MINNEAPOLIS - There is a quiet confidence that surrounds top centerfield prospect Austin Meadows. The humble young man from Grayson, Ga., is sure of himself but doesn't feel any overwhelming need to talk at length about himself.
He'll let his play on the field do all the talking.
Meadows is doing his playing this weekend on Mall of America Field inside the Metrodome as one of 300 of the country's top prospects in the in the high school class of 2013 that were invited to participate in the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase.
While the prospects aren't physically poked and probed, professional scouts and college coaches and recruiters will spend untold hours over the next several months re-reading notes, watching video and breaking down and evaluating the prospects' skills in an effort to determine the next level at which they'll most likely fit in.
Meadows is one of the players under the most scrutiny. He is the No. 2-ranked overall prospect in the country - only Kentucky right-hander Clinton Hollon is ranked higher - and No. 1-ranked both in the state of Georgia and at the outfield position.
"This is where all my hard work pays off," Meadows said late Friday afternoon before participating in the workout session of the showcase. "I like being with everybody here and just having good chemistry with everyone. The competition here is a lot better than anywhere else; I want to keep my head level and keep it going and stay humble."
A level head has been Meadows' most reliable companion - with the possible exception of his parents, Kenny and Traci - as he sky-rocketed up the rankings.
He has committed to Clemson University in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference but is also projected as a can't miss first-round selection in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Perfect Game ranks him the No. 10 overall draft prospect in 2013 and No. 2 behind Hollon among high school seniors.
The attention has brought opportunities, such as the one presented by the invitation to the PG National Showcase.
"This is a dream come true," Austin's dad, Kenny, said Friday. "I'm very proud as a father watching him go through what he's going through ... and this is just the beginning of the summer and it's just really special for his mom (Traci) and myself. We wanted to be here with him to support him and show him how much we're proud of him."
Austin credits his parents with helping him stay grounded and his father, in particular, for "motivating me to just keep working hard so I can get to where I want to be."
Kenny Meadows played both baseball and football at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. - Traci Meadows played collegiate softball at Georgia State University - and has been able to pass on some of the things he learned to his young son.
"I was fortunate enough to be able to coach Austin when he started (playing sports) at (age) 3 before I finally turned him over to the high school staff and the summer (travel ball) team," Kenny said. "It's been really neat watching him grow up and being able to coach him up to this point. Now we're kind of letting him go out on his own."
Austin Meadows has played in four PG WWBA and one PG BCS Finals tournaments with the Loganville, Ga.-based Team Elite organization since late in the summer of 2010. He last played in the 2011 PG WWBA 2013 Grads or 16u National Championship in Marietta, Ga. One of his teammates on Team Elite 16u White at that tournament was catcher Anthony Sherlag, a Wake Forest commit who is also at the PG National this weekend.
"It's been just awesome," Meadows said of his relationship with Team Elite. "(Team Elite founder) Brad Boras is my coach, and he's really been helping me out; he's really got my name out there and I want to thank him for that."
One of the highlights of 2011 for Meadows was helping lead the USA Baseball 16U National Team to the IBAF World Youth Championship in Mexico. He was named to the All-Tournament Team after hitting .537 with a team-high 22 hits, eight extra-base hits and a tournament record 28 RBIs in Team USA's eight games. And, oh yeah, he also stole six bases.
"It was definitely unreal and I would love to do it again," Meadows said of the Team USA experience. "Meeting new kids and making new friends, it was hard to leave them after that. It was a neat experience."
Meadows is also coming off a fine spring high school season in which he led Grayson High School to the semifinals at the Georgia Class AAAAA state tournament after hitting .390 with four home runs and 28 RBIs. He ran an impressive 6.31-second 60-yard dash and recorded an 87 mph throw from the outfield during Friday's workout session at the PG National.
Austin just turned 17 in early May, which puts him on the younger end of the spectrum when compared to this 2013 classmates. His father is confident that Austin will continue to maintain his level head as he continues to grow and mature.
"He's still receptive and I just tell him to follow his dream and to keep working hard because good things will happen to those people that work hard and stay humble," Kenny said. "Baseball is a very humbling game because it's streaky and you can get on a hot streak or you can stay cold. I think it's important for Austin to know that when he's not hot, he still has to have that good attitude. He shows a good example of that and that's what I'm most proud of."