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

Who are the top center fielders in Georgia high school baseball this season?
Druw Jones photo by Jamie Spaar

Druw Jones 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, second basemen, shortstops and third basemen. Then we moved to the outfield, starting with the left fielders, and now the center fielders are up.

There are hundreds of outstanding outfielders 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 a starting left fielder or ace pitcher listed here as a center fielder, for example.

Jason Avila, Sr., Redan

The 5-9, 180-pound senior is the catalyst of the Raiders' offense and one of the state's top outfielders. After committing as a sophomore, Avila is headed to play his college baseball at Florida State.

Luke Boykin, Sr, Wayne County

Speed is a big part of the 6-1, 188-pound senior's game, whether it's covering a lot of ground in the outfield or combining it with a contact-based approach to create havoc for opposing defenses at the plate and on the base paths. He also has some pop at the plate after blasting 14 homers as a junior last year. Boykin is signed to play collegiately at Georgia.

Jackson Chirello, Sr., Etowah

The 6-5, 190-pound senior wasn't on the radar for a lot of folks heading into the 2022 campaign, but he's showing that he should have been. After hitting over .400 last year, the Kennesaw State commit got off to a scorching start this spring by hitting .375 with four homers, 11 RBIs, 13 runs scored, four doubles and a 1.219 OPS while alternating between outfield positions through the first 11 games.

Nicholas Cubides, Sr., Walton

Another contact-oriented hitter (he struck out only 16 times in over 100 at-bats last year while hitting .379, and was hitting .419 through the early going this year) with enough speed to cover plenty of ground in center. The 5-10, 160-pound senior has also been steady in the field, having played without an error in his varsity career through the first nine games this spring.

Evan Cowan, Sr., Richmond Hill

The 6-2, 180-pound senior is known for his aggressive yet clean approach with strong footwork in the outfield and at the plate. He has been hitting at or near .400 for most of this spring. The Georgia College and State University signee also contributes for the Wildcats on the mound as a right-handed pitcher, which also gives him a strong throwing arm in the outfield.

Kameron Douglas, Sr., Woodstock

A strong right-handed bat, including power to the opposite field, and an equally powerful throwing arm has intrigued scouts about the 6-4, 200-pound senior, and those qualities could become even bigger assets as he continues to grow. Douglas is signed to play college ball in Georgia State's rapidly improving program.

Will Fincher, Sr., Kennesaw Mountain

At 6-3, 210, the senior has showed a mature approach to the game mentally and physically throughout his high school career with the Mustangs. Fincher is committed to play collegiately at Jacksonville State in Alabama.

Gage Harrelson, Sr., Houston County

The 6-3, 180-pound senior is well known around scouting circles on the college and professional levels, and is a prime target as a left-handed pitcher. However, he has had just as massive an impact on Houston County's program at the plate and in center field. A college signee with national power Texas Tech and a preseason South Georgia Big 10 selection by Georgia Dugout Preview magazine, Harrelson was also a big factor in the Bears' Class 6A state title last spring by hitting .496 with five homers, 31 RBIs, 55 runs scored, 35 stolen bases, 14 doubles and five triples.

Justice Haynes photo by Josh Major

Justice Haynes photo by Josh Major

Justice Haynes, Jr., Blessed Trinity

At 5-9 and 190 pounds, the junior is a compact, powerful and athletic presence in center field and on the mound as a left-handed pitcher. Haynes is also a big-time football prospect as a running back, with more than three dozen scholarship offers, most of which are from Power Five conference programs.

Matthew Hoskins, Sr., Peachtree Ridge

Another big-time two-way prospect, the 6-2, 210-pound senior is among the Lions' leaders in just about every offensive category, including average (.333), home runs (3), RBIs (19), OPS (1.063) and stolen bases (7) this spring. The Georgia signee is also a defensive force with a .955 fielding percentage and four outfield assists, and is the Lions' pitching ace with a 3-1 record, 1.13 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 31 innings. The combination of skills has made Hoskins a consistent presence in multiple lists of the top 200 prospects in this year's MLB Draft.

Druw Jones, Sr., Wesleyan

If this name sounds familiar, it should. One look at the Vanderbilt signee's polished and powerful swing at the plate, his easy glide after fly balls and strong throwing arm evokes memories of his father, former major leaguer Andruw Jones. Druw Jones was named Gwinnett County's 2021 Player of the Year by the Gwinnett Daily Post after hitting .445 with 16 homers, 39 RBIs, 58 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, a 1.494 OPS and 14 stolen bases, and drawing 29 walks last spring. A member of Georgia Dugout Preview's 2022 Preseason Metro Big 10, the 6-1, 180-pound senior is a consensus top-five prospect nationally and projected as a high first-round pick in the June draft in by most media outlets.

Lleyton Lackey, Sr., Evans

The 5-10, 170-pound senior is a two-sport star playing for the Knights' baseball and football teams. His skills in the latter, particularly his speed and ability to read fly balls off the bat, have served him well in the former. After a slow start to the season, the Clemson signee is among the Knights' leaders in several offensive categories, including a team-best 23 runs scored, nine RBIs (third on the team) and 12 stolen bases (second on the team). Lackey also has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage this spring, and was a preseason North Georgia Big 10 selection by Georgia Dugout Preview.

Konner Leggett, Jr., Bryan County

After a breakout sophomore season in which he was named Region 3-A Public Offensive Player of the Year, the 5-11, 192-pound junior has emerged as a leader for a young Bryan County team this spring.

Nick Linkowski, Sr., Flowery Branch

The 6-0, 178-pound senior started the season slowly, but has lately been showing why he was preseason Class 4A all-state selection by Georgia Dugout Preview. Though hitting just .255 through the Falcons' first 16 games, he has been hot of late, including a four-hit game with a homer heading into spring break.

Wade Rodeffer, Sr., Charlton County

The 6-2, 170-pound senior continues to grow into his lanky frame, and can provide offensive production from both sides of the plate. Also a contributor for the Indians on the mound as a left-handed pitcher and at first base, Rodeffer has signed to play college baseball at Albany State.

Dwayne Rowe, Sr., Long County

Another impressive two-way athlete who also excels on the gridiron, the 6-0, 180-pound senior is committed to play college football at Ohio Northern. However, he has also been plenty impressive on the baseball diamond, including helping the Blue Tide to a state quarterfinal appearance in Class 3A a year ago, and having a strong spring so far in 2022.

Bo Rhudy, Jr., Gordon Lee

Known a lot for his work on the mound, the 6-3, 220-pound junior is also producing as a position player. Came into April hitting .351 with two homers and a .429 on-base percentage. Was a preseason All-American selection by Perfect Game.

Justin Thomas, Sr., Benedictine

With a very compact but athletic frame, the 5-11, 173-pound senior is known for his aggressiveness in running down fly balls and with his approach at the plate. Closed out spring break with a huge game, going 4-for-4 with three homers and a double in a win over Jenkins. Jenkins was also a football standout, but is signed to play baseball at Georgia.

Kenskey Thomas, Sr., Sequoyah

The 5-11, 195-pound senior got of to a bit of a slow start at the plate. However, his bat has begun to heat up as the weather has. His power numbers — a team-best four homers and 12 RBIs (second on the team) — are particularly beginning to pile up. Will play college ball next door in Alabama at Jacksonville State.

Stan Zagrodnik, Sr., Buford

With all the star power on Buford's roster, the 6-1, 185-pound senior is as big a contributor for the Wolves' high state and national ranking. The Wofford signee was hitting .458 with six homers and 22 RBIs through the end of March, and was just as impressive in the field.