Prep Baseball Report

Battle for Bartow - Position Players

PBR Georgia Staff

Although the Battle for Bartow is early in its existence, it left lasting memories for teams and fanbases across the state. It had the perfect blend of draft prospects, D1 commits, uncommitted gems, and underclass stars. Many games went down to the wire, and you can hear the excitement in each video we tweeted. The future of this unique spring tournament is bright! Here are the standout bats from our wild week in Emerson.

Collin Brightwell, CF, Redan, 2025
Uncommitted. 6-foot, 155 pounds. This projectable speedster not only swiped many bags this tourney, he stole the show. With multiple Power 5’s showing huge interest since Friday, it’s safe to say Brightwell has arrived as a prospect. His blazing plus or better run tool is only part of why his recruiting trail is heating up. What’s even more impressive about him is the effortless high contact swing path from both sides of the plate (minimal barrel angle), rare hand-eye coordination, and an all-fields approach that matches his speed perfectly. This is a guarantee to hit for average, a dynamic contact hitter who hits the ball where it’s pitched at all times. He’s an exceptional bunter who can beat out routine grounders. His power production plays up due to his ability to manipulate the barrel, and his speed regularly grabs him extra bases, turning 1B’s into 2B’s & 2B’s into 3B’s. Collin has the reaction time, pitch recognition, and body control to adjust to any pitch in any location. He barreled multiple breaking balls with ease, which is rare to see in underclass bats. The swing mechanics are identical from both sides of the plate, with a smooth toe tap as an advanced timing mechanism and impressively timed separation. As a defender, he’s as instinctive as they come with a lightning quick first step and plus range now. Due to his innate feel to hit and 2 plus or better tools that play every day at a premium position, draft interest will follow as soon as he’s eligible.

Kaleb Cost CF, Sandy Creek, 2023

UNC Commit. 6-foot, 185 pounds. As this is currently our No. 19 player in Georgia and 188th Nationally, we’re very high on Cost. But after the unbelievable show he put on at Battle For Bartow, he’s proven himself in every way possible for another move up the board. Some assume that since he’s a 4 star CB, that he’s just an athlete playing baseball. In reality, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. This is a baseball player who happens to be a great athlete, with very good baseball IQ and feel for the game overall. He shows all the intangibles you’d see in a player with high level baseball experience - pitch recognition+plate discipline, approach, baserunning awareness, defensive instincts, and internal clock. His instincts don’t just play defensively, they are ELITE overall. He has an innate feel for how pitchers are trying to work him, how they hold him on the basepaths, when he should steal, etc. But his defensive instincts are the best we’ve seen in a long time here, and it’s easy to see why he’s a 4 star CB. The hips have perfect fluidity no matter where the ball is hit (to his left+right+in front+overhead), allowing him to take the shortest, fastest, most efficient route to the baseball at all times. His tracking ability is top of scale and he can adjust his body in a split second to make the most difficult catches look easy. Wind, rain, backspin/topspin/no spin can do nothing to distract him from making plays. Offensively, his body control is elite due to not only rare strength but simplified swing mechanics that use the ground to create power. The hip pace is perfect, the hands start above slot and create ideal momentum throughout the load, and his posture is the definition of good. The swing path is incredibly short and allows him to not only turn the barrel in tight space vs big velo, but inside-out the ball with easy juice. Outside of PBR, this might be the most underrated player in the country.

