Prep Baseball Report

North AL Preseason All-State: Quick Hits

PBR Alabama Staff

HARTSELLE, AL - The North AL Preseason All-State was held on Saturday, January 7th at Hartselle High School in Hartselle, AL. This event was an invite-only event that consisted of some of the top prospects from the 2023-2026 classes. These players went through extended pro-style workout that included batting practice using Trackman and Blast Motion, ran the 60 yard dash using Swift Performance, and much more. Pitchers were able to throw in simulated bullpens during the workout and were able to get numbers and metrics off of our Trackman unit, such as pitch velocity, spin rate, horizontal & vertical movement & much more. There were some players who showed up and continued to build off of prior performances, but there were also some new names who jumped onto our radar with a strong showing on Saturday.

Kicking off our post-event coverage for this event, we take a look back at some of the top performers and standouts from Saturday. Continuing over the course of the next week or so, we will release different statistical leaderboards for the event then transition into releasing individual scouting reports for each player in attendance.


+ RHP/3B Brendan Conner (Corner, 2024) was arguably the biggest winners from yesterday's event in terms of boosting his stock in a two way role, but probably even more with the bullpen he turned in. The uncommitted junior is strongly-built standing 6-foot-0, 205-pounds, and he certainly uses that strength to his advantage in multiple phases. Starting off his day, Conner posted one of the highest exit velocities at the event at 100.7 mph while showing gap-to-gap pop from the right side, and while exit velocity isn't the end-all, be-all, he was consistently on the barrel throughout his round. The uncommitted junior then hopped on the mound and showed the strides he's already made since the PBR Future Games just five months ago, as he sat 89-90 mph and touched 91.3 mph with his fastball at the event. He also flashed good feel for a power slider at 78-81 mph with consistent spin rates around 2600 rpm. He continues to trend up and establish himself as one of the top uncommitted juniors in the state heading into the spring.

+ RHP/3B Braden Booth (Bob Jones, 2024) already as one of the more high-profile prospects coming into this event being ranked inside the Top-5 in the junior class in the state of AL. The Mississippi State recruit has shown over the past couple years he's an elite two-way talent, and did more of the same with his showing at yesterday's event. Like Conner, Booth started his day off by driving balls into the pull-side gap during his round of BP, resulting in the top EV of the event at 101.5 mph on his last swing. The right-hander then hopped on the mound and ran his fastball up to 91.1 mph several times while mostly sitting 89-90 mph with his fastball. Booth also spins two distinctly different breaking balls, with the curveball showing more 11-5 shape at 77-79 mph (2200 rpm) and the slider showing sharp, lateral break at 81-82 mph (2300 rpm). It's easy to see why he's regarded as one of the top players in the state, regardless of class, and looks poised for another strong high school season this spring.

+ SS Jaxson Wood (Hoover, 2026) was another high-profile prospect coming into this event as a name-to-know, and he did more than enough the cement his status as a top freshman in the state. Currently ranked inside the Top-5, the Tennessee recruit was consistently on the barrel throughout his round of BP, lining balls into the pull-side gap that registered exit velocities in the low-90's. Although a bit smaller in stature, Wood packs a punch in his right-handed swing with athletic, fluid actions throughout while using balance and rhythm in his setup. He's an above average athlete, running one of the top 60 YD's from the event at 6.98, which fits his skill set well. The freshman shows present bat speed from the right side of the plate with present bat speed and quick hands. Moves excellent laterally on the infield with quality glove-work and arm strength across the infield.

+ RHP Christian Chatterton (Brooks, 2024) continued his trend of one-upping his prior performance at a Preseason All-State event, as the Auburn recruit showed solid feel for his four-pitch mix during his extended bullpen. Also ranked inside the Top-5 in his respective graduation class, Chatterton worked his fastball up to 91.8 mph while working in the 90-91 mph range throughout. Standing 6-foot-0, 195-pounds is an athletic mover down the mound and does an excellent job of staying balanced over the rubber throughout his delivery. Coming out of a H 3/4 arm slot, the junior right-hander uses some effort and a strong lower-half throughout his delivery that produces a quick arm with a ball that seems to jump out of the hand with ride throughout the zone. Chatterton showed a tight slider at 76-78 mph (2300 rpm) and a 73-74 mph (2600 rpm) breaking ball with more depth and 11-5 shape as his primary secondaries, while also turning over some fading changeups at 76-77 mph. The junior is an impressive arm that continues to enjoy standout performances at this event over the course of the last three years.

+ RHP Jackson Hunter (Hazel Green, 2024) is another former PBR Future Gamer from this past summer who continues to trend upward after a strong showing at yesterday's event. An Alabama recruit, Hunter stands 6-foot-3, 190-pounds with still the potential for more strength and projection down the road, but continues to look the part as a future starter at the next level. In his extended bullpen at yesterday's event, Hunter seemed as if he was playing catch using a delivery that doesn't require much effort, but still produces intriguing metric and velocity on all his offerings. The right-hander comfortably worked at 88-89 mph throughout his bullpen while touching 89.8 mph near the end of his outing, and mixing in a sharp slider that found the zone with consistency at 79-82 mph (2500 rpm). Hunter has clean mechanics and incorporates all parts of his frame efficiently while pounding the zone with all three offerings. Ranked inside the Top-10 in the junior class in AL.

+ 3B Caleb Barnett (Mountain Brook, 2025) was another high-profile prospect that our staff was eager to see after moving in from Pennsylvania just a few months ago. Already committed to Alabama, Barnett certainly looks the part of a future middle-of-the-order hitter at the next level standing a very projectable 6-foot-5, 205-pounds. The sophomore turned in a loud round of BP at yesterday's event with easy juice coming off of his right-handed bat, resulting in a 98.3 mph EV, while turning the barrel with ease using present bat speed and advanced physicality for his age. He worked more to the pull-side in his approach, sending deep drives into the gaps with consistency and a simple set up from the right side of the plate. Barnett's barrel works mostly uphill through the zone and has tons of power potential given his stature and the way the ball seems to jump off of his barrel. Another prospect ranked inside the Top-5 in his respective graduation class.

