With the Georgia Bulldogs 5 – 4 extra-inning loss to Mississippi State in the opening round of the SEC Tournament, the Diamond Dawgs now turn their attention to this week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. The draft will begin at 7:00 PM on June 5 and the first round will be televised live by the MLB Network.
It’s common for a handful of current Georgia players and signees to face a decision regarding their baseball future. In fact, Georgia has a string of 41 straight seasons with a least one player signing a professional contract.
A pair of current Bulldog signees, 6-5, 190-pound right-handed pitcher Spencer Adams (White County HS), and 6-2, 220-pound outfielder Michael Gettys (Gainesville HS), are projected first round draft picks, according to Major League Baseball.com. Adams is ranked No. 27 on the 2014 Prospect Watch list while Gettys is No. 37.
Among current Bulldogs, Georgia’s highest projected draft pick is junior third baseman/outfielder Hunter Cole at No. 148, which would be in the fifth round. A 6-1, 186-pound native of Moore, S.C., Cole owns a .300 career batting average with 14 home runs, 36 doubles and 87 RBI in three seasons as a Bulldog. This year, he led the team in batting with a .319 average in 53 games including 52 starts.
Also of note, Adams is No. 24 on Baseball America’s Top 500 players for the 2014 draft while Gettys checks in at No. 40, Cole is No. 293 plus another Bulldog signee, 6-7, 225-pound left-handed pitcher Ryan Avidano (Starr’s Mill HS), is No. 457. Bulldog infielder starter Nelson Ward and pitcher David Sosebee.are also potential draft picks.
The first night of the draft will feature the first two rounds, and the supplemental rounds that follow. The second day of the draft starts at 1 p.m. on Friday and will cover rounds 3-10, and Saturday’s final day will also begin at 1 p.m. All the selections can be followed on MLB.com. The signing deadline for underclassmen and high school seniors selected in the First-Year Player draft is July 18.
Three Bulldogs and seven signees were drafted in 2013. Senior infielders Kyle Farmer and Curt Powell began their professional career while pitcher Patrick Boling opted to return for his final season. Georgia received good news last June when pitcher Robert Tyler, outfielder Stephen Wrenn and infielder Mike Bell chose to come to Georgia instead of turning professional out of high school. All three freshmen were starters for the Bulldogs in 2014 for coach Scott Stricklin and helped the Bulldogs advance to the SEC Tournament.
There are nine former Bulldogs playing in the Minor Leagues. Pitchers Jeff Walters (New York Mets), Mitchell Boggs (Chicago White Sox) and Brooks Brown (Colorado) are in Triple-A while pitcher Will Startup (Detroit) and first baseman Rich Poythress (Miami) are in Double-A. Infielders Levi Hyams (Atlanta), outfielder Zach Cone (Texas), catcher Kyle Farmer (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Curt Powell (Detroit) are at the advanced Class-A level.
Four former Bulldogs are playing in the Major Leagues: Second baseman Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox; .279-4-11), pitcher Josh Fields (Houston; 1-3, 3 SV, 6.97 ERA), pitcher Justin Grimm (Chicago Cubs; 1-2, 2.77 ERA) and pitcher Alex Wood (Atlanta; 5-5, 3.32 ERA). Currently, infielder Jeff Keppinger, a nine-year MLB veteran, is a free agent after beginning the year with the White Sox.
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