Kaden Brown 1B, Sandy Creek, 2023

Kennesaw State Commit. If you’re looking for elite raw power in a HS player, look no further than this XL framed beast who eats FB’s for breakfast. Not only did he send a ball into the parking lot at 106 mph, he punishes seams at over 100 mph EV with ease on a regular basis. Just a single up the middle for Kaden is a safety hazard for opposing teams, shown by his 99 EV missile in the tweet below. Although his raw power is rare, it’s how often it shows in game is what matters. This is a hitter, not just a raw power guy. He faced multiple quality arms over the weekend who had impressive secondary stuff, and he was timed up with seemingly every single pitch I saw. His reaction time and ability to see spin early allow him to decelerate with ease on offspeed stuff. The raw strength and athleticism in his frame makes it even easier to slow down or ramp up. To see a player this size with such a short, knob led+direct, efficient swing path is quite shocking. He manipulates the barrel better than many college bats already, and the swing is extremely well sequenced with complete effortlessness from start to finish. Brown checks every single box not only mechanically but intangibly, with rare hitting vision and shocking bat 2 ball skills for his size. He doesn’t just use his natural strength and bat speed to put a dangerous impact on baseballs, the forward move is compact & efficient with nothing to fix. I can see him cutting down the leg kick in the future to maximize timing, body control, and minimize head movement, but he controls the body+head very well already. After seeing an extended look on his bat, this is a player who I believe will hit for average just as much as power, and reminds me a ton of former Royals 1B/DH Ken Harvey.

Chase Tatum OF, Cass, 2026

Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 180 pounds. You wouldn’t expect a freshman in his first year of HS baseball to have advanced pitch recognition and plate discipline, even the top players in the country. But after a 3 game extended look, this is exactly what you’re getting with Tatum. His yes, yes, no thought process fits perfectly with his smooth leg kick that stays low to the ground so it’s easy to repeat. The hip hinge in his negative move allows him to both decelerate and accelerate the pace of his leg kick depending on the pitcher’s delivery or pitch type. It not only stacks his backside for the forward move, but allows him to create effortless lower half momentum in stride and lead with his front hip. This is the type of hitting style Justin Turner made famous, and you see many similarities in their swing mechanics (not a player comp). His coil is timed up in stride, and the linear connection is ideal. But what does he do? Well, he hits baseballs really hard and has huge potential for power production, not just raw power. High OBP and big power numbers? Count me in. He also has big arm strength for his age, impressive instincts in CF, and runs well for his size. 4 BB, 2 2B’s, 3 RBI at Battle for Bartow.

Tristan Strickland, OF/3B, Decatur, 2024

Uncommitted. 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. From his XL frame to his ability to time up quality D1 arms, Strickland had a big week at LakePoint. He showed raw power potential with multiple skied doubles that had endless carry, but also showed an ability to cut the swing down and go the other way when in deeper counts. Not only is the IQ well present at the plate, but he also shows the ability to manipulate the barrel on pitches in tough locations. This is a bat Decatur can truly count on in big situations for a playoff run, and a player we will be following closely this summer.

Ayden Lockett OF, Buford, 2026

Uncommitted. 6-foot, 150 pounds. Our last look on Ayden, he barreled 2 87 mph FB’s to the pull side vs one of the best pitchers in the ‘25 class. To have lightning in his hands in such a young frame with minimal body weight stands out. You rarely see a player this lean with these type of fast twitch fibers, and it shows we’ve got something unique here. His advanced swing mechanics continue to get better each time we see him. The hip hinge and lower half sink show you how hard he works on his swing, how well he understands his body movements, and how much better he can become as a hitter with 4 more years of HS/Summer ball under his belt. He continues to improve his pitch recognition with more reps, and his patience to and discipline to stack the backside in stride and stay connected are impressive. The feel for the front hip leading the stride is getting better, and he already has elite linear connection post landing as the hands are thrown. We look forward to seeing more of an extended look on him as a defender this summer, and the tools are going to move on a steady incline.

