Prep Baseball Report

AL HS Team Preview: Northridge Jaguars

PBR Alabama Staff

The 2023 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Alabama.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in the Jacksonville/Oxford/Montgomery area at the AISA or AHSAA state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Alabama. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews and by continuing our scheduled podcasts and releasing our preseason Top 10 in each AHSAA classification. 

Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each AHSAA classification as well as a Power 25. One thing that you especially don’t want to miss are our scheduled podcasts with guests from across the state as well as recaps and previews of big games across the state.  

*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

High School Name: Northridge Jaguars

Coach’s Name: Guy Howard 

Classification: AHSAA 6A 

2022 Record: 25-11

Area Number: Class 6A, Area 6 

No. of Returning Positional Starters:

No. of Returning Pitchers:

Team Strengths: Pitching, Team Speed 

Top Returning Players:

Top 2024 Prospects:

Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:

Team Outlook

The Northridge Jaguars had another strong season last year in a strong Class 6A, going 25-11 with some big wins over Oak Mountain, James Clemens, Hartselle, and others. They will move to Area 6 this spring and compete against Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Paul Bryant, and Central-Tuscaloosa for a spot in the Class 6A playoffs at the end of the season.

The Jaguars finished as the runner-up in their area a season ago, and were forced to travel in their 1st round playoff matchup. Although just a 1st round matchup, the Jaguars would matchup with Saraland in what would be a series between two teams ranked inside the Top-10 in Class 6A. That series seemed to live up to the expectations, going three games with the Spartans taking that Game 3 by score of 5-2 to close Northridge's season at 25-11. Although they lose a few seniors from last year's team, the Jaguars have some key returning pieces this spring both at the plate and on the mound. C Brady McAbee (Snead State CC signee, 2023) should once again be one of their top hitters in the lineup after serving as a key run-producer over the past couple of years. The senior backstop can hit for power and average and will look to lead the offensive charge this spring.

C Brady McAbee (2/19/22)

Another senior offensive returner is 1B/LHP Barret Rodgers (2023), who is expected to return to the heart of the order for his senior campaign. Rodgers has a smooth swing hitting from the left side and is a quality defender around the 1st base bag. Look for him to also be one of their leaders offensively, as well.

1B Barret Rodgers (2/19/22)

Expected to lead the pitching staff this spring, RHP Matthew Sheffield (2023) and LHP Jack Sanderson (Auburn recruit, 2024) are two viable candidates to slide up the rotation this spring and replace Bodie Vail's spot as the ace. Sheffield will work in the mid-80's on the mound and show quality command over his three-pitch mix, while Sanderson is a projectable southpaw with a strong frame and a fastball that will get into the mid-80's, as well. Both of these players are expected to throw significant innings on the mound this spring.

RHP Matthew Sheffield (1/8/23)
LHP Jack Sanderson (2/19/22)

On the infield, INF/RHP Anthony Messina (2024) and INF Mayson Elam (2026) should continue to see their roles expand this spring. Messina returns for his junior season as the starting shortstop after seeing significant playing time the past two years as an underclassmen, and Elam is a Top-20 prospect in the freshman class that will be a name to follow in the coming years. OF Logan Caldwell (2024) is also a solid hitter that has a chance to slide into the leadoff spot offensively this spring.

SS Mayson Elam (1/7/23)

In addition to Elam, the Jaguars will also feature a couple more underclassmen that will look to compete for a starting job this spring. 3B/RHP Thomas Woolf (2025) is one of those young players to watch for, as he has a chance to compete for a spot in the lineup at either 3rd base or in the outfield. He also will be expected to throw some key innings on the mound using a fastball that works in the low-80's.

3B Thomas Woolf (6/11/22)

Coming off a strong showing at this month's North AL Preseason All-State, RHP/OF Evan Malone (2026) is another young pitcher that will compete for innings on the mound. Malone, a Top-20 prospect in the freshman class, uses a fastball that can get into the mid-80's on the mound and should be a key pitcher for the Jaguars this spring if he can stay healthy.

RHP Evan Malone (1/8/23)

After being strong contenders in the Class 6A over the past couple years, including a Final 4 appearance in 2021, the Jaguars look once again to have a strong group of talented players coming back for 2023. There's plenty to like both at the plate and on the mound and a strong mix of upperclassmen with returning experience and some younger players who are looking to make an impact at the varsity level. Keep an eye out for the Jaguars to be strong contenders once again in Class 6A in 2023.


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