Georgia Baseball Kids Ready For Next Level

Bill Shanks takes a look at the top high school prospects from the state of Georgia.

REPRINTED FROM GEORGIA SPORTS MONTHLY – JUNE, 2005 ISSUE Visit GaSports.com for all the schedules and scores of their favorite high schools teams

Over the last several years, major league teams have pegged players like Chris Nelson, Jeremy Hermida, and Jeff Francoeur in the first round of the amateur draft. The selections represent the increase in talent and competition in the Peach State. Georgia is no longer just a football haven. Now baseball scouts, armed with their stopwatches and radar guns, spend hundreds of hours scouring the back roads of Georgia seeking talent.

The overall talent level is down a bit this year in Georgia, but that doesn't mean there aren't many talented players that will be drafted on June 7th and 8th. Here are just some of the kids that will have their Internet speakers turned up a bit waiting for their name and number to be called.

1. Miers Quigley – LHP – 6'4", 220 – Roswell High School in Roswell Quigley is a big reason Roswell has been high in the National rankings nearly all season. He's one of the best high school lefties in the country and projects as a first or second rounder. Despite some legal trouble last summer, Quigley has become a team leader and has impressed scouts with his competitiveness and ability. Any left-hander with his size is always going to be followed closely. The concern, however, is his fastball, which has been inconsistent at times. Earlier in the season he was in the 90-93 mile an hour range, but later in the season he dipped into the upper-80s. But the fact that he has shown the ability to top out in the 93-94 area is going to make him a lot of money.

2. Jonathan Egan – C – 6'5", 215 - Cross Creek High School in Hephzibah
A number of scouts have fallen in love with Egan's power. His defense is solid, but scouts think he might grow out of the position and become a first baseman. But for now, he's arguably one of the top three high school catchers in the country. His power is tremendous, and when teams see tall catchers with power, they salivate. The University of Georgia signee will probably skip college after he's drafted in the second or early part of the third round. Egan has been seen a lot by the scouts since he played in the talented East Cobb program, so a lot of teams have seen his impressive offensive potential.

3. Buster Posey – RHP / C – 6'1", 180 – Lee County High School in Leesburg
Perhaps the best two-way player in the state this season, Posey is a great student who has committed to Florida State. He could be a second or third round pick in the draft. While Quigley may have more value because of his size and being left-handed, Posey could be a bit more polished and therefore more attractive to certain scouts. Buster has shown great consistency this season, with terrific command of four pitches. His fastball usually sits in the 88-91 mph range, but he's topped out at 93 mph in some of the showcases. His main defensive attribute at shortstop is his arm, but his ability to hit is also appealing. But most scouts believe his future will be on the mound.

4. P.J. Phillips – SS – 6'3", 175 - Redan High School in Stone Mountain
Brother Brandon is a top prospect in the Indians' organization. P.J. has similar skills. He has very raw power, but there is no doubt his good bat speed projects well for the future. Phillips is also raw at shortstop, but the question is whether or not he's going to outgrow the position and possibly move to third base. He's a good athlete, although some have him as an average to below average runner. The right-handed hitter is committed to Georgia, but he'll probably be drafted in the third or fourth round and bypass college baseball.

5. Iain Sebastian – RHP / 1B – 6'4", 230 – Columbus High School in Columbus
Sebastian has perhaps helped his cause over the last few months than any other prospect. He performed well at the showcases he participated in, and he continues to prove that his future may be on the mound, despite his solid power from the left side of the plate. Iain throws a two-seam fastball that has been clocked as high as 96 mph, along with a decent change and a developing curve ball. His fastball is more effective in the 90-92 mph range, and the power-breaking ball has impressed the scouts. But with his size, the fastball could get even more consistent in the mid-90s range. Another UGA signee, Sebastian could go in the fourth round of the Amateur draft.

6. Chris Hicks – RHP – 6'4", 190 – Milton High School in Alpharetta
This right-hander moved into the Atlanta area from Missouri, and he instantly became an important member of Greg Robinson's Eagles' team. Hicks is a Georgia Tech signee, and Danny Hall might be lucky to see him on North Avenue. Scouts believe Hicks could go anywhere from the third to fifth round in the draft.

7. Trevor Pippen – 1B / OF – McIntosh High School in Peachtree City
The left-handed hitting Pippen was somewhat of an unknown earlier in the year, but scouts have since fallen in love with his smooth swing. Some have even compared Pippen's swing to Jeremy Hermida, a former Georgia prep star now in the Marlins' system. Pippen has also shown solid power. He might go in the fifth or sixth round.

8. Blake Nation – RHP – 6'8" - Starr's Mill High School in Fayetteville
Nicknamed "Big Body" by his teammates, the tall right-hander has suffered with his velocity a bit as his senior season progressed. He started out in the 90-93 mph range, but he was more consistent in the upper 80's later in the season. Nation also needs to refine his breaking ball, which is still very raw. The Georgia Southern signee projects anywhere from a sixth to eighth round pick.

9. Kieron Pope – OF – 6'2', 200 - East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg
Another University of Georgia signee, Pope is a great physical specimen that has tremendous raw power. His athleticism may have him higher on some teams' draft boards. Pope has a lot of tools, and the right-handed hitter could be drafted anywhere between the sixth and eighth rounds.

10. Brandon Monk – INF – 5'9", 180 - C / IF – LaGrange High School in LaGrange
The right-handed hitting Monk has good tools across the board and has decent power for a little guy. Scouts believe his power will develop as he gets more experience. He's played third base and second base, and some scouts like him better at third. The Auburn signee could be a good pick for a team somewhere between the eighth and tenth rounds.

Bill Shanks has a new book about baseball scouting and player development titled "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team." He can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com

Atlanta Dugout Top Stories