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Top Prospect Games: Quick Hits


Austin Sharp
Alabama Scouting Director

The Alabama Top Prospect Games event was held this Wednesday, June 23rd, at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, AL.. This event hosted some of the top players ranging from the classes of 2022-2024. These players went through an extended pro-style workout, took batting practice using Trackman and Blast Motion sensors, and competed against each other in a gameplay setting. 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 Wednesday.

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

 

Class of 2022

+ SS Noah Jones (Wetumpka, 2022) performed well in almost every facet, both during the pro-style workout and during gameplay. Athletic 5-10, 170-pounds, smooth actions both at the plate and up the middle defensively. Continues to be a real steady hitter at the plate, hitting for average and showing some power during in-game earlier this summer at LakePoint. Rhythmic operation with leg kick on pre-pitch, gets the foot down and uses lower-half & whippy barrel to impact the baseball. Clean movements defensively, made an excellent short-hop play during gameplay at shortstop. One of the top uncommitted players in the rising senior class.

 

+ RHP Hunter Thompson (Mortimer Jordan, 2022) was an intriguing arm we got to see at a scout day a few weeks ago, and he impressed even more in this look. Showcased a lively fastball that sat consistently at 86-88 mph, both in the stretch and in the windup. Premium life on the pitch with an average spin rate 2516 rpm’s allowed it to play up even more when elevated in the zone. Also featured a breaking ball at 73-76 mph with slurvish-type shape and an average spin rate of 2646 rpm’s. Heavy, power changeup in the mid-70’s, as well. Wiry athletic frame at 6-0, 165-pounds, also ran a 7.17 60 YD during the workout.


+ OF Jake Smith (Providence Christian, 2022) is a prospect who is currently flying under the radar, but arguably has the best combination of tools in the rising senior class. Strong & compact build at 5-10, 200-pounds with defined strength, but is an exceptional athlete who has a seemingly do-it-all skill set. Ran a blazing 6.71 60 YD at this event, but was clocked at 6.58 a few weeks, both on a laser. Balanced setup offensively, direct path to compact, flashed some power to pull side while mainly living gap to gap producing a 97 mph EV. 87 mph arm strength from the outfield w/ accuracy. Tripled down the RF line in one of his two at-bats during gameplay.


+ RHP/SS Fisher Moss (Bob Jones, 2022) had battled injury during his junior campaign for the Patriots, but showed he was well on his way back to full strength. Stands a long 6-1, 185-pounds with athleticism. Went through the event as a two-way, and stood out at both positions. Lengthy stroke with feel to hit for line drives during BP, ran a 7.03 60 YD, and showed above average arm strength on throws from shortstop at 87 mph. One-upped his performance as a position player on the mound, where he threw all three offerings for strikes in his inning. Fastball was a consistent 87-88 mph with spin in the mid-2200 rpm’s. Breaking ball induced plenty of S/M in the mid-70’s and consistent 2600 rpm’s. Fading changeup also worked well off fastball as a quality third offering.


+ LHP Rynzo Crutcher (Grissom, 2022) had arguably the best showing out of all the arms in terms of pitchability to throw in simulated gameplay. 6-0, 165-pound frame, athletic delivery, ball comes out of a quick & deceptive ¾ arm slot and hides the ball well. Featured a fastball sitting 84-85 mph with an average of nearly 13 in. of horizontal movement away from right-handed hitters. Snapped off some sharp breaking balls in the low-to-mid 70’s, manipulating shape/speed, excellent command with feel to back door or back foot to righties. Showed a single changeup in the mid-70’s that demonstrated similar running action as the fastball. Competes on the mound, also ran a 7.09 60 YD during the pro-style workout.


+ SS Eli Davenport (Ranburne, 2022) may not have had the most eye-popping statistics or metrics as some at the event, but the uncommitted rising senior handled the bat well in both BP and during simulated gameplay against some solid arms. 5-11, 160-pound frame, showed steady hands defensively, but where he made his mark was at the plate. Starts in an upright position, uses a quick & short load w/ front foot to get down on time and handle velocity, fast barrel through the zone with a top bat speed at 74.00 mph, per Blast Motion. Fluid path through the zone, scoring an on-plane efficiency of 79%  Mature approach, looks to go the other way, especially during batting practice. On the barrel all day long, recorded two hits into the back side gap during gameplay.

