SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team had four student-athletes selected on the final day of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday afternoon.
Junior right-handed pitcher Noah Davis was the first Gaucho selected, taken in the 11th round (319th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds while redshirt junior shortstop Clay Fisher followed shortly after as the Baltimore Orioles made him their 12th round pick (355th overall). Senior righty Stevie Ledesma was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 27th round (795th overall) and redshirt sophomore Andrew Martinez rounded out the selections after being drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 33rd round (987th overall).
The four selections make it 39 Gauchos drafted since head coach Andrew Checketts took over the helm in 2012, the most in the Big West.
Despite undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery after just three appearances and 8.2 innings into his junior year, Davis showed enough talent and potential in his two full seasons with the Gauchos to garner an 11th round selection. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native shined as a freshman in the 2016 College World Series, tossing six innings while allowing just one run and two hits in a win over Miami, and UCSB went 3-0 throughout the postseason in games he started. For his career, Davis compiled a 15-9 record and 4.58 ERA in 173 innings pitched while striking out 139. The 2016 Preseason Big West Freshman of the Year was named the No. 53 college prospect by D1Baseball prior to the start of the 2018 season as well as the No. 63 starting pitcher in the positional power rankings.
A 27th round selection by the Cleveland Indians in last year's draft, Fisher boosted his draft stock with a bounce back campaign after missing most of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery. The 2018 First Team All-Big West selection and 2017 Preseason All-American, finished with a .294 batting average (65-for-221) while leading the team with 33 runs scored, 13 stolen bases and five triples. The slick-fielding shortstop also blasted three homeruns with 10 doubles and 34 RBIs, finishing fourth on the Gauchos with a .435 slugging percentage. For his career, the La Quinta, Calif. native hit .269 (187-for-694) with six homeruns, 84 RBIs, 95 runs scored, 35 doubles, nine triples and 32 stolen bases with a .690 OPS. Entering the season, Fisher was rated as the No. 14 shortstop prospect by D1Baseball, highest in the Big West.
After a standout senior season, Ledesma landed in Detroit after the Tigers made the Ventura, Calif. native the first overall selection in the 27th round. The 2018 Second Team All-Big West selection emerged as the ace of the Gauchos' staff after starting the season in the bullpen. Ledesma tied for team-high honors with 11 starts while tossing a team-high 78.1 innings and finished with a 7-3 record and 2.87 ERA. His 62 strikeouts also led UCSB while ranking eighth in the Big West with an average of 7.12 K/9. On May 5, Ledesma needed just 96 pitches in a complete game shutout against CSUN, holding the Matadors to just six hits while striking out seven and walking none. It was the first complete game shutout for the Gauchos since Shane Beiber tossed a one-hitter against CSUN in 2016. Beiber, who just made his MLB debut last week, was a fourth-round selection (122nd overall) of the Cleveland Indians in 2016. As a starter alone, Ledesma finished 7-2 with a 2.50 ERA.
Rounding out the UCSB selections was redshirt freshman Martinez, who led the Gauchos with seven homeruns in 2018 despite missing three weeks with a broken finger. In his debut campaign, the San Francisco, Calif. native batted .270 (43-for-159) with 28 RBIs, 31 runs scored and nine doubles while registering a .382 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage. Despite being listed as a redshirt freshman, Martinez was draft eligible due to the fact that he turns 21 this summer. Defensively, Martinez spent time at both shortstop and second base and recorded a .975 fielding percentage with just four errors in 162 total chances while turning 19 double plays.
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UCSB's 2018 Major League Baseball Draftees
|Name||Position||Round||Overall Selection||Team||Key Stats|
|Noah Davis||RHP||11||319||Cincinnati Reds||Career: 15-9, 173 IP, 139 K's|
|Clay Fisher||SS||12||355||Baltimore Orioles||.294 AVG, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 33 R, 13 SB in 2018|
|Stevie Ledesma||RHP||27||795||Detroit Tigers||7-2, 2.50 ERA as a starter in 2018|
|Andrew Martinez||SS||33||987||Miami Marlins||Team-high 7 HR as RS FR in 2018|