Prep Baseball Report

Alabama '23 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 2023’s first season of high school baseball in the state of Alabama. 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 ‘23 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 ‘23 Overall Rankings, the PBR Alabama Staff decided to discuss some of the players in this class who did not make the Top 10 in Alabama or the Top 300 nationally. These players are still very talented and have tons of projection left. 

If you have not seen the Updated and Expanded Overall Player Rankings, click HERE to check out the full list. But for now, let’s talk about the risers and newcomers in the Alabama ‘23 class.

Risers & Newcomers

Banks Langston, RHP/OF, Florence HS

Member of Team Alabama at the 2019 PBR Jr. Future Games. Langston continues to prove why he is one of the better arms in the ‘23 class. Really nice arm action and clean mechanics makes him a possible high ceiling arm. He shows an easy delivery and the fastball really jumps out of the hand as he commanded the pitch up to 84 mph with spin rates in the mid 2000’s- low 2100’s. The breaking ball is firm with slider action in the low 70’s that he kept down in the zone. Nice athlete in the OF that can run. Slightly open stance at the plate with a leg kick approach that helps him generate some power. There is nice bat speed and strength in the hands. Slight tilt in the swing plane producing tilted line drives. The arm strength also showed during the outfield portion as he was 86 mph. A lot to like here.

Langston 1/18/20

Sam Silas, SS, Holtville HS

Young ‘23 grad that starts with the hands set back in the stance from a slightly open stance. The front side is simple and he shows some present strength in the hands. He was very impressive with the finish of the swing staying on pitches with some middle of the field juice. The field worked well at SS and he showed really nice lateral range with the glove. No questions about the glove action and the arm also shows some strength for such a young player. The skills should continue to develop as he matures which makes him an interesting ‘23 to follow.

Silas 9/29/19

Cade Carr, C, Hoover HS

Nice looking young player that impressed behind the plate and at SS. In the dirt, the feet and the hands work very well and he showed natural actions on ground balls. Very athletic set up with the glove and did a nice job moving through ground balls. Quick transfer and nice arm strength for a young player. Behind the plate, he showed advanced catch and throw skills and everything was smooth and natural for him. Was as low as 2.01 pop time. The ball came out of the hand well and he also showed solid fundamentals on balls in the dirt. At the plate the feet started slightly open and showed a repeatable swing throughout his round with a definite middle of the field approach. The approach is short and compact and the hands work well. Does a nice job with the top hand and shows some slight tilt in the swing plan. A very impressive ‘23 to follow.

Carr 10/20/19

Peyton Watts, SS, Oxford HS

Slick fielding ‘23 SS that will continue to progress as he matures physically and adds strength. The approach from the left side at the plate is solid from a slightly open stance. Really stayed on balls and did a nice job with his top hand. Showed a mature middle of the field approach during BP and got nice extension through the finish. Very simple actions with no wasted action. Showed big time actions at SS and feel for the position with advanced foot work and really showed well with the glove. A quick transfer and nice arm strength are also part of his game. A ‘23 to follow as he continues to progress physically.

Watts 1/18/20

Lane Griggs, 2B/3B, Russell County HS

Member of Team Alabama at the 2019 PBR Jr. Future Games. Slightly open toe tap approach at the plate as he continually showed a middle of the field approach. Did a nice job of keeping his hands and barrel inside the ball with a flat barrel path, producing consistent line drives. Did a nice job using his legs and showed nice barrel control. Really moved well during IF drills and showed a very quick transfer, getting rid of the ball quickly. Loved the glove presentation and feel for the hot corner. On the mound, he showed a FB up to 77 mph and the ball really seemed to come out of the hand very clean. Was down in the zone and showed some action into RH hitters. The breaking ball had tight spin and took shape of a slider.

Griggs 7/31/19

Evan Smallwood, SS/RHP, Spain Park HS

Another young arm with solid mechanics and athletic delivery. He showed a high ¾ arm slot and works downhill very well, allowing him to pound the lower half of the zone with the pitches. The fastball was 74- 76 mph and the breaking ball showed late 12/6 action with late depth. He showed confidence in the change up and the pitch showed some sink to it. Does a lot of things well as a player. Showed nice hip flexibility and lateral movement during the infield session and worked well through the throw to 1B. Fairly wide, even stance with the feet with the hands set fairly low. The front foot gets down quickly and the hands get to the launch position on time. Handles the barrel to all fields from a level swing plane and looks to be a “2 hole” type hitter.

Smallwood 1/18/20

Brant Stringer, RHP/3B, Hartselle HS

The young 2023 grad showed nice movements in the delivery and showed a fastball that was up to 80 mph with some late sink. The breaking ball was upper 60’s with tight spin and nice depth to the pitch while the change up was located well and showed as a very nice pitch. Has some nice potential and shows pitchability right now. Stringer was impressive as a player as well. Started with the feet even in the stance and a simple approach on the front side. The hands are set high in the stance and he shows a definite tilted swing path with some violence in the swing. The BP was loud with a heavy pull side approach. Tall, slender frame with plenty of room to grow. Athletic at 3B with nice arm strength (81 mph) and nice flexibility in the hips. Light on the feet. A good looking ‘23 prospect.

Stringer 1/18/20

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