Oct. 20 Alabama Fall Open Scout Analysis: Infielders

PBR Alabama Staff

October 20 Alabama Fall Open Scout Analysis: Infielders

Possibly the most talented group as a whole at the event, there were several infielders that had very impressive performances on the day. There were some impressive older players as well as some talented younger infielders. Let's take a look at each one of those infielders. 

Brennen Norton (2021, 3B/2B, Cullman) Very talented infielder that had the highest exit velocity off a tee at the event (96 mph) and the best infield velocity on the day (85 mph) as well as running a sub 7.0 60 yard dash (6.95). The skills with the glove at 3B are solid and he shows a really quick transfer from the glove. No doubt the bat plays big time. He shows some present strength with the hands and does a nice job of staying short and through the hitting zone. Shows juice to all fields with some tilt in the swing plane. Does a nice job creating torque in the lower half and the swing is well synched. Really like this ‘21 grad. 

Michael Hopkinson (2021. 2B/3B, Faith Academy) The feet and the glove are plus and he does a nice job reading balls off the and getting in position for an easy hop. Shows nice lateral range and the ability to throw from different arm slots. The arm strength continues to impress as he was 83 mph across the diamond and once again ran a sub 7.0 60 yard dash. At the plate, there is some “whip” in the hands and he does a nice job of keeping the hands and barrel inside the baseball. During BP, he showed a solid middle of the field approach with power from foul line to foul line. Does a nice job getting his weight back to the launch position and has a well synced swing. The bat path has some tilt in it and he does a nice job with the top hand. ‘21 grad that does nothing but impress each time we see him. 

Hayden Stancil (2022, SS/RHP, Cullman) One of the more impressive players at the event, and is only a ‘22 grad. Strong core strength at the plate as the feet start square in the stance and there is a simple, rhythmic load of the hands. Very simple approach on the front side and the hands have some definite strength now. Really gets extension through contact and the ball just jumps off the barrel (91 mph exit velo off a tee). The swing path has some tilt in it and the approach is definite gap to gap, creating backspin with carry off the bat. The actions are SS really stood out. Very natural actions and everything looked easy and he showed some savvy with the feet. The arm strength is present, already throwing 81 mph across the dirt. A definite big time ‘22 to follow. 

Garrett Frye (2020, SS/2B, Chelsea) Nice looking, solid ‘20 SS that impressed with the glove at the event. The arm strength is solid with very accurate throws to the 1B bag. Natural instincts with the feet with nice athleticism allowed him to be in position for a nice hop off the bat. The glove is present out front and he does a nice job with momentum of the body with the throw. Impressive side to side range and can easily play 2B as well. Good athlete that started with a slightly open stance from the right side at the plate and used a small leg kick to generate some juice off the barrel. There is strength in the hands and he some tilt in the swing plane and showed some backspin juice to all fields. The approach is simple and compact but creates some power. An impressive ‘20 grad.  

Austin Frye (2020, 3B/RHP, Chelsea) 7.01 (60 yard dash) runner. Slightly open toe tap approach at the plate with some quickness in the hands. Does a real nice job of keeping the barrel in the zone through the finish of the swing. Stays on the ball a long time and creates some nice back spin off the barrel. Has a very solid powerful lower half and the swing is well synced. Has some violence in the swing and can hit with pop to all fields. Consist loud barrel in BP. No questions defensively at the hit corner. Played low to the ground and moved well to his right and left and showed a quick transfer starting the double play to his glove side. Throws were accurate to the bag with carry and was very impressive (and athletic) on the slow roller in front of him.  

Miles Mitchell (2023, SS/3B, Helena) Defensively at SS, Mitchell showed solid skills (especially for a ‘23) with the feet and glove. Has some flair to his defensive game but the glove works well as he worked his feet to get in solid position for a nice hop. The glove presentation was solidly out in front and he did a nice job gathering himself for the throw and used his momentum well to make the throw. Nice drop step on the double play and the actions were very natural and athletic on the slow roller. At the plate, he shows some definite strength to be so young. The feet are even and the hands are set back in the stance. There is not a ton of movement in his approach but there is strength in the hands. Very compact approach with some violence in the swing. Showed a middle to pull side approach and some tilt in the swing path, which consistently produced tilted line drives during BP. An interesting ‘23 to follow.  

