Draft : : State Preview
Friday, April 20, 2012

State Preview: Alabama

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.

Contributing: Ben Collman/David Rawnsley

Alabama State-by-State List
2011 Alabama Overview

Alabama Overview

Strong Prep Crop Offsets Disappointment in College Ranks

Scouts in the Deep South states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are overjoyed this spring with the realization that essentially every top high-school prospect in the three-state area has lived up to expectations.

That phenomenon is particularly evident in Alabama, which could end up producing as many as five picks in the top three or four rounds from the state’s prep ranks, marking 2012 as one of the most-lucrative drafts in the state’s history. Sweet-swinging outfielder David Dahl established himself as the No. 1 prospect in Alabama entering the season and not only has held form, but could easily be snapped up in the latter half of the first round. In contrast to this year, the first Alabama high-school player in 2011 wasn’t even drafted until the ninth round, and only two subsequently signed.

If anything, the Alabama high-school crop has only gotten stronger since the outset of the current season as Hoover High outfielder Sam Gillikin and Bibb County High shortstop Jalen Goree have emerged from back in the pack to quickly establish themselves as legitimate front-line talents.

By contrast, the Alabama college crop isn't as strong. Samford lefthander Lex Rutledge and Alabama righthander Ian Gardeck, who ranked 1-2 heading into the season and were expected to be difference-makers for their respective teams in closing roles, have had difficulty harnessing their raw stuff.

That has left an opening for righthander Corey Black, a former San Diego State righthander who curiously ended up at Alabama’s Faulkner University, an NAIA-affiliated school, to move to the top of the pack. He made a strong first impression with his mid- to high-90s fastball and quickly surpassed both Rutledge and Gardeck to rank as the state’s most-draftable college talent.

Alabama in a nutshell:

Premium high-school position talent.
WEAKNESS: College players.
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 4.


PROSPECT ON THE RISE: Sam Gillikin, of, Hoover HS.
Bibb County High’s rapidly-rising shortstop Jalen Goree could qualify every bit as much as Gillikin for this distinction, but scouts see a little more upside in Gillikin. He wasn’t considered a consensus top-10 draft at the beginning of the spring, but his stock has risen quickly as he has performed at a high level and scouts have become won over that all his tools will play at the next level.

WILD CARD: Jameis Winston, of, Hueytown HS.
Winston is the top-ranked prep quarterback in the nation, but has always had a passion for baseball, and as a highly-athletic, well-rounded talent could factor early into the draft in June if he were to give scouts any indication that he wanted to pursue a career in professional baseball at the expense of a promising football opportunity at Florida State. Paying Winston to drop football and pursue a baseball career, a la Bubba Starling in 2011, seems out of the question, however, and even a scenario where Winston might play football at Florida State in the fall and baseball professionally during the summer has been rendered unlikely by the new draft rules in place.

Darryl Norris, 3b, Mississippi State (attended high school in Fairhope).
Top 2013 Prospect: Keegan Thompson, rhp/ss, Cullman HS.
Top 2014 Prospect: Jo-El Bennett, of, Troy University.


Draft History:
Gregg Olson, rhp, Auburn University (1988, Orioles/1st round, 4th pick).
2006 Draft: Kasey Kiker, lhp, Russell County HS, Phenix City (Rangers/1st round, 12th pick).
2007 Draft: Josh Donaldson, c, Auburn University (Cubs/1st round, 48th pick).
2008 Draft: Destin Hood, of, St. Paul’s Episcopal HS, Mobile (Nationals/2nd round).
2009 Draft: Ben Tootle, rhp, Jacksonville State University (Twins/3rd round).
2010 Draft: Todd Cunningham, of, Jacksonville State University (Braves/2nd round).
2011 Draft: Adam Morgan, lhp, University of Alabama (Phillies/3rd round).


College Players Drafted/Signed:
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 3/0.
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 12/2.


Best Athlete:
Jameis Winston, of, Hueytown HS.
Best Hitter: David Dahl, of, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham.
Best Power: Brandon Miller, of, Jacksonville State University.
Best Speed: Jameis Winston, of, Hueytown HS.
Best Defender: Taylor Dugas, of, University of Alabama; David Dahl, of, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham.
Best Velocity: Ian Gardeck, rhp, University of Alabama.
Best Breaking Stuff: Lex Rutledge, lhp, Samford University.
Best Pitchability: Trey Wingenter, rhp, Bob Jones HS, Madison.


(Projected ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)

1. DAVID DAHL, of, Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham
Dahl’s combination of high-level tools—he runs a 6.49 in the 60 and has a 95-mph outfield throwing arm—and lefthanded hitting ability make him a strong candidate to be a mid- to late-first-round pick. His offensive package not only includes the ability to square up balls hard consistently and drive them to the alleys, but he is also a very patient hitter who takes walks and works counts. He has well-above-average instincts on the bases to go with his superior speed, and is an accomplished defender in center field. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Dahl, an Auburn recruit, hasn’t developed loft power in game conditions yet, but will show his raw power in batting practice. A year ago for Oak Mountain High, batting in the leadoff spot, he hit .449-2-29 and drilled 18 doubles, and was the catalyst for USA Baseball’s undefeated junior-national team in the fall, leading that squad with 11 stolen bases while hitting .316-0-11. He has continued to hit for a high average and on-base percentage this spring, cementing his lofty standing.

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