When Will Childers left his March 8 start at SRP Park with an injury, it seemed like another setback for the University of Georgia’s second redshirt student.
Now that the 2022 MLB Draft has passed, another door has opened for the right-hander as he signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday. With a professional baseball career on the horizon, Childers feels a sense of relief.
“We kind of had an idea at the end of the draft, I could have been taken later, maybe in free agency. It happened pretty quickly,” he said. “I was with my uncle and my dad and I was super happy that the Brewers gave me my chance. They seemed adamant and excited too, so I was really really excited and it felt like a big stress relief on my shoulders. It was a great time that I was able to spend with my family.
It’s a milestone in a long journey for Childers, who chose Georgia over a 30th-round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 draft. He was a dominant force at Lakeside, where he s stands out on the football field and the baseball field. Ultimately, choosing baseball, he racked up 58 strikeouts in just 40.2 innings as a senior.
He burst onto the scene at Georgia, pitching 11.1 innings with a 0.79 ERA on his way to an All-American Freshman nod. He missed his sophomore season (which he donned in a redshirt) and pitched just one inning for the Bulldogs in 2022.
After: Here’s how this Greenbrier Middle School baseball player earned a spot on Team USA
Making the decision to switch to affiliate baseball is a way to wipe the slate clean and focus on your ultimate goal: reaching the major leagues.
“I think that’s actually a good way to put it: a new slate. Go there and see new faces in a different place and get my feet out from under me. I’m ready to settle down and make a good name for myself (for myself),” he said.
“Talking to my dad and my uncle, you know, and professional ball is always something I’ve wanted to do and that’s been my ultimate goal ever since I played baseball as a kid. Since my injury, again, last March felt like the best time to get on protein and continue my rehab and take the next step.
If the Brewers and the Childers name ring a bell, it’s no coincidence. Milwaukee drafted Will’s father, Matt, in 1997 out of Westside High School. He made his major league debut with the Brewers in 2002 and reappeared in 2003 with the Atlanta Braves.
“It was really good to be the same organization for both of us to start our professional careers,” he said. “It’s pretty special, so I’m super grateful for that.”
Will’s uncle Terry also helped Georgia win a College World Series title in 1990 before spending three seasons with the New York Mets organization. His other uncle, Jason, pitched at Kennesaw State and reached the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006.
If there was a Childers family business, it would be baseball. It also provides an important resource for Will to lean on during his baseball career.
“It really means the world. I don’t know if I would be where I am today without my dad and my uncles,” he said. “Just the fact that they’re playing and going through things similar to what I’ve been through has meant the world to me and helped me a lot. They’ve helped me stay stable and not get too anxious and to be where my feet are. They have helped me immensely throughout this process.
Childers is scheduled to report to the Brewers complex in Arizona this weekend to continue his rehab and begin his professional career.