Ethan Murray SS, Buford, 2024

Georgia Tech Commit. 6-foot-4, 185 pounds. With Murray being at the ground floor of his eventual physical ceiling, there are few bats in the class you can dream on like this one. When he starts to reach the 200 lb mark, you’re going to see some ridiculous raw power jumping off his barrel. He’s already shown plenty of flashes this year, with 5 HR this spring. With such a tall, rangy frame, he already creates the leverage in his swing to produce some serious bombs. When he connects with his naturally steep launch angles, the ball carries like few others in the class. Although the forward move can be more fluid and create more torque in separation, his sweet+lofty swing gets nice backspin and natural lift on almost everything he barrels. His bat 2 ball skills are very impressive for a ‘24, and he’s shown the ability to hit high quality arms at big events. Murray made a nice swing adjustment later in the tournament, going from setting his barrel on the shoulder in forward move, to moving his hands higher above the hitting slot. He was able to create more rhythm and separation with the adjustment and got another clean barrel as soon as he did. Right now his game is more projection over current tools, but you have to be patient with a player who has this type of length and youth to the frame. He also uses his long levers to snag would be hits at SS, extending his range. Ethan is a smooth defender with instincts and the feel to throw from all angles. 10 pounds from now, this can be a completely different player with big tools across the board. We’re excited to get many more looks on him in GHSA and at LakePoint this summer!

Bubba Coleman SS, Buford, 2026

LSU Commit. 6-foot, 175 pounds. When you’re this comfortable with the ceiling on a players hit tool and they’re only a freshman, that’s a sign you’re evaluating a special bat. Why are we so comfortable? We can start with the fact that I’ve now seen Bubba light up 3 D1 arms this spring in 3 games. The hip timing, body control, insanely efficient forward move, we could go all day. When a hitter's swing mechanics are repeated at a high level with no holes to be found, he can start developing the hitting eye and decision making. With Bubba always having a picture perfect swing path, he’s been able to develop rare hitting traits that few hitters his age possess. The reason this Wolves team is so exciting, is that you’ve got 3 underclassmen who almost no one can run a FB by. So with Bubba, it's easy for him to adjust to secondary pitches because he doesn’t have to worry about getting beat by FB’s. The reaction time and swing path are so good, that he’s afforded a longer time to make a swing decision. He was in a select few group of the cleanest barrels in the tourney.

Cannon Goldin OF, Buford, 2025

Ole Miss Commit. 6-foot, 180 pounds. This prototype leadoff hitter just did more of the same at the Battle For Bartow, lighting up pitch after pitch for violent barrels everywhere on the diamond. He didn’t have much help from multiple bad strike zones in each game, but made the best of it with 3 hits and 4 barrels total. Few hitters in the entire state have been on the type of tear Goldin has, with 24 hits in the month of March alone, 2 away from breaking the GHSA record. He responded to his big time SEC commitment in incredible style, showing that his big move is only the beginning of his journey and he’s gained zero satisfaction from it. There’s not an arm in the class that can beat Cannon w/ FB’s consistently, and he continues to show improved pitch recognition and the ability to extend AB’s. He also got on the bump and was slinging in the low to mid 80’s! His 89 mph arm is a serious weapon in CF, and it only adds to his defensive value. He ran consistent 4.15’s down the line and also had a near plus time of 4.12.

Jaxon Pate, SS, Sonoraville, 2024

Uncommitted. 6-foot 160-pounds. Pate was a standout at the preseason event this January. He has added strength and size since then, and is continuing to swing the bat well.  He hit a left on left fastball the other way, with really good barrel control and pitch recognition. The frame and athleticism college ready, and will be able to play any position if needed. He has smooth and effortless actions at SS, and will be a big name to watch into the summer.

Dimitri Angelakos, SS, Etowah, 2024

Uncommitted. 6-foot-3 200-pounds. Angelakos has been a staple name the last few years. This was the first time I was able to get eyes on him. When I saw the Eagles early in the year he was still playing basketball. The physical size and strength that Angelakos has added is beyond impressive. He is super athletic, and could play anywhere on the field. A natural shortstop, continues to impress with the actions in the field. The arm has always worked, but now it is super strong, and gives him even more range in the infield. He is beginning to find his groove at the plate, and the swing looks as smooth as ever. The timing is there, and he connects consistently. Angelakos will be one of the biggest uncommitted ‘24 names of the summer, and I will be anxious to see where he lands. Will surely be an instant impact into any program.

