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The Five Tool Five (1/10/23)

A good case could be made today's leadoff hitter is the best representation of "tools" and "projection" among the prep outfield class nationally. And he kicked off his senior campaign in style. Plus, we'll highlight an uncommitted 2023 pitcher from California and a trio of young Texans who college coaches will want to follow. 

What is the Five Tool Five? The short, succinct definition: it’s simply a look at five players who recently caught our attention. The long-winded, more detailed explanation: showcasing our coverage from around the United States and highlighting noteworthy baseball talent, skill, performances, news, uncommitted players who colleges should pay attention to and more. We plan to deliver a fresh Five Tool Five every Monday through Friday to help satisfy baseball fans’ hunger for coverage at the amateur level and welcome you to the home of what we believe is the best amateur baseball coverage you’ll find -

Let's get to it... 

Top 2023 MLB Draft prospect begins 2023 with a bang

We opened yesterday’s edition with an eye-opening video from 2023 Lake Creek (Texas) right-handed pitcher Weston Moss, who will attract the attention of pro scouts early during the season as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery. Today, we begin with another top MLB Draft prospect who probably had pro scouts at this event as he gears up for what should be an outstanding season at Harvard-Westlake (California).

That’s not a bad way to start a senior campaign. There aren’t many players who better define the phrase “tools and projection” in the 2023 class better than Will Gasparino. As you can see, Gasparino has a fluid, athletic swing, especially for his height, with impact bat speed. A Texas signee, Gasparino is a 6-6, 210-pound outfielder with exciting all-around talent and skill; see him on the right day, and there are visions of five tool ability. And I’m not just saying that because it conveniently fits this story’s name and website. When we saw him at Area Code, he threw out a runner from left field, moved very well in all baseball areas and had some of the best future tools at the event. 

Uncommitted 2023 California right-hander to keep an eye on... 

There's a lot to like about El Modena's Brandon Gutierrez: he shows a quick arm that works well out front with what looks like a promising path; although there's a head whack present, he decelerates well; Gutierrez flashes a tight slider that creates whiffs and also throws a promising changeup with fastball conviction and late, arm side fade. The way everything looks suggests the control and arsenal are worth betting on, especially as the righty matures and naturally adds a couple ticks more of velocity. 

I always get excited about the local guys… 

Since I live in Austin, I get especially excited for the local prospects who are poised to become major dudes. Let’s be honest: it’s nice to have some home games to quickly get to. Xander Covar, a product of McNeil High School, is a 2025 prospect I’m excited about. 

The right-handed hitting catcher slashed .483/.529/.655 in Five Tool games this past summer, which also included being named Silver Slugger Bracket MVP of the Alex Bregman World Series. He also threw out a runner trying to steal second with a 2.04 pop time, but the bat is the major standout tool and is advanced for his age because of his ability to drive the ball, control the barrel and use all of the field. 

Another dude at Concordia Lutheran?

Walk up to Concordia Lutheran’s field and you’ll notice names of past greats and former standout MLB players, like Ke’Bryan Hayes, Shane Baz, Adam Oller and Glenn Otto. Sean Fitzpatrick, a Five Tool 55 member, is now a freshman at Arkansas and passed the ace torch to 2023 Alex Petrovic, also a Five Tool 55 member, who is committed to Auburn. Catching him will be 2024 Five Tool 55 member Nolan Traeger, a TCU commitment, and 2024 Baylor commitment Michael Herndon will be one of the top two-way players in the state. Everyone is excited about freshman infielder and Texas A&M commitment Ronin McCraw. 

Add 2025 right-handed pitcher/infielder Cole Lanclos to the list of dudes to follow. After seeing him this summer, seeing more video and asking around, I’m especially excited to follow his development at powerhouse Concordia Lutheran. This looks like a dude in the making. 

The ball comes out of his hand and quick arm easily with some natural carry and life through the zone and the slider is already flashing as a weapon. Given his athleticism and delivery, it’s worth betting on his command and control to develop positively into a starter’s profile. A high-waisted athlete who moves well, it’s not a surprise that Lanclos is a good mover on the mound because he’s a standout infielder with a promising hit tool, too. And catcher’s better be ready when he’s on first because Lanclos swiped 11 bags in 15 Five Tool games this summer. Speaking of catching, I’m told Lanclos can also do that well. What can’t he do? I suppose he can’t drive the team bus yet because he’s not old enough. 

A name to follow from Grand Oaks’ loaded pitching staff… 

Longtime Texas commit Hudson Hamilton, fellow senior Daniel Garcia and 2024 Texas State commit Austin Dolezal might be the more well-known names on the roster. But 2024 right-hander Marc Barnhard isn’t the only junior poised to make a jump. Houston Tomlinson has been turning heads this fall with an uptick in velocity. Word from around Grand Oaks is Tomlinson, who is listed at 6-0, added weight and has been up to 91 MPH with a ton of horizontal life, thanks in part to his low three-quarters and nearly sidearm slot.

There’s a lot to like about the strength and coordination already present in Tomlinson’s delivery, like his chest and head positioning and the future to leverage more of his physical gifts into his delivery to improve his control and velocity. It wouldn’t shock me if in a few years Tomlinson is lighting up the radar gun from a tough look out of the bullpen or is eating innings as a sinker/slider pitcher. College coaches are going to want to get some eyes on this emerging prospect sooner than later. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor