Detroit Tigers Sweet 16 Matchup 7: UCLA vs. Alabama
Notable Detroit Tigers:
UCLA: Bob Hamelin, Ryan Kreidler, Torey Lovullo
Alabama: Alex Avila, Cale Iorg, Frank Lary, Spencer Turnbull
Speaking of blue-blood programs, there aren’t many college brands out their bigger than the UCLA Bruins and the Alabama Crimson Tide. But as with Florida State, there just haven’t been that many great pros from UCLA on the Tigers. Bob Hamelin signed a deal with the Tigers in 1997 and hit .270 with 18 HR in 110 games, but he was gone the next year. Torey Lovullo was a favorite of Sparky Anderson, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a 10-for-87 start to the 1989 season, and he was done in Detroit. He’s currently the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ryan Kreidler was Detroit’s 4th-round pick in 2019, and he’s been a pleasant surprise this spring.
Alabama has been pretty good to the Detroit Tigers. Alex Avila was an All-Star for the Tigers and has had a very solid career as a catcher, while Spencer Turnbull has turned into a quality mid-rotation starter for the club. Cale Iorg was immensely talented and often discussed as one of the Tigers’ best prospects, but he never hit enough to make the majors. Frank Lary was a terrific pitcher for Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, earning three All-Star nods and going 123-110 with a 3.46 ERA.
Winner: Roll Tide.