January 18 Preseason All State Positional Scout Analysis: Middle Infielders

PBR Alabama Staff

Today we continue our coverage of the Preseason All State event by taking a look at the middle infielders that attended the event. This group showed tons of athleticism as several also threw a bullpen at the event as a pitcher. No doubt, we will be hearing a lot about many of these players in the future. 

Walter Ford (2023, SS/RHP, Pace FL) On the mound, Ford showed premium stuff and arm strength. Really pounded the zone with all three pitches from an athletic delivery. The fastball obviously came out of the hand easily and showed some late life. The fastball sat 89-91 mph with spin rates in the mid 2100’s- low 2300’s. The breaking ball showed sharp downward tilt at 75-78 mph. The change up showed plus deception in the lower 80’s and can be a plus pitch. Explosive arm. Ford was also impressive during the infield portion and he showed nice range laterally and the arm strength once again jumped out as he was 88 to 1B. The feet are even in the stance at the plate and he shows a simple, yet powerful approach at the plate. There is slight tilt in the swing plane and the barrel shows some violence in the hitting zone. Showed a middle to pull side approach and was 89 mpg off the tee. A definite two way ‘23 big time guy. 

Davis Gillespie (2022, SS/RHP, Oak Mountain) Everything was nice and easy on the mound with tremendous spin rates on the fastball and tons of movement on the pitch. The fastball was up to 84 mph and spin rates low 2200’s- mid 2300’s. He threw a slider that took nice shape with tight spin at 69-70 mph. The change up showed nice tumble to the arm side. Gillespie has nice feel for pitching. Open stance with the feet and slight crouch in his stance while the hands show nice rhythm in the load with plenty of bat speed. He was 91 mph exit velocity off the tee and showed some nice juice to the pull side. The barrel stays in the hitting zone for a long time. The ‘22 grad was also 84 mph across to the 1B bag and the glove presentation and foot work are solid defensively. A ‘22 to follow that has really improved over the last year. 

Samuel Baker (2021, SS/2B, Hooper Academy) Athletic SS that has some flair to his game. The arm works well across the diamond as he was 83 mph with accurate throws to the bag. Really fluid with the glove and shows nimbleness with the feet. Did a nice job working his momentum through his throws. At the plate, Baker was 89 mph off the tee and shows a short, compact swing with plenty of quickness in the hands and bat speed. The ball came off the bat loudly and he showed a consistent middle of the field line drive approach. 

Alex Gauld (2020, SS/2B, Mountain Brook) An uncommitted ‘20 that brings several nice skills to the diamond. He shows fluid athletic actions and is a nice runner (4.06 H- 1B) as well. Moved laterally very well and looked natural on the slow roller in front of him with the solid glovework and arm strength (83 mph across the infield). At the plate, he has a powerful, short stroke with nice barrel control with some juice off the barrel. Slightly open stance with the feet and does a very nice job of staying short with the hands and staying inside contact. This resulted in a consistent line approach from gap to gap. The bat speed is nice and there is slight tilt in the swing path. Like this uncommitted ‘20. 

Brayden Merriweather (2021, 2B/OF, Madison Academy) Really easy delivery from a very athletic player. The ball came out of the hand very easily and the fastball showed some sink as he located the pitch down in the zone up to 82 mph. The slider was 68-71 mph and showed very late action. Has some potential on the mound. Strong lower half with a slightly open stance that showed a slightly tilted bat path and a mostly pull side approach. There is some present strength in the hands and the lower half is slightly rotational. He was also 90 mph off the tee. Athletic MIF that presents the glove well out front and showed easy movement on the slow roller in front. The arm strength and accuracy is nice as he was 81 mph to 1B.  

Hunter Anderson (2020, RHP/SS, Chelsea) Really clean actions and the fastball showed nice vertical break. Very nice arm that showed the ability to throw three pitches for a strike. The fastball was up to 82 mph with mid to upper 1900’s spin rates. The breaking ball shows very tight spin and late depth at 69-71 mph. The change up was considered a “plus” pitch for him showing major deception and arm side fade at 68-70 mph.  The feet are fairly even in the stance at the plate and he shows a compact middle of the field approach with a level swing plane and violence in the barrel. Shows nice extension through contact. Has some quick twitch actions in the field with the glove and flexibility in the hips. A versatile ‘20 grad with very solid skills.

Tyler Wilson (2023, SS/RHP, Hoover) Showed a fastball up to 80 mph with nice downhill action on the pitch. The arm actions are very clean and the fastball showed nice vertical break. The breaking ball showed some promise with late depth and should be a pitch that continues to advance as he gets older. The change up was 65- 66 mph with late movement. Slightly opened with the feet and he uses a small leg kick approach to gather the weight over the backside. Does a nice job staying synced throughout the swing and shows a middle to pull side line drive approach. The footwork during the pre field portion is very nice and he shows a quick transfer from glove to throw. He showed 81 mph across to 1B and is an intriguing ‘23 to keep an eye on.

Matt Manley (2023, RHP/3B, Madison Academy) Showed a very solid delivery and repeated solid mechanics pitch after pitch. The fastball showed some late cutting action and was up to 80 mph. The curveball showed late depth and he also threw a slider that showed nice, tight spin and late movement away from RH hitters. Also showed nice command of a change up that tumbled late. A ‘23 arm to watch. Has become much more physical in the batter’s box and the ball came off the barrel much louder than before with an 85 mph exit velocity off the tee. Tall stance and even feet with a nice load which allowed him to consistently be on time with the barrel. There is some tilt in the swing path with a middle to pull approach. Kees the barrel through the zone very well. The feet and glove presentation are solid on the infield and he does a nice job working through his throws to 1B.

