UGA’s Alex Wood thrilled to be drafted by Atlanta Braves (updated)

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM WOOD . . .

ATHENS – I talked to Georgia pitcher Alex Wood this evening. The Bulldogs’ crafty left-hander was drafted in the second round by our own Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Georgia left-hander Alex Wood recorded the lowest ERA by a starter (2.73) since 1989 as a sophomore this past season. (UGA photo)

Georgia left-hander Alex Wood recorded the lowest ERA by a starter (2.73) since 1989 as a sophomore this past season. (UGA photo)

First, here’s some quick thoughts from Wood, who was at home with friends and family when the Braves selected him with the 85th pick overall.

General thoughts . . .

“I’m extremely excited. I think it worked out great. I couldn’t be in a better place, so I’m definitely excited to get started.”

On whether he was a Braves fan growing up . . .

“My main team was actually the Mets, which is kind of funny now. I watched the Braves a lot growing up, but my dad is actually from Long Island, so that’s my roots to the Mets. But I’ve been a bigger Braves fan since I got into school. All my friends are braves fans so it’s hard not to be one once you get to Athens. But I’m extremely excited about the opportunity and I think it couldn’t have worked out better.”

On when and where he is to report . . .

“I honestly have no idea. I should have a better idea tomorrow. It’s been so crazy today. I’ve only spoken to my area scout so far. I’ll probably know more [Wednesday] in terms of where I’m going to go and what’s ahead of me. But we haven’t done a whole lot of talking yet about what they have planned for me.”

On how he celebrated . . .

“I had a few close friends over at the house today [in Charlotte] and some family. My uncle and grandparents were over. It was kind of a quiet family thing. It has been an exciting time and really kind of a crazy time the last 24 hours. I’m kind of glad it’s over and be able to start a new chapter. We’ll see what happens.”

On not being selected in first round . . .

“Obviously there was a little disappointment on Monday night. It’s hard not to be. It’s your life’s work when it comes down to it. It’s something you’ve dreamed about every day and I felt like I had put myself in position to where I had a good shot to go on Monday. But, like I’ve said, crazy things happen with the draft and things happen for a reason. So I’m definitely feeling blessed and excited about the opportunity at hand.”

On his so-called “unorthodox” delivery . . .

“Well, the thing about the Braves is they really loved me from the beginning. I think my uniqueness, so to say, is part of what makes me so good. In the end I think that’s what the Braves think, too. There’s always work to be done to get better and tweaks here and there, but I don’t think they’ll try to change me too much. Obviously they’ll do their fine-tuning with some little things and what they think will make me better. But I honestly think my deception is part of what makes me so difficult to hit against. When you get in the box, any left-hander that’s as unique and as different as I am, if you’re not used to seeing it, guys don’t like it.”

On prospects of moving up quickly . . .

“I haven’t really looked at it too close. I mean, I like to think that I’ll work hard enough and play well enough to where I’ll move up fairly quickly. Obviously the Braves don’t waste too much time on college guys they take pretty high. Hopefully that will be the case with me. We’ll see what happens down the road. I’ll probably get a pretty good feel for it over the rest of the summer. I’m definitely pumped for the opportunity and I don’t think I could be with a better organization.”

Now for some facts:

  • Wood is a big left-hander, 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, and he’s from Charlotte. He would’ve been a junior next season for the Bulldogs but he was draft-eligible because he was redshirted as a freshman.
  • Wood was redshirted as a freshman because he had to have Tommy John surgery after his senior season in high school when he led his Ardrey Kell High team to the state championship.
  • Wood was the Bulldogs’ Friday night starter and posted a 7-3 record and 2.73 earned-run average in 15 starts. He was  second-team All-SEC but South Carolina coach Ray Tanner called him the best overall pitcher in the SEC. Wood registered 100 strikeouts and 21 walks in 102.1 innings pitched with two complete games and a team-best seven pick-offs. His ERA was the lowest by a Bulldog starter since 1989.
  • For his career, Wood was 13-10 with a 3.57 ERA in 32 appearances including 30 starts. He had 180 strikeouts and 47 walks in 204.1 innings pitched. He went 6-7 with a 4.44 ERA in 2011 after being limited to just one outing in 2010 while recovering from surgery.
  • Wood doesn’t throw anything straight. He has a somewhat unorthodox delivery and his balls break all over the zone with good velocity and that’s why scouts love him. It will be interesting to see if the Braves mess with his mechanics at all.
  • Wood wasn’t the only loss to the draft for the Bulldogs. The No. 2 overall pick was Georgia signee Byron Buxton of Baxley, who was chosen by the Minnesota Twins. That said, the Bulldogs were prepared to lose the 6-3, 180-pound outfielder to the pros. He was projected to be one of the first prospects selected and the overall value of the second pick this year is an estimated $6.2 million. So who could blame him, right? Buxton hit .513 with 35 stolen bases and went 10-0 as a pitcher.
  • Georgia had two other signees drafted in the second round Tuesday. Joe DeCarlo, 6-1, 205-pound infielder from Glenn Mills, Penn., was taken with the 64th overall pick by the Seattle Mariners. Three picks later, Duane Underwood was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. The 6-3, 210-pound right-hander was a two-way star for Pope High School in Marietta.
  • The last Bulldog drafted by the Braves was Josh Fields in 2007. His agent/adviser was Scott Boras, he refused to sign for slot money and returned to Georgia for his senior season. It worked. Rather than $400,000 or so he would’ve signed for with the Braves, Fields signed with Seattle for $1.8 million.
  • The Braves drafted Georgia’s top signees in the 2008 and ‘09. Conspiracy theorists say it was revenge for the Fields fiasco, but that’s highly unlikely.

12 comments Add your comment

goldwreck

June 5th, 2012
7:21 pm

Another pitcher.I wish him well but the Braves are killing the fans.

txfood

June 5th, 2012
7:24 pm

txfood

June 5th, 2012
7:26 pm

Darn……. Congrats. Hope to see you helping the Braves in the near future. My neice went to Ardry Kell about the same time.

South Georgia Dog

June 5th, 2012
8:31 pm

Congrats,Woody. I loved you at Foley Field. DGD

sldkfjslk

June 5th, 2012
10:25 pm

Vince

June 6th, 2012
8:42 am

Congratulations Alex!! Hope you have a great career.

jonkdawg

June 6th, 2012
9:07 am

The Braves got right picks again Go Braves.

bulldog steve

June 6th, 2012
10:20 am

Amen south Georgia Dog, Woodie is going to be missed. He was a class act.

BP-85

June 6th, 2012
3:34 pm

I’ll miss seeing you pitch at Foley and will also miss seing your mom and sis out there giving you and the rest of the Dawgs support. Wish you a lot of luck in ‘The Bigs.’

[...] on Wednesday. He’s the second Bulldog picked in this year’s draft by the Braves — sophomore left-hander Alex Wood was chosen by them in the second round on Tuesday — and the fifth overall, including three [...]

Hardy

June 7th, 2012
12:38 am

Wood, the best kind of draft pick.

[...] draft on Wednesday. He’s the second Bulldog picked in this year’s draft by the Braves — sophomore left-hander Alex Wood was chosen by them in the second round on Tuesday — and the eighth overall, including five [...]