Preseason All-State: Quick Hits


Austin Sharp
Director of Scouting

The third annual Alabama Preseason All-State event was held this past Sunday, January 17th, at the All Star Sports Training Facility in Cullman, AL. Approximately 90 of the best players the state of Alabama has to offers were divided into three sessions where they went through a pro-style workout, and pitchers threw bullpens at the end of each session. Position players ran the 60 yard dash, went through batting practice with Blast sensors and the Trackman unit, and went through a defensive workout at the position of their choice.

Today, we will go back and take a look at some of the top performers from Sunday's event in Cullman. This story provides some in-depth analysis and thoughts from our PBR staff on some standouts from the event. Tomorrow, we will release statistical leaderboards that will look at the top players who performed well at each metric/statistic. Detailed scouting reports on all players will also begin later this week.

 

Power Arms

+ ‘22 RHP Jackson Harris (Opelika HS) was one of the bigger surprises of the day on the mound. At 6-foot-4, 176 pounds, the right-handed hurler showcased some premium stuff during his bullpen on Sunday. The sophomore has a clean delivery and sat 86-87 mph (23-2400 rpm’s) consistently and bumped 90 mph on his last pitch of the day. The breaking ball was also a quality pitch and he showed good feel for spin (2300 rpm’s). He consistently pounded the zone with all pitches. Harris is currently uncommitted, but should really pick up momentum with his performance on the mound yesterday.

+ ‘24 RHP Christian Chatterton (Brooks HS) left a long-lasting impression on our PBR scouts at the event with his performance on the mound. Seeing him for the first time at a showcase, he looked to already be in midseason form. He worked 87-88 mph during his pen with efficient spin for the pitch. The equalizer for Chatterton seemed to be the breaking ball, which played 70-72 mph (26-2700 rpm’s) and had late bite to it. His changeup is also an above average secondary offering and worked well off the fastball at 75-76 mph. His performance on Sunday left our staff very excited to see what he’s got to offer over the next four years.

+ ‘21 RHP Brode Susce (Homewood HS) could be regarded as one of, if not the, top uncommitted right-handed arms for the 2021 class in Alabama. At a durable 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Susce certainly has a starter profile on the mound and showed a quality arsenal of pitches during his bullpen on Sunday. Pitching from a funky ¾ arm slot, he sat 85-88, 89 mph with definite action to the arm side. He has two separate breaking balls, a true curveball and a slider, that worked well off of each other. He certainly made a big statement with his performance at the event.

+ The buzz on ‘24 RHP Mac Anderson (Athens HS) was very high coming into this event, as he heard the fastball has reached into the upper-80’s. He certainly showed that live arm during his bullpen, as he sat 84-86 mph with the fastball. The command was a little bit off during his work, but the upside is real for this right-handed hurler. The breaking ball showed some flashes of swing-&-miss with 11/5 break. As he continues to refine and fill out his slim 6-foot-2, 155 pound frame, he will only continue to get better.

+ After hearing about ‘23 RHP Jake DeValk (Bayside Academy) on the mound this fall at LakePoint, we were excited to get some metrics on him and see the strides he has made as an arm. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, DeValk worked primarily from the stretch and sat 86-87, 88 mph with the fastball. He paired that with a sharp breaking ball that posted 23-2400 rpm’s. Command was not an issue, as he pounded the zone with both pitches. The ball comes out fairly clean and there’s reason to believe that this sophomore still has more velo in the tank. 

+ ‘22 RHP Austin Morris (Mortimer Jordan HS) showed us more of the same quality stuff on the mound during his bullpen on Sunday. Pitching from a lower ¾ arm slot, Morris was his usual self at 86-87, 88 mph with hard action to the arm side. Both breaking balls have come on as of late, and were landed for strikes. He showed tons of confidence in a changeup that mimicked the fastball. He always seems to pound the zone with all four pitches, whether in a bullpen or during gameplay. Alabama recruit.

+ A Future Gamer this past summer, ‘23 RHP Chase Ambrose (Buckhorn HS) showed some of the same stuff he showed at LakePoint in July. As a sophomore, he sat 85-87, 88 mph with the fastball and featured a tight slider that had darting action away from a RHH during his bullpen. It’s a pretty high-intent delivery, but he showed some impressive stuff nonetheless. Command was a bit off during the outing, but he should continue to refine and be ready for a big 2021.

