Skip to main content

Thirty-one former Bruins played in minor league baseball in 2021, continuing their long treks to the majors.

UCLA alumni from 2006 all the way to 2021 represented the blue and gold in farm systems across the country this summer. UCLA continues to be a link between collegiate and professional baseball no matter the level, and over two dozen Bruins are still trying to reach the peak and make it to the big leagues.

With minor league baseball just wrapping up, here’s where they played and how all of their seasons went down.

Players are listed in order of when they were drafted, starting with the most recent picks.

SP Zach Pettway, Cleveland Indians
UCLA, 2018-2021
Drafted: 16th round, No. 486 overall (2021)
Current Level: N/A

The former Friday night starter for UCLA has not made his debut in the Cleveland organization just yet, but will likely debut in Low-A as the Indians shift their name to the Guardians.

SS Mikey Perez, Minnesota Twins
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 15th round, No. 459 overall (2021)
Current Level: Low-A

Perez got his professional career started with the Fort Myers Might Mussels at the Low-A level this summer. The shortstop played in nine games with a .500 batting average, five doubles and six RBIs. Perez will likely start 2022 at the same level.

RP Adrian Chaidez, Houston Astros
UCLA, 2020-2021
Drafted: 15th round, No. 448 overall (2021)
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

Chaidez started his first year in affiliated baseball staying at the rookie level of the minor leagues. Pitching in four games out of the bullpen, the right-hander had a 7.11 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 6.1 innings. Chaidez will likely start 2022 at the Low-A level.

RP Sean Mullen, Tampa Bay Rays
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 11th round, No. 341 overall (2021)
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

Mullen started his career at the rookie level, appearing out of the bullpen. In four games, the right-hander struck out seven batters in 6.1 scoreless innings. Mullen will likely start 2022 at the Low-A level.

P Jesse Bergin, Miami Marlins
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 11th round, No. 329 overall (2021)
Current level: Low-A

Bergin joined the Marlins and had a strong enough showing through his three appearances in rookie ball to get promoted to Low-A, not allowing more than one run over 10 innings at the lower level. Playing with the Jupiter Hammerheads, however, the right-hander put up less than ideal numbers, starting four games with a 16.88 ERA in 8.0 innings, striking out six and walking five. Bergin will likely start 2022 at the same level.

C Noah Cardenas, Minnesota Twins
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 8th round, No. 249 overall (2021)
Current level: Rookie (FCL)

Joining Perez in Minnesota, Cardenas reported to rookie ball where he played in 13 games in 2021. The catcher hit for a .300 batting average with one home run and four RBIs. Cardenas will likely start 2022 at Low-A.

OF Kevin Kendall, New York Mets
UCLA, 2018-2021
Drafted: 7th round, No. 202 overall (2021)
Current level: Low-A

After the MLB Draft, Kendall reported quickly to Mets’ affiliate the St. Lucie Mets. In 31 games with the team, the left-handed hitter hit for a .327 batting average with one home run, seven doubles, two triples and 11 RBIs. Kendall also showed off his speed with eight stolen bases. Kendall will likely start 2022 at High-A.

SP Nick Nastrini, Los Angeles Dodgers
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 4th round, No. 131 overall (2021)
Current Level: Low-A

Struggling to find command in 2021 with UCLA, Nastrini seemingly rediscovered it over the summer, becoming one of the Dodgers’ best 2021 draft performers right out of the gate. Nastrini started off in rookie ball, facing three batters and striking out two without allowing a run before getting sent up a level to Low-A. Starting six games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the right-hander had a 2.08 ERA, striking out 30 batters in 13 innings for 20.8 K/9. Nastrini will likely start 2022 at High-A.

1B JT Schwartz, New York Mets
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 4th round, No. 111 overall (2021)
Current Level: Low-A

Schwartz joined the St. Lucie Mets team with Kendall for the first stop in his professional career. In 25 games, the left-handed hitter had an .195 batting average with five doubles and eight RBIs. Schwartz will likely start 2022 at the same level.

2B Matt McLain, Cincinnati Reds
UCLA, 2019-2021
Drafted: 1st round, No. 17 overall (2021)
Current Level: High-A

McLain was the Bruins’ highest-selected player in 2021 and joined the Dayton Dragons after a two-game stint in rookie ball. In 29 games for the Dragons, the right-handed hitter hit for a .273 batting average with three home runs, six doubles and 19 RBIs. His speed trait was used as well with 10 stolen bases in that span. McLain will likely start 2022 at the same level with a promotion to Double-A in sight.

RP Holden Powell, Washington Nationals
UCLA, 2018-2020
Drafted: 3rd round, No. 94 overall (2020)
Current Level: High-A

Powell was one of two Bruins selected in the shorted 2020 MLB Draft. It is pretty difficult to take stock in his 4.2 innings of relief work before his injury. Powell will likely start his ‘22 campaign at the same level, but it all depends on his health.

