The odds are strongly against Gwinnett County ever again producing major leaguers like perennial all-star Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur from the same high school graduating year.
Brandon Jacobs and Chris Hawkins, a year apart in school, may eventually make their own big league names for themselves, though.
Jacobs, a graduate of Parkview in 2009, and Hawkins, North Gwinnett class of 2010, are off to very promising starts in the minor leagues.
Jacobs made the postseason all-star team in the Class A South Atlantic League this season, while fellow outfielder Hawkins did the same in the rookie Appalachian League.Jacobs, who committed to Auburn for football before signing with Boston as a 10th-round draft pick, hit .303 with 32 doubles, three triples, 17 homers and 80 RBIs for Greenville and also stole 30 bases in 37 attempts. The 20-year-old outfielder had a .380 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging mark for a .881 OPS.Hawkins, moved to the outfield this season from third base by Toronto, batted .318 for Bluefield with 15 doubles, six triples, five homers and 52 RBIs in 68 games while swiping 14 bases in 18 attempts. He had a .375 on-base percentage and .492 slugging mark for a OPS of .866.
Impressive offensive stats are nothing new for either player. Hawkins, a third-round draft choice by the Blue Jays, batted .520 with 15 homers as a senior at North Gwinnett in 2010 and had a 32-game hitting streak.
Jacobs hit .511 with a 1.307 slugging mark for Parkview in 2009 and was the Gwinnett Daily Post player of the year a season before Hawkins won the honor.
Of course, Jacobs was also a highly decorated football standout for the Panthers and he slipped in the draft because of his commitment to Auburn. But the Red Sox took a chance and got Jacobs to commit full time to baseball with a bonus deal worth $750,000.
Hawkins, who turned 20 in August, received a bonus of $350,000 from Toronto to pass up a baseball scholarship to Tennessee and started his pro career last season in the rookie Gulf Coast League as a third baseman. He started slowly, but hit .304 in the final month to get his average to .255.
The left-handed hitter was productive from the start this season as Bluefield, in its first year as a Toronto farm team, won the Appalachian League's East Division regular-season title and he hasn't cooled off in the playoffs. He had a three-hit game with five RBIs as Bluefield eliminated Elizabethton to advance to the championship series against Johnson City, where it was swept.
Jacobs' Greenville team also earned a postseason spot, claiming the wild card in the South Division of the South Atlantic League.