As the UCLA baseball team looks to start their latest campaign, Go Joe Bruin gives you the lowdown on what to expect from the Bruins as they start the 2019 season.
UCLA Men’s Basketball got you down? Did a poor recruiting class make it that much harder to get over a 3-9 record with UCLA football? Sounds like the perfect prescription for you is UCLA Baseball!
The baseball season officially starts today with a three-game home series against Saint Johns. The Bruins have been picked in the top five by every major preseason poll, and they have a very realistic shot at bringing home their second ever Baseball National Championship.*
After two rebuilding years in 2016 and 2017, last year saw the emergence of a great group of sophomores for the Bruins, and if pitching injuries hadn’t robbed them of two key rotation pieces, the team could very well have been one of the final eight teams in Omaha. As it was, the Bruins lost in the Minneapolis regional.
This year, that rebuild should finally culminate in an elite squad, as every major contributor to that team is back, two of whom – junior 1B Michael Toglia and junior 2B Chase Strumpf – are generating All-American buzz as potentially the best in the nation at their positions. Here’s a brief picture of some key players to keep an eye on.
Projected team MVP:
Toglia, the switch-hitting 1B with a natural swing, is a superb athlete. Despite playing at 1B, pro scouts project that he could play outfield, even center field, as a professional. As good as Chase Strumpf is, Toglia has that much more power, and if he builds on last year’s breakout production, he’ll be one of the best hitters in the country.