The third day of the MLB Draft is always the biggest day because of the number of players selected. The teams go from Round 11 to Round 40, meaning that there are three times as many selections on the final day as on the first two days.
So, today was a big day for four current Bruins.
Senior Scott Burke was the first Bruin selected today when he was chosen by the Baltimore Orioles in the 20th round. He appeared in 35 games this season and led UCLA in saves with 5 and he led UCLA relievers with 47 strikeouts.
Nick Valaika was the second Bruin whose name was called today when he was selected in the 24th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Valaika started 21 games at shortstop this past season before he suffered a season-ending hand injury. Valaika is the only Bruin selected today who could opt to return to the Bruins if he doesn’t sign with the Pirates because he is only a redshirt sophomore.
The third Bruin picked today was senior Brett Stephens. He hit .278 with 38 runs scored and 21 RBIs while joining Sean Bouchard as the only two Bruins who played in all 57 games this season. Speaking of Bouchard, Stephens could be pairing up with him again as both players were chosen by the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies selected Stephens in the 28th round.
Speaking of the Rockies, they made it a trio of Bruins when they picked Moises Ceja in the 32nd round. Ceja’s record was just 2-5 this season, but he posted a decent 3.52 ERA in 21 games including 10 starts when he became the Saturday starter after Jake Bird hurt his shoulder.
Among the future Bruins, three more members of the 2017 recruiting class were chosen today, bringing the total to six. If they all should sign, the size of UCLA’s recruiting class would be cut in half from twelve to six, according to the most recent list of commits on PerfectGame.org.
Garrett Mitchell from Orange, CA was picked in the 14th round by the Oakland A’s. Meanwhile, Sam Glick from Lake Forest, CA was chosen in the 39th round by the Baltimore Orioles and Chase Farrell from Valencia HS was selected by the Houston Astros in the 40th round.
There was a bit of good news as far as UCLA is concerned, although it was certainly personally disappointing. Junior Jake Bird was not selected in this year’s draft. That was a little bit of a surprise, but, considering the fact that Bird missed a large part of the season with a shoulder injury, it is somewhat understandable.
Hopefully, this means that Bird will comeback next season with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder looking to prove what teams missed by not selecting him this year.
We also must now hope that at least a few of the six recruits who were selected still opt for a college education and opt to delay their professional careers a few seasons by playing in Westwood. Only time will tell.