Five incomers say no to MLB

August, 16, 2010
8/16/10
11:06
PM PT
UCLA baseball head coach John Savage did not lose any of his drafted incoming freshmen when the 9 p.m. PT signing deadline passed Monday night.

"It's a credit to our program and our school that we're able to hold onto the entire class," Savage said. "It's pretty unique that you get this many guys that are sought-after by professional baseball. We're very, very excited by this impact class, guys we think will contribute right away and be major forces down the road."

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The list of incomers:

RHP Adam Plutko (Upland, Calif./Glendora), sixth round (Houston Astros)
OF Brenton Allen (Cerritos, Calif./Gahr), ninth round (Philadelphia Phillies)
RHP Zachary Weiss (Irvine, Calif./Northwood), 10th round (Pittsburgh Pirates)
RHP Nick Vander Tuig (Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale), 39th round (Toronto Blue Jays)
INF Kevin Williams (Van Nuys, Calif./Crespi), 41st round (Los Angeles Dodgers)

*****

Despite strong commitments from the group, Savage admitted he wasn't quite comfortable until the deadline passed. Things can change in instant.

"There's so much money being thrown around at the last hour," he said. "You just never quite know, regardless of what round they go in. There are no surprises anymore."

Plutko becomes the highest-drafted player with ties to UCLA to follow through with his commitment since 2008 first-rounder Gerrit Cole did not sign. He has similar potential, according to Savage, and slipped to the sixth round due to signability concerns.

"You're talking about a guy who can step in and compete for a weekend job," Savage said. "He's in the class of a (Rob) Rasmussen, (Dan) Klein, (Erik) Goeddel, Cole, (Trevor) Bauer. We think this guy is an impact guy who has made major strides. We're ecstatic that Adam first chose UCLA and has now decided to attend."

Plutko, Weiss and Vander Tuig will have a chance to step in right away. UCLA lost midweek starter Garett Claypool, Sunday starter Rasmussen and three reliable relievers in Klein, Goeddel and Matt Grace.

"I think the three pitchers saw the opportunity to come in as freshmen and be major contributors," Savage said.

Savage can also add two returnees to the list. Of the 11 UCLA players that were drafted in June, only pitcher Mitchell Beacom and outfielder Chris Giovinazzo will return to Westwood.

"Whenever you get draft picks back, you might as well add that to the recruiting class," Savage said. "Guys don't hold onto juniors much anymore."

Blair Angulo | email

Reporter, WeAreSC.com

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