Prep Baseball Report

Inside the Georgia Rankings: 2022 Risers and Newcomers

Phil Kerber
PBR Georgia

Our coverage of the 2022 Georgia Rankings continues. We started our coverage with an in-depth look at the top-10 prospects in the class, CLICK HERE to view. Today, we will look at prospects who saw their stock rise, and those who burst onto the scene in our first edition of the Georgia Class of 2022 Rankings.

Sitting on the outside looking in at the top-10 at No. 11 is LHP Austin Cantrell (Lanier). We got our first look at Cantrell down in West Palm Beach last fall when National Crosschecker Shooter Hunt had eyes on him. Hunt came away impressed with Cantrell’s projectable build, quick arm and the life on his fastball which worked 80-83 at the time. Now 10 months later, Cantrell has begun to fill out his frame and has seen a significant jump in velocity, touching 87 mph this summer.

Austin Cantrell, (10/19/18)

Sticking with pitchers, a couple of right-handed pitchers jostle for a position in the teens as RHP William Joyner (Lowndes), RHP/OF Harrison Simmons (Appling County), RHP Luke Fernandez (West Forsyth) and RHP/OF Kameron Douglas (Woodstock) all rank in succession from No. 13 to No. 16. 

Simmons, a member of Team Georgia at the 2019 Future Games, is a young, good bodied righty from South Georgia. He has seen his fastball get up into the upper 80s, but worked mostly 83-84 at the Future Games. Simmons shows feel to spin the baseball also and as he learns to use his lower
half, look for even more velocity.

Harrison Simmons, PBR Future Games (7/31/19)

As for Fernandez, he already possesses a strong frame with room for further molding at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds. First seen by our North Florida Scouting Director, Phil Kerber, in a one inning stint against Escambia High School in Pensacola, FL, Fernandez made quick work of things to close out the game, sitting 82-84 with good shape to his breaking ball. It came to no one’s surprise in June, when Fernandez stepped on the mound at the LakePoint Classic, that he was comfortably sitting 84-86, touching 87 mph. With his size and frame, look for Fernandez to continue to gain velo as he develops his 12/6 breaker.

Luke Fernandez, LakePoint Classic (6/13/19)

Two more members of Team Georgia’s inaugural Future Games team make the list at No. 19 1B Jonathan Jaime (Brookwood) and No. 21 C Grayson Taylor (North Paulding). Both left-handed hitters, Jaime and Taylor will both be coveted prospects at the next level due, in part, to their smooth swings. Jaime stood out offensively all week long at the Future Games for Team Georgia, when he led the team in quality at-bats and showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He was unfazed by velocity and proved once more, that hitters, hit. Although Taylor struggled through injury at the Future Games, his reputation preceded him as one of the top left-handed bats in the state.

Jonathan Jaime, PBR Future Games (7/31/19)

OF Stan Zagrodnik (Buford) makes it four Wolves ranked inside the top-25 as he slots in at No. 23 (joining No. 1 RHP Dylan Lesko, No. 4 RHP/OF Riley Stanford and No. 10 UTL Jackson Gaspard). Zagrodnik burst onto our radar at the National Program Invitational In June. Equipped with quick hands and a strong, athletic 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame, Zagrodnik showed the ability to drive the ball with ease. Still physically maturing, he is just scratching the surface of his power potential and should
be a feared hitter for years to come.

Stan Zagrodnik, National Program Invitational (6/22/19)

Similar to Zagrodnik in his offensive abilities, OF Pershaun Fann (Colquitt County) comes in at No. 32. Fann made his first impression at the PBR National Championships in July when he showcased his talent. With a simple load, he showed the ability to consistently be on time and put the ball in play with authority. He also proved to be an advanced defender in center, running down balls in the gap and showing off his left- handed arm on a runner. With thick shoulders and hips, he’s going to continue to add strength to his frame and be a sought after prospect.

Pershaun Fann, PBR National Championship (7/24/19)

A trio of athletic hitting middle infielders to keep an eye on in the future are the left-handed hitting No. 33 Brody Swader (Dade County) and the two right-handed hitters, No. 39 SS De’yon Cannon (Grayson and No. 48 Cannon Whatley (Colquitt County). Swader was a must-see prospect at PBR Georiga Showdown in early June. A do-it all type, Swader generates hard contact out of the leadoff spot, routinely making himself a difficult out for even the highest of caliber pitchers. He then mans the infield like a general, able to make plays to both sides with good range. At 6-foot, 150-pounds, Swader is just now starting to develop strength in his frame.

When we talk about the raw power of prospects in this class, we would be remiss if we did not include No. 46 OF/3B Kenskey Thomas (Sequoyah) and No. 47 3B/OF Blair Barnes (Grayson) in the conversation. Both prospects caught our eye this summer at LakePoint,  where they made multiple appearances, for the sheer power they exhibited at the plate. With similar builds at 5-foot-10, 185-pounds and 6-foot, 180-pounds, respectively, Thomas and Barnes take power approaches at the
plate, looking to squeeze all the juice from their frames and drive the ball where it is pitched.

Kenskey Thomas, National Program Invitational (6/22/19)

Blair Barnes, LakePoint Classic (6/15/19)

No. 49 RHP Nolan Sliver (Ola) made a real name for himself this summer at LakePoint as he came out and time and time again and performed. An ultra-projectable 6-foot-2, 145-pounds, physically Sliver is a blank slate with gains to be made all areas of his frame. Sliver’s quick, clean arm action immediately caught our eye. Pitching in the low 80s with his fastball currently, Sliver knows how to spin it and has good feel for his breaker. 

Nolan Sliver, PBR GA Showdown (6/7/19)

On Monday, we will take a dive into the final third of our rankings in addition to those who just missed out.

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