+ OF Grant Rakers (Oak Mountain, 2022) had a solid showing during the pro-style workout portion of the event, but the uncommitted rising senior continues to elevate himself as a prospect with his consistent ability to hit in-game. Some athleticism in a 5-11, 170-pound frame, was clocked running a 7.08 laser-timed 60 YD at the event, and worked back up the middle and to the pull side during BP producing a 91 mph EV. Also was at the top of some Blast Motion leaderboards with a fourth-best average bat speed at 71.55 mph. Recorded a couple of quality at-bats in gameplay, one being a double into the pull side gap.


+ 1B Grayson Kellett (Glencoe, 2022) was one of the pleasant surprises from the event, where he put on an offensive showing filled with plenty of power and balls hammered to the gaps. Physical 6-0, 205-pound presence, bit of an unorthodox start to the swing with an open stance, but uses a big leg kick and carries strong weight & hands through the zone. Doesn’t get cheated, producing a second-best exit velocity of the event at 100.11 mph, via Trackman. Posted the top average bat speed of the event with an average of 78.23 mph. Within the top-4 of the rest of the Blast Motion metric categories, as well. Banged one off the base of the wall in CF during gameplay for an easy double.


+ OF Brodie Holcomb (Thompson, 2022) put on an impressive display of athleticism at the event, as he seemingly has done at numerous events over the past couple of years. Medium 5-11, 175-pound frame, was clocked running a 6.78 laser-timed 60 YD on a wet surface to kick off his day, then showed some feel for the barrel during BP with some pull side pop. Translated that offensive approach to the game, where he kicked off Game 1 of the day with a pull-side double that one-hopped the wall. Level path through the zone, looks to attack the baseball with a short & simple stroke from the left side. Uses an athletic skill set to affect the game in multiple ways.


Class of 2023

+ SS/RHP Jace Norton (Auburn, 2023) was probably the biggest winner of the event out of anyone, showing off some impressive two-way ability with a frame to dream on. Long and still fairly lean 6-3, 165-pound build, moves really well with advanced & clean actions at the plate and up the middle defensively. Put some athleticism on display running a 6.93 laser-timed 60 YD, and moved well laterally during the defensive workout at shortstop with adequate arm strength across the infield. Natural ability, everything seems to come easy with plenty of projection to come. Connected, repeatable swing from the right side showing a knack for finding the barrel with continuous line drives to LF in his round. Also doubled into the pull-side gap during gameplay. Closed out a strong day by hopping on the mound and running the fastball up to 88 mph, while maintaining the same athleticism in the delivery. Feel for spin on a mid-70’s breaking ball. Strong showing from the rising junior.


+ RHP Tyler Wilson (Hoover, 2023) continues to build off his breakout season for the 7A Bucs this past spring with yet another strong showing on the mound at this event. Tall & lean 6-2, 165-pounds, feel to throw all three above average offerings in any count as he’s shown in the past. Had been up to 89 mph at LakePoint a couple weeks ago, lived at 86-88 mph throughout the duration of his outing on Wednesday. We’ve seen the command and sharp bite on the mid-70’s knuckle curve in the past, but on a day where he may not have had the best feel for it, Wilson turned over a few quality changeups that got S/M for strikeouts. Strike thrower with excellent mound presence and composure.


+ 3B Christopher Johnston (Vestavia Hills, 2023) turned plenty of heads during his BP round, where he drove consistent 90 mph+ line drives to the pull-side gap with plenty of carry. Physical, athletic 6-1, 195-pounds with defined compact strength throughout, well-built corner infielder with present power that projects to be a middle-of-the-order hitter in the near future. Posted a 102 mph exit velocity during his round, which turned out to be the event-best. Connected, well-synced stroke, keeps the barrel in the zone and drives the ball with an uphill path. Last swing of the round went for 381 ft. of carry and ended up well over the LCF wall. Stuck a ball back up the middle in his first at-bat during gameplay, but ended up right at the centerfielder for a loud L8. Impressive combo of strength and speed, running a 6.95 laser-timed 60 YD, and has been as low as 6.76 at previous events.


