AL HS Team Preview: Gardendale Rockets



High School: Gardendale Rockets

2019 Record: 22-10

Head Coach: Ryan Keedy

AHSAA Classification: 6A

AHSAA Area: Area 11

2019 Area Finish: 1st

2019 Playoff Run: Lost in Quarterfinals

 

 RETURNING STARTERS: 

’20 SS David Harris  

’20 2B Isaac Sims

’21 RHP/1B/OF Will Nesmith 

’21 INF/RHP Presley Walker

’20 C Carson Cook

’21 RHP/OF Daniel Bradley

’21 OF CJ Bryant

 

TEAM STRENGTHS: 

Defense / Hustle

 

OUTLOOK: 

The Gardendale Rockets return four positional starters and four pitchers from last year’s state quarterfinal team. Coach Ryan Keedy expects his team to defend at a high level and play the game with a ton of energy, but he will also be looking for some players to provide an offensive spark to the team. There are also several unknowns about the pitching depth as the 2020 season gets started. The Rockets return both of their middle infielders and expect to be strong at both positions. Senior SS David Harris is a UAB signee and has a ton of baseball savvy and is a fierce competitor. He shows very solid actions with the glove and will be a run producer for the Rockets this season. His double play partner also returns in senior 2B Isaac Sims. Sims also plays the game very hard and shows nice lateral range in the dirt with solid actions with the glove. Sims handles the bat and uses the whole field well at the plate. ’21 RHP/1B/OF Will Nesmith is a very versatile player that can do a ton of good things on the field. He is the hardest worker on the team who runs very well and has power with the bat at the plate. Junior INF/RHP Presley Walker is another guy that shows a ton of versatility. The solidly built Walker shows nice bat speed and some power at the plate. He should be a run producer for the Rockets this year. Walker also is a nice runner and solid defender. Senior catcher Carson Cook has been a fast learner behind the plate and his skills have really progressed behind the dish. Cook is a leader on the team and is highly respected by his teammates. 2021 RHP/OF Daniel Bradley shows solid command on all of his pitches and does a nice job locating down in the zone as all of his pitches show a lot of movement. Junior outfielder CJ Bryant is a very athletic player that has plus speed and shows nice arm strength from the outfield. He has some strength in the hands at the plate and the ball comes off the bat well. Bryant is a terror on the base paths. Don’t be surprised to see the Rockets in the mix of things in the north division of 6A.

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