For many of Georgia’s top selections in the major league draft, the climb to the top is just beginning. Of the top 12 players taken who played either their college or high school baseball within the state’s borders, seven have signed contracts and will play their first games as early as Thursday.
Two others are still completing their collegiate seasons and the three others were still in negotiations as of Wednesday. Here’s an update on those 12, eight of whom were drafted out of college. All signing bonus figures were reported on the Baseball America website.
5. Clint Frazier, Loganville High, OF
The Gatorade national high school player of the year was among the first top picks to sign, for a $3.5 million signing bonus, which was $287,000 less than the slotted value for the pick. The five-tool player, who hit .485 with 17 home runs for Loganville this spring, will play with the Cleveland Indians’ rookie-league team in Goodyear, Ariz., in the Arizona League.
The No. 5 spot has some good mojo for players with Georgia ties. Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters (Georgia Tech) and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey (Leesburg) both were taken fifth.
9. Austin Meadows, Grayson High, CF
Meadows, a friend of Frazier’s, was close to signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Meadows’ father, Kenny. Meadows is a mix of size and speed with the projection to gain more power as he ages. Baseball America magazine rated him as the best athlete and the No. 2 high school prospect closest to the major leagues.
In the highly unlikely event he doesn’t sign a contract, Meadows will play at Clemson.
30. Travis Demeritte, Winder-Barrow High, SS
Demeritte, who attracted the Texas Rangers with both his bat speed and power, received a $1.9 million signing bonus. He has been assigned to the Arizona League.
Demeritte can play every infield position except first and popped 32 home runs in his high school career. He’ll begin his career at shortstop.
37. Josh Hart, Parkview High, CF
Hart had yet to sign with the Baltimore Orioles as of Wednesday, who took him with a supplemental first-round pick. Hart signed with Georgia Tech, but said before the draft that he intended to sign a pro contract. He was in line to receive a signing bonus worth $1.508 million, the allotted value for the pick.
Hart is another five-tool player whom the Orioles like as a center fielder. At Parkview, Hart patrolled the outfield once defended by former Braves first-round pick Jeff Francoeur.
74. Kent Emanuel, North Carolina/Woodstock High, LHP
Emanuel’s Tar Heels are still alive in the College World Series and will play Thursday in an elimination game, thus preventing him from beginning negotiations with the Houston Astros. Emanuel was named an All-American for the second year in a row and the ACC pitcher of the year.
Assuming he signs and foregos his senior season, Emanuel would join ranks with two of the best pitchers in the draft. The Astros used the top overall pick on Stanford’s Mark Appel and the No. 40 pick on UC-Irvine’s Andrew Thurman.
88. Daniel Palka, Georgia Tech, 1B
Palka signed quickly with the Arizona Diamondbacks for a $550,000 signing bonus. He has been assigned to the Missoula (Mont.) Osprey in the Pioneer League, Arizona’s rookie-league entry.
Palka was named a first-team All-American after leading the ACC in home runs with 17, becoming Tech’s first first-team All-American since 2009. A third-rounder, he was the highest-drafted Tech position player since second baseman Derek Dietrich was taken in the second round in 2010.
114. Zane Evans, Georgia Tech/Roswell High, C
Evans, named to multiple All-American teams and a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher, signed with the Kansas City Royals for $400,000. He’ll begin his career with the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Chukars of the Pioneer League. Teams had shown interest in Evans as a pitcher, but he’ll start out as a catcher.
Evans was Tech’s highest-drafted catcher since Wieters was taken fifth overall in 2007. If you’re wondering, a chukar is a member of the pheasant family.
139. Blake Shouse, Middle Georgia/Rutland High, RHP
Shouse signed with the Colorado Rockies for $353,900 and will begin his career with the Grand Junction (Colo.) Rockies, also in the Pioneer League. A fifth-round pick, he was the earliest draft pick from a Macon high school since 1986, according to the Macon Telegraph.
This past season, Shouse played infield for Middle Georgia this season, but also pitched out of the bullpen. Shouse, who signed with Georgia, led MGC with a 1.07 ERA.
156. Buck Farmer, Georgia Tech/Rockdale County High, RHP
Farmer signed with the Detroit Tigers for $225,000 and has been assigned to the Connecticut Tigers, with whom he’ll be a part of the starting rotation. Connecticut plays in the Single-A New York-Penn League.
Farmer, a two-time first-team All-ACC pitcher, returned to school after getting drafted in the 15th round of the 2012 draft by Milwaukee.
157. Kyle McGowin, Savannah State, RHP
McGowin was undrafted out of high school and in three years turned into a fifth-rounder, the school’s highest draft pick ever. He had yet to sign with the Los Angeles Angels as of Wednesday, but reportedly intends to skip his senior season.
His draft profile on mlb.com described him as a “fringe No. 5 starter.”
179. Adam Frazier, Mississippi State/Oconee County High, SS
Frazier, taken in the sixth round, is still finishing his season, as the Bulldogs are at the College World Series. Frazier, a junior, could turn down the Pittsburgh Pirates and return for his senior season.
Frazier leads Mississippi State with a .360 average after hitting .371 as a sophomore. He was the sixth college shortstop taken in the draft.
193. Steve Janas, Kennesaw State/Lassiter High, RHP
Janas signed with the hometown Braves for $210,200 and has been assigned to the Danville (Va.) Braves, where his teammates will include former Tech center fielder and eighth-round pick Kyle Wren.
Janas returned from Tommy John surgery as a sophomore to record a 1.14 ERA, breaking the Atlantic Sun record.