Prep Baseball Report

Then & Now: Jalen Battles, Arkansas

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

THEN JUNE 6, 2017 JAMES MADISON HS: Six-foot-2, 185-pound, athletic, high-waisted, projectable frame. Battles showed smooth actions and a clean accurate arm on the infield. On the mound, the right-hander worked in the 82-83 mph range with his fastball and his curveball was 67-70 mph. With his already projectable frame and smooth actions, Battles is an infielder that college recruiters will want to see this summer.

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THEN MARCH 11, 2020 MCLENNAN JC: An Arkansas commit, Battles is an extremely twitchy and athletic shortstop. Currently his bat is his carrying tool with the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the park. Defensively he will make plays that you can't teach with his natural athleticism and quick hands. At times get caught in between hops relying on his athleticism too much. Battles’ ceiling is extremely high and he will continue to make jumps as he refines his skills and gets more reps.

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NOW MAY 1, 2022 UNIVERISTY OF ARKANSAS: Moving up draft lists due to his strong play, while also benefiting from the lackluster results by many of his middle infielder peers, Battles is a defense-first prospect who projects to remain at shortstop in pro ball. He is similar to Andrelton Simmons, who many thought would be an elite defender with too light of a bat for an everyday role. Simmons proved doubters wrong and Battles will have the same opportunity. Battles has sweet hands, smooth actions, a plus-to-better arm and plus range in all directions with the ability to quickly transfer and throw on the run. He's wiry strong at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and has all the defensive tools scouts look for in a shortstop. Offensively, Battles has currently produced a .284/.348/.481 slash with seven home runs. With a pair of triple digit exit velocities on Friday, he generates ample bat speed to produce 10-15 home runs on an annual basis at the pro level, but contact will be the key. He tends to get pull happy and long at times. His 2022 season strikeout rate sits at 21.0% which is nearly identical to his career rate at Arkansas (21.7%). He's a likely mid-Day Two selection who will be both a prospect and a money saver as an "older", fourth-year college player. Battles is currently 22 years old after spending the first two years of his collegiate career at McLennan JC, Tex.

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