+ SS Peyton Watts (Oxford, 2023) had an impressive all-around showing at the event on Wednesday, as he’s continued to do for some time as one of the top shortstops in the rising junior class. Wiry 6-0, 160-pound body, high-waisted athlete with a smooth stroke from the left side. Put some of the quickest hands of the event on display during his BP round, which were measured at an average hand speed of 25.55 mph, per Blast Motion. Whippy barrel with an uphill path working through the zone and using the quick hands well. Also posted the best on-plane efficiency of the event at 86%. More power in this look with a couple of balls leaving the yard to RF. Smoked one into the back side gap in his first plate appearance, but was the victim of an excellent over-the-shoulder catch by the centerfielder. Active hands at shortstop with a strong arm (87 mph) across the infield, rangy defender. Solid athleticism with 7.13 laser-timed 60 YD. Continues to elevate his status as a prospect at each look.


+ SS Paxton Ponder (Cullman, 2023) continued his steady incline as a prospect in the rising junior class with another solid showing on Wednesday. Athletic 5-11, 160-pound player, performed well in all facets of the event. Aptitude for finding the barrel during his round of BP, sending plenty of hard-hit liners back up the middle, generating a 93 mph EV. Gets on plane early with good barrel accuracy, stays short with a simple approach to hit. Reliable defender up the middle with sure hands, fields everything out front with an accurate arm. Versatile infielder who can play multiple spots on the dirt. Ran a 6.80 laser-timed 60 YD, and put that speed on display when he lined a pitch into the gap and made it into the 3rd base with ease. Solid makeup, instinctive player.


+ C Hudson Walburn (Vestavia HIlls, 2023) is a prospect who made a strong case to the college recruiters on hand for the event on Wednesday, performing well behind the plate and showing solid ability to hit in-game as he did hitting in the three-hole for a talented 7A Rebels squad. Stands a stout, well-built 5-11, 170-pounds with a strong lower-half in the frame. Offensively, the rising junior blasted plenty of balls all over the yard during his round of BP, which included an average distance of 302 ft. of carry and a max distance of 350 ft. Keeps the weight back efficiently before shifting his strong frame through the zone. Works uphill through the zone, looking to lift and do damage at the plate. Good catch-and-throw skills behind the dish with an 81 mph arm at previous events. Blocks well with good flexibility. 7.22 runner, as well.


+ OF Ryan Cole (Spain Park, 2023) displayed plenty of solid tools across the board to be excited about as a rising junior. Impressive 6-2, 190-pound body, high-waisted, uses long levers to impact the baseball at a high level offensively. Lengthy swing, creates some leverage, and produced many hard-hit line drives sent back up the middle with a top EV at 95 mph and 358 ft. of carry during his round of BP. Moves well to his left and right in the outfield, displaying an accurate arms on throws to the plate defensively. Logged two quality at-bats during gameplay with a single and a line out to shortstop. Also was clocked running a 7.05 laser-timed 60 YD.

+ OF Tait Nunnally (Pell City, 2023) enjoyed a successful sophomore campaign for the 6A Panthers this past spring, and continues to build off of that year with a strong performance at this event. Medium 6-1, 175-pound frame, solid offensive profile from the left side of the plate, showcasing a solid hit tool all day long. Started off his day spraying balls to all fields during his round of BP with the ability to change planes and cover all parts of the zone. Toe-tap load allows for the left-handed hitting outfielder to get down on time and handle all pitches. Continued his impressive offensive performance into gameplay, where he banged two balls off the base of the wall in left field for extra base hits. Consistently on the barrel, generating a top EV at 92 mph.


+ 1B Jackson Harris (Vestavia Hills, 2023) had a solid day all-around and was another hitter who performed well during BP and in the simulated gameplay portion of the event. Slim 5-11, 160-pound frame, still plenty of room for added strength down the road, but has a polished swing from the left side. Consistently lived in the upper-80’s in terms of exit velocity, and posted a line drive percentage at 75% for his BP round, which turned out to be an event best. Loose hands at the plate, balanced throughout the swing and is a tough out. Level path through contact with solid plate coverage. Continued to put good swings on baseballs throughout gameplay, where he recorded a base hit back up the middle in one plate appearance. Moves well around the bag at 1st base defensively. Also a 7.17 runner.

 

 

 

 

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