It’s time to release the entire Five Tool 55 for the 2022 class in Texas with the countdown of players No. 5-1. Before I deliver the final portion of the list and detailed reports, I’d like to preface that information with two points I want to again reiterate: the list will be updated multiple times ahead of the 2022 MLB Draft and I truly believe a legitimate case could be made for all players listed below to be ranked No. 1.
Right now, I really, really like the depth of this senior class in the Lone Star State but I also believe the list is probably 10, give or take a few spots, players deep of elite talents; meaning, there isn’t much separation yet among the class at the top. Let’s start with the player I believe has the strongest case currently:
No. 1 – Jett Williams – MIF/OF/RHP – Rockwall-Heath
After leading Rockwall-Heath to a 6A state championship, Williams ended his summer with the loudest performance by any player in the state. At Area Code, the dynamic right-handed hitting infielder/outfielder separated himself as the Texas Rangers’ top performer and main leader. At an event that can overwhelm some of the most talented amateur players in the country, Williams never once looked overwhelmed or even a bit frustrated. In fact, while opposing pitchers racked up strikeouts, Williams was often the player to step in the box and smack a hard extra-base hit to help set the tone for his team.
Is Williams undersized? Yep. Williams is either 5-8 or 5-7. But tools are tools regardless of size, although you’re kidding yourself if Williams’ size won’t be fairly scrutinized by scouts because they don’t often see top-round picks with his size. Great players come in all shapes and sizes, and despite his undersized frame, Williams packs surprising power, which showed up in games routinely and during batting practice. A quick-twitch dynamo, Williams utilizes an athletic, quick swing in the box with strong hands and a barrel that impacts the baseball loudly thanks in part to how quickly it gets to top swing speed. His extra-base pop profiles to all fields, which shows in batting practice rounds featuring the occasional homer to dead center along with the usual pull-side juice.
What separates Williams is when the competition and stuff go up on the mound, his skill and talent showed. He sees pitches well out of the hand and although he’s very energetic around the diamond with an admirable bounce in his step, Williams enters the batter’s box with a slow, confident heartbeat and a promising blend of rhythm, timing and athleticism in his hitting actions. A plus runner who plays faster than his good 60-yard dash time, Williams is a threat to steal second and third base, turn a single into a double and go first-to-third.
Besides size, the one question about Williams is where he profiles defensively. With a plus, maybe even plus-plus arm in the infield and impressive quickness, Williams should get an opportunity his senior season to prove he can play shortstop after playing center field last season because the team was stronger on the infield than it was in the outfield; being a really, really good second baseman is a fine fallback. A middle-of-the-diamond player, Williams has the speed and arm to play center, although he’s best-suited to stick on the dirt. Could he pitch? Absolutely and he could do it at a dominant level in high school, but his future is with the bat.
While Williams might not have the top-end ceiling of other highly-ranked infielders, he’s currently the best blend of prospect and performer; his tools stood out loudly during gameplay, especially in the batter’s box against some of the best stuff the nation has to offer. We’re not that far removed from a very, very talented yet undersized two-way player from Texas being selected in the second round – Masyn Winn. Currently uncommitted, Williams should have his pick of any school in the country.
🦾He’s a machine.
Jett Williams (@jettwilliams04) gets back-to-back triples in consecutive innings to start his game tonight. #DudeCanHit #FiveToolHitting #DudeAlert@HeathHawksBB (TX) 2022 • @AggieBaseball commit@FiveToolTexas pic.twitter.com/gssLyrMeSc
— Five Tool Baseball (@FiveTool) February 28, 2020
No. 2 – Justin Lamkin – LHP – Calallen
Poll 10 different evaluators to pick the best arm in Texas and you won’t receive a consensus in return. I like Lamkin the most currently, who boasted some absurdly dominant high school numbers (0.73 ERA and 177 strikeouts; 53.5% strikeout percentage in playoffs with 0.46 ERA) at Calallen and followed up an excellent junior season with an excellent summer season.
With an easy and repeatable delivery and arm action, Lamkin profiles as a lefty with a chance for three future plus pitches – fastball, curve and change – and has present physicality and athleticism with more velocity in the tank as he learns to maximize his lower half. Currently, he’s the best blend of present and future stuff, control, command and performance and his execution of his stuff is advanced. He’s not going to light up the radar gun like Chase Shores, but Lamkin’s 88-92 MPH heater plays up because of the shape and some deception and he’s shown feel for moving it around the zone.
