Most of the early national rankings had both players in the top 10, with Meadows higher. But Frazier has risen in most mock drafts. While Meadows—the mellower of the two—says he mostly ignores the rankings, Frazier is taking names of his nonbelievers. Of ESPN draft analyst Keith Law, he says, "He's got me ranked eighth and Austin third, even though he came to town and saw Austin go 2 for 3 with two singles. I led my game off with a home run and hit a home run in the next at bat. I saw like five pitches that day and hit two home runs, but he still left town saying I couldn't hit.
"I don't like that guy. And I can't wait to prove him wrong."
The strength of this year's draft is college pitching, with Stanford's Mark Appel or Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray expected to go first, to the Astros. The most compelling story line, though, is the Frazier-Meadows debate: Which Georgia kid would you rather have? They are predicted to go anywhere from fourth to 10th; scouts will tell you that Frazier (stronger arm, more power) and Meadows (faster, more projectable) have as much upside as any of the players available. "Two players you build around," says one scout. "If you polled people right now, it would be 50-50 on who's better."
Because of safety concerns, last year Georgia high schools adopted composite bats with a dampening system, and statewide home run totals plummeted. Frazier still hit 24 in 2012, one shy of the state's single-season record—which was set with aluminum bats. "I would have beaten the record with the old bats—I would have hit 30," says Frazier. This year he added another 14 regular-season home runs and began the playoffs nine short of the Georgia career record of 69, set by future big league pitcher Micah Owings in 2002. (It's the fourth-highest total in the country.) "If we keep playing all the way to the state championships," Frazier said in May, "I am going to break that record."
Frazier doesn't look like a prototypical slugger, and not just because of his Carrot Top hair. At 6 feet he's never the biggest player on the field, though he's always had jaw-dropping strength. When he was a sixth-grader taking the President's Challenge Physical Fitness Test, his gym teacher mentioned that the record for consecutive push-ups was around 120. Frazier dropped down and ripped off 142. When he was in the seventh grade, he was a team manager on the Loganville High team, and once in a while Coach Segars would let him take BP. "He'd be parking balls over the fence," Segars says. "Everyone would stop what they were doing to watch him hit."
Meadows has his own legendary stories. He didn't put up Frazier's gaudy numbers this spring (he batted .535 with four home runs and 17 steals), but with a 6'3", 212-pound frame, his ceiling may be higher. During an exhibition for the nation's top players at the Metrodome in Minneapolis last summer, he offered a glimpse of his power potential: During his first BP session he launched a ball into the upper deck, by far the longest shot that weekend. "He's one of those rare guys where the sound of the ball off the bat is different," says Hixson. "His power will come. And it will be big."
Meadows played his last game for Grayson on May 7—he went 3 for 6 with five walks in the first round of the Region AAAAA playoffs. Frazier's great home run chase—as well as Loganville's pursuit of a second straight state championship—concluded in the regional quarterfinals. He added three home runs in the postseason, finishing his career with a total of 63. In a few weeks MLB commissioner Bud Selig will call both their names at the draft, and they'll leave Gwinnett County behind to begin their professional careers. The number of scouts making the drive to baseball's new hotbed, though, will keep growing. There's already buzz around a pair of Team Elite pitchers (Mac Marshall of Parkview High and Dylan Cease of Milton High in Fulton County) who are being projected as top five picks in 2014. "And have you heard what Mike Cameron's son is doing?" Lockhart asked one recent afternoon as he rolled into a parking lot for another game, to see another high school player, in another Georgia town. Lockhart, a former Braves infielder who now lives in Atlanta, was referring to Dazmon Cameron, a sophomore at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy in McDonough. A product of East Cobb Baseball, the son of the longtime major league outfielder is a potential top pick as an outfielder in 2015.
"He's absolutely tearing the cover off the ball," Lockhart said. Then he paused, as if he needed to catch his breath. "These kids, it's hard to keep up," he said. "They just keep coming."