Alabama '21 Rankings Update: Risers & Newcomers

Austin Sharp
Director of Scouting

With the unfortunate situation going on in our country right now, the 2020 high school baseball season was cut way short than anyone ever imagined. This ended the Class of 2021’s junior season of high school baseball. However, the PBR Alabama Staff was able to get out for this first few weeks of the season to check out the talent for the ‘21 class. 

With all rankings updates, most of the focus goes into the players who made the Top 10 in the state or who was fortunate enough to crack the Overall Rankings. After the release of the Updated and Expanded ‘21 Overall Rankings, the PBR Alabama Staff decided to discuss some of the players in this class who made their debut in the rankings and who made the biggest jumps. 

If you have not seen the Updated and Expanded Overall Player Rankings released in late April, click HERE to check out the full list. But for now, let’s talk about the risers and newcomers in the Alabama ‘21 class.


LHP, Maddux Bruns, UMS-Wright

Bruns has seen an increase in velocity this spring to match an already advanced breaking ball. He can command both sides of the plate with the fastball at 90-92 with easy, repeatable mechanics. The fastball seems to really take off late. The 6-foot-2 205-pound southpaw shows big-time arm-side action, which makes him very dangerous against left-handed hitters, as he also features a breaking ball that shows legit depth very late. Bruns jumped 13 spots from #16 to #3. 

Commitment: Mississippi State

C, Max Soliz Jr., Bob Jones HS

Arkansas commit. Recently moved from the state of Arkansas and transferred to Bob Jones for his junior season. Made an immediate impact in the Patriot's lineup,  leading the offensive in almost every statistical category. 6'4 215 pound frame with definite strength. A very imposing figure in the batter's box. Straight up stance at the plate and looks to launch and every pitch. Most of BP swings were to the LCF gap but has shown the ability to go to the backside gap in gameplay. Generates elite bat speed and rotational acceleration, way above the MLB average according to Blast analytics. Exit velo's on Trackman were in the mid-to-upper 90's with a couple 100's and 101's. Strong arm behind the plate, pretty agile for his size. Solid defensively in 2020 for Bob Jones. The bat is easily his best tool. Average runner. Will fit right in at Arkansas. 

Commitment: Arkansas

SS, Aidan Stewart, Next Level Academy

6-foot-5, 178 pounds; lanky frame. Stewart has improved in every aspect since we saw him in the Future Games for Team Alabama. At the plate, the switch-hitting infielder has shown improved overall feel for left-handed swing. Barrel whip has improved, as well as overall fluid movements. Able to handle pitches all over zone and go to both sides of the field. In the field, has a very strong arm. Has flashy actions and athletic feet. Really came on over the past year and has made himself into a coveted prospect. Tons of upside. #19 in the recent ‘21 Rankings.

Commitment: Missouri

RHP, Thomas Ballard, Bob Jones HS

Ballard is a polished righty who has continued to improve over the last year, showing well at the Hoover Met Fall Championships and abbreviated season for a loaded Bob Jones team. His fastball sits in the upper 80s. He does well to keep hitters off balance, throwing any pitch in any count. He’ll pitch backwards with the breaking ball and attack the lower half of the zone consistently with his fastball. The breaking ball has sharp bite with downward action. He tossed 18.2 innings this spring and struck out 30. Jumped to #20 in the recent ‘21 Rankings. Top uncommitted RHP left in the ‘21 AL class based on our rankings.


RHP, Javi Marrero, Smiths Station HS

First time seeing Marrero in January at the Preseason All State event after hearing about him and he did not disappoint. The ball comes out of his hand easily and he also shows some easy velocity with very nice arm side action. The fastball was 86-88, touching 90 mph. The spin rates were as high as the low 2000’s He showed nice, tight spin on the breaking ball that showed slider type action. The change up showed late tumble to the arm side at 76-78 mph. A definite big arm in the ‘21 class that is ultra projectable. Made a significant jump to #21.

Commitment: Troy

RHP, Tyler Haines, Central Phenix City HS

Haines was the ace of the Central Phenix City staff for the past 2 years, putting up big numbers in the process. 6’4 210 pound frame that maintains his velocity well. Starter profile on the mound with a mid to upper 80’s fastball and a breaking ball that shows depth. Easy delivery with smooth mechanics. Fastball has some late life to it. Made the PBR Alabama Performers of the Week multiple times over the past couple of years. Jumped up to #23 in the recent ‘21 Rankings.

Commitment: Mississippi State

SS, Webb Veronese, Auburn HS

Making his debut in the ‘21 Rankings, Veronese really jumped out to our scouts this spring when watching Auburn play. 6 foot-180 pound frame that moves well around the diamond. Toe-tap load at the dish and looks to drive the ball to the opposite field gap, as demonstrated below. Solid glove work at shortstop, made all the routine plays during gameplay. One to watch for the 2020 summer circuit. Debuts at #59, but could make another jump after the summer season.




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