The 2023 Five Tool 55 Follow List

 

In the end, the 2023 Five Tool 55 Follow List ended up including 188 players. 188. That’s a lot, especially when adding the Five Tool 55 and the “just missed” list. But the follow list probably could have been even bigger, which speaks to the incredible depth of the 2023 class and the time remaining in these players’ high school careers.

Over the course of this project, which spanned longer than a month, a new day usually resulted in at least one new player needing to go somewhere on the list. That’s thanks to the Five Tool team’s notes and eyes at our nearly endless events, calls to coaches and scouts and a lot of digging. The exciting thing about this list is it includes so many players poised to make big developmental jumps; a lot of arrows are green and pointing up. Let’s talk about some of them:

Adam Katz – 1B/OF/RHP- Episcopal
Adrian Herrera – C – Central Catholic
Aidan Lamar – LHP – Rock Hill
Aiden Goude – OF/RHP – Cypress Lakes
Alan Choo – 1B/RHP – Southlake Carroll
Alan Lopez – MIF – Tomball (Houston commitment)
Alec Fontenot – UTIL/RHP – Montgomery
Alex Martinez – RHP/UTIL – China Spring
Alexander Paniagua – RHP – Eagle Pass
Andrew Daniels – RHP/INF – Rockwall-Heath
Andrew Hilton – OF/RHP – Katy
Andrew Schultz – 1B/RHP – Coppell
Andrew Wenske – UTIL – Shiner
Andy Neal – C/1B – Faith Christian Academy
Anthony Avalos – SS/RHP – Pearland
Austin Flores – LHP/OF – PSJA

Herrera shows a quick transfer behind the plate and true catching skill with a strong arm. The right-handed bat has a chance to stick out, too. During Five Tool fall competition, Fontenot stood out as a do-it-all, two-way player with projection and all-around intriguing talent. A member of the Five Tool All-Summer team, Martinez touched 88 MPH and finished the summer with a 0.00 ERA in Five Tool events. He also swung the bat well too.

I caught a glimpse of Paniagua this fall and he’s poised for a big velocity jump from a Justin Verlander-esque delivery with a quick, loose arm. The righty is already flashing a potential swing-and-miss curve with some changeup feel. Hilton competed very well and approaches the game with energy. There’s a lot to like about how he athletically rotates in the batter’s box, too. Schultz smacked three homers in Five Tool summer events and also had a 2.17 ERA as a right-handed pitcher.

Avalos is a gamer. On the diamond, it’s easy to see his baseball mind at work; he’s always thinking ahead, his speed and instincts play well on the bases and his barrel stays in the hitting zone. An athletic infielder, he should be able to stick on the dirt in the middle.

Austin Vargas – LHP – Fulshear (Houston commitment)
Barrett Johnson – RHP/INF – Johnson
Ben Black – 1B/OF/LHP – Canyon
Ben Blanchard – C – The Woodlands College Park
Benjamin Merriman – UTIL – Bowie (Texas State commitment)
Bennett Fryman – OF/LHP – Frisco Lonestar (Texas A&M commitment)
Blake Lewis – INF – Prairiland (Paris College commitment)
Boston Lee – OF – Alvin
Brady Dever – INF/RHP – Fort Bend Christian Academy
Brady Englett – C/UTIL – Katy
Brady Henke – MIF – Weimar
Brady Millstid – RHP – Mansfield
Braeden Best – C/UTIL – Round Rock
Braeden Brown – RHP – Sinton (Sam Houston State commitment)
Brandon Seidmeyer – C – Magnolia West
Brayden Gilley – RHP – Deer Park
Brayden Vickery – RHP – Cy Fair

Vargas attacks hitters with a low three-quarters slot and is a tall, lanky lefty already showing changeup feel with a big curve. Projection. There’s a lot to like about how Johnson’s athletic delivery works on the mound and his right-handed hook flashes as a future above-average or better offering with sharp bite. An All-State and Five Tool All-Summer Team selection, Black’s bat performed well in all competition this past year.

It’s easy to see why Texas State already landed a commitment from Merriman. In the box, he has leverage in his swing and creates some “rubber band” effect with the way his hands work in his load before unleashing some noticeable bat speed. Fryman stood out in the fall as a linebacker and shows strength on the mound, in the batter’s box and with his arm in the outfield. I saw Lee this fall playing up against 18U competition and he held his own. The right-handed hitting outfielder is also blessed with height, length and athleticism.

Dever threw 62 – 62!!! – touchdowns this season and has a really interesting left-handed swing. As more baseball reps increase, he’s a candidate to rapidly improve. On the mound from the right side, Brown’s velocity jumped this fall and he already possessed an intriguing feel for spin with a reputation for competing at a high level. Gilley and Vickery are both right-handed pitchers to follow with advanced feel for spin and manipulating breaking stuff. College coaches who get in on them before velocity jumps are going to be ahead of an eventual line of suitors.

