Despite an abbreviated season that saw the Bears play just more than a third of their scheduled games, there was more than enough time to notice the talent of freshman Joseph King.
His debut on the mound for the Bears against Long Beach State showed exactly what caliber of pitcher he is — after working into a bases-loaded jam with the game tied in the 11th inning, King buckled down to induce a lineout and two pivotal strikeouts to end the threat. With an electric arm and unwavering composure, he would become a lockdown option out of the bullpen for head coach Mike Neu.
At the same time, King garnered attention outside of his own dugout. The right-hander was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball this week, establishing himself as one of college baseball’s up-and-coming prospects. He allowed only two earned runs in just more than 11 innings of relief, logging a minuscule 1.59 ERA and a total of 17 strikeouts over seven appearances.
King is the first freshman All-American out of Cal since the duo of Andrew Vaughn and Cameron Eden earned the honor in 2017.
After three years at Cal, Vaughn was picked third overall in the 2019 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox, becoming the highest-drafted player in program history. Eden was also picked in the sixth round of the same draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.
If history repeats itself, the future is promising for the Bears’ young reliever.