Trent Ellington, 1B/OF, Whitewater, 2025

6-foot-2 170-pounds. One of the top athletes of the event. He had a couple doubles and really impressed with the bat. Strong, mature frame with a ton of physicality. The lower half has really developed since the summer, and has been a huge help at the plate. He will be a real power threat moving into the summer and next year during the high school season. He nearly hit a down and away fastball with 2 strikes out of the park to the left field. He lets his strength do the work in the swing, and does not try to do too much. Ellington will be a high follow in the 2025 class this summer.

Landon Moran, 3B, Whitewater, 2024

Uncommitted. 5-foot-9 170-pounds. Moran is another hard nose player in the Whitewater line up. He has a short, stocky frame with a strong lower half. He can stick anywhere on the infield, but held down the hot corner for Whitewater. He has sneaky pop at the plate with a ton of whip in the swing, and good barrel control. He drove a low fastball to dead center for a double. He moves well, and will be an uncommitted player to keep an eye on as we move into the summer season.

Braxton Mueller, 2B, Whitewater, 2023

Uncommitted. 5-foot-10 165-pounds. Short, athletic stock frame that is the prototype player at 2B. Plays the game hard, and will be steady on defense with the ability to make the tough plays with his athleticism. At the plate he keeps the front foot grounded, and uses his strong lower half to transfer his weight to produce his power. He connected on a FB up and drove it down the line for a double. He moves well, and is smart on the bases with good instincts. Mueller is the type of player that will be a steady piece in any line up and consistent in the field at the next level.
Ace Allen, SS, Cedartown, 2026
5-foot-11 155-pounds. One of the most intriguing, young players at the event. The athleticism and competitiveness is there at a young age for Allen. He should assume the role at SS after Dylan Cupp graduates. He will have big shoes to fill, but it appears he will be able to hold his own in the years to come. I am sure he has soaked up learning from one of the top SS prospects in the country. He moves really well, has all the right actions in the field to go with it. The arm will continue to get stronger, and become a big part of his game. At the plate he has a short, simple swing and produces consistent contact. Ace will be a name to know moving forward in the ‘26 class.

Brady Chandler, INF, Heritage, 2024
Uncommitted. 5-foot-11 175-pounds. Chandler had a good week at the plate batting right at .400 with 4 RBI’s and 5 runs scored. Strong, athletic frame with a really smooth swing. The load gets everything starting, and he finishes through the ball for consistent hard contact. He looked strong over at 3B, and did a good job of getting on base and driving guys in at the top of the Heritage line up. He keeps everything moving in the right direction during the swing, and creates the bat angle early, and keeps it through the zone.

Luke Miller, OF, Cartersville, 2024
Uncommitted. 6-foot 170-pounds. Miller has been on a tear this spring. He is hitting well over .400 on the year, in a stout Carterville line up. He barrelled up the ball every time I saw him during the battle for bartow. They were right at guys, but impressed with the consistent hard contact against quality pitching. He has a small toe tap swing from the left side, and has really good barrel control. He explodes out of the box, and has really quick hands. The timing for Miller is locked in and is the main contributor in his success. He is an extremely tough out, and will be a big uncommitted name going into the summer.
Brock Clements, C, Sonoraville, 2024
Uncommitted. 5-foot-11 175-pounds. One of the top back stops at the event had a strong 2 days to show for. He went 3 for 7 with his 2nd home run of the season. He has a strong arm behind the plate, posting a 77mph velo to 2B at our preseason event in January. He hovers around a 2.1 second pop time. He is as solid as they come defensively and manages the run game well. He starts slightly open at the plate, and finishes square with a really strong lower half.
Harrison Pafford, CF, Lee County, 2023
Uncommitted. 5-foot-11 175-pounds. Pafford was finding barrels every time I was watching Lee County this past week. The approach is simple, and he does not try to do too much at the plate. He is one of those players that finds ways to get on base, and can make things happen with his feet. The load is steady and consistent and he stays in the middle of the field.

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