June 15, 2011

Davis, Wheeler Sign Free Agent Deals

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A pair of UC Santa Barbara baseball pitchers signed free agent deals since the end of the Major League Baseball draft last week as Greg Davis and Beck Wheeler both inked a pair of contracts.

Davis, a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Huntington Beach, Calif. signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and Wheeler, a 6-foot-3 right-hander from San Diego, signed with the New York Mets.

Davis was one of the Gauchos' most reliable pitchers this past season, working as both a starter and a closer. He finished with a 6-5 record and a 3.40 ERA - best amongst UCSB starting pitchers. Davis began the season as the Gauchos' Friday and midweek closer and Sunday starter, but was thrust into the Friday spot midway through the season where he consistently performed well. In his final two starts of the season Davis pitched 17 innings, allowing 11 hits, three earned runs and struck out five, winning both contests.

"While I was a little disappointed my name wasn't called during the draft, I am very excited to join the Milwaukee Brewers organization and get a chance in the professional ranks," Davis said. "This is obviously something every player dreams about - becoming a pro - and I am thrilled to be able to take this next step in my career."

Wheeler signed with the Mets as a pitcher, a role that he accepted this season after not having pitched in quite some time. However the righty appeared in four games, posted a 2.25 ERA and showed flashes of brilliance to go along with a fastball in the low 90s. Wheeler had also played third base and shortstop for the Gauchos and as a junior was one of the team's best hitters.

"I had an opportunity to work out in front of one of their scouts and things went well," Wheeler said. "Pitching is still relatively new to me, but I think the Mets' organization felt that was a good thing because I can learn to pitch the way they would like me to. This is very exciting and I can't wait to get on the mound."

Davis and Wheeler's signings brings the total of 2011 Gauchos now involved with major league teams up to five. Jesse Meaux (Colorado), Mark Haddow (Chicago White Sox) and Matt Vedo (Los Angeles Angels) were all drafted last week.