Yesterday, Five Tool released the first portion of its inaugural Five Tool 55 player rankings for the state of Texas. If you missed any of that content, click below:

Rankings Nos. 55-36
Explaining the rankings process

We’ll continue to list with Nos. 35-16:

 

No. 16 – Cade McGarrh – SS – Frisco Liberty 

What if I told you the state has another really good player who could stick at shortstop at the next level and we’re not even close to being done listing all the infielders? McGarrh does something really rare for a baseball player. He runs track, and that speed, quickness and athleticism (plays football too)  and multi-sport competitiveness show on the diamond. 

McGarrh should fill out considerably as he matures and his body possesses major projection moving forward. His actions in the batter’s box and on the dirt are both loose, athletic and confident. As he adds more mass and strength, his arm should move into the plus range consistently and his footwork shouldn’t be impacted. Basically, the shortstop, with a smooth, loose swing from the left side, could push to play immediately at Texas Tech and might look like a completely different player physically after college. 

No. 17 – Jayden Duplantier – SS – Summer Creek

I told you the shortstop vibe would continue. Perhaps no position player in the state improved more from last year to this year. Duplantier consistently and emphatically answered the question about whether he could play shortstop at Texas with a resounding “yes.” With the glove, Duplantier carries himself with a lot of confidence. He made the routine plays at a high level thanks to clean actions and footwork, has enough arm to play the position, and showed some impressive range and instincts. 

 

Right now, Duplantier, who is a plus runner with 4.1 times down the line, isn’t strong enough to consistently impact the baseball and create standout bat speed. But don’t bet against him. I’m betting on this guy to stand out with the bat as he matures and for him to be a solid starter for the Longhorns during his college career. 

No. 18 – JD Thompson – LHP – Rusk

Thompson’s three-pitch mix, control and pitchability led to an early commitment to Vanderbilt and while his fastball sits in the upper 80’s currently, the lefty has shown he understands how to pitch, spin the ball well and get outs efficiently with more upside physically and with his future stuff.

No. 19 – Tavion Vaughns – OF – Cedar Hill

If you enjoy watching strong, mature, physical right-handed hitters with bat speed create loud contact with impressive bat speed, Vaughns is your kind of player. The Oklahoma commitment slugged .806 in Five Tool’s Summer Collegiate League and hit .355 with nine walks and 10 strikeouts across 41 plate appearances. 

No. 20 – Kaeden Kent – 3B – Lake Travis

Kent, the son of former MVP winner Jeff Kent, won’t be the last son of a former big leaguer who makes the list. The left-handed hitting infielder showed impressive feel for hitting, strike zone awareness and a lot of confident competitiveness all over the diamond. Simply put, it looks like baseball is in his blood and he hit .407/.467/.630 across 60 plate appearances in Five Tool events.

 

With an all-fields approach, Kent sprayed the ball around the field each time I saw him play and showed some pull-side pop as well. Perhaps what was most impressive was his consistency and steadiness mentally. He was never too high, never too low and certainly never gave away an at-bat. Kent is going to fill out and add strength in college and is probably going to hit his way into being a top MLB pick from Texas A&M. 

No. 21 – Brenner Cox – OF – Rock Hill

Another athletic two-way standout and multi-sport athlete (QB1), Cox could be a plus defender in the outfield with a plus arm and possesses enough intrigue at the plate to make some people whisper the phrase this website/company loves: five-tool player. And with a fastball up to 93 MPH on the mound and athletic delivery, he could compete to pitch college innings too. 

 

I think his future is patrolling center field and seeing if he can unlock enough consistency with the left-handed swing to become an all-conference performer in college. In terms of raw talent, he probably tops the outfield list, although it’s a close battle with the two guys immediately behind him; all three of these outfielders could make big jumps up the list.

No. 22 – Jack Little – INF/OF – Tompkins

Little, the son of former MLB player Mark Little, starred in my favorite moment of the summer. He smashed a non-spin liner that rocketed towards the left field fence, barely cleared the fence and proceeded to smash straight through the back window of a black BMW parked beyond the left field fence at Premier Baseball. Sitting behind home plate, I could hear the glass shatter like I was next to it. Is that Stone Cold’s music? Nope. Just a rocket off Little’s bat. I never found out if that person’s insurance covered that…

 

Anyway, Little, who can play all over the diamond and played first base mostly for a loaded Tompkins team last season and outfield for an even more loaded Texas Twelve Maroon, is an excellent athlete with plus-plus speed (as fast as 3.8 down the line) and signs of in-game power from the right side. 

 

How athletic is Little? There’s a video of him completing a standing backflip with ease. At the plate, he can pull pitches with authority and keep them fair down the line and rotates well with leverage in the box. A commitment to Wichita State, Little could hit his way onto pro radars this fall and spring. 

No. 23 – Jeric Curtis – OF – Tomball Memorial 

Let’s keep the toolsy, talented outfielder theme going with another guy who can absolutely fly, Jeric Curtis. A recent commitment to Texas Tech after ripping off a 6.3 60-yard dash and performing well during summer events, Curtis’ bat is beginning to catch up to his outstanding defense in center field. Still growing into his frame and the game, observers could see Curtis begin to turn more of his talent into success on the diamond in a variety of ways, which earned him a trip to Area Code. 

 

Right now, there’s a big gap between where Curtis is as a player and what he could become. And that’s certainly not a bad thing because his ceiling is so high I don’t think it would surprise area evaluators if he left Texas Tech a first-round pick. 

