Four Bruins Selected on Day Two of 2021 MLB Draft
LOS ANGELES – Four members of the UCLA baseball team were selected Monday during the second day of the 2021 MLB First-Year Player Draft, which consisted of rounds 2-10.
Redshirt sophomore first baseman JT Schwartz (New York Mets) and junior righty Nick Nastrini (Los Angeles Dodgers) were both selected in the fourth round, redshirt junior infielder Kevin Kendall went in the seventh round to the Mets, and junior catcher Noah Cardenas was an eighth-round selection by the Minnesota Twins.
The four picks on Monday brings UCLA's two-day total to five draft selections, as junior shortstop Matt McLain was selected No. 17 overall by Cincinnati on Sunday. UCLA's five picks are tied with Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the sixth-most of any NCAA school.
Over the past 17 years under head coach John Savage, UCLA has now had 112 MLB draftees, including 46 inside the top-10 rounds.
In addition, UCLA commit Eric Silva (JSerra Catholic HS) was selected in the fourth round by the San Francisco Giants. The righty is the first Bruin commit to be drafted this year.
Schwartz, the No. 111 overall pick, burst onto the scene in 2021 with a stellar offensive performance. The Newport Beach, Calif. native slashed .396/.514/.628, won the Pac-12 batting title, and secured All-America and All-Region honors. His 2021 campaign produced the second-best on-base percentage and seventh-best batting average in single-season program history, and he also led the squad in both RBIs (45) and walks (37).
He and Kendall are the ninth and 10th Bruins all-time to be drafted by the Mets, and the first since Erik Goeddel in 2010.
A three-year starting pitcher at UCLA, Nastrini has posted a 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings ratio and .173 batting average against during his time in a Bruin uniform. He started his collegiate career with a 15-inning scoreless streak, ultimately recording a 1.37 ERA in an injury-shortened freshman season. A solid sophomore campaign (2-1, 4.60 ERA) was cut short by COVID-19, and he went on to rack up 48 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings as a junior in 2021. The No. 131 overall pick, Nastrini is the 16th Bruin all-time to be drafted by the Dodgers and first since Scott Griggs in 2012.
Kendall has done it all over four years in the UCLA program, slashing .309/.375/.419 while manning both middle infield spots and center field during his Bruin career. He took his offensive game to another level in 2021, batting a career-high .356 while leading UCLA in a number of offensive categories including runs (58), hits (89), doubles (17), and stolen bases (10). UCLA's primary center fielder in 2021, his 1.6 hits per game average led all Pac-12 players. Kendall was the No. 202 overall pick in the draft.
Cardenas has been the Bruins' starting catcher since arriving on campus prior to the 2019 season, putting together a .302 career batting average at UCLA. He broke out with a superlative freshman campaign that saw him slash .375/.476/.500, and followed it up with a Pac-12 All-Conference Team performance in 2021 (.281/.394/.430 in league play). One of the top defensive catchers in the west, he threw out 36% of attempted base stealers in his career, including a high-water mark of 38% as a junior. The No. 249 overall selection, Cardenas is the 11th Bruin all-time to be drafted by Minnesota, and the fourth since 2018 (Nate Hadley, Jake Hirabayashi, Jon Olsen).
The 2021 MLB Draft concludes on Tuesday with rounds 11-20. Coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. PT on MLB.com.
UCLA Baseball's 2021 MLB Draftees
|Matt McLain (SS)||1||17||Cincinnati Reds|
|JT Schwartz (1B)||4||111||New York Mets|
|Nick Nastrini (RHP)||4||131||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Kevin Kendall (SS)||7||202||New York Mets|
|Noah Cardenas (C)||8||249||Minnesota Twins|