Followers of the MLB draft in Georgia are reaping the benefits of two of the better prep players in the country this year: Loganville's Clint Frazier and Grayson's Austin Meadows.
The two have already received extended looks before the first day of spring because of high-profile tournaments and head-to-head matchups. I've had the fortune of seeing Meadows twice and Frazier once this season, and came away impressed with both.
Frazier is a 6-1, 190-pound center fielder with elite bat speed (possibly the best in the draft) and ultra-quick hands. Against Grayson on March 12, in front of row after row of scouts and executives, I saw him turn on a high-80s fastball on the inside corner and send it soaring toward the lights in left field. That was followed by another home run on a curveball low and away that was muscled over the fence in left despite getting under it.
Frazier's legs spread the length of the box with a more drastic knee bent than I expected, and he uses his lower body well to pair with his great upper-body strength. His swing is based on toe-timing, and his hands hitch a little at load, but his bat speed is other-worldly.
Grayson left-hander Chris Erwin (Kennesaw State commit), who sat 86-88 with a solid curveball and developing changeup, got Frazier swinging on a low-and-away changeup for a strikeout in the game but, otherwise, Frazier was on his pitches. His first plate appearance was a lineout to Meadows that he caught off the end of the bat.
Meadows is the more physical of the two, listed at 6-3, 200 pounds. He has above-average to plus tools across the board, including plus speed and a plus arm. While some question Frazier's future in center field, many claim Meadows will stick in center because of his athleticism. He certainly stands out on a prep field, which is a big reason for his hype.
In the Grayson-Loganville game, Meadows didn't see much at the plate, but he did show off his arm and glove. It was a similar story in the first game of the LaGrange tournament vs. Cullman (Ala.) on March 1. Meadows went 3 for 3 in that game, but he never squared the ball up, which has been reported in other games this season.
This leads to Meadows' question mark: hit tool. Most reports of the left-handed hitter include some mention of a less-than-stellar hit tool, pondering his ability to make consistent, hard contact. But it must be remembered that this is often the case with prep hitters and shouldn't be a major negative for the talented outfielder.
Deciding between the two on draft day likely comes down to bat potential vs. tools. Frazier is nearing physical maxing, but the power generated from his bat speed will play much higher than his size would indicate. Meadows is a big athlete who can provide several above-average tools, including a couple plus, while the bat might take time to develop.
I don't see a team going wrong with either pick. Both should go in the first five picks of the draft, and both are well deserving.