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In an upset, UCLA lost only one of 13 baseball recruits to the MLB draft

Gage Jump from JSerra turned down signing with an MLB team to enroll at UCLA.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

When the deadline passed Sunday for players taken in the amateur baseball draft to decide whether to sign or not, UCLA coach John Savage was busy with a camp. He also was feeling good.

Among the 13 players who signed letters of intent last fall, 12 will attend UCLA. That’s unheard of for the Bruins to keep a class ranked No. 4 by Baseball America mostly intact.

“This year we had 10 going out and we have 14 coming in. It all hit right,” Savage said. “It may be literally a first. It just doesn’t happen. We feel very fortunate. We love our class.”

The only player UCLA lost was pitcher Eric Silva from San Juan Capistrano JSerra High. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants and signed for nearly $1.5 million.

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Weeks ago, most people were saying that standout left-handed pitcher Gage Jump from JSerra would never show up to UCLA’s campus. He’s coming. So is Thatcher Hurd of Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, a converted catcher whose future on the mound could take him places.

“He had a phenomenal high school year,” Savage said of Jump. “Just a dominating year from the first pitch. He’s a guy who should compete for a weekend rotation spot.”

UCLA needs hitters, and they are coming in shortstop Cody Schrier from JSerra, outfielder Nick McLain from Irvine Beckman and outfielder Malakhi Knight from Marysville, Wash.

Max Muncy of Thousand Oaks High was the Oakland A’s first pick. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ Max Muncy hit a walk-off homer. They share many coincidences.

As for pitching, the plan is to transition closer Max Rajcic into a starting role. The competition for other starting spots will be plentiful. Pitching depth should be a strength for the 2022 Bruins.

“We got a lot of competition,” Savage said.

Outfielder Kenny Oyama, a transfer from Loyola Marymount via Lake Forest El Toro High, is joining UCLA, and the Bruins are expected to add a junior college transfer to complete their recruiting class of 14.


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