Four Gauchos Picked on Final Day of MLB Draft

Andrew Calica (photo by Mike Strasinger)
Andrew Calica (photo by Mike Strasinger)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four members of the UC Santa Barbara baseball team were selected in the final day of the MLB First Year Player Draft, joining fourth-round selection Shane Bieber who was selected by the Cleveland Indians on Friday. 

First off the board was redshirt junior Andrew Calica, who was selected in the 11th round by Cleveland. This is his second time getting drafted by the Indians, who also picked him in the 17th round out of high school. 

After Calica, junior right-hander James Carter went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 21st round, junior right-hander Trevor Bettencourt went to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 25th round, and senior lefty Justin Kelly went to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 33rd round. 

This is the fourth time in UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts' five years that the Gauchos have had five or more draft picks. UCSB's 27 draftees since the arrival of Checketts are the most of any Big West program. 

A three-year starter and one of the more experienced members of the current team, Calica currently sports a career slash line of .295/.428/.382 and is the program record-holder for hits by pitch with 51. The outfielder batted over .300 in his first two full seasons and has had an OBP over .400 in his all three of his full campaigns. A stellar defender with great instincts and a better first step, he didn't make the first error of his career until this season. 

A promising arm out of Danville, Calif., Carter has only thrown 16 innings at UCSB due to undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Still, he has been excellent when on the mound for the Gauchos, allowing just one earned run for a career ERA of 0.56. Carter was on the mound for the last out of UCSB's Nashville Regional championship. 

One of the Gauchos' most oft-used relievers this year, Bettencourt has a 3.96 ERA in 22 appearances this year, his first with UCSB. The Tennessee transfer is striking out over a batter per inning (39 Ks in 36 1/3 innings) and sports a devastating curveball. 

Kelly, a left-hander, was slated to be a big part of UCSB's rotation before incurring an injury in his first start with the Gauchos. The Bakersfield native bounced back after two months on the shelf to become one of UCSB's most reliable bullpen arms, putting together a 2.20 ERA in 16 innings out of the pen. He has gotten stronger as the season has gone along, being named to the All-Nashville Regional Team after earning a win and a save in two appearances. In UCSB's narrow 5-4 win over Xavier on Jun. 5, he struck out seven of the eight batters he faced while picking off the other for the first save of his career. 

UCSB scored one of the biggest wins in program history on Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 2 Louisville 4-2 in the first game of a best-of-three Super Regional series. The Gauchos can clinch a berth to their first ever College World Series with one win in the next two games.