No. 24 – Dylan LaRue – C – Blanco

Yes, you recognize that name because of Jason LaRue, who caught in the big leagues for 12 years. Perhaps I’m in the minority on this, but I’m betting on sons for longtime MLB players every single time. LaRue arrived at Area Code with very little fanfare and buzz and all he did was hit over and over and over again. 

 

His batting practice sessions won’t wow scouts, but when he gets into the box, the smooth left-handed swing and natural bat-to-ball skill immediately show and so do the baseball instincts and calm heartbeat; this is the kind of player who has the same demeanor in the game’s biggest moments as he does a fall scrimmage. 

 

LaRue, like almost every catcher on this list, still needs to prove he can handle the position defensively, which isn’t uncommon for the best in the state. That said, I think he’s a fine bet to remain a catcher at the next level and there’s not many players like that in the state. The uncommitted prospect has improved tremendously in that area over the last year or so and I’m confident improvement will continue. He has a pretty good teacher. 

No. 25 – Will Furniss – 1B – Nacogdoches

Let’s just keep this one simple: Furniss is a left-handed masher. He unleashes aggressive yet under control hacks with rotation meant to hammer the baseball and can cover the plate to drive it with authority the other way. Furniss will probably never be known for defense, and that’s fine. Ole Miss likely sees a future middle-of-the-order impact bat. 

No. 26 – Kolby Branch – SS – Lovejoy

Baylor wisely snagged the Dulins Dodgers middle infielder and landed two players capable of immediately contributing in 2022 with another infielder a couple spots behind. Branch bounces around the diamond with an unmistakable athletic ballplayer vibe. In the box, his wiry strength shows in the promising, quick swing, which often leads to live drives around the field. 

No. 27 – Carson Queck – OF – Woodlands Christian

An injury to his AC joint (shoulder) slowed Queck down this summer and likely prevented him from making the Rangers Area Code roster. Regardless, the talented two-way player long ago established himself as one of the top players in the state. He’s been up to 89 MPH off the mound, but I think his future is playing outfield and utilizing his quick, aggressive hands in the batter’s box; sometimes that aggressiveness turns into swing and miss and sometimes it turns into something hammered over the wall. 

No. 28 – Jordan Medellin – SS – Bay Area Christian 

Medellin reminds me a lot of McGarhh, although he has a little more mass to his loose, projectable frame and is a switch-hitter. But he too can bring the heat off the mound and has the look of a middle infielder with a glove capable of sticking there on the dirt and a potential impact bat in college. Medellin and Branch could soon be one of the best middle infields in the Big 12.

No. 29 – Luke Jackson – RHP – Lake Travis

Jackson recently announced his commitment to Texas A&M and joined a loaded group of pitchers. At times, the fastball plays down because of the spin and shape, but Jackson showed a true three-pitch mix with the slider – more prevalent lately than the curve that used to show – and changeup both capable of being above average or better offerings. 

 

With his present ability to repeat on the mound and very quick, relatively clean arm out of a good frame, Jackson is the type of pitcher who goes to college and possibly emerges as a big-time draft pick. 

No. 30 – Conner Weigman – 3B – Bridgeland

At this point last year, a good case could be made that Weigman would have been No. 1 on this list. However, it sounds like football won over the talented, Elite 11 QB’s heart and it showed on the diamond this summer because the Texas A&M commitment had to balance being an elite QB talent and events like Elite 11 along with some summer baseball. Reportedly, Weigman plans to enroll in January to participate in spring football in 2022. 

No. 31 – Deundre Jones – OF – Lutheran South Academy

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest Jones is stronger than almost everyone reading this because Jones can back squat 515 pounds. The strength in the lower half shows in the swing currently, but there’s definitely room for him to add more leverage and knowledge of how to tap into his physical resources. He rotates well in the batter’s box and creates loft and carry with his powerful left-handed swing. 

No. 32 – Ryan Dollar – RHP – Aldine MacArthur

Named the Most Outstanding Pitcher at the Area Code games after punching out 11 across 4.2 scoreless innings, Dollar couldn’t have ended his summer any better. At times, a sharp, swing and miss slider accompanies a hard heater, a different curveball and he has shown a changeup. Considering the effort and intent present in the delivery, it’s impossible to ignore Dollar’s future could end up being in the backend of games. That said, the stuff played up against the nation’s best competition and Dollar is definitely one to follow closely this spring. 

No. 33 – Cade Climie – 3B – Seven Lakes

Climie is a bat-first corner infielder with some physicality and pop in the batter’s box. Like Queck above, there is some swing and miss that accompanies the intent and ability to drive the baseball. What helps the Texas A&M commitment defensively is a strong arm at third base.

No. 34 – Blake Binderup – RHP – College Station

Binderup, the son of two former D1 athletes, sure does look the part – around 6-5 or 6-6 – with size, projection, and athleticism. On the mound, Binderup pitches with surprising fluidity given his age, size and length. The control and command are both a work in progress right now, but Texas A&M must love the starter’s kit to work with, which features a low 90’s fastball, enough changeup feel to be interested in and a hard slider, emerging as the preferred choice over a slower, different shaped breaking ball in the past. 

 

Like Jackson, Binderup, if he ends up in college, has a lot of promising present ingredients that suggest there is a lot of room for increased production and consistency on the mound. He does hit and play defense, but he looks like a pitcher all the way to me. 

No. 35 – Easton Carmichael – C – Prosper

Selected to participate in USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline League, Carmichael moves well behind the dish, shows some athleticism and projection and has the makings of a young catcher who could develop into a solid all-around player in college. That makes him one of the best in the state. 

Tune in tomorrow for Nos. 15-6 as the Five Tool 55 for Texas nears its full release. 

Dustin McComas – Follow me on Twitter
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball

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