Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All-State Analysis: Outfielders

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

On Jan. 11, the PBR Georgia staff hosted its inaugural
Preseason All-State at Rountree Recreation Hiram, GA. The event featured nearly 50 of the state's top prospects in the class of 2020 an 2021, a mix of committed and uncommitted players. Today, we’ll be spending some time highlighting the best things we saw from Sunday in the form of our Quick Hits post.

We already took a look at the top statistical performers with leaderboards and full stats on every prospect in attendance in our
Statistical Analysis. Following the stats analysis, we provided our instant thoughts and reactions from the event in the form of a Quick Hits story. We began our complete analysis of the event with reports on all six catchers in attendance. Today, we continue on to the 10 outfielders in attendance.

We have known of the offensive prowess of 2021 OF James Tibbs (Pope; Florida State) for some time now. His performance at the event only solidified him as one of the top power hitters in Georgia. Tibbs is an explosive hitter with ultra quick hand speed and a whippy barrel. He posted one of the top exit velocities of the event at 99 mph. 2020 OF/RHP Darryl Buggs (Heritage-Conyers; UAB) did a great deal to generate some buzz around his name as we enter the 2020 spring season. The twitchy-athlete will certainly have MLB scouts keeping tabs on him. Buggs put up some of the top overall statistical numbers for the entire event. He ran a 6.64 60 yard dash, posted a 95 exit velocity and showed off serious arm strength going 94 mph from the outfield.

Rated as one of the top defensive outfielders in Georgia’s 2020 class, OF Blake Bortak (Archer; Samford) showed just why we think so highly of him. Bortak showed premium athleticism in the outfield, profiling as a natural center fielder at the next level. A known defensive commodity, it was his showing during batting practice that proved he is a true two-way prospect.


James Tibbs OF / 1B / Pope , GA / 2021

Florida State commit. 6-foot, 185-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, wide shoulders, strong build with athletic actions, one of the most explosive pull-side hitters in Georgia’s 2021 class. A standout offensively at the event, unique setup, tall and narrow, hands start low and smoothly load back, as he strides long he gets bend in his knees and comes to a balanced athletic position. Lower half explodes and back leg literally lifts off the ground and drives through contact, barrel whips through the zone with advanced hand speed in an uphill path, predominately a pull-side hitter, ball jumps off the bat in a different manner, creates backspin as he drives the ball with aggression, there is little doubt he will leave the yard more than once in 2020 and beyond, 99 exit velocity off a tee. Ran a 7.12 laser-timed 60. Defensively, amr works clean and loose out of a ¾ slot, really lets his arm go, 88 from the outfield. Attacks the baseball, fields off to the side, clean footwork and transfers. Profiles as a corner outfielder at the next level.

Darryl Buggs OF / RHP / Heritage (Conyers), GA / 2020

UAB commit. 6-foot, 170-pound right-handed hitting two-way player, lanky frame, highly athletic prospect, projectable build, one of the top statistical performers on the day, ran a 6.64 laser-timed 60. Offensively, open, athletic setup, hands load back smoothly, short stride, good balanced throughout. Swing works smooth and short to the zone, gains extension getting to the ball out front, hammered line drives gap-to-gap, has strength to drive the ball, 95 exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, arm works short and loose to an over-the-top slot, kept throws low and on a line, accurate, loads of arm strength, 94 from the outfield. Profiles as a natural center fielder, covers ground with long, easy strides, fields the ball athletically out front, uses a back shuffle to gain momentum, clean on transfers. On the mound, arm action is long and quick, whip-like arm speed, comes out of an over-the-top slot, works downhill. Drop and drive delivery, drives hard off back-side, works on-line, lands square, finishes crossing over, at-times will end square to home. Fastball sat 84-85, touched 87, mostly straight. Curveball, 12/6 shape, depth, big breaker, 66-68. Slider, tighter version of curveball, more 11/5 shape to it, 67-69. Changeup, when low in the zone showed sink, at-times straightened out, 73-78. Has that closer mentality.

Blake Bortak OF / LHP / Archer , GA / 2020

Samford commit, one of the top defensive outfielder in Georgia’s 2020 class. 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-handed hitting outfielder, athletically built with lean strength throughout frame, ran a 6.64 laser-timed 60. Offensively, wide, crouching setup, fluid rhythm in hands as they load back, leg kick timing trigger, great balance through contact. Has noticeably strong forearms, allows him to whip the barrel through the zone and produce hard line drive contact back up the middle and to the pull-side, posted a 95 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, arm works loose and whip-like to an over-the top slot, throws are true and accurate at 89. A natural center fielder, moved extremely well, playing through the ball with athleticism, showed quick feet and a soft glove. Really solidified his position as a high end defender in his class.