OF Garrett Mitchell, Milwaukee Brewers
UCLA, 2018-2020
Drafted: 1st round, No. 20 overall (2020)
Current Level: Double-A

Mitchell came to the Brewers with high expectations after his years with UCLA, and in his first year of professional baseball started out with similar results to his collegiate seasons. Mitchell hit .359 with High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before getting promoted to Double-A Biloxi Shuckers. The left-handed hitter hit .186 at the higher level. Mitchell will probably get an invite to the Brewers’ spring training squad like he did in 2021, before ultimately starting the 2022 campaign back in Double-A.

RP Kyle Molnar, Los Angeles Angels
UCLA, 2016-2019
Drafted: 26th round, No. 781 overall (2019)
Current Level: Double-A

After not playing in minor league baseball in 2019 and having his season canceled in 2020, Molnar made his professional debut in 2021. The right-handed pitcher had a 3.28 ERA in 24.2 innings of relief pitching with High-A Tri-City Dust Devils. Earning a promotion to Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, Molnar struggled to adapt with a 13.21 ERA in 15.2 innings at the new level. Molnar will likely start 2022 at the same level.

OF Jake Pries, New York Yankees
UCLA, 2016-2019
Drafted: 24th round, No. 735 overall (2019)
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

Pries debuted in the rookie level in 2019, and with the return of minor league baseball in 2021, that is where he stayed. The right-handed hitter played in 24 games, hitting .259 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Depending on if the Yankees renew Pries’ contract, the former Bruin may end up in independent baseball. If the contract is extended, Pries will likely start 2022 at the Low-A level.

1B/RF Jack Stronach, San Diego Padres
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 21st round, No. 623 overall (2019)
Current Level: Low-A

Read More

Stronach started the 2021 season with the Lake Elsinore Storm, playing the majority of games within their season. In 65 games, the left-handed hitter hit .224 with five home runs, 15 doubles and 25 RBIs. Stronach will likely start 2022 at the same level if his contract is renewed.

OF Jeremy Ydens, Washington Nationals
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 8th round, No. 243 overall (2019)
Current Level: High-A

Ydens played between both Low-A and High-A throughout the 2021 season. In 68 games for the Fredericksburg Nationals and the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the right-handed hitter had a .234 batting average with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs. Ydens will likely start 2022 at the same level with a chance to be promoted to Double-A.

P Jack Ralston, St, Louis Cardinals
UCLA, 2016-2019
Drafted: 7th round, No. 215 overall (2019)
Current Level: High-A

After becoming a weekend starter in 2019 with the Bruins, Ralston has taken on both starting and relieving duties with the Peoria Chiefs in High-A. In 28 games, 11 of which were starts, the right-hander had a 3.46 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 67 innings. Ralston will likely start 2022 at the Double-A level with a chance to move to Triple-A if he can keep his strikeout rate high.

Ryan Kreidler, Detroit Tigers
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 4th round, No. 112 overall (2019)
Current Level: Triple-A

Starting the season in Double-A, Kreidler got promoted to Triple-A after spending 88 games with the Erie Seawolves. In Triple-A with the Toledo Mud Hens, the right-handed hitter performed even better statistically than at the lower level. In 41 games, Kreidler hit .304 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs. Between both levels, the former Bruin hit 22 home runs. Kreidler will likely start 2022 at the same level, but if spring training goes well, he could find his way onto the major league roster at some point next summer.

2B Chase Strumpf, Chicago Cubs
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 2nd round, No. 64 overall (2019)
Current Level: Double-A

Strumpf was debatably the Bruins’ most reliable bat in 2018 and it earned him a second round draft selection the following year. Earning a quick promotion to Double-A with the Tennessee Smokies early in the season, the second baseman played in 62 games, hitting .211 with seven home runs, 15 doubles and 29 RBIs.

SP Ryan Garcia, Texas Rangers
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 2nd round, No. 50 overall (2019)
Current Level: N/A

In 2019, Garcia was the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and was named a consensus First Team All-American by all major college baseball outlets. The right-hander pitched three minor league games in 2019 just weeks after getting drafted, tallying five innings. In March 2020, the right-handed pitcher underwent Tommy John Surgery. After a full year spent resting and recovering, Garcia will likely start 2022 at the High-A level, but it all depends on how he looks health-wise in the spring.

1B Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies
UCLA, 2017-2019
Drafted: 1st round, No. 23 overall (2019)
Current Level: Double-A

Toglia played in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in 2021, capping off a season full of power from the Rockies No. 6 top prospect, according to MLB.com. Earning a promotion to the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats midway through the season, the switch-hitting power played in 115 games, hitting for a .228 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBIs across both levels. Toglia will likely start 2022 at the Double-A level, but there is a possibility of a Triple-A promotion in the near future.

OF Daniel Amaral, Pittsburgh Pirates
UCLA, 2016-2018
Drafted: 14th round, No. 414 overall (2018)
Current Level: Double-A

Amaral spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons at the Single-A levels but earned a promotion to the Double-A Altoona Curve for the 2021 campaign. In 68 games, the right-handed outfielder had a .218 batting average with seven home runs, 12 doubles and 22 RBIs. Amaral will likely start 2022 at the same level unless a run in spring pushes him up a level.

