The Major League Baseball draft has come and gone and it’s time to assess the damage to the Georgia baseball program.
Junior Nelson Ward was the first Bulldog drafted. Taken in the 12rd round Saturday by the Seattle Mariners, Ward was the 351st selection. Drafted as a shortstop, he played in all 56 games this past season. Ward led the team in RBIs (34), walks (33), and multiple hit games (18). Ward is one of two Bulldog captains and finished the season with a .306 batting average, 64 hits, and 10 stolen bases.
In his Bulldog career, Ward has played in 149 games with 123 starts average, 21 doubles, 7 triples and 66 RBIs. His career batting average is 301. A second baseman his first two seasons, he played primarily shortstop in 2014.
Hunter Cole was drafted in the 26th round by the San Francisco Giants. The 778th overall selection, Cole was drafted as a third baseman. Playing in 53 games this past season, he led the team with a .319 batting average, 66 hits, 14 doubles, hit three home runs and tallied 31 RBI.
In his Bulldog career, Cole has played in 157 games with 155 starts, 14 home runs, 36 doubles and 87 RBI. He has a career batting average of.300. An outfielder his first two seasons, he played primarily third base in 2014. Following his senior year at Dorman High School, Cole was a 49th round pick of the Washington Nationals in the 2011 MLB draft.
Jarrett Brown was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 22nd round on Saturday. Brown is the 651st overall selection and was drafted as a left-handed pitcher. Brown joins teammate Nelson Ward as a Mariner draftee.
Brown appeared in 19 games this past season, compiling a 1-1 record with a 6.67 ERA. He pitched three scoreless innings against #24 Mississippi State and 2.1 scoreless against #6 LSU. Brown registered 11 strikeouts and 15 walks in 27 innings pitched on the season.
Brown has 60 career appearances, a 1-1 record and a 4.54 ERA as a Bulldog. He has pitched in 67.1 innings and allowed 72 hits while striking out 38 and walking 38. Primarily appearing out of the bullpen, Brown made his first career start in 2014 against Missouri on April 6. He pitched two innings against the Tigers.
Two Georgia signees were selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft late Thursday. Right-handed pitcher Spencer Adams (Cleveland, Ga., White County HS) went 44th overall to the Chicago White Sox while outfielder Michael Gettys (Gainesvillle, Ga., Gainesville HS) went 51st overall to the San Diego Padres.
This year’s assigned slot value (signing bonuses) for players drafted in this range is $1.1 to $1.3 million. Major League Baseball informs clubs of their bonus pools and the slot values for the first 10 rounds annually, an element of the draft that has been in place since 2012. Teams may spend beyond their allotment but incur penalties such as taxes and forfeiture of future picks.
Based on where most of these players were picked, it’s doubtful any of the current Bulldogs will opt to leave Athens. The signees could be another story.
The signing deadline is July 18th.
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