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#DUDEWATCH: Five Tool Names to Know (10/21)

#DudeWatch: Highlighting Top Plays, Names to Know

Whether it’s the fall, high school season or the summer, there are often weekends when the Five Tool staff is simply covering a lot of good, entertaining, interesting baseball, which creates a seemingly endless stream of social media content. Occasionally, that makes it unintentionally easy for coaches, scouts and even us to, for lack of a better word, overlook standout performances, tools or skills.

The #DudeWatch aims to shine some light on those players by combing through our vast list of video clips to pick interesting ones to highlight for fans, coaches, and scouts. Here’s a look at this week’s list:

Whoa. Hello, 1.96 pop time with an accurate throw. Pearland 2023 prospect Austin Marek looks like a must-follow catcher in his class. That’s not a showcase pop time; that’s an in-game display of athleticism, and very quick transfer-and-throw skill. It’s not often a young catcher shows a look like this. 

The impressive defense behind the dish, with nearly an identical pop time, extended to Arizona this past weekend too thanks to Simi Valley (California) 2023 prospect Landen Sawyer. Sawyer, uncommitted, threw out multiple players thanks to an accurate arm and catch-and-throw skill. 

Uncommitted 2022 Katy right-hander Eli Stewart is a fun watch and has projection remaining. He showed arm speed, some life to the heater, and the ability to spin a sharp hook in the zone. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Stewart continue to add velocity and generate results his senior year.

There’s something aesthetically pleasing about a true overhand curveball. Matthew Niezgodzki, a 2024 prospect from Brophy College Prep (2024), spins a pretty, classic 12-6 hook with depth out of a true overhand arm slot, which isn’t as common as it used to be. Not a surprise to see the young pitcher rack up that many strikeouts with that look on the mound. 

Nico Ruedas, a switch-hitting and legitimate two-way talent, is one of my favorite 2022 players to watch. Currently uncommitted, the Dripping Springs prospect continues to show the ability to lift and impact the baseball successfully and is going to be a really nice get for a college program. 

No, that’s not a 2022 player swinging the bat. That’s 2025 Magnolia West prospect Caldwell McFaddin, who looks like a major hitter to follow the next few years with advanced bat speed and ability to impact the baseball. Oh, he punched out a ton of guys on the mound too. 

I’m a sucker for awesome middle infield defense and this is a great example of making a really, really difficult play. Luke Yates didn’t just make the diving, backhand stop deep in the hole. He got to his feet quickly and got off a strong throw as well. 

Did someone mention awesome middle infield defense? Uncommitted 2022 Alvin prospect Grant Davis provides a highlight the other direction – up the middle. That’s an impressive display of athleticism to get into position to make a throw across the diamond, and the runner was moving pretty well down the line too. 

Davis can do it with the bat, too. With a short, quick swing and impressive rotation, Davis smashed a three-run bomb this past weekend. And then he admired it with a bat flip and a long trot around the bases. Very long. 

Caden Sta Maria (Belleramine College Prep, California) attacks opposing pitching with a pretty left-handed swing that includes a nice balance of rhythm and timing in his load. An uncommitted 2023 prospect, Sta Maria has some noticeable physicality too and looks like a very intriguing hitter to follow in California. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball