Ten Bruin Alums Named to 2024 MLB Opening Day Rosters

Ten alumni of the UCLA baseball program were named to the Opening Day rosters of their respective clubs as the 2024 Major League Baseball season officially got underway on Thursday.

A total of four former Bruin standouts were named to their teams’ active rosters: right-handed pitcher Jake Bird (Colorado Rockies), right-handed pitcher Griffin Canning (Los Angeles Angels), infielder Brandon Crawford (St. Louis Cardinals), and infielder/outfielder Michael Toglia (Colorado Rockies).

Two longtime MLB managers and UCLA alums return to their post for the new campaign in Dave Roberts (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Torey Lovullo (Arizona Diamondbacks). UCLA remains the only college in the country with multiple alums managing MLB clubs.

In addition, a further four Bruin alums will start the year on the Major League Injured List: right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees), infielder Matt McLain (Cincinnati Reds), outfielder Garrett Mitchell (Milwaukee Brewers), and right-handed pitcher Zack Weiss (Minnesota Twins).

Today marks the first time that Bird and Toglia will be taking part in Opening Day festivities. This also marks Crawford’s first Opening Day in St. Louis after a storied 13-year run with the San Francisco Giants.

Bird enters his third MLB season in 2024. He’s totaled 108 appearances out of the Colorado bullpen over the last two seasons, pitching to a 4.53 ERA. He had a strong sophomore season in 2024, tossing 89 1/3 innings over a team-high 70 appearances. Bird had a 4.33 ERA, 117 ERA+, and 77 strikeouts compared to just 27 walks.

Canning meanwhile is set to enter his fifth year in the Angels’ rotation. The SoCal native made 22 starts a year ago, crafting a 4.32 ERA and striking out 139 batters over 127 innings. Canning established career bests last year in strikeouts, innings, wins (7), FIP (4.29), and walks allowed per nine innings (2.6).

Crawford will don the Cardinal red for the first time this year after making 12 consecutive Opening Day starts for the Giants. The 14th-year vet and four-time Gold Glove Award winner owns a .250 career average and is in striking distance of a multiple career milestones including 1,500 hits (he enters the season with 1,392 knocks), 150 home runs (146), 750 RBIs (744), and 1,700 games (1,654).

2024 marks the first Opening Day for Toglia, but he has appeared with the Rockies in each of the last two seasons, collecting 47 hits, six home runs, and 21 RBIs over 76 games. The Gig Harbor, Wash. native is coming off a standout spring with Colorado, as he slashed .286/.355/.625 with five home runs in just 23 games. Toglia is expected to see time at first base and outfield this season with the Rockies.

Stay up-to-date on all things UCLA Baseball by following the team Twitter account: @UCLABaseball.

First appeared on uclabruins.com

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