Booth: Scouting Alabama, Toronto

I once had a scouting director tell me the early going was “spring training for scouts.” He was dead on. Getting your game cards, watch, arrival times, workouts, flights, hotels, and more is a challenge.

One of the best and worst parts about evaluating players is you don’t know what you’re getting. That’s exciting and deflating all at the same time. But the best part for me is being at the ballpark. I remember what it was like as one of the players wanting a shot, hungry to hear it was my turn, and refusing to be denied. Those are the traits that separate, and thankfully for us at Future Stars Series that’s what we ran into at each stop two weekends ago.

There’s a lot to unpack and no matter what I put on paper there’s much more to tell besides what lands here.

Alabama

Scouting Alabama typically is a dream on tools. Like most of the South and Gulf Coast, the athletes are abundant in supply. You have to be patient and dream on the skills and development track in most cases, but as long as the instincts are there it’s got a chance to be very exciting in the future. This trip took us to Coastal Sports Academy for a scout day, and the talent didn’t disappoint.

Tristan Jamison, RHP — Warren Central High (2027)
Jamison is an athlete with upside and instincts and a veteran of the Future Stars Series. He has improved his execution of all things,  learned how to work, and will have three pitches in the future. It’s a matter of when not if.

Jack Scruggs, OF — Gulf Shores High (2027)
Scruggs is a baseball player with standout barrel control in the box. The athleticism is there, but it’s a gap-to-gap approach with the barrel above the ball. This type of guy has a role in any lineup and helps you defensively.

Nataniel Perez, OF — Gulf Shores High (2025)
Reminds me of Marlon Byrd. Perez will drive the baseball and can go get it defensively. He also has the run tool in the bag, and his development track has picked up and is progressing.

Matthew Steele, LHP —  Orange Beach High (2025)
Steele has finally decided to leave the golf clubs behind, turning down scholarships from D1 schools. He has the ingredients of a starter, and it’s a long way from being complete, suggesting a lot of room for growth.

Steele’s development trajectory has picked up dramatically since starting the baseball-only process. It will be fun to watch him take the next steps.

Connor Riffe, RF — Crestview High (2025)
Riffe can hit. It’s a corner profile and he’s beginning to live into it, learning to elevate the baseball properly, and will see his extra-base totals climb again this summer.

Excellent makeup and hunger to be better, which is a coach’s dream.


Canada

Among the more underappreciated areas for players in the game of baseball. Yes, I said it. I understand the lens, and the weather is a factor, but they’re up there.

There are several excellent programs across the country, but one we’ve been fortunate to observe is something I like to call ‘wherever Sean Travers goes.’

The true architect of the Ontario Blue Jays and all the players that went through there to have major success, Travers transitioned over to the HPP Tigers in Mississauga about five years ago, and all they’ve done is dominate. As you evaluate Canadian players, Travers’ players are a measuring stick for all others.

In Canada, the tools can take a while to fully develop but the skills are evident. That’s what you’re scouting: projection of the progression of the tools and the present skill markers. If they don’t have indicators of them early, they likely won’t show up later.

Quinn Lightfoot, OF — Mayfield (2026)
The last time I saw this kid he looked like Alex Rios. Now he looks like Dave Winfield. The upside here is immense. He can throw, run, hit, hit for power, and defend. The body control is coming along as he grows into his frame, but it’s impressive.

Nathan Belle, OF — Mayfield (2025) 
Prototype frame with athleticism and tools to match blossoming skills. It’s just on the come and it’s coming fast. Impact upside here and the type of guy that gets better every time seen. Exciting to watch.

Zij Mina, 3B — Wasaga Beach (2026)
He’s a left-handed hitter with plate discipline, bat-to-ball skills, and defensive ability. It’s a large frame and he may move to first base in the future. When watching him play, just keep it simple and know he can hit. His makeup is much improved, and the scoring on NTangible says he can handle tough situations without flinching. His track record proves that, too.

Oscar Leah, OF/LHP — St. Marcellinus (2027)
An athlete with quick-twitch actions, easy plus arm in the future and it translates to the mound. He can go get it in center, too, and controls the strike zone at an advanced level in the box. He’s a true college two-way guy, but it’s middle of the diamond for me beyond that.

Joey Khananisho, SS — St. Jean de Brebeuf (2026)
A baseball player who continues to improve. It’s nothing flashy, but can make the routing play with ease and an on-time body clock for the position. Khananisho likely ends up playing all over the field in the end but the instincts fit for it without any hiccups.

He can hit, too, and it’s enough to find himself pushing around for at-bats anywhere you put him.

Nathaniel Chambers, RHP — Silverton Collegiate (2025)
Projection right-hander with present velocity, feel for secondary, and low mileage on the arm. It’s a matter of when it bursts and matures, not if, and there are a few velocity jumps left. He is control-over-command and working to harness his length, but that continues to evolve and it’s enough to believe as strength shows up he’ll be consistent in that area.

Jeremy Booth

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