What a difference a couple months make. The last time I spent a weekend with eyes on the fields of Premier Baseball in Tomball, it was late July, which meant it was extremely hot, humid and a survival of the slightly crazy and hydrated. But baseball was there. Good baseball, too. This past weekend, the good weather accompanied the baseball. 

 

Like the late summer, fall baseball presents a similar type of opportunity for players. Players have a lot going on right now. Maybe they play another sport or have already played a ton of games this fall; there are a lot of reasons to simply be there instead of truly playing the game. And like the summer, the fall offers an opportunity for players to stand out by doing the easy things, like playing hard and competing. 

 

On that note, here are some 2022/2023 scout notes from the Five Tool Texas Houston Fall Show:

 

Houston Fall Showdown: 2022/2023 Scout Notes

 

Before I could finish my coffee Sunday morning, 2022 outfielder/pitcher Carson Queck (Woodlands Christian) and 2023 catcher Dillon Lester (Deer Park) delivered a wakeup call with back-to-back majestic homers for Lumberjacks Baseball 2022. Queck, committed to Kansas State, jumped all over a mistake left up in the zone and smashed a solo shot. After recovering from an AC joint and clavicle injury suffered during the summer, Queck is fully healthy, and it shows in the batter’s box. 

Rated the No. 27 player in the 2022 Five Tool 55, Queck creates rhythm in his load/timing with his hands and weight transfer before unleashing an impactful swing that features quick rotation and some torque. In addition to timing pitches well with his weight transfer, Queck also creates some leverage in his swing with an active back leg in his finish. 

 

A no-doubt outfielder at the next level, Queck also showed some intriguing talent on the mound despite being relatively inexperienced in that role. Unintentionally, Queck, who touched 90 MPH multiple times in the first inning and did a fairly good job of holding velocity, created some sinking action to his fastball out of a three-quarters slot. The physical right-handed showed some of his athleticism on the mound in his back leg bend and how he pushed off the mound. 

For a guy fairly new to pitching, Queck threw a hard 78-81 MPH slider with conviction, true slider shape and fastball arm action; clearly, he wanted to work on a changeup that at times had a two-seam look at 80-81 MPH because he threw it often to righties and lefties. While his focus will be hitting and outfield at Kansas State, Queck showed he’s going to be a handful for opposing hitters this high school season. Trosky Texas 2022 Tanguma, thanks in large part to recent 2022 Alvin College commitment Evan Mendoza, also showed Queck’s control and command on the mound were too loose late in his outing.

Queck’s battery mate made a very, very strong case to be rated highly in the future 2023 Five Tool 55. Lester has a knack for finding the barrel and creating really impressive exit velocity. On Sunday, his homer, the second of the weekend, had more hang time than Shaquille O’Neal in NBA Jam and created a piercing sound off the bat. From a wide base, Lester has active hands in his load and creates some of that “rubber band effect” with a little hand separation from his front, load leg before letting his bat speed rip. 

While Lester did show he could hunt for contact over impact in a two-strike count, his swing is built to try to do damage in the air. Behind the plate, he registered a 2.01 pop time in warmups with an accurate arm and his movements behind the plate strongly suggested he’s undoubtedly a catcher at the next level. 

 

Sticking with noteworthy catchers, Banditos Elite 2022 standout Grant Fahrlander (St. Michael’s) impressed behind the plate. A physical and mature senior with a compact, thick and strong frame, Fahrlander, committed to Oregon, blocked baseballs and kept stuff in the turf in front of him with ease, especially for a guy his size. It’s one thing to block a pitch and keep it from getting by; it’s another to do it so quietly barely anyone recognizes. Fahrlander showed an accurate arm in warmups, but wasn’t challenged in the run game. 

 

At the plate, Fahrlander’s short-levered swing is geared for impact in the air. At one point, he was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs and his team trailing 6-5 in the final inning. Control on the mound was often an issue throughout the weekend, and the imposing senior didn’t get a ton to hit. 

5 Star Performance HTX 2023 Avalos teammates Caden Ferraro (Pearland) and Cayden Schmidt (Pearland Dawson) certainly aren’t going to be confused with Farhlander when it comes to physicality. But both 2023 prospects proved immediately they can play and have projection remaining. On the mound, Ferraro dazzled with an easy, simple, repeatable delivery and didn’t need to light up the radar gun (81-84 MPH). Simply, this young lefty can flat out pitch and execute. 

 

Across 3.0 perfect innings, Ferraro showed a strong three-pitch mix, which resulted in six strikeouts. Ferraro, who is uncommitted, showed command to his glove-side, which played up because he was sometimes able to spin his breaking ball towards the backfoot of right-handers. Speaking of the hook, it featured noticeable spin, depth, and 1/7 break; combine the slight crossfire look with a front foot finish and three-quarters slot, and the hook plays even better with that look. Ferraro also showed confidence in a 75-76 MPH changeup with tailing, two-seam action to his arm-side. 