+ SS Jason Neal (Chelsea, 2024) is an uncommitted junior who seemed to do everything at a high level at yesterday's event. Neal, standing 6-foot-0, 165-pounds, possesses an athletic skill set with some twitch and fluid actions both at the plate and up the middle defensively. At the plate, Neal looks to lift to the pull-side in his approach and drive balls into the gap with a mostly uphill path through contact. He stays balanced well through his swing from the right side of the plate and showed quality feel for the barrel during his round of BP. He was equally as impressive up the middle defensively, showing excellent range from the shortstop position and making even the difficult plays look routine. He stays through the ball well with his glove and has an accurate arm that could transition him to three different infield positions. A good uncommitted junior to follow closely throughout the spring high school season.

+ RHP Banks Langston (Russellville, 2023) is another upperclassmen from yesterday's event who did more than enough to boost his stock as he heads into his final season of high school baseball. Langston, a Northwest Shoals CC signee, helped lead the Golden Tigers to yet another Class 5A State Title last spring and will look to do the same this spring after seeing a major uptick in velocity. It was easy to see the physical strides he's made to his 6-foot-0, 180-pound frame over the past few months, and that easily translated to his bullpen where he worked 89-90 mph and touched 90.6 mph towards the end of his outing. His slider continues to be a lethal weapon as his primary secondary offering at 82-83 mph with sharp, late bite, and also showed solid feel for a fading changeup, as well. He's always been able to get outs even before, but now with his uptick in velocity, he creates an even more difficult matchup for opposing hitters.

+ RHP Chris Billingsley (Bibb County, 2023) showed that he may have the most upside and potential out of any pitcher that threw at yesterday's event, but there's plenty to like in the future, as well. A recent East Central CC signee, Billingsley stands a 6-foot-4, 185-pounds on the mound with present athleticism throughout his delivery that produced a fastball that lived around the 88-89 mph range with late life during his bullpen. The right-hander has a quick arm on the mound and should continue to see jumps in velocity as he adds more strength to his frame in the future. Billingsley showed some feel to land his 11-5 breaking ball for strikes in his outing, while spinning in ranges near the 2700 rpm mark consistently. The senior's changeup also worked well off his fastball at mostly 78-79 mph with the ability to kill spin on his offering. Really impressive right-hander with plenty to like both in the present and in the future.

+ RHP Brayley Smith (Pell City, 2024) enjoyed a breakout performance at last summer's Top Prospect Games, where he worked in the mid-80's with intriguing metrics on all of his offerings. The uncommitted junior continued to show signs of improvement at yesterday's event while mixing a quality four-pitch repertoire in his extended bullpen. Listed at 6-foot-0, 170-pounds, Smith has an athletic body with a fast arm that produced a fastball that worked consistently at 86-88 mph with arm-side run and some late life in the zone. The right-hander showed a late-breaking slider at 75-77 mph (2400 rpm) and a slower breaking ball at 69-71 mph (2200 rpm) with more top-to-bottom break and 11-5 shape as his primary secondary offerings, while landing a fading changeup with the same action as his fastball for strikes at 70-73 mph. Another uncommitted prospect in the junior class that will be one to keep tabs on throughout this spring.

+ RHP/3B Evan Malone (Northridge, 2026) is already regarded as one of the top two-way prospects in his young graduation class and enjoyed a strong showing in his PBR showcase debut at yesterday's event. Standing 6-foot-1, 175-pounds with proportional strength throughout his frame, Malone impressed in multiple facets and started his day off by driving balls back up the middle in his BP round. The right-hander attacks the ball with a mostly flat path through the zone and creates extension out front while comfortably back-spinning balls to both gaps. He followed that up with a strong outing on the mound, where he worked 83-84 mph with his fastball and touched 84.5 mph near the end of his outing. The freshman shows a loose, whippy arm action coming out of a H 3/4 arm slot, and showed some feel for spin on a 68-69 mph (2300 rpm) breaking ball while also mixing in a 76-77 mph changeup as his third offering. He moves down the mound with some athleticism and effort, and given his strong stature, he'll be a quality young prospect to follow throughout his high school career in the coming years.

+ OF Parker Adams (Andalusia, 2024) is another uncommitted junior who made a name for himself after a quality outing at yesterday's event. Also in his PBR showcase debut, Adams showed some intriguing athleticism in his strongly-built 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame that translated into his round of BP. After running one of the top 60 YD's from the event at 6.99, the right-hander took quality swings from the right side of the plate while barreling balls back up the middle resulting in a top EV at 98.5 mph. He shows some athletic actions in the box while working short-to-long with his barrel and has present bat speed, as well. He will be another good uncommitted prospect in the junior class to follow this spring.

+ OF Andrew Pitts (Hoover, 2024) also turned in one of the more impressive and mature rounds of BP during yesterday's event while continuing to show a quality hit tool from the left side. Listed at 5-foot-10, 185-pounds, the uncommitted junior shows present physicality in his frame with a strong lower-half that helps generate gap-to-gap pop at the plate. Using an athletic, well-balanced setup, Pitts swings a fluid, accurate barrel through the zone that consistently found firm contact in his round of BP with batted balls registering in the low-90's and a top EV at 96.9 mph. He has a free and easy left-handed swing that should continue to see more power down the road with already some present. Another uncommitted prospect in the junior class that is ranked inside the Top-50 in his class.


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