Prep Baseball Report

AL/MS Border Battle: Alabama Standouts

Austin Sharp
Director of Scouting

Booneville, MS - This weekend's Border Battle with PBR Mississippi was a huge success, and we are already excited for the next one. Northeast Mississippi CC played host for the top players that Alabama and Mississippi have to offer in the 2021-2024 class. From the use of the jumbotron in right field, to the flawless production by the NEMCC crew, this venue was second to none. 

After the release of the statistical leaders yesterday, we want to go back and take a look at some of the standouts for all teams on the Alabama side. 

Let's take a look at who caught our eye..


‘21 OF/1B Jake Derecki (Oak Mountain) - Derecki really jumped onto our radar with his performance at the PBR at The Hank event a few weeks ago that was good enough to earn him an invite onto Team Alabama. Continued to trend up at this event, ran a 6.89 laser-timed 60 YD and posted a loud 97 mph exit velocity on TrackMan during BP. Offensive prowess translated to gameplay as he recorded multiple hits on a couple hard hit balls. His speed combined with his sneaky power at the plate makes him a serious uncommitted talent college coaches should take a look at.

‘21 C Owen Roberson (Wilson) - A physical backstop at 6-foot, 195 pounds that has added some more strength to his game since the last look at the Preseason All State event in January. Made some loud contact during gameplay and had a huge RBI double that was smoked over the CF’s head that sparked a comeback for the 2021 team. Showed some impressive catch-and-throw skills behind the dish, as he led all catchers at the event with consistent 1.84-1.90 pops to 2nd. 

‘22 RHP Elliott Bray (Hartselle) - Our staff was really impressed with the noticeable size and strength that Bray has added to his frame. The body is really starting to fill out and fits the position of a starter profile. On the mound here, he worked 84-86, 87 mph with some command to the arm side versus all-sided hitters. Breaking ball possessed some true 12/6 break to it and located it well in the zone. Really played well of the fastball and showed the ability to work high/low with both pitches. Auburn recruit.

‘22 RHP Caleb Pittman (Hartselle) - Pittman has really seen his stock trend up with some added velocity this summer. Attended the East Coast Sox Scout Day in early June and was 85-86, 88 mph. Fast-forward to this weekend, where he sat consistently 87-89, 90 mph with above average command on the fastball. Changeup was a solid secondary offering that featured some heavy sink into RHH’s. Lot’s of fastballs in his outing. Just another quality arm that the Hartselle Tigers will roll out this spring.

‘22 MIF William Burgreen (Decatur) - A familiar face that showed up and did everything he has been doing for the past year at PBR events. Shows the ability to hit from both sides of the plate. Line drive approach at the dish that clocked an 87 mph exit velo. Great athlete that ran an event-best 6.79 laser-timed 60 YD. Reliable with the glove up the middle that can move to 2nd base with ease. Picked up multiple offers since he attended this summer’ PBR Future Games.

‘22 RHP Austin Morris (Mortimer Jordan) - Attended the Top Prospect Games in June where he showed off that live fastball, but the secondary stuff is what really jumped out to us this weekend at the event. Fastball was 85-88, 89 mph with significant action to the arm side from a ¾ arm slot. Breaking ball induced numerous swings and misses from the same slot that registered a max spin rate of 2179 RPM’s. Also features a slider & changeup in the arsenal. Recent Alabama recruit.

‘22 RHP/SS Mason Swinney (Phil Campbell) - Swinney has exploded onto the scene ever since this summer, and he showed no signs of slowing up here at this event. The arm really jumps out on the mound, as he worked consistently 87-89 mph with some action to the arm side. Paired that with a sharp, late breaking slider that registered ~2,400-2,500 RPM’s on the Trackman. Saw him up to 90 mph recently at the PBR Southeast Fall Championships at the Hoover Met a few weeks ago. Can also swing the bat at a high level. Recorded multiple base hits, with one being a double to LCF gap. 91 mph EV & a 7.06 runner.

‘22 OF Alex Wade (Madison Academy) - Another member of the PBR Future Games from two summers ago, Wade continues to show up and hit at a high-level like he did this weekend. Hit a personal-best with a 100 mph exit velo during BP and translated to gameplay as he roped an RBI double down the LF line in Game 1. Gap to gap approach with carry off the bat. Rhythmic load and a leg kick on pre-pitch. An excellent athlete as well, as he clocked a 6.79 laser-timed 60 YD which was an event-best. Auburn recruit.

