Friday Five Tool Five (Jan. 14)

Introducing the Friday Five Tool Five. National Scouting Director of Five Tool Drew Bishop gives out thoughts and information on Five Topics on his mind. This new segment will be a weekly occurrence.

In today’s installment of the Friday Five Tool Five we recap the Max Muncy and Scott Wiley episodes of the podcast, talk about two uncommitted 2023s, and have information on our first S2 testing opportunity.

1. Episode 35 of the Five Tool Podcast with S2’s  Director of Baseball Development Paul Phillips

On Monday, Dustin and I welcomed Paul Phillips to the show for part two of a three-part series on our partnership with S2. With a background of playing professional baseball, coaching at the D1 level, and coaching at the pro level, Paul serves as the Director of Baseball Development for S2 Cognition. Paul was introduced to this product while coaching in college and became an immediate believer in the impact that this technology could have on a baseball player’s career. Paul utilized S2 as a coach at Lipscomb and then as a coach in the Marlins organization and has seen firsthand the positive effects the assessment has on players at all levels.

After leaving the coaching ranks to join S2 full-time, Paul has helped develop programs to enhance the information captured by the assessment. With the results in hand, a player receives suggestions for drill progressions that isolate certain systems of the brain to focus on more targeted skill work. The crucial part of these drills and progressions is that they are nothing new to the baseball world. Most of these drills are familiar to coaches and players, there is just a reorganization of how they are implemented in most cases. Programs can be arranged in varying lengths and catered to equipment and facility availability. Paul goes into detail in the episode about specific contact rate and chase programs that have been tested and proven successful.

Paul also explains how scores can be interpreted and what they mean for potential development. With the systems isolated, it is normal for single areas to be significantly lower than the others. In that scenario, other systems can mask that deficiency making it less visible in game action. With that knowledge, however, your training can be targeted to improve that area in a way that will translate to on-field production which is the basis of the technology.

2. Episode 36 of the Five Tool Podcast with S2’s Scott Wylie and Five Tool’s Lynn Vanlandingham

For the final portion of our three-part series, Dr. Scott Wylie rejoined us along with Five Tool Founder Lynn Vanlandingham to talk about the story behind the partnership and where we see it going. Introduced by professional hitting instructor Joe Dillon, Vanlandingham saw a game-changing opportunity for the amateur baseball world. With Five Tool’s goal of providing opportunities for kids to continue to play “one more year,” the values of S2 were an immediate match.

Developed as a tool to help assess and shape the cognitive abilities of baseball players, this product has the ability to grow the game for players at multiple levels. Major League organizations, collegiate programs, and high school players can all benefit from the knowledge provided by an S2 assessment. In their presentations to D1 programs, coaches are immediately interested in not only the information on their current players, but the potential recruiting insight they can gain from this test. This led Lynn to believe this has a chance to serve as the baseball version of the SAT.

Moving forward, Five Tool will be providing and hosting assessment opportunities for clubs, teams, and players that are interested in the development of their split-second decision-making abilities as baseball players.

3. Academic Showcase Pitchers of Note

This past weekend, we hosted our first academic showcase in Melissa. The event was well attended and will serve as an identifier event to qualify for our academic teams that will compete in the Arizona Fall Classic. With multiple colleges in attendance and watching via live stream due to the D1 recruiting dead period, we had several pitchers make an impression.

Out of the gate, Lake Dallas (TX) 2022 RHP Zach Darden followed up on his good showing at the 2021 AZFC by showing a strong mix of a fastball (up to 88), curveball, and a changeup.

Southlake (TX) 2023 RHP Seaver Newby was an easy 84-86 with a good curveball and deceptive changeup. Newby reminds me from a build, mannerism, and intensity standpoint of former Southlake righty and current big leaguer, John Curtiss.

The velocity crown of the day goes to Randall (TX) 2024 RHP Hagen Shedd. Touching ninety on multiple occasions, the sophomore’s fastball jumps out of his hand. With a long, loose frame, Shedd has a lot more in the tank and will be fun to watch progress over the next couple years.

One intriguing 2024 RHP was Austin McCallum’s (TX) Nathan Nagy. Nagy delivered a quality, professional bullpen by showing easy mechanics and feel while not trying to overdo things to simply light up the gun. With a jump in physicality, I can see being a name to watch moving forward.

4. Academic Showcase Position Players of Note

The second half of the day saw some impressive performances from several position players.

The exit velo champs were Lake Travis (TX) 2023 IF Cole Johnson and Allen (TX) 2022 OF Luke Voorhies. Johnson continues to improve and impress and Voorhies showed up as an interesting uncommitted senior to follow.

On the catching side, Stephen F. Austin (TX) 2023 Jackson Linroth, Clear Creek (TX) 2023 Truett Ross, TCA (TX) 2023 Ajay Goluguri, Frisco Memorial (TX) 2023 Braden Smith, and Aledo (TX) 2023 Brooks Dwinell all turned in pop times 2.12 or better.

Outfielders that stood out were VR Eaton (TX) 2024 Nathan Tobin and Prosper (TX) 2024 William Adimora. Those two have a chance to be very productive varsity players as sophomores.

Multiple 2021 AZFC Five Tool Academic alumni were at the event and showed noticeable improvement in just a few short months. TCA (TX) 2023 IF Joshua Liu showed significant physical development adding muscle to his frame. 2023 Friendswood (TX) OF Reece Rob continues to grow and get stronger. 2023 Lovejoy (TX) twins Blake and Cole Mitchell continue to improve and just show up time and time again to find ways to improve their game. Lebanon Trail (TX) 2022 IF Drew Nagel continues to be a steady performer popping a 91 exit velocity on the day.

5. Five Tool News: Spring Scheduling

Dustin McComas and I are looking forward to getting out to games in the spring. As we begin putting together our schedules,  give us your thoughts for best rivalries, venues, uniforms  and concession stands around Texas.

We are scheduled to release our updated 2022 Five Tool 55 next week. We will cover that next week on the podcast and will be debuting a new feature where Dustin and I will be draft our own teams comprised of 2022 and 2023 Five Tool 55 members only.

Drew Bishop
Five Tool Baseball
National Scouting Director

@drewhbishop
drew@fivetool.org

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