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Former Pac-12 stars lead MLB teams into 2021 playoffs

Oct 7, 2021

The 2021 Major League Baseball playoffs kicked off this week, with Pac-12 alumni featured on nearly every postseason roster. 

The reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, managed by UCLA’s Dave Roberts and featuring Arizona State’s Austin Barnes, opened their title defense with a walk-off win in the National League Wild Card Game, ending the season for Tommy Edman (Stanford), Lars Nootbaar (USC) and the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Roberts’ squad will open the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 8. The Giants feature Brandon Crawford (UCLA) and Austin Slater (Stanford). Crawford is pursuing his third World Series ring and was instrumental in the Giants winning an MLB-best 107 games. The All-Star shortstop set career highs in home runs (24), RBI (90) and batting average (.298).

Drew Rasmussen (Oregon State) and Andrew Kittredge (Washington) are key relievers for a Tampa Bay Rays team that is looking to capture its second straight American League pennant.

Tampa Bay’s first test will come against Bobby Dalbec (Arizona) and the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series. The former UA standout mashed 21 doubles and 25 homers for Boston in his second MLB season. 

Boston qualified for the ALDS by taking down the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card Game. Gerrit Cole, a former No. 1 overall pick out of UCLA, put together a Cy Young-caliber season (3.23 ERA, 5.3 WAR) and got the nod against the Red Sox. Aaron Boone (USC) completed his fourth season as the Yankees' manager.

Andrew Vaughn (Cal) will try to help a Chicago White Sox team that won its division by 13 games reach its first World Series since 2005. Vaughn became the second-highest drafted player in Cal history when the White Sox selected him with the third overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft. Still just 23 years old, Vaughn hit 15 homers and drove in 48 runs for the White Sox in the regular season.

Veteran reliever Brad Boxberger (USC) turned in a fantastic season for the Milwaukee Brewers, compiling a 3.34 ERA and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Milwaukee opens the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, Oct. 7.

Rounding out Pac-12 alumni in the MLB postseason are a pair of Houston Astros catchers, Stanford’s Jason Castro and USC’s Garrett Stubbs. The Astros and White Sox begin the ALDS on Thursday, Oct. 7.

For news and analysis on all things Pac-12 Baseball, go to, and be sure to follow the 2022 season next spring which will culminate in the first annual Pac-12 Baseball Tournament

Player Position MLB Team Pac-12 University
Austin Barnes C Los Angeles Dodgers Stanford
Aaron Boone Manager New York Yankees USC
Brad Boxberger RP Milwaukee Brewers USC
Jason Castro C Houston Astros Stanford
Gerrit Cole SP New York Yankees UCLA
Brandon Crawford SS San Francisco Giants UCLA
Bobby Dalbec 3B Boston Red Sox Arizona
Tommy Edman 3B/RF St. Louis Cardinals Stanford
Andrew Kittredge RP Tampa Bay Rays Washington
Lars Nootbaar OF St. Louis Cardinals USC
Drew Rasmussen P Tampa Bay Rays Oregon State
Dave Roberts Manager Los Angeles Dodgers UCLA
Austin Slater OF San Francisco Giants Stanford
Garrett Stubbs C Houston Astros USC
Andrew Vaughn 1B/LF Chicago White Sox California