid the injury bug and get back on the winning track next year and beyond.