Bolles grad Hunter Barco selected by Pirates in 2nd round of MLB draft

Florida starting pitcher Hunter Barco (12) throws a pitch during an NCAA baseball game against Liberty on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough) (Gary McCullough, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bolles graduate and University of Florida left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco got the pro baseball call on Sunday night.

Barco was the 44th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft, becoming the third-highest pro baseball pick from Bolles. Only Chipper Jones (No. 1 in 1990) and DJ Stewart (No. 25 in 2015) are Bolles alums who have been picked higher.

Barco was the consensus top local player entering the draft, pegged as a prospect to land somewhere between 61 and 90.

The call came earlier than that for the Gators junior.

Barco was pitching as well as he has in Gainesville this year, posting a 1.41 ERA and 52 Ks in 38.1 innings pitched before injuring his ulnar collateral ligament. Barco underwent Tommy John surgery after that, an injury that is likely to keep him in recovery the remainder of the year.

In college, Barco was 17-5 with 189 Ks in 152.2 IP. At Bolles, Barco was one of the best high school arms in area history, a two-time player of the year and selection on the News4JAX All-25 team honoring the best players of the past 25 years. He never lost a playoff game and led the Bulldogs to back-to-back state championships.

Barco was a 24th-round draft pick of the Mets in 2019 but opted to attend Florida instead.

Barco was the second Florida player drafted Sunday. Outfielder Sterlin Thompson was the 31st overall pick by the Rockies. Gators outfielder Jud Fabian went at No. 67 to the Orioles. Florida State also had a player selected, pitcher Parker Messick at No. 54 to Cleveland.

The draft continues with rounds 3-10 on Monday and 11-20 on Tuesday.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.