Alabama Class of 2026 Rankings: Notable Newcomers
September 8, 2023
After a busy summer full of events, the Class of 2026 Player Rankings was long overdue for an update as these players have just started their sophomore year. There were a ton of new names who entered into the fold, as well as a number of others who continue to elevate their game, warranting plenty of movement and expansion (now 75 players) to the list. Most of the same names are still inside the Top-10 from the last update, but there's some shakeup within.
On Wednesday, our staff updated the state’s present sophomore class formally, expanding the list to feature 75 names with plenty of movement throughout. We detailed the new top-10 extensively inside our official release, which you can find HERE.
Today we’re highlighting some names that are new within our rankings, with detailed scout notes from our year-long coverage that consisted of showcases, tournaments, spring looks, etc. These prospects are trending upward as they begin their senior seasons and there’s a handful of them that remain uncommitted, too.
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Learn more about a handful of arrow-up 2026 graduates below.
Jacob Rowell RHP / RHP / Saraland , AL / 2026
Rankings StateRank: 30 / POS: 8
Rowell jumped on the scene at this summer's South Alabama Games as he was super impressive on the bump,working from a clean delivery. A long 6-foot-5 frame with plenty of room for added size and strength just ooze serious projection over the next few years, including added velocity. Showed a solid three-pitch arsenal from a long, clean arm action and is a definite follow for college coaches. See his report from the summer below.
"6-foot-5, 170-pounds. Really high ceiling with long and very projectable build with long limbs. Tons of room to add mass in the future. Strong outing on the mound mixing in all three offerings for strikes with solid metrics on both secondary pitches. Fastball operated in the low-80s for the majority of the outing and reached 85.4 mph earlier; possesses some life to the arm-side. Paired his fastball with a 71-73 mph breaking ball (2400 rpm) that showed 11-5 shape and had quality depth to the pitch; more horizontal shape when located to the arm-side. Good feel to pronate a 78-79 mph changeup (1400 rpm) that was an effective third offering; has usual arm-side fade to it. Still a young prospect but has a tons of upside and is certainly one to follow in the rising sophomore class in AL for the next couple of years."
Gavin Smith 3B / 1B / Vestavia Hills, AL / 2026
Rankings StateRank: 32 / POS: 3
Smith continues to impress with the bat and makes a big splash in our 2026 rankings. The physical corner infielder shows plenty of present strength in a compact, powerful frame with the ability to hit with power to all fields. The sophomore really keeps the barrel through the hitting zone from a clean bat path. See his report from the summer below.
"6-foot-0, 180-pounds. Advanced physical strength to build with athleticism to match. Possesses a gap-to-gap approach from the left side of the plate with some present juice; intriguing power potential as he continues to mature. Balanced setup with strong hands and clean path that work through the zone; has some present bat speed. Intriguing left-handed hitter in the 2026 class in AL that has stood out multiple times in this summer.
Jaylen Crocker C / RHP / American Christian, AL / 2026
Rankings StateRank: 33 / POS: 3
Crocker appears in the ranking at No. 33 after an impresive showing at the Preseason All State event and multiple viewing this summer in PBR Tournaments. The 6-foot-1, 170 pounder has continued to evolve defensively behind the plate, showing athletic actions and the ability to "steal" strikes for his pitcher. The offensive part of his game is advanced as he shows a definite middle-of-the-field approach with plenty of juice to both gaps.
"6-foot-1, 170-pounds. Some present strength to build; potential to add more in the future. Advanced actions behind the plate."
Baylor Fields SS / OF / Pell City , AL / 2026
Rankings StateRank: 36 / POS: 12
Fields impresed over the summer and thus made his initial appearance in our 2026 rankings. He shows the ability to move laterally well to both sides with solid glovework and plenty of arm strength to stick on the left side of the infield. With the bat, Fields shows an advanced approach at the plate by keeping the barrel through the hitting zone from a mostly flat path. He will continue to add size and strength but shows current pullside power off of the barrel. See his report form this summer below.
"Fields (Pell City, 2026) is a lean and wiry 6-foot-1, 165-pound athlete that provided solid contributions to their offense all weekend long and helped lead them to a championship appearance. Hitting in the heart of their order, the rising sophomore has plenty of room to add to his frame in the future and has solid skills to build on moving forward. Taking quality at-bats all weekend, the shortstop’s most impressive swing came on a home run to the pull-side where he worked into a hitter’s count and hunted a fastball. He possesses good lag to his barrel and meets the baseball using a flatter path through the zone; has present bat speed through the zone with intriguing athleticism offensively. Skilled infielder up the middle and made all the routine plays this weekend."
John Braswell 1B / 3B / Saint James, AL / 2026
Rankings StateRank: 40 / POS: 4
Braswell finds himself in the 2026 rankings after an impressive showing at the All State Games this past July. He showed a violent swing from a mostly flat bat path, resulting in numerous line drives to the pullside and back up the middle of the field. The swing will continue to develop as he adds size and strength in the coming years.
"6-foot-1, 195-pounds. Present bat speed with power middle to the pullside. One to follow in the 2026 class."
|South Alabama Select||September 24th, 2023||The Performance Lab (Mobile, AL)|
|Southeast Senior Games (Invite-Only)||October 7th-8th, 2023||Jacksonville St./Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)|
|AL/MS Border Battle (Invite-Only)||October 14th-15th, 2023||Northeast Mississippi CC (Booneville, MS)|
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