A year after garnering Freshman All-SEC honors, University of Georgia right-handed pitcher Cole Wilcox was named as a Collegiate Baseball second team All-American by the publication last Tuesday.
Wilcox went into the season as a third team preseason All-American by Baseball America and was on this year’s watch list for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award.
“It was really cool,” Wilcox said about finding out about the honor. “It’s something I really didn’t think about, especially with the season getting cut short. Obviously, you have goals going into (the season) and went it gets cut short, you kind of forget about them.
“But it’s obviously nice to be recognized. It’s pretty humbling just to know what the title of ‘All-American’ comes with it.”
The 2018 Heritage High School graduate went 3-2 with 4.07 ERA in 19 appearances as a freshman with the Bulldogs, striking out 64 hitters and walking 38 in 59.2 innings as opposing teams hit .216 against him. However, he was 3-1 in SEC play with a 2.57 ERA in 35 innings pitched, while allowing just a .198 average to opposing hitters.
After the season, he went on to make the 26-man roster for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team and went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in four appearances, including one start. He threw three scoreless innings and had three strikeouts in a win over Cuba and pitched 2.2 innings and fanned three in a combined one-hit shutout of Japan.
With that as a springboard, Wilcox overpowered the opposition in his four starts for Georgia to begin the 2020 season. He went 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and recorded 32 strikeouts against just two walks in 23 innings of work, while opposing hitters batted just .209.
Included in that was a three-hit, zero-walk, seven-inning performance against then-No. 17 Georgia Tech, which saw him set a career-high with 11 strikeouts. as the Bulldogs handed the Jackets a 12-0 loss.
Georgia was 14-4 overall and climbed as high as No. 2 in the USA Today rankings when the season was shut down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Mostly, it was just comfort (and) just being confident going into the year,” Wilcox said of his improvement. “Being a starter, (I had) a better routine, a better schedule and stuff like that, so the walks (were) going to go down naturally. But I did work really hard on fastball command in the off-season and in the summer. I felt really comfortable with that and, for the first time, I was really able to throw my fastball wherever I wanted.”
The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder and two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, is a draft-eligible sophomore and projected by several publications as a first-round pick in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft, which is set for June 10.
MLB.com’s latest mock draft had Wilcox going to the New York Mets with the No. 19 overall pick. CBS Sports projects him No. 20 overall to Milwaukee. Keith Law of The Athletic has him going No. 22 to Washington, the team that drafted him in the 37th round in 2018, and DraftSite.com has him going No. 23 to Cleveland.
Wilcox added that’s he been taking the run-up to the draft in stride.
“I’ve been having the typical meetings and stuff, just the typical routine with it all like I did out of high school,” he explained. “But you’re not going to get anybody to really tip their hands at this point and that’s how it is. That’s how the business is run. You just take it one day at a time and just let the results play out.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s draft will be the shortest in history with just five rounds instead of 40 and just 160 picks total. The first round will take place on June 10 with the final four rounds being held on June 11.