June 6, 2008

Seven Gauchos Selected in 2008 MLB Draft

June 6, 2008

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Seven UC Santa Barbara baseball players were selected on the second day of the 2008 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft Friday afternoon. Chris McMurray, Jason Roenicke, Chuck Huggins, Mike Zuanich, Kyle Brown, Patrick Rose, and Brian Gump rounded out the Gaucho draft class. In addition, local Dos Pueblos High School product and UCSB recruit Chris Joyce was selected in the 10th round.

Catcher Chris McMurray was the highest Gaucho draftee, going in the 18th round to the Cincinnati Reds. McMurray, the 539th pick of the draft, had a stellar junior campaign for the Gauchos in 2008. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native finished the season with a .312 batting average, and was second on the team with eight home runs and a .545 slugging percentage. McMurray's contribution didn't end with the bat, as the junior fielded an impressive .990 in 310 chances behind the dish.

"Any time you have a successful season as we did this year, it's usually because you have outstanding players and it's nice to see them get rewarded in the draft," Head Coach Bob Brontsema said.

Reliever Jason Roenicke was the second Gaucho to go, getting selected in the 19th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Roenicke finished his first year at UCSB with a 5.02 ERA in 17 appearances out of the bullpen. The flame-throwing right-hander was also tied for the team-lead in saves with three.

Senior southpaw Chuck Huggins was drafted in the 23rd round with the 699th overall selection by the Toronto Blue Jays. A year after being drafted in the 33rd round by the Arizona Diamond Backs, Huggins' fantastic senior campaign improved his draft standing dramatically. The Redwood City, Calif., native finished the year with an 8-3 record, 4.40 ERA, and an impressive 77-to-26 strikeout to walk ratio. Huggins' eight wins, 77 strikeouts, and .252 batting average against, were good for fourth, seventh, and fifth, respectively, in the entire Big West Conference.

Next to go was Gaucho MVP Mike Zuanich. The left fielder was selected with the 857th overall selection by the Colorado Rockies in the 28th round. Zuanich had a monster year for UCSB, leading the Big West with 14 home runs and placing second in RBI with 57. In addition, the Torrance, Calif., native had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage while finishing fourth in slugging percentage (.588) in the entire conference.

Kyle Brown had an amazing senior year for the Gauchos, leading the team with a 2.95 ERA, while finishing second with 21 appearances out of the bullpen. The lefty was drafted in the 33rd round on Friday by the Seattle Mariners. Brown's stingy .250 batting average against, and 17 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched provided the Gaucho's with quality relief in tight situations all year long.

Third baseman Patrick Rose went in the 36th round to the Colorado Rockies. The 1097th overall selection led the Gauchos with a .357 batting average and a .435 on-base percentage. His .357 average, .435 on-base percentage, and five triples were good for sixth, eighth, and third, respectively, in the entire Big West. Rose recorded 17 multi-hit games in 2008, including five three-hit performances, one four-hit outburst, and one 5-for-5 effort.

Rounding out the Gaucho draft class was junior outfielder Brian Gump. Gump was selected by the New York Mets in the 46th round, after leading the Big West in at-bats and plate appearances, while placing second in stolen bases, fifth in runs scored, and eighth in hits. The sweet-swinging lefty batted lead off for the Gauchos the entire year, compiling 15 doubles, three triples, four home runs, and 36 RBI. The Westminster, Calif., native also placed sixth in the entire Big West with a .992 fielding percentage.

In addition to the seven current Gauchos drafted, Dos Pueblos High School product and left-handed pitcher, Chris Joyce, was selected in the 10th round (307th overall selection) by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Everyone wants to be drafted, and hopefully some of the other guys who didn't get the opportunity will still have the chance to play professionally through free agency," Brontsema said. "I'm excited for the guys and for the opportunities that lay ahead for them."