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Georgia's top high school baseball players: Meet the state’s best shortstops

Who are the top shortstops in Georgia high school baseball this season?
Cooper Blauser photo by Jamie Spaar

Cooper Blauser photo by Jamie Spaar

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top baseball players in Georgia.

We started with the top catchers, then first basemen and second basemen, and now we'll focus on shortstops.

There are hundreds of outstanding shortstops in Georgia, and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Tag us on Twitter or Instagram at @SBLiveGA and let us know about other athletes worthy of fans’ attention.

Note: Many high school baseball players excel at multiple positions. Don't be alarmed to see an ace pitcher listed here as a shortstop, for example.

Alex Adams, Sr., Mount Paran

The 6-0, 170-pound senior makes things happen both in the field, where he covers a lot of ground up the middle and in the hole, and at the plate, where he is the catalyst in the defending Class A Private state champion Eagles' batting order out of the leadoff spot.

Carson Adams, Sr., Elbert County

The 5-9, 165-pound senior put up huge numbers as a junior last season, hitting .420 with 17 RBIs, eight doubles, 39 runs scored and 32 stolen bases. Adams is at it again early in 2022 with a .351 average, 13 RBIs, 11 runs and 10 steals through his first 13 games.

R.J. Austin, Sr., Pace Academy

Blazing speed (6.36 seconds in the 60-yard dash at last fall's Perfect Game National Showcase) and plenty of range makes the 5-9, 185-pound senior one of the most talented players in the state. His .513 average with five homers, 22 RBIs, a 1.632 OPS, 23 runs scored and 14 stolen bases in 15 games thus far this spring has made the Vanderbilt commit a consensus top 100 prospect in this June's MLB Draft.

Brant Baughcum, Sr., Buford

As star-studded as the Wolves' roster is, the 6-1, 190-pound senior can sometimes get overlooked. That would be a mistake, as the Georgia Tech signee is coming off an outstanding junior season in 2021, earning second-team all-county honors from the Gwinnett Daily Post by hitting .379 with a homer, 21 RBIs, six doubles, two triples, a 1.005 OPS and 12 runs scored. And Baughcum is off to another strong start in 2022.

Cooper Blauser, Sr., Wesleyan

Major league fans, particularly those of the hometown Atlanta Braves, will recognize this name. But while he is as versatile as his father, former Braves infielder Jeff Blauser, and can play any infield position, the Clemson signee already has a more athletic frame than his father, with plenty of room to build even more strength.

Jace Bowen, Sr., North Hall

Consistency made the 6-0, 165-pound senior one of the most decorated players in Georgia as a junior last year. Bowen was named Class 3A player of the year by the Georgia Dugout Club after hitting .353 with five doubles, five triples, 38 RBIs, 44 runs scored and a .470 on-base percentage. His .940 fielding percentage included two huge plays in the third and deciding game of the Class 3A state finals series, helping the Trojans to the title. He is also a member of Georgia Dugout Club Preview's preseason North Georgia Big 10.

Trent Cantrell, Jr., Coosa

After a sophomore campaign in which he hit .426 and was named to the Rome News-Tribune's All-Area team, second-team All-State by Georgia Dugout Preview and first-team All-Region 7-AA, the 6-0, 175-pound junior is looking to make an even bigger splash this spring.

Conrad Cason, Soph., Greater Atlanta Christian

The 6-2, 186-pounder made an immediate splash during his freshman season in 2021 as a pitcher, particularly during the playoffs. Cason, who is already committed to play for defending College World Series champion Mississippi State, is also opening eyes with his play at both positions on the left side of the infield and at the plate during his sophomore campaign for the Spartans.

Davis Chastain, Sr., Model

The 5-foot-11, 150-pound senior may seem small, but he's been huge for the Blue Devils throughout his career, especially this spring. While he's made solid contributions on the mound in 2022, he's had an even bigger impact as a shortstop with a .447 average, two homers, nine RBIs, 23 runs scored, 11 steals and a 1.370 OPS at the plate, plus a .970 fielding percentage. He is part of Georgia State's impressive 2022 recruiting class.

Trenton Clance, Sr., Jeff Davis

Another shortstop from last year's Georgia Dugout Club all-state team, the 5-10, 150-pound senior was a big contributor for the Yellow Jackets' Class 2A state title squad, and hopes to play a part in the team defending that title in 2022.

Connor Crisp, Jr., Locust Grove

The 5-11, 185-pound junior has been a force for the Wildcats not only with his keen glove at short, but also with his right arm on the mound and his left-handed swing at the plate. Crisp is already committed to play college ball at Georgia.

Kai Cunningham, Sr. Lovett

Another versatile athlete who is a strong fielder at both middle infield positions and contributes on the mound, while carrying a big stick at the plate after hitting .349 as a junior last year.

Leighton Finley, Sr., Richmond Hill

Given his 6-4, 190-pound frame, one might think the Georgia signee would be a bigger recruiting target as a pitcher. But his smooth hands and outstanding range in the field, plus his bat speed and ability to hit gap to gap at the plate, make him an excellent prospect at short.

Colin Houck, Jr., Parkview

The 6-3, 195-pound junior moved over this spring from third base, where he had a monster year in helping the Panthers to their third straight Class 7A state title by hitting .400 with six homers, four doubles, six triples, 40 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 10 steals and an 1.130 OPS. He hasn't missed a beat this spring this year, hitting .380 with five homers, 13 RBIs, a 1.324 OPS, five steals and a .911 fielding percentage. Houck is also a three-star quarterback prospect in football and has numerous Power Five offers to play football and baseball.

Tryston McCladdie, Jr., Harlem

The 6-0, 175-pound senior has said he patterns his game after major league All-Star Francisco Lindor. Based on his recent results, including a 5-for-5 game with a near cycle last Tuesday, plus a steal of home Saturday, that may not be just wishful thinking. McCladdie is set to play his college ball at Clemson.

Rustan Rigdon, Soph., Metter

The 5-11, 165-pound switch-hitting shortstop and right-handed pitcher was a contributor for the Tigers' Class A Public state championship team in 2021. And the Vanderbilt commit is continuing to make an impact this spring.

Clay Rowland, Sr., Tattnall Square Academy

The 6-1, 175-pound senior got off to a slow start at the plate this season, but has been coming on strong of late, having earned Tattnall Square's Student Athlete of the Month award for baseball in March. Rowland has also made strong contributions on the base paths and in the field.

J.D. Smith, Sr., Valdosta

The 5-11, 170-pound Georgia State signee has been a big contributor on the mound for the Wildcats this spring. But he's also had a major impact at short with his clean fielding and strong arm, as well as at the plate, where he had posted a .410 batting average and .575 on-base percentage heading into last week's play.

Caden Spivey, Sr., Vidalia

The multi-talented 6-1, 180-pound senior is having a big 2022 campaign, particularly of late, with three multiple-hit game, plus a four-RBI game in the past week. The Notre Dame signee also made his first two pitching appearances of the season last week.

Will Tippett, Sr., St. Pius X

The switch-hitting 6-1, 175-pound senior has shown plenty of skills in the field with quick feet and a strong throwing arm, plus plenty of pop at the plate that should translate well to the Southeastern Conference when he heads off to play college ball at South Carolina next season.