Class: College Junior
Hometown: Glendora, California
Born: October 3, 1991
Most pundits thought UCLA would slide back towards the middle of the Pac-12 Conference after losing Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, the number one and three picks in the 2011 MLB Draft. Instead, the Bruins improved their win total by 13, and had the look of a complete team for the first time since 2010.
Much of that was due to the breakout season of one Adam Plutko, who returns as the Bruins’ ace pitcher in 2013.
Plutko had a decent campaign in 2011, posting a 2.01 ERA in 15 starts, racking up 92 strikeouts in 107.2 innings. Given the chance to pitch in prime-time games on Fridays in 2012, the right-hander flourished, setting career marks with 12 victories, 119.2 innings and 99 strikeouts. He held opponents to a .215 batting average and served up just seven long-balls.
On the mound, Plutko offers a high 80’s/low 90’s fastball that has peaked as high as 93 mph. He complements the pitch with two potential above-average offerings, a slider and a changeup. He also throws a curve, but sticks mostly to the fastball-changeup-slider trio of pitches. After showing impressive command for a freshman in 2011, Plutko showed some inconsitency on the mound in 2012, nearly doubling his walk total in roughly the same number of innings pitched.
He doesn’t have front-line stuff, but he by no means will be an afterthought on draft day. His experience and successes pitching in one of the toughest conferences in college baseball will no doubt draw some notice, as will his ceiling as a mid-rotation starter.
While he may have the stats to compare to both Cole and Bauer, Plutko in no way possesses the pure stuff to go in the top three picks like those two did. In a weak class, however, there appears to be no reason that he couldn’t sneak his way into the first round this June.
Fastball: 86-93 mph
Slider: 77-81 mph
Changeup: 79-83 mph
Curveball: 73-78 mph
***Projected Draft Slot: Late First Round-to-Early Second Round***
2012 stats: 12-3, 2.48 ERA, 18 G, 18 GS, 2 CG, 119.2 IP, 99:47 K:BB, .215 AVG, 7 HRA
2011 stats: 7-4, 2.01 ERA, 16 G, 15 GS, 1 CG, 107.2 IP, 92:24 K:BB, .193 AVG, 3 HRA