P Jon Olsen, Minnesota Twins
UCLA, 2016-2018
Drafted: 12 round, No. 364 overall (2018)
Current Level: High-A

After recovering from Tommy John surgery in between being drafted and making his professional debut in 2021, Olsen was able to string together a full season on the mound with the Cedar Rapid Kernels in High-A. In 16 appearances and 13 starts, the right-hander had a 4.03 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 67 innings. Olsen will likely start 2022 at the Double-A level.

RP Jake Bird, Colorado Rockies
UCLA, 2015-2018
Drafted: 5th round, No. 156 overall (2018)
Current Level: Triple-A

Bird is the highest riser of the 2018 draft class from the Bruins. Making it to Triple-A this year with the Albuquerque Isotopes, the right-handed pitcher pitched in 29 games, posting a 3.99 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 38.1 innings. Bird will likely start 2022 at the same level while being on the shortlist to make his MLB debut.

RP Moises Ceja, Colorado Rockies
UCLA, 2014-2017
Drafted: 32nd round, No. 956 overall (2017)
Current Level: High-A

Ceja has secured a spot in the minors for himself since being a late round draft pick in 2017. The UCLA alumnus has been playing at the Single-A level, now being at High-A. With the Spokane Indians, the right-handed pitcher has appeared in 24 games out of the bullpen with a pedestrian 7.43 ERA, striking out 33 batters in 36.1 innings. Ceja may drop out of affiliated baseball and into the independent leagues depending on if his contract is renewed this offseason, but if not, he will likely return to the same level in 2022.

1B/3B/OF Sean Bouchard, Colorado Rockies
UCLA, 2015-2017
Drafted: 9th round, No. 266 overall (2017)
Current Level: Double-A

Bouchard has climbed up the levels of Rockies organization, now with the Hartford Yard Goats in Double-A. The right-handed hitter played in 91 games, hitting .266 with 14 home runs, 30 doubles and 46 RBIs. Bouchard will likely start 2022 at the same level, but it is really a coin flip if the Bruin alumnus could grab a promotion to Triple-A.

1B/OF Eric Filia, Seattle Mariners
UCLA, 2012-2016
Drafted: 20th round, No. 597 overall (2016)
Current Level: Triple-A

Filia spent half of his season preparing and competing for gold with the United States Olympic team. After winning a silver medal in Tokyo, he returned to Triple-A with the Tacoma Rainiers. In 44 games, Filia had a .262 batting average with three home runs and 15 RBIs. Filia will likely start 2022 at the same level if his contract is renewed. If he becomes a free agent, the left-handed hitter will likely be picked up by another organization considering his .409 on-base percentage across his minor league career.

UTIL Kevin Kramer, Free Agent
UCLA, 2012-2015
Drafted: 2nd round, No. 62 overall (2015)
Current Level: N/A

Kramer was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Milwaukee Brewers after spending six years in the Pirates organization. Playing Triple-A baseball with both teams, the left-handed hitter played in 74 games, hitting .207 with three home runs and 26 RBIs. Kramer was released from the Brewers organization on Aug. 17. Time will tell where Kramer ends up for 2022.

RP Zack Weiss, Seattle Mariners
UCLA, 2011-2013
Drafted: 6th round, No. 195 overall (2013)
Current Level: Triple-A

Like Filia, his teammate at both UCLA and in the minors, Weiss competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The right-handed pitcher, however, competed with Israel. Before and after returning from Tokyo, Weiss competed with the Tacoma Rainiers. In 30 games, Weiss had a 4.31 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. Wiess will likely start 2022 at the same level, if not with another organization or league entirely.

C Tyler Heineman, Philadelphia Phillies
UCLA, 2010-2012
Drafted: 8th round, No. 249 overall (2012)
Current Level: Triple-A

Heineman spent the 2021 season with both the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals organizations after appearing in the majors during the 2020 season. After being released by St. Louis on July 1, the switch hitter signed with Philadelphia five days later. In 41 games at the Triple-A level between the two organizations, Heineman hit .264 with six doubles and 11 RBIs. Being a veteran catcher, Heineman will likely receive a non-roster invite to Spring Training for 2022.

SP/RP David Huff, Free Agent
UCLA, 2006
Drafted: 1st round, No. 39 overall (2006)
Current Level: N/A

Huff played minor league baseball in 2021 after moving around through international and independent baseball in recent years. Playing with the Tacoma Rainiers, the left-handed pitcher had a 5.25 ERA in 14 games, nine of which he started. In 48 innings, he had 35 strikeouts. Huff was released in August and will likely explore new opportunities for 2022.

Follow Royer on Twitter at @thebenroyer
Follow All Bruins on Twitter at @SI_AllBruins
Like All Bruins on Facebook at @SI.AllBruins
Subscribe to All Bruins on YouTube

Read more UCLA stories: UCLA Bruins on Sports Illustrated
Read more UCLA baseball stories: UCLA Baseball on Sports Illustrated