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UCLA baseball has 14 new players coming to Westwood this fall to replace the 10 who got picked in the 2021 MLB Draft and even more who graduated and went elsewhere. From top recruits to under-the-radar prospects and high-profile transfers, All Bruins is breaking all of them down to see what they could offer UCLA in 2022 and beyond.

Here is all you need to know about incoming freshman Josh Alger.

With a simple delivery and multiple-sport background, Josh Alger slots himself as a long term pitching project.

Similar to Luke Jewett, who will also be pitching at UCLA this spring, Alger will start his career with a slow build-up as he rehabs to full strength to pitch this upcoming year. Though the extent of his injury is unknown, photos from his signing day in May showed his right arm in a sling. During the right-hander's high school career at Roseville High School (CA), he was the anchor of his team’s rotation, but he was one of the very few Bruins who didn’t play any summer ball this season.

The former two-time Preseason Underclass All-American has pitch velocity that reaches higher than most of his fellow 2021 recruiting class members. Alger’s fastball averages in the low 90s range, but this tweet from April shows a large boost up to 97 miles per hour.

This will be something to keep an eye on as he enters Westwood for his freshman season. Especially in Pac-12 play, the higher velocity would be a difficult change of speeds for opposing batters.

Three seasons ago, the Bruins’ Friday starter was Ryan Garcia, who featured a seemingly effortless motion to, albeit compacted in a much smaller frame than Alger.

Alger shows a similar motion from the stretch. Pardon the cliche, but it just looks like he's playing catch out there.

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With his secondary pitches being a changeup and a slider, the 6-foot-3 pitcher has the opportunity to mix those pitches with a high velocity fastball. The three-pitch arsenal seems like it could be efficient for coach John Savage to call on out of the bullpen, if not the rotation, somewhere down the line.

Perfect Game had Alger listed as the No. 500 player in his class and the No. 92 player in California.

Named an All-Metro selection by the Sacramento Bee, Alger racked up attention from Pac-12 rivals USC and Stanford before selecting UCLA as his home for the next four years.

Prediction

Unsure of how long Alger will be out with an injury, the right hander could very possibly redshirt in his first year with the Bruins. If it is elbow related, the likelihood grows much higher that he will have to sit out in year one. Looking long term, Alger is likely to start his collegiate career in the bullpen. Showing a higher velocity profile from the stretch makes it possible that his highest ceiling from that spot is becoming a Holden Powell-esque option, especially if he can learn to harness his slider or changeup for strikeouts. His secondary pitches will be his priority for the future of his starting pitching opportunities, but for the time being, the bullpen is where he will begin with the Bruins.

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