Cole Wilcox spent Tuesday in San Diego. By mid-afternoon, the former Heritage High School and University of Georgia pitcher was a millionaire.
Wilcox signed a contract with the San Diego Padres with a reported $3.3 million bonus, a record deal for a third-round draft pick. Projected as a first-round prospect, Wilcox instead lasted until the second day of Major League Baseball's amateur draft after clubs seemed unwilling to meet his asking price.
San Diego general manager A.J. Preller rolled the dice and, after signing the team's other five draft picks, was able to offer Wilcox the record-breaking deal. The slot value of the No. 80 pick was $767,800, but the Padres saved money by signing their other picks for under-slot value. Wilcox's deal eclipses San Diego's $3 million signing of pitcher Hudson Head, a 2019 third-round pick.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Wilcox had a sensational start to his 2020 sophomore season at Georgia with a 3-0 record and a 1.57 ERA with 32 strikeouts, just two walks and 18 hits allowed in 23 innings before the season ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was 3-2 record with a 4.07 ERA to go with 38 strikeouts and 20 walks in 46 innings as a freshman.
Wilcox's signing is the second by a northwest Georgia player in this draft class. UGA teammate Tucker Bradley, who prepped at Gordon Lee in Chickamauga, signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Kansas City Royals. The outfielder, who missed most of his the 2019 season due to a shoulder injury, was having a breakout 2020 season with a .397 average, .513 on-base percentage, 23 RBIs, 17 runs and six home runs in just 18 games for the Bulldogs.
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