College baseball in Alabama is deeper than ever, as Samford, Troy, Jacksonville State and Alabama-Birmingham continue to make strides. South Alabama, under second-year coach Mark Calvi, made it back to the NCAA regionals and will try to regain its perch as the most consistent program in the state outside the two Southeastern Conference powers.
|THIS YEAR’S CROP|
|*****||One for the books|
|***||Solid, not spectacular|
|**||Not up to par|
|*||Nothing to see here|
|Rating compares this year’s group to what a state typically produces, not to other states|
Alabama and Auburn also made strides, though both remain in the bottom half of the SEC. Alabama went young and returned to regional play after bottoming out in 2012; the Tide did so despite an injury to junior-college transfer catcher Wade Wass, who figured to be the team’s top prospect if healthy. Auburn’s mix of transfers and upperclassmen took time to gel, and it proved to be too late as the Tigers were left out of the regional field despite a strong finish to the regular season. That cost coach John Pawlowski his job.
The state’s prep and junior-college ranks were at their usual level, with a Mississippi prep product, Faulkner State JC outfielder Colin Bray, the top prospect. (An Alabama prep, Tuscaloosa’s Tim Anderson, is the best JC prospect in Mississippi.) The state’s high school class has good depth but may not have an impact draft, as righthander Keegan Thompson is considered a tough sign and fellow righties Kevin Davis and Jared Brasher also were expected to head to college.
|NATIONAL TOP 500 PROSPECTS|
|BA 500 Scouting Reports|
1. Phillip Ervin, of, Samford (National Rank: 23)
2. Keegan Thompson, rhp, Cullman (Ala.) HS (National Rank: 186)
3. Colin Bray, Faulkner State (Ala.) JC (National Rank: 195)
4. C.K. Irby, rhp/dh, Samford (National Rank: 237)
5. Conner Kendrick, lhp, Auburn (National Rank: 313)
6. Jordan Patterson, 1b/lhp, South Alabama (National Rank: 331)
7. Kevin Davis, rhp, Miller HS, Brewton, Ala. (National Rank: 343)
8. Jared Brasher, rhp, Pell City (Ala.) HS (National Rank: 371)
9. Anfernee Grier, of, Russell County HS, Seale, Ala. (National Rank: 379)
10. Heath Quinn, of, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham (National Rank: 390)
11. Coty Blanchard, of, Jacksonville State (National Rank: 500)
|OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE|
12. Evan Smith, lhp, Montgomery HS, Semmes, Ala.
13. Daniel Robert, of, Briarwood Christian School, Birmingham
14. Jesse Nelson, rhp, Russell County HS, Seale, Ala.
15. Danny Collins, of, Troy
16. Darren Whatley, rhp, Shelton State (Ala.) CC
17. Brett Booth, c, Alabama
18. Daniel Koger, lhp, Auburn
19. Dylan Stamey, rhp, South Alabama
20. Christian Durdaller, of, Samford
21. Wade Wass, c, Alabama
22. Damek Tomscha, 3b, Auburn
23. Kyle Bartsch, lhp, South Alabama
24. Jamie Patterson, rhp, Central Alabama CC
25. Arthur Strauss, rhp, Samford