Landon Sims, a South Forsyth Class of 2019 graduate, was selected No. 34 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the MLB draft Sunday night.
According to baseball-reference.com, Sims — a key member of Mississippi State's 2021 national championship team — became at least the 10th graduate of a Forsyth County high school to be selected in an MLB draft and the highest pick ever from South Forsyth.
The No. 44 prospect on MLB.com, Sims lasted through the first round and the compensatory picks before being snatched up by Arizona in the competitive balance round A portion of the draft.
Sims will join Lambert graduate Seth Beer in the Diamondbacks organization. Beer, who was taken 28th overall in 2018, is the only Forsyth County player drafted higher than Sims.
Per the website, Sims is the third War Eagles player taken in the draft. Outfielder Brian Adams was tabbed in the 45th round by Cincinnati his senior season in 2009 and was eventually an eighth-round pick out of Kentucky by San Diego in 2012. Jake Drehoff, a Southern Miss pitcher after graduating from South Forsyth, had his name called by Boston in the 12th round of the 2013 draft.
Although not drafted, South Forsyth boasts one of the county's few players to reach the majors in Chris Rowley. The West Point alum pitched for Toronto in parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
If Sims signs, he will become the fifth current Forsyth product in the minor leagues, joining North Forsyth's Dakota Chalmers (L.A. Dodgers organization), Forsyth Central's Ethan Hankins (Cleveland Guardians), and Lambert's Beer and Kyle McCann (Oakland Athletics).
Sims could have been in position to become the highest draft pick ever from the county. However, an elbow injury suffered in his third appearance for the Bulldogs this spring ended his season, led to Tommy John surgery in March and capped his draft stock.
The 21-year-old worked exclusively out of the bullpen his first two years in Starkville. In 2020, he made seven appearances before the season ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished the year 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA.
Sims, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 227 pounds, became the Bulldogs closer during their national title-winning 2021 season. The right-hander went 5-0 with 13 saves and a 1.44 ERA. He struck out 100 batters in just 56 1/3 innings.
During his abbreviated 2022 campaign, when Mississippi State attempted to convert him back into a starting pitcher, Sims opened up each of the team's first three series. He struck out 13 batters over seven innings against Long Beach State, and then followed that up with four punchouts in five frames versus Northern Kentucky. Despite allowing just one earned run in each outing, Sims' record sat at 0-2 on the season.
In his third start against Tulane, Sims appeared well on his way to ending that unlucky run. He retired each of the first 11 batters of the game, including a whopping 10 via strikeout. But at that point, he injured his elbow and didn't pitch again the rest of the season.
Even if he signs, Sims won't pitch at all in pro baseball in 2022. Given the timing of his surgery, a return to pitching during 2023 would seem to be extremely likely.