William Burgreen (2022, SS/2B, Decatur) Athletic, switch hitting middle infielder that appeared to be much more physical with the barrel than we have seen him in the past. Slightly open with the feet from both sides of the plate with a nice load of the hands and bat speed. Stays through contact well very and showed a gap to gap approach from both sides. Looked more natural and better rhythm in the hands from the left side. Can really defend with the glove and moves well laterally to the backhand side and glove side. Showed the ability to throw from different arm slots and throws had carry on them.

Carter Sidor (2020, SS/OF, Spain Park) Slightly open stance and does a nice job getting the front foot down on time so that the barrel gets in the hitting zone on time. Nice weight transfer and load of the hands with a short, simple approach with the hands. The bat path stays fairly level and he does a real nice job of staying through contact with the barrel. Fluid actions on the infield and the preset is solid and he does a nice job with the feet before the ball gets in the glove. Gathers himself very well for the throw and works through the throw well. A ‘20 grad that shows very nice skills.

Garrett Frye (2020, SS/2B, Chelsea) Slightly open stance at the plate and a fairly upright stance with a small toe tap approach. There is some “whip” in the barrel and he showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields. The barrel has some slight tilt in the path and he does a nice job staying through the hitting zone with the barrel. A good runner that shows solid athleticism in the field and the glovework is plus with solid presentation out front. A nice ‘20 uncommitted player. 

Peyton Watts (2023, SS/RHP, Oxford) Young arm (‘23 grad) that showed an easy delivery from a mid ¾ slot on the mound. The fastball was up to 76 mph with nice arm side action and the breaking ball was more of a slider as the pitch showed late side to side action at 65- 68 mph. Clean mechanics on the young pitcher. A very nice looking swing from the left side that is well synched. The extension through contact is plus and he uses the lower half very well. Shows an ability to handle all pitches and drive the ball to all fields. The swing plane has very slight tilt. Love the swing on this young guy. Actions at SS are athletic and the glove works well. Throws were very accurate to 1B and the arm strength will continue to progress as he physically matures. 

Tucker Burns (2022, SS/2B, Sparkman) Love the defensive actions at SS on the ‘22 grad. Can really pick it and shows natural actions from ball in glove to transfer and does a nice job working momentum through the throw. Has some quick twitch skill defensively. Carries himself very well. At the plate the feet start slightly open from a tall stance and he does a nice job keeping the head still during the set up and swing. Has some tilt in the swing path and shows a mostly pull side approach, creating some backspin off the bat. Nice finish through contact as well. 

Jacob Little (2021, SS/RHP, Southside) The ‘21 grad can just flat play. He was the fastest H-1B (3.95) at the event and was also 92 mph exit velocity off the bat. Very active feet on the infield and shows very nice lateral range and an accurate arm across the diamond. The offensive approach from the left solid is big time. Does a phenomenal job generating pop off the barrel by utilizing his lower half very well. Open stance with the feet and a leg kick approach allows for major juice off the barrel. Shows some big tilt in the swing path and big time pop to the pull side. Love the rhythm in the swing and the finish through contact.   

Zane Stokes (2022, SS/2B, Mobile Christian) Athletic looking ‘22 that starts from a slightly open stance and the hands set back in the stance. A low effort, maximum production swing. There is no wasted action in the hands or lower half which allows the swing to be well synced. Just a clean, pure swing. Handled the bat very well and drove the ball to all fields. Really like the solid offensive approach. The defensive game shows very nice skills as well and he moves very well getting to ground balls. Showed very nice lateral movement and solid ability to throw from a different arm slot. Very solid ‘22 grad. 

Taylor Patterson (2022, SS/2B, Homewood) Smooth actions on the infield, really liked his glove presentation as he looked very natural at SS. Could also make the move to 2B as he showed a short arm action with carry on his throws. Slightly open with the feet and tall in the stance with some quickness in the hands. Showed some tilt in the swing path and a mostly pull approach. Showed some top hand strength and kept the barrel through contact very well.  

Kyle Blevins (2022, SS/2B, TR MIller) Solid actions on this ‘22 SS that started with the feet very slightly open. Very compact approach with no wasted movement in the setup or swing. The hands have present strength and the barrel creates some violence through the hitting zone. Does a nice job keeping the head still throughout and the swing plane is fairly flat. Love the finish with the barrel. Looked very natural at SS and did a nice job working the feet to present the glove out in front. Showed a quick release and the arm strength is nice and throws were on target to 1B. 

Evan Smallwood (2023, SS/RHP, Spain Park) 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. 

Caleb Robertson (2023, 2B/SS, Oxford) Narrow, open stance with a very small toe tap approach and the hands set high. Really worked on keeping his hands inside the baseball and this resulted in a middle to opposite field approach. The barrel stayed flat throughout the swing. Defensively, the skills are solid and he did a nice job working his feet and forced the hands away from his body. The arm strength will increase as he continues to mature physically and add strength. Looked nice on the slow roller in front of him. 

Jacob Pearl (2024, SS/2B, Huntsville) One of the younger players at the event but he showed well on the day. The offensive approach from the left side is fundamentally solid from an open stance with the feet and a slight crouch with the body. Really liked how he used the lower half in his swing, creating some torque in the swing. There is some tilt in the swing path, resulting in consistent tilted line drives to the middle of the field. Quick actions on the infield and a very quick transfer on the throw. The skills are very solid and the arm strength will progress as he continues to physically mature. Like the ‘24 grad a lot.

We will conclude our coverage of the event over the next few days as we take a look at the corner infielders at the event so keep checking back. 

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