Oh, Ferraro showed he can hit too. At 6-2, around 175-180 pounds with some strength in the lower half, Ferraro created some surprising exit velocity off the bat and his bat angle allows him to be a threat to hammer mistakes out of the yard. The Pearland product looked like a true two-way player. As for his high school and select teammate Schmidt, he was an intriguing hitter from the left side with big, broad shoulders and is a major projection candidate moving forward. 

 

Keeping it in the 5 Star family, Performance HTX Gold shortstop Micah Dean (Travis) looked the part of a future Five Tool 55 player in 2023. A quick-twitch athlete who gets the bat into the hitting zone quickly, Dean showed an impressive all-around skill set, although he occasionally liked to use his speed a little too much on the bases. He could end up being one of the highest level two-way players in the state for 2023 and is already impacting the ball with more than just gap-to-gap pop.

Five Tool Texas Houston Fall Showdown featured strong middle infield play throughout the weekend and uncommitted 2022 prospect Carson Lorch played a noticeable part in that theme. A product of Cypress Woods, Lorch, who played for Phenom Platinum, was an energetic competitor who routinely put the ball in play hard, showed off some wheels with extra-base hits in the gaps and handled shortstop defensively. On one double, Lorch was 4.35 seconds down the line with a late turn to easily motor into second base. 

Alamo Drillers 2023 shortstop Ryne Farber (Johnson), a legitimate switch-hitting talent, put the ball in play hard routinely and played with a confident, energetic bounce in his step. A promising, projectable athlete with clean actions at shortstop, add Farber to the list of intriguing middle infielders that played well this past weekend. 

Action Baseball 18U Bell’s Andrew Hardin (Round Rock) treated the evening crowd at Premier Baseball to one of the top pitching performances of the event. A physical right-handed pitcher with a big chest and broad shoulders, Hardin tossed a complete game and carried his stuff the distance against Phenom 2022 Platinum. 

Currently uncommitted, Hardin’s fastball sat 84-86 MPH early and he held the velocity, which was aided by feel for two different breaking balls; Hardin’s hook served as more of an out pitch while the slider was used earlier in counts and occasionally featured backfoot action against lefties. Hardin competed at a high level, threw strikes and challenged hitters with his stuff, and should be able to add some more velocity with more functional strength. 

 

Hardin went the distance in his outing, but the loudest pitching performance came courtesy of 2022 Abilene Christian commitment Parker Matthews (Atascocita). Listed at 6-4, 155 pounds with plenty of physical projection remaining, the slender righty touched 90 MPH multiple times during his relief outing. Matthews showed good rhythm in his delivery with an arm that worked well and quick out front, which showed when he snapped off sharp, tight curveballs around 74 MPH. The hook buckled a couple of hitters and profiles as a future swing and miss weapon. Matthews’ velocity dipped out of the stretch, but a college strength and conditioning program should make a big impact in that area. 

 

MORE NOTES

 

— Houston Bengals 2022 two-way player Sam Simmons (Manvel) smacked a double, homer and still has plenty of room to fill out through his upper half. 

 

—- Dynasty 2023 Richardson right-hander John Hebert touched 88 MPH with a lively fastball that occasionally featured some natural cut. Hebert, who attends Kingwood and is committed to Texas State, also showed a straight 77 MPH changeup and his heater played up through the hitting zone out of a compact delivery and arm action that doesn’t show the ball much at all in the back. 

— Physical, 5-9, 200-pound outfielder Syr Bailey (2022 – Lutheran South Academy) smashed a grand slam for Houston A’s 18U Gold, and when he gets the barrel to the ball, it can jump. 

— Playing with Wheelhouse 2022, Arizona State commitment Ryan Hanks (Klein Cain) worked 83-86 MPH, threw strikes, especially to his arm-side, flashed an above-average curve at 74 MPH and also showed a changeup at 78-80 MPH with a little fade. It was the first time I’ve seen him mix in a changeup before and a third pitch would make the Five Tool 55 righty even tougher for batters to deal with. 

 

— Lamar 2022 right-hander Douglas Bauer, a USC commitment, touched 88 MPH, moved the fastball to both sides of the plate with some arm-side run on occasion, and spun a 73 MPH curve with 12-6/11-5 break. He punched out seven across 3.0 dominant, no-hit innings.

 

— 5 Star Performance HTX Gold’s Je-Isaac Alamo (2022 – Travis) might have hit the hardest ball of the event when he sent a screaming, knuckleball liner into the left-center gap. With a thick, powerful lower half, Alamo can create a lot of exit velocity off the bat. 

Teammate Lane Arroyos (Fulshear), a left-handed hitting, bat-first first baseman, showed some impressive plate coverage and ability to generate impact when he hit a pitch on the outer half out to left-center for a two-run homer. 

— Dynasty 2022 Harvey shortstop Jaylen Ramirez (Galena Park) routinely impacted the baseball with a pull-side approach and hunted fastballs to feast on. Ramirez, an uncommitted prospect, competed very well and played with noticeable energy on both sides of the ball. 

— Ramirez’s teammate Ryan McClish, also uncommitted, touched 86 MPH multiple times with a fastball that played up and featured a hard slider at 76 MPH. The Kingwood prospect showed a simple delivery that finished with noticeable effort and push from the backside. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball 

 

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