The state of Georgia is well known for producing a lot of baseball talent and the Braves are well-known to draft from that crop of talent with regularity. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this year’s draft class for college and prep players from the Peach State.
Emerson Hancock, RHP, Georgia - Top 5 prospect in the draft with four pitches that should be above average or better.
Cole Wilcox, RHP, Georgia - Was considered a 1st round talent out of HS. Hasn’t developed much over 3 years, but his change-up has improved to be an above average pitch. Coupling that with a fastball that sits in the mid to high 90’s and an above average to plus slider, you can see why he’s still a 1st round talent. All that’s really holding him back is the overall control.
Cole Wilcox, Filthy 95mph and 96mph Two Seamers. pic.twitter.com/tmwTrUPvzR— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 15, 2020
Ryan Webb, LHP, Georgia - Has come out of the pen the past two seasons for Georgia. His fastball sits low 90’s, and has a curveball that flashes plus. Webb did add a slider, so with his change-up he does have a four pitch mix. A team drafting Webb could give him a shot at starting. He is a bit undersized being listed at 6’1, so it remains to be seen if he can hold up starting.
C.J. Smith, LHP, Georgia - He’s a soft tosser but keeps his 2 seamer low to get ground balls. His curveball is an above average pitch and has a solid change-up.
Tucker Bradley, OF, Georgia - I love me some Tucker Bradley. He’s a redshirt junior, as he missed much of last year with a shoulder injury diving for a ball. He’s likely going to be taken after the 5th round, but could be a bit of a steal as he hits lasers everywhere. Even his outs are loud. He’s more of an average runner, but he’s very smart on the bases (8 steals in 18 games). Since he’s as old as most seniors, I think he would sign if a team wants him.
Cam Shepherd, SS, Georgia - Fringy tools. Has underperformed with the bat, but hasn’t always had luck on his side.
Riley King, 3B/OF, Georgia - Drafted by the Braves in the 26th round last year. It’ll be interesting if the Braves try to get him after the 5th round. Had a real solid 2019, but was off to a very slow start in 2020 (just 18 games). Plays good defense at 3B and can play multiple positions. Having that positional flexibility is something the Braves have shown a lot of interest in recently.
Ben Anderson, OF, Georgia - Just littered the outfield his Freshman season at Furman hitting .368. He had to sit out 2019 due to transfer rules, but was hitting .431 through 18 games with Georgia. Not much power and rode a very high BABIP, but he has impressive bat to ball skills and elite walk rates. Above average speed.
Elian Merejo, C, Georgia State - Senior catcher. Doesn’t show much hitting ability but does have some pop. Was hitting over .400 through 18 games, so definitely got off to a hot start.
What a start! On 2020 Opening Day vs. 2019 NCAA team Cincinnati, Elian Merejo had 3 extra base hits, 3 RBI, 3 runs, including walk-off winning run. The #SunBelt Player of Week was 7-11 with 2 HR, 7 RBI for the weekend.#OurCity | #MondayMemories pic.twitter.com/5OB3T9IEJg— GSU Baseball (@GaStateBaseball) May 25, 2020
Jordan Jackson, RHP, Georgia Southern - 6’4 200 lb right hand pitcher. Was posting a .158 BAA in four starts with Georgia Southern before the season stopped. Spent two seasons in JUCO before transferring and pitched very well for SMC in 2019. I’ve only seen a little tape and looked to have a pretty decent off speed pitch. Couldn’t find any data on his pitches though.
Brant Hurter, LHP, Georgia Tech - After just 10 games, Hurter went down with an elbow injury and got TJS in 2019. He was already sitting out 2020, so he didn’t miss much. When healthy he has a pretty good fastball/slider combo. Has really good size at 6’6 and 250 lbs. He’s most likely returning to school.
Brant Hurter, Back Foot Slider (with motion tail). pic.twitter.com/WaycJOuJyr— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 31, 2019
Andy Archer, RHP, Georgia Tech - Missed 2019 with an elbow injury, but didn’t have TJS. Archer was posting a career best in K-rate before the season stopped. He’s 6’4 and 220 lbs, so he’s got the body to pitch a good amount of innings. His fastball sits low to mid 90’s with an above average change-up. The curve is still a work in progress. I’m interesting to see if he’s willing to sign after the 5th round or return to school and prove he’s past the elbow injury.
Baron Radcliff, 1B, Georgia Tech - He’s got power. That’s really about it. He doesn’t make enough contact (about a 30% K-rate) let alone good contact to be seen as much of a prospect. But some team might look at him being 6’4 and 230 lbs and think he’s just a tweak or two away from unlocking some potential with the bat. I have my doubts about the bat though.