Evan Smallwood (2023, SS/RHP, Spain Park) Showed a nice, easy delivery from a high ¾ arm slot. The FB was up to 75 mph and the spin rates were fairly impressive in the upper 2000’s to upper 2100’s. The pitch also showed some late cut. He showed a nice breaking ball in the lower 60’s that showed nice vertical depth and tight spin. The spin rates on the pitch were in the mid to upper 2100’s. Nice makeup on the mound for the ‘23 RHP. Very athletic player that also ran a 6.82 60 yard dash at the event. Very compact approach at the plate with even feet and a simple front side which allows him to get the barrel to the hitting zone on time. There is slight tilt in the swing plane and he showed nice strength in the hands. Handles the barrel very well and can hit to all fields. Actions at SS were fluid and it seemed “easy”. The feet worked extremely well and the glove action is impressive. Showed a ton of good qualities on the dirt. The arm strength is nice for a ‘23 and should continue to get stronger over the years. An interesting ‘23 to keep an eye on.   

Ethan Wininger (2021, 3B/C, Scottsboro) Slightly open with the feet in a crouched stance. Showed a small toe tap approach and did a nice very nice job of using a strong lower half in the swing, creating some torque. There is some present strength in the hands. Did a nice job handling pitches in all parts of the zone and used the entire field during BP. The bat path was fairly level through the zone and the hands and barrel stayed short though the zone. At 3B, he showed a very fundamental approach to ground balls from an athletic setup. Presenting the glove out in front very well and showed a nice arm across the infield and was very accurate to the 1B bag. Quick transfer and nice lateral range.  

Tucker Burns (2022, SS/C, Sparkman) At the plate, the ‘22 grad showed a solid middle of the field approach from an open stance and a simple toe tap approach to get timed up. He handled the barrel very well to all fields and there is slight tilt in the swing plane also showing nice extension through the hitting zone. Does a nice job using his lower half in the swing.  At SS, the actions are solid with nice arm strength and a very quick transfer after the ball is in the glove. The feet work well and the glove works well. Seemed very light on his feet in the dirt. Showed the ability to throw from different arm angles with accuracy. 

Trent Jones (2021, SS/OF, Pelham) Loose arm from a high ¾ slot with a nice, smooth delivery. The FB has some sink and he was able to locate the pitch to both sides of the plate at 80 mph consistently throughout his bullpen (mid 1700’s to mid 1800 spin rates). The breaking ball showed nice shape in the upper 60’s with spin rates in the mid 1700’s to low 1800’s. He was able to command the changeup in the lower 70’s and the pitch showed late tumble and nice vertical break. Did a nice job hiding the ball in his delivery. Showed a slightly open, upright stance at the plate with nice, quick hands. Fairly wide stance with a simple toe tap approach. The swing is well synched and the ball comes off the barrel well. Short, compact approach with ability to handle the barrel to all fields. Really nice pre set with the feet at SS and the actions are very athletic. Plays low to the ground with solid glove presentation. The ball comes out of the hand well and there is some carry on throws with adequate arm strength. Interesting ‘21 grad.

William Penley (2021, 1B/LHP, Decatur) Tall, physical build that showed some nice vertical movement on the FB that was up to 73 mph with spin rates in the mid 1800’s. The pitch also showed some nice ASR and created nice down action. From a high ¾ arm slot the breaking ball showed nice downward tilt with spin rates in the mid 2100’s to the low 2200’s.  The change up is a plus pitch in the mid 60’s which he commanded very well and the pitch showed nice, late fade. At the plate, he showed present strength in his hands did a nice job staying through the zone with the barrel. The feet were even in the stance and he showed nice rhythm in the load of the hands. There is definite tilt in the swing path and he showed gap to gap power with back spin, as well as a 93 mph exit velo off a tee. Showed solid skills around the bag at 1B and did a nice job picking balls in the dirt. The feet work well around the bag as well, showing nice athleticism.

Chris Simmons (2022, 3B/RHP, Auburn) On the mound he showed a low ¾ arm slot and showed a FB up to 71 mph with some cut and late sink. Spin rates were in the mid 1600’s. The breaking ball showed slider type action from the low arm slot and he was able to throw the pitch for strikes at 53-54 mph. At the plate, the feet started even and the bat path showed some tilt through the zone. The approach was mostly pull side with the hands set high in the stance. He showed to be a front foot hitter. At 3B, the transfer from glove to throw was quick with nice lateral range shown as well.

This wraps up our coverage of the day. Special thanks to Birmingham Southern College for hosting the event. 

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