Part of the reason the heater plays up is his changeup, a particularly dangerous weapon versus righties with four-seam appearance and late arm-side dive; another reason is batters don’t get much of a look at the ball as his arm builds up before delivery. Lamkin spins a hook with depth that occasionally buckled hitters and created some very uncomfortable takes and swings this summer, and if he tightens up the spin more regularly, look out. The Texas A&M commitment headlines one of the best recruiting classes in the country.
— Five Tool Baseball (@FiveTool) June 26, 2021
No. 3 – Jalin Flores – SS – Brandeis
Like the pitchers, good luck finding a consensus about the best infielder in Texas. Obviously, Williams has my vote currently, although his defensive profile is more inconclusive than others, like Flores. A high-waisted athlete whose body doesn’t lack projection, Flores is a smooth operator defensively with loose, confident actions and the look of a big athlete who can stick at short.
The bat is really starting to come on and show some impact from the right side with the ability to get on time against velocity. Projecting more game power in the future isn’t going out on any sort of the limb and Flores possesses the type of swing that can make good contact enough to impact the baseball, although he does tend to spray liners with topspin around instead of lift deep fly balls. Ask around about Flores and people will rave about his baseball intelligence and how he thinks about the game, which shows up on the diamond. Although he’s not a good runner and is slow out of the box, that didn’t prevent Flores from routinely swiping bags and playing quicker than the stopwatch.
A case can be made that other infielders – Williams, Jayson Jones, Anthony Silva and Travis Sanders – could be ranked ahead, but Flores, a Texas commitment, has arguably the highest ceiling of any position player in the class thanks to his tools, current skill level, and physical projection. Is there a chance Flores outgrows shortstop? It’s possible, but I’m not betting on it.
— ✭Five Tool Texas✭ (@FiveToolTexas) July 18, 2020
No. 4 – Jayson Jones – 3B – Braswell
It takes some bravery to throw Jayson Jones batting practice because no one in Texas can generate the type of exit velocity and impact off the bat this physical right-hander can. I’d bet a large sum of money Jones, committed to Arkansas, is a huge Albert Pujols fan because the spread stance in the batter’s box with minimal front leg movement and the clap after extra-base hits looks almost identical to the current Dodgers first baseman and future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Currently, Jones plays shortstop in the summer and in high school, and does it with good, clean actions with a plus arm. But with his current frame and physicality, he already has the size of a corner infielder. One of the best infielders in the country, Jones’ current skill set and size profile fit fine at third base.
Right now, Jones’ standout tool is his plus-plus raw power. At times, Jones’ head movement in his swing and body movement in the timing can influence swings and misses, but when he’s right in the batter’s box, the bat stands out more than any other one in the state. It’s very possible Jones ends the cycle as the No. 1 player in the state.
Jayson Jones (@JaysonJ21836612) plays fearlessly. Competes at a high level every time out and leads by example. Has a 90 MPH IF velo and 94 MPH wood bat EV.
— Five Tool Baseball (@FiveTool) August 19, 2020
No. 5 – Jared Thomas – 1B/OF/LHP – Waxahachie
Thomas is one of those players you watch hit once and his ability to recognize and time pitches immediately sticks out; he’s the type that can take a few good pitches and can stand out without even swinging the bat. Fortunately for him and the Texas Longhorns, Thomas can also swing the bat too.
Everywhere Thomas went this summer, he hit. His numbers at Five Tool events – .550/.667/.880 slash line in 36 plate appearances – were consistently elite with a walk rate easily better than his strikeout rate. Thomas might have the best natural feel for hitting in the class with an innate ability to put the barrel on the baseball, cover the plate, and utilize his hands the exact way he wants to. His hand-eye coordination and swing-or-take control look very advanced for a high school hitter and with plenty of athleticism and rotation present in the pretty left-handed swing, Thomas’ raw power is going to increase and soon show in more game power.
On the mound, Thomas is a solid left-handed arm capable of pitching out of a college bullpen, especially with his competitive makeup. However, his future is undoubtedly as a position player. On a team loaded with big-time division one talent, Dallas Tigers Polk, Thomas was the best and most consistent hitter.
