After a disappointing exit in the NCAA Athens Regional Final, Georgia baseball saw eight players selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, the most in a decade.
Head coach Scott Sticklin will be looking at a mostly intact roster come the 2019-20 season, with six starting position players and eleven pitchers returning.
The first Bulldog taken off the board this year was third baseman and closer Aaron Schunk, who was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the 62nd pick. Schunk led the Bulldogs in all three major batting categories, with a .339 batting average, 15 home runs, and 58 RBIs. Schunk also stepped onto the mound 17 times this season as a closer, racking up 12 saves with a 2.49 ERA.
The St. Louis Cardinals took right-handed pitcher Tony Locey in the third round with the 96th pick. Locey finished his junior season with an impressive 11-2 record and 2.53 ERA. Locey is the first Georgia pitcher to win 11 games since 1990.
With pick No. 126 in the fourth round, the Seattle Mariners selected Tim Elliott. Elliott, a right-handed pitcher, went 7-3 with an ERA of 2.38. The junior saved his best performance for his last, pitching a complete game shutout in the 13-0 victory against Florida Atlantic.
On Twitter, Elliot thanked Georgia baseball for all the fond memories and announced that he was forgoing his senior season and moving to the next level.
LJ Talley, a senior second baseman, was selected with the 207th pick in the seventh round by the Toronto Blue Jays. The four-year starter finished with a career-high .332 batting average, with eight home runs and 41 RBIs.
Talley has shown great improvement throughout his career at the plate, but the more consistent part of his game is in the field. In 199 starts, he posted a .977 career fielding percentage and was named to the 2019 SEC All-Defensive team.
The Los Angeles Angels took closing pitcher Zac Kristofak with the 421st pick. In 47.1 innings, Kristofak had 63 strikeouts with only 15 walks. Throughout his career, Kristofak went 12-3 with a 4.29 ERA and 12 saves.
“Playing at UGA and being able to call myself a Bulldog has been one of the biggest honors of my life,” Kristofak wrote on Instagram. “To my teammates, I love each and every one of you like a brother and will for the rest of my life.”
In the 20th round, the Tampa Bay Rays used their 608th pick on shortstop Cam Shepherd. Shepherd set a school record at the shortstop position posting a .987 fielding percentage this previous year. Shepherd has started all 180 games in his career at Georgia and announced earlier this month that he will be returning for his senior season.
“DawgNation, After lots of thought, I have decided to come back for my senior season,” Shepherd announced via Twitter. “We have a lot of unfinished business left in Athens. Time to get to work.”
The Philadelphia Phillies selected Tucker Maxwell with the 660th overall pick. Maxwell had the best offensive season of his career with a .251 batting average, 13 home runs and 29 RBIs. Maxwell made the NCAA Athens Regional All-Tournament team after batting .500 in 16 plate appearances with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Riley King, the last Georgia player selected, was chosen by the Atlanta Braves with the 787th pick, but will continue his career at Georgia. In King’s first season as a starter, he hit .295 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs.
In an announcement made last Saturday, King tweeted, “I am excited to announce I will continue my college baseball career at the University of Georgia.”