Power 25 HS Preview: #9 North Paulding

PBR Georgia Staff
Justin Goetz

The 2023 Georgia high school baseball season is less than a month away. With the season getting pushed up one week the coaches and players have an extra week to prepare for opening day. Will it be sunny and 75? Or below freezing for opening day? The Georgia weather is unpredictable, just like trying to predict who will come out on top of each classification. The talent in the State of Georgia continues to be one of the best in the country. Some regions have a fresh new look, and some region foes will continue to battle for that top spot to earn the best road to the state championship.

We will begin to preview our Power 25 rankings each day until the season begins. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each GHSA classification as well as a Power 25. Be sure to follow PBR Georgia on twitter for live action each week, as our staff travels throughout the state to cover baseball in the great state of Georgia.

High School Name: North Paulding

Coach’s Name: Matt Richardson

Classification: 7A

2022 Record: 15-15

Region: 3-7A

No. of Returning Starters: 9

Team Strengths: Upperclass Depth/Talent

Top Returning Players:

Top 2024 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The nucleus of this team is centered around 4 D1 commits, with serious depth in a total of 8 college bound players (more to come). It all starts with pitching scientist ‘23 LHP Jake Hembree, who has ++ pitchability and an advanced 4 pitch arsenal. Few have the feel for both pronation/supination he has, and he uses it to toy with hitters. He can scramble hitters' minds by pitching backwards, painting 3 different offspeed pitches in a row on either edge. This is extremely rare to see in a HS arm, and it plays up his 88-90 T91 FB with late tail. His mid 70’s CB flashes plus, 80-82 CH flashes A/AVG often, and the sweeping 78-80 SL flashes AVG. Yes, that’s 3 MLB quality offspeed pitches before leaving HS. Following Jake on this star studded roster is flame throwing ‘24 RHP Deshawn Morgan. This 2022 Future Gamer has one of the quickest arms in the state regardless of class. This high level athlete has perfect posture & balance as he works down the mound, and his electric 89-91 FB (bore) will immediately jump as he develops a lead leg block. His mid 70’s SLV is high spin in the 2600 range and rotates like the planet Jupiter, flashing 2 plane depth. We’ve seen more of a SL from him too, but can see him taking advantage of his ability to spin with two different breaking balls in the future. He has plenty of athleticism to do it. The key to this team is undoubtedly backstop ‘24 Cayden Sheffield, who has the versatility winning teams can build around. He’s got an explosive, well paced swing and does regular damage to the pull side. Having his bat is huge for run production. Defensively, he’s extremely advanced - Patience & strong hands as a receiver, lateral agility, quick transfer, and strong accurate arm lend him regular pop times in the low to mid 1.9’s. He’ll also be an important arm for the Wolfpack, with an upper 80’s FB and two solid offspeed pitches (CB, CH).

Jake Hembree LHP / OF / North Paulding, GA / 2023


DeShawn Morgan RHP / North Paulding, GA / 2024


Cayden Sheffield C / RHP / North Paulding, GA / 2024

They have yet another high pitchability arm in Western Carolina ‘23 RHP Davis Budd. His live running FB (85-88) regularly stings the hands of RHH arm side, but maintains that run glove side where he can freeze LHH. He has two different breaking balls (CB 74-76 consistent vertical shape, 76-79 SL sweep) that he can use in a multitude of ways. The heavy upper 70’s CH is an equal weapon! As the depth seemingly never ends, they also have high ceiling ‘24 RHP Caden Hewitt. His extremely live mid-upper 80’s FB darts across the zone with a sharp run+sink combo, and projects plus life. His low 70’s KCB is a weapon with 11-5 shape and depth. They have a serious power threat in beastly ‘23 1B Cameron Strader, who had many impact barrels in 2022 at LakePoint. This team has seemingly endless depth (Greer, Doyle, Epstein) and is built for a real run at the State Championship in 7A. 

Davis Budd RHP / 1B / North Paulding , GA / 2023


Caden Hewitt RHP / RHP / North Paulding , GA / 2024


Cameron Strader 1B / LHP / North Paulding , GA / 2023


Payton Doyle MIF / RHP / North Paulding , GA / 2023


Jackson Greer RHP / 3B / North Paulding , GA / 2023