We had 43 players up for Player of the Year, which were announced on April 30. We then had the difficult job of narrowing this talented pool down to a Player of the Year Finalist group of just six, of which three are top-tier NCAA Division-I commits.
WHAT’S NEXT? We will vote on these finalists, Heisman-style, to determine our Player of the Year. This is performed by our internal (NOT public) voting panel.W
PEYTON IRVIN – Habersham SR SS/P #1
BATTING: .394 AVG (39 hits), 3 HR, 30 RBI, 25 R, 10 2B, 10 BB, .459 OBP, .586 SLG
PITCHING: 7-4, 2.45 ERA, 66 K, 65.1 IP
Why Peyton Irvin should be Player of the Year: Peyton Irvin is a gamer. As are the rest of the guys on this list. However, Habersham Central had come off back-to-back seasons in which the roster was slap full of talent, got off to a sizzling start, and fell in the final weeks to miss out by an eyelash on the state playoffs. Irvin was one of the primary leaders coming into this season that was supposed to carry the load. He did that gladly, and did not disappoint. He was equally impressive at the plate (13 XBH) and on the mound, putting up career numbers in one of the state’s highest classifications. He is a Toccoa Falls commit.
ALEX MCFARLANE – Habersham SR P #11
PITCHING: 6-0, 1.70 ERA, 66 K, 49.1 IP
BATTING: .479 AVG (46 hits), 1 HR, 16 RBI, 44 R, 12 2B, 3 3B, 19 BB, .568 OBP, .698 SLG
Why Alex McFarlane should be Player of the Year: No one saw Alex McFarlane coming this year. He moved in from out of the country (Virgin Islands), and dominated on the hill. He did not lose a game, and in Habersham’s state playoff-clinching game, he led the way with a complete game shutout, and delivered two doubles and two runs scored in a 3-0 win. His power at the plate consisted of 16 extra-base hits and a mind-boggling .568 OBP, second best among the finalists. With a 94 mph fastball and 92 mph off-speed, it’s no wonder he is a Miami commit. The 6’3, 173 lb highly-touted righty is the #78-ranked high school player in the country, a true 5-star recruit. He may not even play a game at Miami depending on the upcoming MLB Draft.
COLBY ROGERS – Commerce JR IF #9
BATTING: .421 AVG (45 hits), 2 HR, 24 RBI, 42 R, 6 2B, 3 3B, 6 BB, .447 OBP, .589 SLG
PITCHING: 2-2 (2 Saves), 3.00 ERA, 10 K, 18.2 IP
Why Colby Rogers should be Player of the Year: Colby Rogers is as consistent as they get. The All-State talent led Commerce to a deep playoff run in 2019 (quarterfinals), and posted a high OBP and SLG percentage. His 45 hits were the second-best among the finalists. He showed signs of power with 11 extra-base hits. When called upon to pitch, he did fairly well in high-pressure situations. (Stats to be updated soon following Elite 8)
HUDSON SAPP – Dawson JR OF/P #3
BATTING: .582 AVG (39 hits), 6 HR, 22 RBI, 37 R, 11 2B, 2 3B, 23 BB, 27 SB, .696 OBP, 1.775 SLG
PITCHING/FIELDING: 2-1, 0.45 ERA, 30 K, 15.2 IP // 6 outfield assists
Why Hudson Sapp should be Player of the Year: In terms of mashing the ball, none in our area did it better than this guy. Hudson Sapp (Ole Miss commit) not only hit .582, which is insane, but showed patience with 23 walks, for a…NO TYPO….696 OBP. Haven’t seen that in a LONG time! His 1.775 SLG is also off the charts, and he led all finalists in average, HR, stolen bases (27), extra-base hits (19), OBP, and SLG. He has a cannon of an arm as well, notching 6 outfield assists and pitching to the tune of a 0.45 ERA over 15.2 IP.
DAVIS SWENSON – Stephens SR P #9
PITCHING: 6-2, 2.05 ERA, 81 K, 54.2 IP
BATTING: .400 AVG (38 hits), 23 RBI, 15 2B, 1 3B, .579 SLG
Why Davis Swenson should be Player of the Year: Davis Swenson is a bulldog pitcher, never backing down. He struck out 81 across 54.2 innings with a 2.05 ERA. He won some big games for the Indians down the stretch. He has finesse on his pitches, although his fastball (85ish) doesn’t blow hitters away. It’s his command and ability to use the edges that sets him apart. He is a Gordon CC commit. AND…at the plate he showed some pop with 16 extra-base hits and drove in 23 runs while hitting .400.
LANE WATKINS – Jefferson SR 1B/P #22
PITCHING: 7-1, 1.43 ERA, 48 K, .181 BAA
BATTING: .463 AVG, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 27 BB, 15 2B, 12 SB, 33 R
Why Lane Watkins should be Player of the Year: Lane Watkins is a phenomenal player, and his stats speak for themselves. A one-time state champion, the right-handed thrower (lefty batting) hits in the high 80s on his fastball. He was so hard to hit (.181 batting average against), with a 1.43 ERA and 48 strikeouts. At the plate, he was the closest thing to a Hudson Sapp with the speed (12 stolen bases) and patience (27 walks), homers (5), extra-base hits (20), and RBI (31). Watkins is a good five-tool talent and is a UGA commit.