‘22 LHP Steven Cash (Bibb County) - Another player that represented Team Alabama at the PBR Future Games the past two summers like Burgreen. Offered a ton of deception in his stint on the mound this weekend, pitching from different arm angles and changing speeds effectively. Fastball worked 81-82 mph with sink to the arm side. Paired that with a breaking ball that showed some sweeping action to it. Feel for the backdoor and backfoot. Slider and changeup are also quality pitches that he showed. Mixed pitches well and has a great feel for pitching.

‘23 C/SS Cade Carr (Hoover) - Carr was a recent riser in the Updated 2023 Player Rankings a few weeks ago, and he continued to show why he was deserving of that ranking. At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, the right-handed hitting backstop brings a special skill set to his game, as he can hit for extra bases and is a high-level defender behind the plate. Recorded an 89 mph exit velo during BP, then logged a few base hits during gameplay. Advanced catch-and-throw skills to go along with the bat with 1.90-1.94 pop times. It’s a very quick & clean transfer and showed some accuracy to the 2nd base bag. Just a flat out player.

‘23 2B/RHP Blake Hall (Hazel Green) & ‘23 C/1B Parker Hall (Hazel Green) - Left the weekend really impressed with these brothers at the plate. Both are very tough, hard-nosed players that love to compete. Both seem to be very tough outs at the plate and turned in numerous quality at-bats during gameplay.

‘23 1B/OF Jackson Harris (Vestavia Hills) - Harris displayed a great feel for the barrel during gameplay, as you can see on this single to the backside gap in the tweet below. Very balanced approach from the left side and does not seem to get fooled. Looks to hammer the ball back up the middle and to the left side of the diamond. Moves well defensively to go along with accurate throws from 1st base. Love the hit tool from this sophomore.

‘23 3B/SS Christopher Johnston (Vestavia Hills) - If you wanted to name an MVP on the Alabama side from this event, Johnston would be right up there with his performance that he turned in. Seemed to hit the ball hard all weekend long, both during BP and in gameplay. Listed at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, he certainly looks the part in the box with defined strength throughout and big forearms. Plays a solid 3rd base defensively and can definitely stick there in the future. Shows the ability to hit to all fields, posted a 96 mph exit velo while running 7.00 laser-timed 60 YD at the event.

‘23 3B/RHP Matt Manley (Madison Academy) - We got to see the strides that Manley has made in terms of physicality at the PBRT Southeast Fall Championships at the Hoover Met a few weeks ago, and he continues to use his physicality to his advantage as he showed this weekend. Put together an impressive round of BP with balls squared up to the pull side. Recorded a hard hit single on a two strike count on Day 1 of gameplay. Showed quality stuff on the mound as well, as he ran the fastball up to 83 mph with action to the arm side. Breaking ball displayed some late break with spin rates around 2,000-2,100 RPM’s.

‘23 MIF Peyton Watts (Oxford) - Holding things down up the middle for the 2023 team, Watts keeps improving in all facets of his game. From the left side, the shortstop displayed a direct path to contact with the barrel and creates good extension on the swing. Logged an 88 mph exit velo on the Trackman during BP. The body is still filling out and has more room for strength, but he already possesses some sneaky pop in the bat. Advanced with the glove defensively to go along with a strong arm across the infield.

‘24 3B Ty McGraw (Gardendale) - A member of Team Alabama at the PBR Jr. Future Games this summer. Put together a solid day at the plate on Day 2 of the weekend, tripling in his first at-bat to deep CF then shot a two RBI double to LF in his 2nd plate appearance. Pretty advanced actions from the left side with a clean weight transfer after load. Finished this game with three RBI’s to his name.

‘24 LHP/1B Jack Sanderson (Northridge) - Listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, Sanderson exudes projection both on the mound and at the plate. Using a high ¾ arm slot, the southpaw worked 76-78, 80 mph with the fastball that showed some sink to the arm side. Breaking ball had ⅕ action to & got a few swings and misses with the pitch. At the plate, he registered an RBI double during gameplay. A lot to like here from Sanderson. 

‘24 MIF Logan Caldwell (Northridge) - Caldwell was another freshman that handled the bat well all weekend for the 2024 team. After a solid round of BP during the pro-style workout, Caldwell recorded a hard hit RBI double down the LF line on Day 2 of gameplay. Seemed to be on the barrel all weekend long. Athletic approach at the plate that already shows some quick hands.

‘24 OF RJ Brooks (Oxford) - Brooks may not have turned in the weekend that he wanted on the stat sheet, but the numbers during the workout show what kind of player he is. Already a 7.04 runner and posted an 89 mph exit velo off the Trackman during BP. Recorded an infield single on a routine ground ball that he sprinted down the line and beat the throw. Throwback player that plays the game the right way. Raked at this summer’s PBR Jr. Future Games. Hard-nosed, gritty player.

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