Another year, another run of Georgia talent primed for success in the pros. The Peach State has given baseball the likes of Buster Posey, Jason Heyward, Adam Wainwright, Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and many, many more. Dating back to 2007, former Georgia high schoolers have peppered the draft in the first round. Heyward was selected 14th overall eight years ago.
In 2008, Tim Beckham out of Griffin High School was the No. 1 overall pick to the Tampa Bay Rays. He was followed by Buster Posey at No. 5 (FSU via Lee County), Gordon Beckham at No. 8 (UGA via Westminster) and Ethan Martin at No. 15 from Stephens County High School.
2009 saw Donavan Tate go third overall to the Padres after a prestigious prep career at Cartersville while Zack Wheeler of East Paulding was nabbed at No. 6 by the Giants.
Delino DeShields (Woodward Academy) went No. 8 to Houston and was followed by Jake Skole (Blessed Trinity), Kaleb Cowart (Cook), Cam Bedrosian (East Coweta) and Chevy Clarke (Marietta) in the 2010 edition of the MLB First-Year Players Draft.
Byron Buxton, who just made his MLB debut on Sunday, was the second overall selection in the 2012 draft out of Appling County. Lucas Sims (Brookwood) and James Ramsey (FSU via Wesleyan) followed Buxton at picks 21 and 23.
Clint Frazier of Loganville led the way for a trio of Georgians in the 2013 draft. Frazier was selected fifth overall while Austin Meadows (Grayson) landed at No. 9 and was followed by Travis Demeritte (Winder-Barrow) at No. 30.
Last year Max Pentecost (Winder-Barrow) led Kennesaw State to the College World Series and was drafted 11th by the Toronto Blue Jays. Michael Chavis (Sprayberry) was scooped up at 26 by the Red Sox.
Dansby Swanson is next in the long list of Georgia prep stars to get drafted highly. Swanson was a standout at Marietta High School before being selected first overall this year by the Diamondbacks after a great two seasons at Vanderbilt after an injury plagued freshman campaign. The shortstop stole the show as he won Most Outstanding Player honors at the College World Series when he helped the Commodores to their first ever championship.
Swanson has hit .350 with 15 homeruns, 62 RBIs and 16 stolen bases this season. His makeup and work ethic has had scouts raving about him since his breakout season in 2014. After hitting three homers a year ago, Swanson’s recent power surge all but solidified his position as the top prospect in the draft. Not only does he make contact at a high clip, his new found power allows him to spray balls into the gaps and even launch some into the seats.
Three other former Georgia high schoolers achieved their dreams of being drafted in the first round. Cornelius Randolph followed Tim Beckham as the next shortstop from Griffin High School to be drafted in the first round. Randolph went No. 10 to the Phillies and was slated to play at Clemson next year. He has an advanced bat and plate discipline beyond his years which encourages scouts that he can move up the ranks quickly.
Tyler Stephenson from Kennesaw Mountain went 11th overall to the Cincinnati Reds and was the first catcher selected in the draft. At 6-foot-4 225 pounds, Stephenson isn’t the prototypical catcher. He is a very fluid athlete with raw power potential and the ability control the game from behind the plate. Stephenson was originally pegged as a pitcher before the leaps and bounds he has made as a backstop in the past year.
Tennessee junior Christin Stewart went 34th overall to Detroit. The former Providence Christian Academy outfielder hit 15 homeruns with 47 RBIs and a .311 batting average this year.
Possibly the biggest steal of the draft went 37th to Houston. Daz Cameron, the AJC’s Baseball Athlete of the Year and son of former LaGrange star and MLB All-Star/Gold Glover Mike Cameron, was a consensus top 10 talent but dropped all the way to the compensation round due to signability. The Florida State signee is a great value pick for the Astros if he decides to sign.