Big Bats

+ ‘23 OF Seth Farni (UMS-Wright) made his presence known right out of the gate with the bat. He posted the top EV of the event at 101.7 mph during batting practice. As a switch-hitter, he’s got present power from both sides of the plate. He has really filled out nicely which has translated to more power. He’s got a chance to hit from both sides of the plate, but the left-handed swing is what jumped out to us today. There’s a ton to be excited for in 2021 for the Ole MIss recruit. 

+ At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, ‘23 C/SS Cade Carr (Hoover HS) can best be described as a gamer. He keeps making strides at the plate, as he showed us during batting practice. From the right side of the box, Carr had a personal-best EV at 95 mph and hammered the middle of the field with hard line drives. Defensively, he brings a dynamic skill set to the table as a backstop and middle infielder. His pop times were consistently 1.87-1.92 and right at the bag on all throws. At shortstop, he’s got quick feet and a reliable glove. Carr also ran a 6.96 laser-timed 60 YD. He had an excellent showing at the event and should play a big role this spring season for Hoover. 

+ After attending the Future Games this summer, it looked like ‘22 3B McGwire Turner (Helena HS) had made another jump at the event on Sunday. He has really shortened his swing up at the plate and showed no issue shooting balls to the back side during batting practice. Standing at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, the right-handed hitter showed some juice (95 mph EV) during his round and was constantly on the barrel with each swing. The glove also stood out during infield drills and certainly has the arm strength to stay at the hot corner. He is currently uncommitted, but he should not stay so for too much longer.

+ Another player from this summer’s Future Games team, ‘22 C Walker Zapp (Auburn HS) continues to trend upward after each look. Standing at a sturdy 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, the right-handed hitter has a ton of pop in that bat, and it showed with a 100 mph EV during batting practice. He incorporates his strong lower-half very well in the swing and creates a ton of backspin on hard hit balls. Behind the plate, Zapp is arguably one of the top defenders in his class at the position in the state. His pop times on Sunday ranged from 1.92-2.00, but have been lower. He uses a strong arm (82 mph) that produces a lot of carry to the bag. Ran a 6.97 laser-timed 60 YD.

+ ‘22 SS Jake Smith (Providence Christian) was another guy who made a loud statement on Sunday. He seemed to do everything at a high level at the event. He ran a 6.80 laser-timed 60 YD, then produced numerous 95+ mph EV, and even touched 101 mph on one of his swings. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, he is as strong as an ox and he plays well to his strengths. On the infield, he showed fluid footwork up the middle and accurate throws across the 1st base. The athleticism and strength really work well together. There is a lot to like with the overall body of work the Smith turned in on Sunday. 

+ ‘24 3B Henry Allen (Auburn HS) jumped out immediately with his stature at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. He does not look like a current freshman, and he certainly has the numbers to back up his big performance on Sunday. Hitting from the right side of the plate, Allen has a solid weight transfer in his swing and uses his present strength to drive the ball to the gaps. His best EV was 92 mph during batting practice. He will be a prospect that we will be keeping close tabs on over the next four years.

+ ‘22 SS/2B Cason Eubanks (Northside Methodist) has a special combination of athleticism and strength and showed both during the event on Sunday. A top performer at an event this summer, he continues to impress our staff with the way he handles the bat and glides across the infield. He’s a twitchy athlete that uses a quick bat and a short stroke to drive hard contact to the gaps during batting practice. Puts himself in a good position to field with solid footwork and has an accurate arm across the infield. Eubanks will be one to watch very closely over the next two years. 

+ ‘24 SS Cameron Warren (Saraland HS) was another impressive young freshman that has advanced actions at the plate. He does a great job of getting his backside through on the swing and posted a top EV of 88 mph. He showed a mature approach at the plate, working the middle of the field and always being on the barrel. Warren has above average feet on the infield with a strong arm across the diamond. He’s another freshman to keep close tabs on in the coming years. 

+ It has been well-documented that ‘23 SS Sam Robertson (Oxford HS) possesses some elite athleticism, which he used to do a lot of things well at the event. Ran a blazing 6.63 laser-timed 60 YD and can cover a lot of ground at shortstop. He’s added some more arm strength to his game as throws across the infield reached 88 mph. He has a lot of range defensively and handled the bat well during batting practice. Robertson looks the part when he steps on the field and has the metrics & numbers to back it up as well.

