After successful seasons from outfielder Jared Sundstrom and pitcher Sam Whiting for the UC Santa Barbara baseball team, the players were rewarded for their efforts as they were drafted 307th by the Seattle Mariners and 491st overall by the San Diego Padres in the 2023 MLB draft, respectively. However, where the two players will be playing next year is still up in the air, as Sundstrom has another year of eligibility that he may use to play at another university while Whiting has the option to return to UCSB.

MLB players stand for the U.S. National Anthem before a game. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sundstrom had a productive year for the Gauchos, as he led the Big West Conference in home runs with 15 while making the All-Big West First Team. Additionally, Sundstrom had 43 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Because of these impressive statistics, Sundstrom was the first Gaucho taken off the board this year. 

The next day, Whiting joined Sundstrom as an MLB-drafted player. This season, Whiting had the second most appearances for pitchers on the team with 24. The pitcher had a record of 4-0 with 36 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.44. His game improved against conference opponents as his ERA decreased to 2.84 against Big West opponents. 

Sundstrom and Whiting are the 57th and 58th players drafted out of UCSB since Andrew Checketts took over as head coach in 2011. Since the coaching change, the Gauchos have built up a strong program where players consistently get drafted to the pros. Hopefully young skilled players around the country will continue to hold UCSB in high regard in baseball and take their talents to Isla Vista.