— ✭Five Tool Texas✭ (@FiveToolTexas) June 8, 2021
THE FULL FIVE TOOL 55 (Texas 2022)
1 – Jett Williams – MIF/OF/RHP – (Rockwall Heath)
2 – Justin Lamkin – LHP – Calallen (Texas A&M commit)
3 – Jalin Flores – SS – Brandeis (Texas commit)
4 – Jayson Jones – SS/3B – Braswell (Arkansas commit)
5 – Jared Thomas – 1B/LHP – Waxahachie (Texas commit)
6 – Chase Shores – RHP – Midland Lee (Oklahoma State commit)
7 – Justin Vossos – SS – Ridge Point (Texas A&M commit)
8 – Travis Sanders – SS – Copperas Cove (Texas Tech commit)
9 – Kasen Wells – OF – Smithson Valley (Texas A&M commit)
10 – Cole Phillips – RHP – Boerne
11 – Anthony Silva – SS – Clark (TCU commit)
12 – Ben Abeldt – LHP – McKinney Boyd (TCU commit)
13 – Trenton Shaw – LHP/1B – Prestonwood Christian Academy (Oklahoma State)
14 – Max Belyeu – OF – Aledo (Texas commit)
15 – Jace LaViollete – OF – Tompkins (Texas A&M commit)
16 – Cade McGarrh – SS – Frisco Liberty (Texas Tech commit)
17 – Jayden Duplantier – SS – Summer Creek (Texas commit)
18 – JD Thompson – LHP – Rusk (Vanderbilt commit)
19 – Tavion Vaughns – OF – Cedar Hill (Oklahoma commit)
20 – Kaeden Kent – 3B – Lake Travis (Texas A&M commit)
21 – Brenner Cox – OF – Rock Hill (Texas commit)
22 – Jack Little – INF/OF – Tompkins (Wichita State commit)
23 – Jeric Curtis – OF – Tomball Memorial (Texas Tech commit)
24 – Dylan LaRue – C – Blanco
25 – Will Furniss – 1B – Nacogdoches (Ole Miss commit)
26 – Kolby Branch – SS – Lovejoy (Baylor commit)
27 – Carson Queck – OF – Woodlands Christian (Kansas State commit)
28 – Jordan Medellin – SS – Bay Area Christian (Baylor commit)
29 – Luke Jackson – RHP – Lake Travis (Texas A&M commit)
30 – Conner Weigman – 3B – Bridgeland (Texas A&M commit)
31 – Deundre Jones – OF – Lutheran South Academy (Kansas State commit)
32 – Ryan Dollar – RHP – MacArthur (Houston commit)
33 – Cade Climie – 3B – Seven Lakes (Texas A&M commit)
34 – Blake Binderup – RHP – College Station (Texas A&M commit)
35 – Easton Carmichael – C – Prospect (Oklahoma commit)
36 – Pierce George – RHP – Lake Travis (Texas commit)
37 – Chase Mora – SS/RHP – Tomball (Texas State commit)
38 – Max Grubbs – RHP – Arlington Martin (Texas commit)
39 – Ryan Williams – C – Bridgeland (Mississippi State commit)
40 – Ryan Hanks – RHP – Klein Cain
41 – Rocco Garza-Gongora – OF – Laredo Alexander (Oklahoma commit)
42 – Murphy Brooks – RHP – Bridgeland (TCU commit)
43 – Rylan Galvan – C – Sinton (Texas commit)
44 – Collin McKinney – RHP – Clear Creek (Texas State commit)
45 – Rene Galvan – OF – Sinton
46 – Sean Fitzpatrick – LHP – Concordia Lutheran (Arkansas commit)
47 – Chase Sowell – OF – Atascocita
48 – Zachary Mazoch – C – Georgetown (Baylor commit)
49 – Adrian Guzman – RHP – Aledo (Grayson commit)
50 – Brandon Arvidson – LHP – Dripping Springs (Texas A&M commit)
51 – Marshall Lipsey – OF – Spring Hill (TCU commit)
52 – Shane Sdao – LHP – Lake Creek (Texas A&M commit)
53 – Jose Vargas – OF – Clear Springs (Arizona State commit)
54 – Preston Freeman – SS – Floresville (UTSA commit)
55 – Griffin Herring – LHP – Southlake Carroll (LSU commit)
(A lengthy follow list of intriguing 2022 players will be published later this week)
Dustin McComas – Follow me on Twitter
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