For a long time, the Braves were widely known to be very active in the state of Georgia in terms of plucking talent for the organization. This made all the sense in the world as the team was close by so it was easy to monitor such players over a long period of time without having to travel far to do so. When a kid from Georgia was playing well, it was just assumed that the Braves would at least have some of the best information on the kid. One need only look at guys like Jeff Francoeur and Jason Heyward as examples here.
In recent years, some of that preference for Georgia-grown talent has waned a bit just due to the increased availability of information out there in the world and other teams just getting better at scouting guys in the state, but the Braves have still be active here. Drew Waters and Michael Harris, for example, are both highly rated prospects in their own right and they came from the Braves’ back yard.
With that in mind, here are some of the top 2021 MLB Draft prospects from the state of Georgia. Some of these guys currently play in the state while a few of them have some connections to the state even though they may have moved on elsewhere to play in college.
Kumar Rocker - RHP, Vanderbilt
Before Kumar Rocker went on to Vanderbilt to become an integral part of their rotation that made two deep runs in the College World Series, he went to North Oconee High School here in Georgia and was a highly rated draft prospect coming out of high school. He did make it to campus and seems like a lock to be taken in the top 10 of this year’s draft, so the Braves are EXTREMELY unlikely to get a shot at him.
Brady House - SS, Winder-Barrow HS
There are several uber-talented prep shortstops in this class and Brady House out of Winder, GA may have the most power of all of them. House may end up as a third baseman down the line, but he also may have the greatest offensive upside in the 2021 draft. The Tennessee-commit won’t make it to campus as he has been mentioned as a potential top 5 pick for teams looking to cut a deal to save money for future rounds in the draft, so the Braves won’t get a chance at him, either.
Harry Ford - C, North Cobb HS
Hailing from Kennesaw, GA, Harry Ford is likely to be the fastest runner amongst catchers that you have ever seen. He has a track record of hitting well and his otherworldly athleticism has teams already considering a position change for him as he has seen time around the field in high school. He will likely be gone when the Braves draft at #24, but there is a slim chance he makes it to them.
Bubba Chandler - SS/RHP, North Oconee HS
Joining Rocker as an alumni of North Oconee High School in Bogart, GA, Bubba Chandler is a guy that has big-time athleticism and who has supporters as both a pitcher and as a shortstop at the next level. This is a guy that the Braves have already been connected to and if he makes it to the Braves’ pick, he seems like a prime candidate to get snagged. The problem is two-fold in that he doesn’t seem super likely to make it to them and there is also his commitment to Clemson to play quarterback to contend with.
Jonathan Cannon - RHP, Georgia
The first UGA product on the list is Jonathan Cannon who features a fastball that averages in the low to mid-90’s but can go as high as 96-97 if need be, a good changeup, and a couple of breaking balls that range from meh to decent. His 6’6 frame does give one cause to dream, though, and its likely he gets taken early on day two of the draft.
Ryan Bliss - SS, Auburn
Yes, yes...I know that Auburn is not in the state of Georgia, but before he made it to Auburn’s campus, Ryan Bliss came from Troup County High School. Bliss is a weird profile as he has a lot of the attributes you want defensively from a shortstop, but has an arm that may necessitate a need a move to second and is a hit over power guy in the eyes of a lot of scouts even though he did hit for some power in college. He’ll get picked on day two, but how high will depend on how much a team buys into his college numbers and whether they think he can stick at short.
Dylan Ross - RHP, Northwest Florida State JC
Before heading to junior college and becoming one of the best JuCo prospects in the 2021 draft, Dylan Ross played high school ball at Georgia Premier Academy in Statesboro, GA. Ross features a high octane fastball that touches triple digits to go along with a split and a slider that both have believers. Another guy that should go in the first few rounds of day two, but he does have a UGA commitment to fall back on if he doesn’t go high enough.
Michael Braswell - SS, Campbell HS
He tends to get overshadowed by the names in this class out of the state, but Michael Braswell has been a consistent two-way performer for Campbell High School out of Smyrna. He seems to a guy who is greater than the sum of his parts as a hitter and who definitely has the arm strength to stick at short. He does possess a low-90’s fastball on the mound, but it seems to be true that if he makes it to the pros in this draft, it will be as a shortstop.
Coleman Willis - RHP, Houston Co. HS
Hailing from the Warner Robins area, Coleman Willis is a large-framed right-handed pitcher who has seen his stuff tick up enough this year to potentially get drafted early on day two. He possesses a projectable fastball that is already approaching the mid-90’s and a power breaking ball. His command of his offerings as he fills out is the biggest question, but he is a kid you can dream on. He won’t be a slam dunk sign as he has a UGA commitment to consider, but it is at least possible it could happen now after a strong spring.
Brant Hurter - LHP, Georgia Tech
The first Georgia Tech player on this list is lefty Brant Hurter who possesses a deceptive fastball and sweeping slider, but also comes with some concerns. There are already scouts who think that he is going to have to be a reliever as a pro and he already has a Tommy John surgery on his record. That said, he has performed well as a starter for Tech and if the changeup improves, he could be an interesting back of the rotation type.
Logan Cerny - OF, Troy
Before heading to Troy, Logan Cerny was a standout player for Parkview High School in the Peach State. Cerny converted to the outfield from catcher in college, but teams seem to think he will be a good defender out there. He is a legit runner and possesses real power, but there are real hit tool concerns with him especially when you factor in that he wasn’t up against the best of competition.
Carter Holton - LHP, Benedictine HS
Another prep arm draft prospect, this one from the Savannah area, Carter Holton possesses a low to mid-90’s fastball, a decent breaking ball, and a meh changeup that all play up because the guy knows how to attack hitters and his situational use of his arsenal. The biggest issue is his Vanderbilt commitment which are notoriously difficult to get guys to break especially when big money isn’t on the table.
Ryan Spikes - SS, Parkview HS
Another Parkview High School alumni, Ryan Spikes does not have the size you would expect from a guy with his tools at 5’9, but he can hit, he hits the ball hard, and he has a chance to stick at short. There is a decent chance he makes it to the pros if he is picked early enough on day two, but if not, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him make it to Tennessee to play college ball.
Luke Waddell - SS, Georgia Tech
Another Georgia Tech player for the list, Luke Waddell is another guy who plays better than his tools would indicate. He has a track record of hitting at a high level and can play anywhere in the infield defensively. He also does not strike out much at all which is always a good thing. That said, he will be 23 on draft day and has a pretty limited ceiling with more than one outlet thinking that he may be best suited as a utility infielder.
Ryan Webb - LHP, Georgia
Finally, we have another UGA pitcher in Ryan Webb who has four pitches including a fastball that reaches in the mid-90’s and a good changeup that he loves to throw. That said, he didn’t get to throw much this spring due to getting COVID followed by an elbow injury that cut his season short. Ultimately, how high he goes will be determined by his medicals more than anything.