When the Atlanta Braves selected Alex Wood near the end of Tuesday’s second round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, he became the fourth Georgia player or signee picked in the draft’s first 85 picks.
It would be 514 picks before another Bulldog heard his name called -- when Levi Hyams went 599th overall in the 19th round, again to the Braves.
The senior second baseman was the first of two Georgia players or signees who were drafted on Wednesday. Kyle Farmer, who with Hyams formed one of the most consistent double-play combinations in school history, went to the New York Yankees 16 rounds later, 1087th overall.
Two Georgia signees -- outfielder/pitcher Sean McLaughlin and pitcher David Gonzalez -- were picked Wednesday. The Braves again targeted a Bulldog when it selected McLaughlin in the 38th round, 1169th overall. The New York Mets picked Gonzalez in the 40th round with the 1220th pick.
Hyams slumped as a senior, batting .250 -- worst among Bulldogs regulars -- after leading the team with a .332 batting average as a junior and batting .333 as a sophomore. However, Hyams was an outstanding defender at second base, which likely helped convince the Braves to select him.
“I’ve talked with the Braves, and we’re going to finalize everything soon, and I’ll head to mini-camp and see where I go play,” Hyams said in a university statement. “I’ve talked to Alex and we’re looking forward to going to camp together and maybe playing on the same team again. We’re both ready to get started.”
Farmer is a draft-eligible junior who has batted better than .300 in each of his first three seasons at Georgia. He hit .302 this spring with a team-high 41 RBIs and was second in the SEC with 19 doubles. Like Hyams, Farmer is an excellent defender, setting a school record for a shortstop this year with a .970 fielding percentage.
The Bulldogs saw a total of five members of its nationally touted signing class picked in the draft’s 40 rounds.
Outfielder Byron Buxton went second overall to the Minnesota Twins, while pitcher/outfielder Duane Underwood (Chicago Cubs) and third baseman Joe DeCarlo (Seattle Mariners) both went in the second round. It wasn’t until the Braves picked McLaughlin in the 38th round that another Georgia signee heard his name called.
That left two undrafted UGA signees -- outfielder/pitcher Kyle Carter and infielder J.T. Phillips, teammates at Columbus (Ga.) High School and fellow members of Columbus’ 2006 team that won the Little League World Series title -- who were among Baseball America’s top 500 prospects before the draft. All-SEC third baseman Curt Powell also went undrafted after making the Baseball America list.
GEORGIA PLAYERS/SIGNEES SELECTED
2. Byron Buxton/OF, Minnesota
64. Joe DeCarlo/3B, Seattle
67. Duane Underwood/P-OF, Chicago Cubs
85. Alex Wood/P, Atlanta
599. Levi Hyams/2B, Atlanta
1087. Kyle Farmer/SS, New York Yankees
1169. Sean McLaughlin/OF-P, Atlanta
1120. David Gonzalez/P, New York Mets