Prep Baseball Report

Georgia 2024 Rankings: Radiant Risers

Justin Goetz
PBR Georgia Assistant Scouting Director

There are dozens of risers in the 2024 class, but they will all get their shine in different tweets and articles. The great thing about our 2024 class is the depth and projection of our vast list. We truly believe there are handfuls of players in the 50-150 range of our rankings who can have great careers. 

It’s exciting that we’ll be releasing 4 rankings updates on each class per year, to give more credit players hard work and improvements. We’ll be the first ones to tell you, rankings aren’t the end all be all and there are big changes every update. Players in this state can bloom well after high school (Chandler Simpson, Nick Sandlin). 

With that being said, weeks of hard work & research goes into these rankings. We always have our eyes on the most likely players to make the next move up. There are players in the 50’s - 60’s that can jump into the top 20 with one small improvement to their game. Here are the fastest risers in our 2024 class.

Gaven Smith LHP / Lee County / 2024
Unranked to No. 37
Uncommitted. 6 foot 4, 160 pounds. This athletic gunslinger is well on his way to the moon ceiling wise. Not only is he one of the most projectable arms in the class, he also has one of the best deliveries. Delivery is one of the first things we look for when evaluating arms at PBR Georgia - it projects a pitcher to have consistent explosiveness & velocity, command, pitch movement, arm health and the best athletes typically have the best deliveries. Arm action is a huge part of it, and Smith is at the top of the list in that department as well. It’s a clean, mid depth AA that creates a full circle and builds gradual momentum. His impressive tempo helps the arm time up with consistent intent, and his compactness from start to finish helps him store energy & power from start to finish. Gaven’s patience over the rubber allows his arm to stay connected to the backside in stride, firing with his largest muscles instead of all alone. To be able to time up his delivery and consistently throw strikes at his height/weight shows how unbelievably athletic he is. Look for his mid 80’s T87 FB with nasty sink+tail to make another big jump in the next year! His CB is another big reason he’s moved up our rankings so fast, with much tighter rotation and consistent shape his last 2 outings at LakePoint. His ability to throw the pitch backdoor to RHH with consistent life down in the zone at Future Games was extremely impressive. With his athleticism, he will quickly develop the ability to throw it to the glove side edge to double the effectiveness of the pitch.

Khaleel Pratt OF / Augusta Christian / 2024
No. 136 to No. 41
Uncommitted. 6 foot 5, 188 pounds. One of the most dynamic 2 sport athletes in the southeast has developed into a real baller on the diamond this summer. He’s without question the most projectable player in our state, with NBA-like length at 16 years old. When you see him gliding through the pastures of CF making catch after catch over his shoulder, it's truly a beautiful sight. How does a dude this big move like that? Well, genetics. But he certainly has a lot of practice running up and down the basketball court dunking on kids and blocking shots with ease. The players on our future games team kept calling him O’Niell Cruz, the 6 foot 7 prospect for the Pirates. They’re quite close on that body comparison, and both hit the ball ridiculously hard. Pratt had 2 HR’s in our 16U over 100 mph EV, one being 107 with wood. Cruz hit the hardest ball of the statcast era at 122 mph. Khaleel will certainly give him a run for his money EV wise in the future! He’s completely revamped his right side swing in just a few months, now it looks very similar to his advanced left side mechanics and he went deep 3 times in FG BP (1 off scoreboard) as a RHH! He has good plate discipline for his age and is improving pitch recognition. Pratt has proven to us he can handle big velo. As a 6.9 runner with a top OF arm (94 mph) in the class, he’s got nowhere to go but up!

Thomas Burke LHP / Walnut Grove / 2024
Unranked to No. 52
Uncommitted. 6 foot 5, 185 pounds. In case you haven’t noticed, the theme here is projection! It’s no surprise that the tallest players in the class with coat hanger shoulders have made some of the biggest jumps this summer. Burke is well entrenched in the “most projectable” conversation after his electric bullpen at Full Count Scout Day at the end of July. His eye opening performance had every school’s attention, as he fired elite IVB riding FB’s in the 85-87 range. His impressive ease of operation is the first thing we noticed, created by his gradual build of pace in the delivery. Burke has impressive balance for his size, and creates nasty angle & deception from a slight crossfire, low ¾ arm slot. The loose, deep full circle arm action is smooth throughout and he repeats it well. This is an arm that's certainly going to rise even higher in our rankings as we get more looks on him. A big separator for Burke is his nasty 69-70 sweeping CB that he spins tightly with consistent shape and two plane depth. Everything he throws plays up due to extension, and this one is far from done climbing!

Jayden Nunez RHP / Collins Hill / 2024
No. 154 to No. 61
Uncommitted. 6 foot, 160 pounds. This one is really going to be special on the mound, with far and away the best spin rate numbers on 2 pitches in the class. Jayden has long levers for his size with broad shoulders and pro bloodlines. He creates fluid rhythm, high energy & ease of operation on the hill. Nunez is very flexible and mobile on the mound, allowing him to create pure torque from vast hip/shoulder separation. Bats don't react well to his loose, mid depth arm act that builds effortless arm spd from near sidearm slot. His nasty 2,400-2,500 rpm FB at 84-87 creates a difficult across the zone angle for hitters. The pitch bores up in the zone, with electric run down and some late sink. It mirrors his advanced breaking ball more often than not. Jayden’s 73-75 SLV is a banger with elite potential at 2700-2900 rpm! It sweeps across the entire zone w/ sharp+efficient spin, tilt, and late depth. His delivery and repertoire match up similarly to Rockies RP Mychal Givens. He was a stand out talent at our 16U National Championship. There’s no doubt Nunez is a high priority prospect who’s not done moving up our rankings and we can’t wait to see what he turns into.

Jackson Barberi RHP / Brookwood / 2024
Unranked to No. 66
Uncommitted. 6 foot 2, 160 pounds. One of the youngest arms in the class (still 15 years old) is an absolute electric factory on the bump. He’s got an impeccably clean delivery and arm action with a very deceptive low release height. Barberi moves through his delivery easier than any arm in this class, showing off his standout athleticism and natural ability. He’s the smoothest arm I’ve seen through the up+down+out phases, which creates good direction, balance, and keep on his legs with patience over the rubber. Jackson’s arm action is extremely loose & quick from a L ¾ slot that looks closer to sidearm from a hitters point of view. His 2400 rpm 86-88 FB produced IVB’s consistently above 20 with ride in the upper quadrant, and nasty run+sink in the bottom 3rd of the zone. With his arm speed+deception+life, it's got potential to be at least an A/AVG MLB pitch in the future, I personally feel it will be plus. Barberi possesses easily one of the best SL’s I’ve seen in the class in the 74-75 range. It’s a hard biting power sweeper with very late depth nearing 2500 rpm which he can throw for strikes or bury. His upper 70’s CH is a heavy offering with a ridiculous amount of fade! It’s not being talked about enough and shows his future as a draft pick with mid rotation starter potential whether in HS or college. Serious Reese Olson & Gavin Collyer vibes here. We’re very excited to see this Full Count guy progress over the next year, and look forward to scouting him as a position player in addition to his exciting repertoire. His spot on these rankings will be much different after this spring.

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