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2023 Picks to Click from "Just Missed" List

Picks to Click from 2023 Five Tool 55 “Just Missed” List

By now, you’ve probably read or heard us discuss how deep and talented the 2023 class is in Texas. In particular, both the “just missed” and follow lists include players who are especially intriguing and poised for breakout seasons to increase their profile even more. We wanted to highlight some of those players we believe could move up the rankings in the future. Five Tool Scouting Director Drew Bishop and I put our heads together and selected five of our favorite “picks to click” during the upcoming high school season from our 2023 Five Tool 55 “just missed” list:

Dustin’s Picks to Click

Caden Ferraro – LHP/OF/1B – Pearland
Summer team – 5 Star Performance HTX

After seeing Ferraro work in the 81-84 MPH range this fall, it was obvious there’s a lot to work with, which could unlock more velocity. What was also obvious was the lefty’s three-pitch mix he threw confidently and easily, thanks in large part to a repeatable, athletic delivery supported by a high-waisted build with some strength in the lower half. Additionally, Ferraro played with a noticeably strong mental makeup. He seemingly always loved whatever he was doing, competed well and was never overwhelmed; the game came easy to him.

He’ll likely hit at a high level in the middle of the Pearland lineup this season and should play somewhere on the diamond when he’s not pitching, which speaks to his athleticism, skill and talent. I think he’s destined to be a future weekend starter at the division one level because his strike-throwing with all pitches should trend positively, but he’s a legitimate two-way talent who creates some impact with a promising left-handed swing and can drive the ball out of the park occasionally.

Colin Robson – OF – Southlake Carroll
Summer team – DFW Jets
Commitment – Duke

An athletic long-strider who runs well once he gets to full speed (4.26 on the turn), Robson looks like a good bet to feature all-around average tools or better. The standout part of his game is the left-handed swing. Robson routinely hit the ball hard to all parts of the field and showed good barrel control with an athletic finish in the batter’s box. Don’t be surprised if Robson emerges as one of the best left-handed hitters in the state. His build through the upper half suggests there is still more growth on the horizon and that could help the power tick up.

Connor Clark – MIF – Sherman
Summer team – Texas Oilers

Watch the way Clark’s pelvis/torso and lower half work during his right-handed swing, after being ignited by a big leg kick, and you’ll see how the bat speed from a smaller frame generates the type of loud, pull-side pop Clark showed this summer. He’s an explosive, twitchy player who was an all-district receiver in football (played some defense too) and performed on the mound too with a strong arm. Clark lists his 60-yard dash at 6.57 seconds and there’s no reason to believe he’s not a plus runner. A lot of what he does on the diamond is very loud and he’s unafraid to put an aggressive, quick bat in motion in the batter’s box.

Jake Melvin – RHP – Anderson
Summer team – GPS Legends
Commitment – Dallas Baptist

Almost everything Melvin does and how he looks on the mound suggests he possesses upside (video above is from a year ago), projection and potential. Fastballs seemingly jump out of his hand, which comes at hitters from a loose, quick arm. In particular, it appears like Melvin creates a lot of shoulder external rotation, shoulder horizontal abduction and hip/shoulder rotation with pelvis rotation just after foot plant. He’d be a really fun guy to get into a Biomechanics lab to confirm. Obviously, Dallas Baptist liked what it saw this fall and snagged the right-handed pitcher’s commitment.

There’s a lot of room to fill through his 6-3 frame and Melvin is a strong bet to continue adding velocity and should be able to better harness his stuff in the strike zone as he matures. That’s the next step: with the natural boost in stuff and velocity down the road, will increased strikes follow? If they do, look out.

Tobias Motley
Summer team – Marucci Elite Texas
Commitment – Rice

An obvious physical projection candidate, Motley ran a 6.47 60-yard dash (hand-timed) at Marucci’s Scout Day and his athleticism shows in all areas of the game. Currently a shortstop, I’m not sure where the glove ends up, although I’m confident it’s somewhere in the middle of the diamond and the arm should be above-average. Time and development will tell.

Regardless, I think the right-handed bat has a chance to stand out because Motley is already creating some surprising impact with a quick bat, especially to his pull-side. With an open stance, Motley doesn’t sell out to pull the baseball and has shown he can drive it the other way with some authority, too. With more reps and more physical maturation, Motley’s skill and strength should make his tools louder.

Drew’s Picks to Click

Justin Blancaflor – OF – John Paul II
Summer Team – Five Star Performance

With the amount of coaches and scouts that will be attracted to John Paul II this spring, Justin Blancaflor will most certainly have the opportunity to turn the heads of coaches and scouts. A football player who plays baseball with the intensity of a linebacker, Blancaflor uses his power/speed combo to impact the game. Blancaflor has shown gap power, hit home runs, and stolen bases at a high clip. With the talent John Paul II has, he will get plenty of chances to drive in runs and play a huge role for the Cardinals’ offense.

Blake Peterson – OF – Austin Westlake
Summer Team – Lone Star Baseball Club
Commitment – Texas

One of the more intriguing storylines for me this spring will be Blake Peterson’s return from injury. The 2020 District 26-6A Offensive Co-MVP hit .463 with 30 RBIs and double digit stolen bases while not totally healthy. After addressing his injury with a Mid-August surgery, I have a feeling Peterson bounces back with a loud spring for a loaded Chapparal team. Peterson has the potential to add power to his numbers this year with an already advanced feel for his swing in the box. Peterson is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions and should find himself in the middle of the Westlake order as they look to challenge for the title in a loaded district.

Trevor Tranberg – RHP – Rockwall-Heath
Summer Team – Stix 2023 Scout Team

One pitcher that has a chance to burst onto the scene this spring is Rockwall-Heath RHP Trevor Tranberg. On what looks to be another loaded Rockwall-Heath team, Tranberg will vie for a spot in rotation that already includes Johnny Lowe (Navarro commit) and Baylor Baumann (HBU commit). Equipped with a fastball that we have consistently seen in the upper 80s and two swing and miss breaking balls, Tranberg has the ability to dominate as he continues to develop and grow into his body. With the talent the Hawks have and what looks like a team poised to make another deep run, Tranberg should have the opportunity to showcase his abilities in front of coaches and scouts from across the country this season.

Ben Tryon – 3B – Southlake Carroll
Summer Team – Dallas Patriots
Commitment – Dallas Baptist

A favorite of Dustin McComas and myself, Tryon is one of the most consistent players in the DFW area. His ability to make all the plays at third base while handling quality pitching makes him a plus player. What makes him even more intriguing is the likelihood of further physical development. While already having an advanced feel defensively and at the plate, it is impossible not to dream on his future prospects as he matures and puts on weight. DBU was onto something when they jumped on Tryon gaining his commitment back in September. I look forward to seeing him play on what looks to be another loaded Southlake Carroll team.

Landon West – C/CIF – Katy Tompkins
Summer Team – Texas Twelve
Commitment – Rice

One of my favorite catchers in the 2023 class, Landon West has all of the qualities of an impact catcher. The athletic right-handed hitter has the ability to control a game from behind the plate with his receiving skills and a big time arm. With experience handling quality stuff playing with the Twelve, West looks to help lead a loaded Katy Tompkins team on a deep run this spring. At the plate, West has power to all fields and is a sub-7.0 runner. West will join his brother, Graiden, at Rice after the Owls snagged his commitment this fall.

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball