Where MLB scouts, college coaches, and top high school prospects meet.
player profile search
North Texas Scout Team vs. Grayson Notes

While a long summer season just ended for some of the biggest prospects in Texas, the work professional scouts are doing on the 2024 class is still in the early stages. After some summer looks following July’s MLB Draft, the fall is an important period for scouts to begin prioritizing who they’ll want to learn more about this fall and prioritize in the spring. So, each fall the state of Texas has two teams assembled and coached by pro scouts who play JUCO programs in exhibition games, which provides a good evaluation environment in addition to some face-to-face time for scouts and players. Last night, Five Tool was at Dallas Baptist University to see the first scout team game of the fall – North Texas Scout versus Grayson College. A long list of thoughts:

1) Each fall in the DFW area, there’s typically a pitcher who comes out of nowhere to grab the attention of everyone watching. Last year, I watched Bryce McCain take the mound at DBU, who ended up making our final Five Tool Texas 55 and ended up at Oklahoma State, for the first time and immediately had two thoughts: this guy could be really good, and I feel like an idiot for not knowing a lot about him already. In some instances, pitchers emerge because they simply didn’t pitch much at the varsity level, flew under-the-radar in the summer or the fall is the beginning of their ascension. Or in the case of Pearce’s Carson Bailey he missed his junior season because of elbow surgery and didn’t re-emerge until the end of the summer. And he immediately established himself as one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in Texas. 

Thanks to an electric performance at Five Tool’s DFW Uncommitted Showcase, which resulted in a commitment to Baylor almost immediately after, I did know who Bailey was. But I admit I didn’t prior to that performance, which was probably the same for almost every college coach in the state. So, when he toed the rubber last night at DBU and started firing fastballs up to 93 MPH, a few scouts soon reacted: “who is this?” In addition to sitting 92-93 MPH (2400 RPM) with his fastball out of a quick arm, Bailey also flashed a sharp 78 MPH curveball (it’s a knuckle-curve that does have a hint of sweep near home plate) with spin around 2100 RPM. He showed good bend in his delivery and bounced off the mound athletically following his scoreless inning. Bailey showed good strike-throwing traits with a good delivery, especially for a young pitcher who isn’t far removed from surgery. Last night, he established himself as a major left-handing pitching prospect to track this upcoming spring. 

2) Sticking with the Baylor commitments: no pitcher threw harder than Plano East’s Brayden Bergman. The right-hander was up to 96 MPH (93-96 MPH out of the windup and 91-94 MPH out of the stretch); showed a curve (75 MPH; 2400 RPM) and slider (77-78 MPH; 2500 RPM); and also flashed a developing changeup at 83 MPH, although his delivery/intent/arm action tipped the pitch before it was coming. Bergman was able to move his fastball to both sides of the plate and although his breaking balls don’t differentiate that much, he does truly have a feel for two of them. 

Baylor commitment Jack Hickerson (Guyer) sat 85-86 MPH and touched 88 MPH with his fastball that could be labeled an “invisifastball” because of its shape, which recorded whiffs and plays up. The tall, skinny righty also threw a 75-77 curveball with sweep and an 80 MPH changeup. Samuel Jenkins, an outfielder from Trinity Christian committed to Baylor, was among the most physically impressive players with athletic movements, a 4.28 run time from the left side and a big outfield arm. His barrel feel was inconsistent, but there’s a lot to like about the talent. 

3) In this setting, pitchers are allowed to throw just one breaking ball for batter, and it’s quite refreshing because it forces pitchers to command their fastball and use their changeup. And it led to an eye-opening appearance by Dasan Hill. Pitching at his future collegiate home, Hill, a Grapevine prospect, recorded multiple whiffs, including during a left-on-left matchup, with his 79-80 MPH changeup that featured some lively, late, arm side run as it hit the brakes deep in the zone. 

At 90 MPH during his one inning of work, Hill also showed what excited scouts so much at Area Code – impressive breaking ball spin. He threw his curveball 76-78 MPH with spin up to 2548 RPM; he’s shown what’s looked like two breaking balls in the past, but what he’s always shown is a sharp breaker with impressive spin feel, which helps make him among the best left-handed pitching prospects in the state. 

4) The best fastball of the night belonged to Boswell right-handed pitcher and Oklahoma commitment Berkeley Roddy. Up to 94 MPH with as much as 23 inches of induced vertical break, Roddy showed both standout velocity and pitch shape (up to 2562 RPM). His control was a bit scattered and missing down in the zone negated the shape of the pitch because if he consistently puts that thing in the top part of the zone, it’s going to beat even really good hitters. Roddy also used an 82 MPH slider with potential to be a swing-and-miss offering. At first glance, I thought he was also sinking the fastball around 88 MPH but turns out those were really firm changeups, giving Roddy another intriguing option. He was a good example of the difficulties of evaluating pitchers in the summer: when I saw him in the AABC Don Mattingly World Series, I didn’t see close to the same fastball. But throwing in the summer, after a long spring, tends to deliver a rollercoaster of performance for pitchers who are working through fatigue, extreme heat, sometimes travel, etc. He’ll need to get stronger through his core to repeat his delivery better, but if he does that and shows the type of fastball shape he did last night on a somewhat consistent basis, high school hitters are going to be overwhelmed each time he’s on the mound. 

As for Sawyer Farr, his high school teammate, the tall, skinny, switch-hitting shortstop hit from the right side in four of his five at-bats. He recorded a hard infield single with a 4.1 run time from the right side and walked in his only at-bat from the left side. His right-handed approach is definitely geared towards just making contact compared to a left-handed swing that is able to impact the baseball more. Looking ahead, scouts will be anxious to see if his bat speed and strength are noticeably improved in the spring. Defensively, Farr made an excellent sliding play in the hole at second base to record an out.

5) There wasn’t a true standout hitter, but a few players did have some bright moments: Sawyer Strosnider’s swing looked a tad out of sync compared to our extensive summer looks, but the TCU commitment and Brock outfielder hit two balls 100 MPH or harder, ran down the line in 4.24 seconds his first at-bat and also smacked deep fly out to right field. In one of his two at-bats, Jason Flores hit a single up the middle 103 MPH off the bat and walked his other plate appearance. More on his pitching soon. Although he struck out twice, I continue to be more impressed with Will Yeary each time I see him. Playing in his future home park, Yeary smoked a hard single past the third baseman and his final at-bat of the game featured a ball hit 103 MPH off the bat. In batting practice, I thought his right-handed rounds were the best of any player in attendance. He’s played some shortstop, third base and second base in the past and I think his arm profiles best at second base. Seminole State commitment and Paradise catcher Hayden Crites hit a 98 MPH single and walked twice with one strikeout. He struggled some receiving behind the dish, which isn’t uncommon in these settings because often catchers have never worked with the pitchers. But I remain impressed with the calmness in the batter’s box, the swing from both sides and his overall athleticism. Vanderbilt commitment and Prestonwood Christian Academy catcher AJ Depaolo hammered a hard single to left field when he pulled his hands inside against a fastball and also ran down the line 4.28 seconds in another at-bat before striking out twice to end the game. I thought he was the sharpest catcher defensively and there's an ease to his catch-and-throw reps.

6) In what was my first extended look at Flower Mound outfielder and Texas A&M commitment Sam Erickson I saw some flashes of why the Five Tool staff, who saw him in the playoffs when he was the hottest and best hitter in the state, raved about him. He’s really strong. Really strong. And he looks like a top linebacker or a physical SEC outfielder who has already been in college a couple of years. In one at-bat, he hammered a RBI double to deep left-center field that came off the bat 99 MPH, which showed what we saw last spring – his strength plays in games, too. Although he did strike out once, I thought his mental processing of what he was seeing in the batter’s box was outstanding; my educated guess is he’d probably score very well in at least a couple of areas in a S2 Cognition test. He leverages his short arms and strength to get a powerful bat into and through the zone quickly and I’m excited to see how he performs the rest of the fall. 

7) Up to 95 MPH with a fastball that eventually was in the 91-94 MPH range over a long inning, Jason Flores showed no signs of slowing down. He’s definitely one of the top uncommitted prospects in the nation and he throws hard each time he’s on the mound. Another look reinforced that I’m a big fan of his operation, and he showed his multi-sport athleticism when he bounced off the mound quickly and easily to cover first base; it also reinforced that he continues to tinker with his breaking ball and this time it looked closer to a true slider at 79-81 MPH with spin around 2600 RPM. Flores, who showed a firm changeup in warmups but didn’t use it in the game, looked a tad fatigued as the inning went on, which led to some uncharacteristically loose control. Don’t buy it. He’s going to throw quality strikes, and when his fastball shape improves – it again found itself in a “dead zone” fairly often – in the future, it’s going to make a big difference. 

8) Recent Texas commitment Cooper Powell (Colleyville Heritage) showed why he was a new addition to the Five Tool Texas 55 and why Texas made the move to lock him up. From the left side from a somewhat uniquely lower slot, Powell sat 88-91 MPH with his fastball, threw a lot of strikes and showed his quality, 76-78 MPH slider. Another Texas commitment also had a really strong pitching appearance: Brody Walls, who was the only 2025 prospect who played. The McKinney Boyd product recorded whiffs on all three pitches – fastball (90-92 MPH; 2400 RPM), slider (82-83 MPH), changeup (83-84 MPH; 1600 RPM). In fact, you could make a case his inning was better than anyone who pitched. The Longhorns featured three commitments participating and the last member of the trio was Highland Park lefty Jordan Stribling. While Stribling’s stuff flashed with a fastball up to 91 MPH, his control was again an issue. 

9) Quick hitters on some more North Texas Scout players before a few final thoughts on Grayson:

Connor Mohan (Burleson Centennial; Texas Tech commitment) was up to 91 MPH with his fastball, which featured inconsistent shape, and his 84-85 MPH flashed. Oklahoma commitment and Rockwall two-way standout Pearson Riebock touched 91 MPH and his low-spin changeup at 84-86 MPH with around 1400 RPM really stood out. Recent McLennan commitment and Keller right-hander Mason Cook reached back to throw 91-92 MPH during his inning with a really interesting, low-spin changeup at 86 MPH with spin as low as 1368 RPM. Chris Patterson, an uncommitted right-handed hitter from Prestonwood Christian Academy with notable physical projection, swings a heavy barrel that created some jump off the bat in batting practice and he really tries to catch the ball out in front when he hits. He plays all over the infield, but I'd like to see what he looks like in the outfield too because of his athleticism. Wyatt Sanford showed a future 60 arm when he easily cut down a runner at home with a perfect relay throw from shallow center field, but had a quiet game in the batter’s box. With a ball stung 98 MPH off the bat, Elbert “Trey” Craig showed when he can get the barrel to the baseball, he can impact it as well as anyone in the state, but his batting practice rounds showed he needs to find some consistency with his swing and quiet the rest of his body during his hunt for impact. In four at-bats, V.R. Eaton’s Nathan Tobin walked twice with a lineout and a strikeout. Zane Becker smacked a hard single and ran down the line in 4.47 seconds.

10) Some Grayson quick hitters:

I thought Mason Ruiz had the best night in the batter’s box and should provide a quality, consistent presence in the middle of Grayson’s lineup. He has a bat-first profile at first base and also stepped onto the mound to give Grayson a look from the left side. Sloan Bennett flew down the line in 4.11 seconds and is a compact but physical, twitchy athlete. Trey Oblas, a left-handed hitting outfield and first baseman, took maybe my favorite swing of the night when he nearly hit a homer out to right field in a tough left-on-left matchup versus a good fastball. I liked the at-bats of Brice Smith and Jackson Harrel had one of the bright moments when he hammered a run-scoring double into the left-center gap. On the mound, David Jeon was fascinating. Alternating between a submarine look with a fastball-slider combo and an over-the-top look with a fastball, curveball and slider, Jeon was actually able to throw strikes at a fairly decent clip considering the surprising slot changes. From over-the-top, Jeon was up to 92 MPH and from down under he touched 88 MPH. He could spin the ball well both ways. Lefty John Tomasek was up to 89 MPH with good shape/carry accompanying his fastball. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor