Feb. 25, March 3, March 4, April 6, April 28. What do these dates have in common? They are the only five days that UCLA outfielder Jeremy Ydens has been held hitless this season.
That’s right. Just five times. Ydens has recorded a base hit in 41 of 46 games played this season, which includes his current 13-game hit streak.
Ydens still reached base in four of those five games via the walk or getting hit by the pitch. Only in the April 6 win versus Stanford did Ydens not reach base this season.
In case you could not tell, Ydens is having an incredible sophomore year out of the leadoff spot for the Bruins. He is hitting a whopping .370 to go along with 25 extra base hits, 36 runs batted in, and a staggering OPS of 1.016.
This past week, Ydens was especially hot with the bat and was named PAC-12 Player of the Week for the first time this season. He hit .550 (11-20) with two home runs and drove in 14 runs as the Bruins went 4-0 this week.
Ydens has drastically improved his numbers from his freshman season when he played in just 26 games and hit .258
“My experience playing at this level has definitely helped, but I also think that working on flattening out my swing and having a better approach has definitely helped me out,” Ydens said.
Experience at the collegiate level was something that Ydens could not pass up. Similar to his teammate Ryan Kreidler, Ydens was also taken in the 2016 draft.
Ydens was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals at pick 1,216 in the 40th round, the last pick of the draft.
“It was definitely a special moment. I was very excited and happy to hear my name called. I am still so thankful for the opportunity the Cardinals gave me,” Ydens said.
Despite the selection, there was never a doubt that he was going to attend school.
“I was dead set on going to UCLA, but I knew there could have been a possibility of being drafted in the later rounds,” Ydens said. “My intent was to always go to college. Academics are very important to me, and to be able to get a top-notch education while developing as a baseball player was too hard to pass up.”
So far, it is clear that Ydens has made a good decision to attend UCLA as he has already taken his game to another level and transformed himself into one of the best players in the PAC-12 Conference.
“I definitely feel that I have gotten much stronger physically as well as a better offensive approach at the plate,” Ydens said.
Having a season like this also bodes well for Ydens’ future draft stock. The question is: would he leave UCLA early?
“It all depends on the situation, but I can see myself going pro after my junior year if the situation is right,” Ydens said.
For now, Ydens is still focused on winning at UCLA as the Bruins are ranked number 17 in the country and will be headed for postseason baseball soon.
Once the Bruins finish up their run, Ydens will be headed across the country and play for the Gatemen this summer, an experience he is really looking forward to.
“Wareham is a great team in a great summer league, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for the Gatemen to continue to develop as a baseball player,” Ydens said.