+ ‘22 OF Kellen Mashburn (Bob Jones HS) is poised for a big junior campaign in 2021, and all signs point to that happening with his showing at this event. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Mashburn has some pop in the right-handed bat and looks to hit for extra bases at the plate. He showed the ability to get into the hips well during batting practice and posted a 91 mph EV. Ran a 6.98 laser-timed 60 YD as well. 

 + ‘21 3B Nicholas Smith (Russellville HS) showed a controlled, aggressive approach during batting practice at the event. Logged the fourth-best EV at 99 mph, and the ball comes off the bat differently than most. Smith has quick hands and a whippy bat from the right side at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds. He moves well around the bag at 3rd base defensively and has an accurate arm to 1st base during infield drills. He is still uncommitted, but shouldn’t be for too much longer.

+ Fresh off a very strong summer & fall campaign, ‘23 3B Christopher Johnston (Vestavia Hills HS) showed more of the same stuff we have been seeing at past events. He uses the strength he possesses in a 6-foot-1, 185 pound frame to hit for power from the right side. Johnston posted a 97 mph EV and created solid extension out front during the swing. We mentioned the physicality he brings to the table, but he also ran a 6.88 laser-timed 60 YD at the event.

2-way Players

+ ‘23 3B/RHP Walter Ford (Hoover HS) certainly turned some heads at the event on Sunday with the bat and the arm. Currently sitting as the No. 33 ranked player in the PBR Overall Player Rankings, there doesn’t seem to be much that he can’t do on the baseball field. During batting practice, he posted one of the top EV’s of the event at 100 mph on the Trackman. He’s got a powerful stroke from the right side and peppered the middle of the field. He showed some prowess with the glove during infield drills with a clean exchange and good feet. He then hopped on the mound as one of the last arms of the day and was ultra impressive. He sat 92-94.4 mph during his pen and paired it with a sharp, late-breaking curveball with efficient spin (26-2700 rpm’s). He also showed a fading changeup in the low-80’s. All pitches were thrown for strikes. Alabama recruit. 

+ It seems like you always know what you are going to get from ‘22 OF Alex Wade (Madison Academy) when he attends events. The right-handed hitter is one of the more polished bats in the ‘23 Alabama class and it showed on Sunday. He’s got very quick hands and uses his lower-half well, which helped him log a 97 mph EV during batting practice. He is also very athletic at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, as he ran a 6.91 laser-timed 60 YD. Our staff is a big fan of the bat, but he also showed a live arm on the mound and ran the fastball up to 89 mph during his bullpen. The Auburn recruit just gets it done in all facets of the game & will look to have another strong season in 2021. 

+ This was also our first time seeing ‘23 SS/RHP Jace Norton (Auburn HS) in a showcase setting and he certainly did not disappoint. At 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, Norton still has more room to fill out with added strength. He showed a very polished, confident approach to hitting during batting practice. There were a lot of hard hit balls to the back side during his round. He showed a fluid bat path and stayed balanced throughout his swing. He’s got excellent hands up the middle and is a rangy defender with a strong arm across. On the mound, he worked up to 85 mph and was in the zone with all pitches. 6.98 laser-timed 60 YD. Tons of upside here for the sophomore. 

+ ‘23 OF/RHP Banks Langston (Russellville HS) arguably had one of the better all-around performances out of any player on Sunday. He showed us a line drive approach while working the gaps during batting practice after running a 6.77 laser-timed 60 YD. Arm strength has come on lately for Langston, as he was up to 88 mph from the outfield and up to 87 mph on the mound at the event. He’s a throwback-type player that plays the game the right way. 

+ ‘24 3B/RHP Jackson Hunter (Hazel Green HS) was another young player that stood out at the plate and on the mound. He creates some tilt in the swing path and hammered balls into the power alleys during batting practice while posting a 95 mph EV. He’s got a smooth delivery on the mound and the arm really works for the right-handed hurler. Fastball reached 83 mph & mixed in a quality breaking ball at 69-70 mph. He has a changeup at 74-75 mph. 

 

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