UC Santa Barbara has a long-standing tradition of producing talented baseball players, and this is evident in the number of alumni who have made their way into Major League Baseball. Today, there are several UCSB alumni playing in the MLB, a majority of them being major league pitchers.
Shane Bieber graduated from UCSB in 2016. Bieber was not heavily recruited out of high school and was not drafted until the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Bieber quickly proved himself in the minor leagues and made his MLB debut with the Cleveland Indians in 2018. Since then, Bieber has become one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2020.
This season Bieber has picked up right where he left off. In three starts on the year he has accumulated a 2.37 earned run average, 0.95 walks and hits per inning, and 1 win.
Another former Gaucho in the MLB is Kyle Nelson. Nelson graduated in 2018 and was drafted by the Indians in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 and has bounced around a couple MLB teams since.
This season Nelson has appeared in 4 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, picking up 1 win with a 2.25 earned run average.
One of the more notable names coming out of UCSB is pitcher Dillon Tate. Selected No. 4 overall in the first round of the MLB draft, Tate is the highest drafted alumni to come out of UCSB.
Tate is coming off the best season of his career posting 4 wins, 8 saves, and a 3.05 earned run average. The Baltimore Orioles are hoping for a speedy recovery for Tate who has started the season on the injured list.
Andrew Vasquez was one of the best left-handed pitchers to come out of UCSB. During his time as a Gaucho, he tallied a 1.93 earned run average to lead the Big West. This led to his eventual drafting in 2015 by the Minnesota Twins.
After going to a variety of MLB teams, Vasquez has settled on the Philadelphia Phillies. This season has been the best to start for the lefty, having a 1.23 earned run average in 7.1 innings pitched.
Some notable names in the farm system for MLB teams include pitchers Noah Davis, Rodney Boone, and Michael McGreevy.
Of the bunch, Davis is the most likely to make it to the MLB this season, as he appeared in one game for the Colorado Rockies last season.
McGreevy is a highly touted prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals who was drafted in the first round of the 2021 MLB draft.
These are just a few examples of the many UCSB alumni currently making an impact in the MLB. Despite coming from a mid-major conference, these Gauchos have proven that they can compete with the best of the best on the baseball field. As the MLB continues to evolve, it’s clear that UCSB alumni will continue to be a driving force in the sport. This season, the Gaucho’s pitchers in the MLB look to continue to make their mark in the game.
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