Christopher Robertson OF / LHP / Notre Dame , GA / 2021

Lipscomb commit. 6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, broad shoulders, strength throughout frame with more to come as he continues to physically develop. Offensively, relaxed, balanced setup, hands start back, uses no load, short stride, good balance. Gap-to-gap type hitter, swing path works smoothly uphill through the zone with easy bat speed, is consistently on-time as he elevates the ball with force, 91 exit velocity. Much more to come. Swing works well in-game as we have routinely seen him hammer the gaps for extra bases in the past. Defensively, short arm action, quick to release out of an over-the-top slot, accurate, 83 mph. Easy, athletic approach to the ball, fields off to the side, clean actions, soft glove-hand.

Clifford Pless III OF / SS / Veterans , GA / 2021

5-foot-11, 150-pound switch-hitting outfielder, high-level athlete, extremely quick foot speed, ran a 6.60, an event best. We knew of his speed when he posted multiple sub-3.7 home to first times over the summer at LakePoint. A natural center fielder, his arm plays long and loose to a high ¾ slot, kept throws on target regularly, 80 from the outfield. Attacks in the outfield, plays through with fluidity, tracks extremely well with quick feet and clean transfers. Offensively, simple set up at the plate, balanced, short stride, short hand load back, great balance throughout. Takes a line drive approach, used the middle of the field, barrel works with some incline through the zone, 80 mph exit velocity off a tee. Plays to his strengths extremely well using a more contact approach to put the ball in play and fly down the line. Has shown in the past that once on base he causes havoc.

Ryan Sonnier OF / Peachtree Ridge, GA / 2020

Florida A&M commit. 6-foot-3, 180-pound right-handed hitting outfielder, long, lanky frame, projectable build. At the plate, wide and balanced, hands load back getting good separation from the body, short reverse toe-tap stride, balanced at contact. Swing works short to the zone, keeps his hands inside the ball, path is level through contact finishing low on the back-side, at his best when he let the ball travel squaring it up the middle, creates leverage and extension, at-times reached for pitches, 90 exit velocity. Ran a 7.10 laser-timed 60. Defensively, arm action is long, some stiffness, comes out of a high ¾ slot, routinely used a long hop into home, 87 from the outfield. Long strider to the ball, plays through, fields out front, clean with footwork and on transfers.

Grey Brannen OF / 1B / Westfield , GA / 2022

6-foot-5, 188-pound right-handed hitting outfielder, projectable build, long, lanky frame with athleticism, will fill out as he continues to physically mature. At the plate, open setup, hands load back with some barrel wrap, short stride to a wide, balanced position. Takes a gap-to-gap approach, drives the ball with long levers, some steepness in his barrel path, keeps hands inside the ball, flashed the ability to back spin the ball, 86 exit velocity off a tee. With added strength to his frame will be sending balls a long way in no time. Ran a 7.11 laser-timed 60 but is capable of posting better times. Defensively, arm works short to an over-the-top slot, throws play true and accurately, 82 mph from the outfield. Covers ground well with long, easy strides, fields the ball out front with a soft glove, clean on transfers and has a natural ability with his footwork. Ton of projection in Brannen, will be a prospect to follow.

Jimmy Cox LHP / OF / Wesleyan , GA / 2021

5-foot-10, 145-pound switch-hitting outfielder, high-waisted, room to fill out. Offensively, tall, open setup, high hands load back to a near arm bar, long stride to a balanced position, at-times finishes on his back-side. Showed easy effort at the plate, produced line drive contact up the middle repeatedly, at his best when he can get square to the ball, generated 80 mph exit velocity off a tee. Defensively, arm works long with a stab on the back-side, kept throws accurate to home, low and on a line, 81 from the outfield. Fields position athletically, fields out front, good glove-hand showed advanced hand-eye fielding everything cleanly, clean with his footwork and transfers.

Nathan Salyer OF / C / North Gwinnett , GA / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot-5, 180-pound right-handed hitting outfielder and catcher, long, lanky frame, ran a 7.10 laser-timed 60. Defensively, from the outfield, arm works long and with some whip through an over-the-top window, kept throws on-line, shortens things up behind the dish, 79 from the outfield, 71 out of the crouch. In the outfield, keeps the ball in front, fielding out in front of his body, clean on his transfers. As a catcher, showed short transfers, some length in his footwork, keeps things fluid though, pop times ranged 2.29-2.47. Offensively, open setup, hands load back, short stride, hits off his back-side, finishing with upper half tiled over the plate. Takes a line drive approach at the plate, worked mostly the opposite field, squared some back up the middle, some drag through the zone.

Elijah Lewis OF / LHP / Houston County, GA / 2021

5-foot-9, 165-pound left-handed hitting outfielder, quick twitch athlete, lean frame, ran a 7.03 laser-timed 60. Offensively, balanced, short hand load back with barrel on his shoulder, knee knock stride, balanced at contact. Lets his hands do the work, swing is short to the zone on a level plane creating line drive contact, 81 exit velocity. Defensively, arm plays short, over-the-top, accurate on his throws, 77 from the outfield. Athleticism plays well in the outfield, ranges with quick, easy strides, hands play softly, clean on transfers.

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