- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kyle Farmer removed any doubt about his status at Georgia on Wednesday by announcing through a university spokesman that he will return for his senior season, only hours after the New York Yankees selected him in the 35th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Farmer was one of three active UGA players who were drafted, along with redshirt sophomore pitcher Alex Wood (second round to Atlanta) and senior Levi Hyams (19th round to Atlanta). All-SEC third baseman Curt Powell was, like Farmer, listed among Baseball America’s top 500 prospects, but went undrafted, so both players will return to provide a senior presence in the Bulldogs’ lineup.
“I’m coming back, it’s just a gut decision I made on my own,” Farmer said in a university statement. “We’ve got a great senior class, and we’re going to take care of business and bring some wins back to Georgia. We’re going to continue to work hard; it’s a good group of guys. I’m excited about who is all going to be on the team, and some of the freshmen have to make a decision about the draft, too. I talked to Curt and we know we can get better and want to have a great season for the University of Georgia.”
The Bulldogs had five signees selected in the draft, with three of them highly likely to sign professional contracts. Byron Buxton went second overall to the Minnesota Twins and Joe DeCarlo and Duane Underwood both went in the second round. Fellow signees Sean McLaughlin and David Gonzalez went in the 38th and 40th rounds, respectively.
Farmer hit .302 this spring with a team-high 41 RBIs and was second in the SEC with 19 doubles. Powell was sixth in the SEC with a team-best .355 batting average.
“I want to play pro ball in the future, and I was honored to be picked by the Yankees today,” Farmer said. “I just looked at what we’ve got coming back, and what we’ve got coming in, and it reminded me of my senior year at Marist. We made it to the state championship game in football and the final four in baseball, and I think our senior class at Georgia has that same mentality.”
9hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough