Where MLB scouts, college coaches, and top high school prospects meet.
player profile search
#DudeWatch: Uncommitted Names (3/1)

The high school season has arrived, and the #DudeWatch is back. Whether it’s the fall, high school season or the summer, there are often weeks when the Five Tool staff is simply covering a lot of good, entertaining, interesting baseball, which creates a seemingly endless stream of 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. Here’s a look at this week’s list, which includes only uncommitted prospects:

#DudeWatch: Uncommitted Prospects from Arizona, California, Texas and JUCO

There’s something about a pretty left-handed swing that has a little loop in it and finishes athletically. Mt. San Antonio College left-handed hitter Will Bermudez was a big performer with the bat to open the JUCO season and moved athletically around the bases, too. His swing looks like it should translate to the next jump in competition at the D1 level.

Agustin Gutierrez stood out during an early look at traditional powerhouse Servite. In particular, the right-handed hitting senior tracked pitches well and showed impressive hand-eye coordination to get the barrel to the baseball. The swing is probably more geared for liners with some topspin than big flies, but the uncommitted prospect showed an intriguing feel for quality contact.

In addition to having fantastic hair, Red Oak’s Joshwa Jantes plays like his hair is on fire. See what I did there? Anyway, Jantes is an aggressive hitter who only knows one speed on the diamond – playing hard. With an open stance, Jantes never misses a chance to try to pull one over the wall with authority, but as the video above shows, he will go the other way on occasion. The pure love of the game and competing sticks out when he’s on the field. A JUCO program could benefit from his presence and ability.

Westlake RHP DJ Johnson is going to help his club this season, one of the best teams in the area. Although the right-hander shows a downward stab directly towards the rubber as he begins his descent towards home plate, it played into his deception on the mound and, in our look, didn’t affect his strike-throwing during a short, two-inning scoreless appearance. Johnson’s arm path hides the baseball from hitters, which allowed his fastball (T87) to play up and his curveball, despite being a little too soft at times, created some uncomfortable takes from batters. Johnson is still skinny through the arms and chest and should fill out in the future.

Sign me up as a believer in 2023 two-sport athlete Aden Howard. A switch-hitter with an athletic swing from both sides, Howard showed a feel for hitting in the batter’s box and aggressive, quality instincts on the diamond boosted by his speed. With physical projection remaining, Howard looks like a one to track closely in the 2023 class.

I’m going to cheat – because I can do that – and use two clips for one player in this instance. Keep this in mind: high school players are not used to playing in pro parks, which makes their reads off the bat more difficult because they’re not used to the backdrop and sounds. That didn’t stop Mansfield Summit’s Tekoa Woods, a 2022 prospect, from making two standout plays. He also picked up a knock in this game, too.

Sign me up as a fan of this swing. His last name might be Short, but Gavin doesn’t get shorted in the batter’s box. He taps into his lower half well before unleashing an aggressive hack with the type of positive angle that could do some damage in the air. The Sunnyslope High School product is a physical 2024 prospect already and it looks like he’s going to mash high school pitching for a while.

Strong outing on the mound from 2022 right-handed pitcher Roby Haarer. The Desert Mountain righty showed three pitches, but the fastball stood out with some life through the zone and some angle to the glove-side corner. Haarer should be a quality add for a program soon because it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he starts living in the upper 80s and gets into the low 90s soon.

Really impressive bat speed shown by physical right-handed hitter Cooper McKee. In this instance, he was able to pull his hands inside a fastball and get the barrel on path to line it into the left-center gap instead of hooking it foul or hitting it weakly. With his build and bat speed, you don’t have to go out on a limb to suggest there is some power in the bat, too.

Let’s head out to California to end this column with a bang: Brian Trujillo got extended with a quick barrel and hammered this bomb so hard the left fielder didn’t even move. With that kind of swing and impact, it certainly won’t be the last big fly Trujillo hits this season, which means he’ll be dancing a little more with teammates as he heads back to the dugout.

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball