The Hoover High School baseball program has regularly produced college players in recent years, with two recent alumni making big moves over the summer.
Peyton Wilson, a candidate from Hoover in 2019, played two years at the University of Alabama before being selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals in July.
Wilson was with his family the night he was elected by the royals with the 66th overall election.
“It was surreal,” Wilson said. “It was good to have all my people there with me.”
After being drafted, Wilson was sent to the Arizona Complex League and played a dozen games there before ending the year with the Low-A Columbia Fireflies in South Carolina.
Wilson was eligible for the draft after two years in Alabama due to being 21 years old. In his second year, he started all 58 games and earned second-team All-SEC honors because of his game. He hit a .290 stroke average with nine home runs and 31 runs hitting, including a streak of 13 games. He also recorded 46 races on teams.
Wilson said he had little or no interest from professional scouts after his high school years, so his meteoric rise in a short time is largely due to playing college ball.
“If I did not go there for two years, I would not be in pro ball. You grow up a lot [in college]. You learn a lot about yourself as a player and a person, ”he said.
This low season, Wilson is looking forward to the opportunity to hone his skills, get stronger and fine-tune his swing. His initial experience – albeit a small sample size – of smaller league ball taught him what to expect, and he looks forward to the campaign in 2022 and hopefully continues to rise through the Royals organization.
One of Wilson’s teammates on Hoover’s state championship team in 2017 was Sonny DiChiara, a slugging first baseman who moved to Auburn over the summer.
DiChiara starred for three years at Samford and helped the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in 2021. As a rookie, he belted out 21 home runs, and in the spring he hit 18 homers to lead the Southern Conference. Last season, he started all 56 games and finished with 46 RBIs. But when coach Casey Dunn left Samford to take the job at UAB, DiChiara found his new home in Auburn.
“It’s a good change,” DiChiara said. “It’s very different when you go from a medium-sized to a large SEC school like this. I fit in and it’s going as well as I had thought. ”
DiChiara has two years of eligibility left, but another great season at Auburn that he had had at Samford and the MLB draft could be a realistic option for him. Either way, there is still plenty for him to work on with his game.
“Every year, it learns to shape your swing and learn what other teams will try to get you out with,” he said.
DiChiara joins Garrett Farquhar, a 2017 Hoover candidate, at Auburn. Farquhar is now a graduate student and hit .375 last spring for the Tigers. Brock Guffey, the top pitcher on the Bucs’ title team, is also beginning his senior season in Alabama. These three headline a few dozen former Bucs currently play in college ranks.