NOTE: MLB Network will be televising the first round of the MLB Draft, starting at 4pm Pacific time. There will also be a live video stream provided via MLB.com.
Their collegiate may have come to a disappointing end, but in three years Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer rarely ever disappointed in a Bruin uniform. The two took the ball every week and not once could it be argued that they didn't put everything they had into every pitch. That's not to say that the results were always great. As amazing as both have been over three years they have each had days where things did not go their way, but those were few and far between and even in those starts their effort could not be questioned.
For all of the talk about Bauer's idiosyncrasies, those idiosyncrasies were born out of study and work, not superstition. UCLA head coach John Savage calls Bauer The Mad Scientist for a reason. That study and work paid off to the tune of a new Pac-10 single season strikeout record and school records for career wins and strikeouts.
At the same time, it is easy to talk about Cole and his fastball, his devastating slider or even his change up that went from non-existant to plus pitch in his three years at UCLA. Watching Cole pitch is mindblowing and the pure power is evident in every pitch he throws, but even that will not be what defines Cole's time in Westwood. For a former number one pick with plenty of hype, Cole could have easily been his own man, but it is hard to imagine a player who cared more about the team or winning than Cole. He didn't just embrace being a star pitcher for one of the Pac-10's best teams, but he embraced every part of being a Bruin.
Now with their UCLA careers in their rearview mirrors, Cole and Bauer take the next step in their baseball careers, beginning with today's MLB Draft. Cole has been projected to be the first or second pick in the draft for over a year now, but it looks like he's going to end up on the high end of that already high projection. Multiple outlets are reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have settled on Cole and will make him the number one selection when the MLB Draft begins at 4 pm PDT today on MLB Network. If true, Cole will become the first number one overall pick in school history.
Bauer wasn't quite the same sure-fire high pick as Bauer. First, he was never drafted out of high school because he graduated early and enrolled at UCLA before he could be drafted. Second, there have always been concerns about his slight frame and unusual mechanics as well as approach. Three amazing years at UCLA have put those concerns to rest though, at least for most teams. As a result, Bauer has jumped into the top 10 and has even been projected to be drafted as high as number three today.
If Cole and Bauer go numbers one and three in today's draft, it will tie the Arizona St. duo of Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks in 1978 as the highest two collegiate teammates have been selected in the same draft. They are not the only players Bruins will have their eye on in today's draft though. While today will only be the first round of the draft, UCLA fans have to keep an eye on Austin Hedges and Joe Ross, two Bruin commits who are expected to be drafted at the bottom of the first round.
Today, Cole and Bauer will take their first steps into the professional ranks. After three years of tremendous work at UCLA, it isn't hard to wish them the best of luck. That could mean numbers one and three today, but more importantly, it's the start of what will hopefully be very long and productive careers.