Luke Waddell, SS/2B, Georgia Tech - Draft eligible last year as a sophomore and went in the 32nd round by the Diamondbacks. Currently a plus runner and has a decent enough arm. Probably has an average bat, but zero power.
Michael Guldberg, OF, Georgia Tech - He’s carried a very high batting average since he arrived on campus and has a great eye at the plate. There’s little to no power in the bat. He has some speed, but the arm is below average. He’s going to have to stick in CF, but if his speed isn’t good enough there, he might have to shift to 2B. If he hits, a team will find some place to put him.
Brandon Michie, IF/OF, Mercer - I’ve had a soft spot for Michie for a few years now, but the Australian is already 23. If he’s signed, it’d be after the 5th round. He’s hit at a high level when he’s on the field, but he’s missed a ton of time with injuries and suspensions. Career .337 hitter with an 1.068 OPS.
Oscar Serratos, 3B, Young Harris (DII) - Began career at Georgia Tech but was dismissed from the team his Sophomore year and ended up at DII school Young Harris. Showed good ability his freshman year at Tech, but never really developed the bat after that. Was hitting .259 with 3 home runs through 18 games this season. Has a strong arm.
Jordan Walker, 3B, Decatur HS - Best prep player in Georgia, full stop. Jordan is a 6’5, 220 lbs power hitter, but is more athletic than you would think. Has a good chance to go in the 1st round with maybe a small chance he makes it to Duke.
Jordan Walker is at the top of a tough draft demographic: The righthanded hitting, high school corner infielder.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 27, 2020
But his power potential has MLB teams intrigued.
Walker is on our list of rising MLB Draft prospects: https://t.co/zCum5zXTXn pic.twitter.com/HMYjuaKwSD
Ty Floyd, RHP, Rockmart HS - LSU commit sits low 90’s and has a curveball and change-up. Nothing really flashes better than average right now.
Corey Collins, C, North Gwinnett HS - Top 100 prospect with a Georgia commit. Has a good amount of power from his strong 6’3 frame.
Marquis Grissom Jr, RHP, Counterpane HS - Low 90’s fastball with a curve and splitter. Most likely making it to Georgia Tech. The name may be familiar to you.
Jackson Phipps, LHP, East Paulding HS - 6’5 with a lot of projection to his current 205 lb frame. Sits high 80’s to low 90’s with a slider and change. South Carolina commit.
Will Sanders, RHP, Woodward Academy - Another projectable pitcher standing at 6’6 and just 190 lbs. Currently tops out at 92 and pairs it with a curve and change. South Carolina commit.
Jaden Woods, LHP, Houston County HS - 6’2 Georgia commit has a fastball that tops out at 93 with a slider and change-up. Change-up is his best secondary flashing above average.
Alek Boychuk, C, Mill Creek HS - Offensive minded catcher with above average arm. South Carolina commit.
Brady Moore, SS, Pickens HS - Plus arm with intriguing bat. Should stick at SS. Coastal Carolina commit.
Fernando Gonzalez, C, North Cobb Christian - Defense first catcher with plus arm and possibly plus defense. Georgia commit.
Harold Coll, SS, Georgia Premier Academy - Same school that Daniel Espino went to. Should be a defensive stud, but has been working hard with the bat. Maybe 50/50 to sign depending on where he’s drafted. North Carolina commit.
I have seen one guy go 100 exit velo, 100 pull down velo our 2022 Diego Guevara, until now yesterday Harold Coll went 101 off the tee and today 102 from SS. He went 97,98,98,99,99,102 Getting stronger every day. @CarlosACollazo @jimcallisMLB @_JeremyBooth @kyler416 pic.twitter.com/ZLJH4ZwwaN— GeorgiaPremierSox (@premier_sox) May 14, 2020
Jaylen Paden, RHP/SS, Decatur HS - Teammate of Jordan Walker. Two way player in HS with a fastball that tops out around 92 with a slider and change. Has the arm for SS. Georgia Southern commit.
Brad Grenkoski, RHP/OF, Kell HS - Another possible two way player. His arm is currently his best tool. Has been up to 92 on the mound. He’s listed at 6’4 and 200 lbs and does have some untapped power ability. Georgia Tech commit.
Josh Shuler, OF, North Gwinnett HS - Has some athleticism and is an above average runner with an average arm. Bat is a work in progress but has shown a good eye at the plate with some bat to ball skills. South Carolina commit.
Shep Hancock, RHP/1B, Trinity Christian HS - Up to 93 on the mound with a 12-6 curve. He’s big and physical at 6’3 and 225 lbs. Might not have much projection left. Has power if he stays a two way player, but is most likely just a first baseman. Mercer commit.
Gino Groover, 2B, Walker HS - Stands 6’3, but is a bit on the skinny side. Good bat speed. UNC Charlotte commit.