Braydon Hawthorne – SS/INF – Willis
Brecken Menuet – INF – Stratford
Brentyn Harradine – UTIL – McKinney Boyd
Bret Deegan – RHP/CIF – Klein Oak
Brett Rawlinson – RHP – Rusk
Briley Van – RHP/INF – Barbers Hill
Brock Rod – 1B/LHP – El Campo
Brock Thorndell – RHP – Waller (Midland JUCO commit)
Brooks Brewster – CIF/RHP – Carthage
Brooks Dillman – OF/LHP – Cedar Park
Bryce Dwyer – C/UTIL/RHP – Grand Oaks
Bryce McCain – INF/RHP – Aledo
Brydan Hernandez – C – Corsicana
Cade Binion – MIF – Hebron
Cade Chesley – 1B/OF/LHP – The Brook Hill
Cade Daniell – LHP – Tomball
Cade York – RHP – Central Heights

Menuet performed well in the fall and is a two-sport athlete with some explosiveness and twitch in his projectable profile. The infielder looks like he’s poised to make a big jump on the diamond. Deegan was among the toughest players not to include on the “just missed” list because he carries himself like a winner with a slow, competitive heart beat in the batter’s box and on the mound. He’s the type of hitter who has a knack for mashing the pitches he should and showed some strike-throwing in his pitching profile.

Dillman swiped 20 bags in just 56 Five Tool at-bats. A very skinny left-handed hitter, the swing played well and he has the potential to develop into a top-of-the-order bat with promising outfield defense. Each time I saw him play, he hit. And I saw him play a lot. Following a move from Oak Ridge to Grand Oaks, Dwyer has a chance to emerge as one of the top catcher’s in the state and his arm has shown a lot of strength on the mound, too.

Binion hit .500 in Five Tool competition this summer with nine stolen bases. His frame is small and compact, but the left-handed bat speed is present. Daniell looks like a good bet to add more velocity and become a strike-throwing lefty with a promising changeup.

Caden Strickland – RHP – Salado
Caleb Boswell – C/OF/RHP – Permian
Caleb Cowan – INF – Denton Guyer
Caleb Otlewski – RHP/3B – Melissa
Callen Singhania – OF – Jesuit College Prep
Camdyn Wooten – SS – Cypress Woods
Cameron Edmunds – INF/RHP – Anahuac
Cameron Williams – OF/P – Hendrickson
Carson Garrett – OF – Barbers Hill
Carter Groen – RHP/CIF – Ridge Point
Cason Davenport – MIF – Lake Country Christian (Utah Valley commitment)
Cayden Maxwell – RHP – Caldwell (Houston Baptist commitment)
Cayden Self – OF – Grandview
Caylon Dygert – RHP/UTIL – Magnolia West
Chase Morgan – LHP – Cypress Woods
Chase Womack – MIF/RHP – Lone Star
Christian Gamboa – CIF/RHP – PSJA

Otlewski is a big, physical right-handed pitcher who plays linebacker in the fall and has big upside on the mound. As he matures and grows into his body, he should tap into that upside more, which includes a future fastball above 90 MPH and a swing-and-miss slider. Perhaps he ends up in the bullpen, but the stuff would profile in the backend of games. After a solid summer, Singhania was even better this fall. There’s a lot to like about his athleticism and pull-side juice. Wooten caught my eye at Hunter Pence’s Scout Day with promising glovework at shortstop.

Although his control could come-and-g0, Williams struck out 29 hitters across 21.0 Five Tool innings this summer, which earned him a spot on the All-Summer Team. He’s also a true two-way talent with a smooth left-handed stroke that plays well in games. An all-state selection, Self was a standout performer in the playoffs last season and plays the game with a twitchy bounce in his step with a very interesting left-handed swing. After a big fall on the mound with a reputation for performing, executing and competing, Morgan is poised to be a left-handed college programs will keep a close eye on.

Clay Richardson – MIF – Strake Jesuit
Clayton Freshcorn – INF – Waller
Cole Johnson – 1B – Lake Travis
Cole Kasse – RHP/CIF – Katy
Cole Loser – RHP – Denton Guyer
Cole Rager – MIF – Maypearl
Colin Carrejo – OF – Rouse (UTSA commit)
Colt Ericson – RHP/1B – Barbers Hill
Colton Griffin – SS – Klein Collins
Connor Freeman – LHP – Vandegrift
Cooper Scott – OF – Lake Travis
Dalton Olsovsky – C/RHP – Keller
Dane Burns – LHP – Prosper
David Hyde – RHP – Wylie
Diego Roel Gomez – 1B – PJSA (UTRGV commit)
Donovan Becerra – RHP/INF – Eagle Pass
Dylan Schlotterback – INF – Lake Travis

Richardson can absolutely fly and is a plus-plus runner with impact athleticism. A member of the Five Tool Academic Team, Johnson is a physical 6-5 with raw power that’s starting to show in games. A good upset bet on this list is Kasse, who is already around 6-4, 200 pounds and there’s a lot to like about how his delivery and arm work. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he throws really, really hard from the right side by the time his high school career is over.

Another Five Tool All-Summer Team member, Rager is a two-sport athlete who was very production with an all-around intriguing skill set. UTSA recently gained a commitment from Carrejo, who looks to be around 6-3 with a projectable left-handed outfield bat. Griffin reminds me a lot of former University of Texas infielder and eighth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies, Bret Boswell. A shortstop who hits from the left side, Griffin really rotates well in the batter’s box and is going to continue to tap into a lot of power with his bat path and speed.

Scott possesses some of the biggest raw power in the class. If he can get to it more often from the right side, he’ll really take off as a hitter. Sometimes, a right-handed pitcher’s pickoff move can tell you a lot about his athleticism. Becerra’s is outstanding, and he moves very well off the mound with impressive athleticism. Combine that with some feel for spinning a big curveball with two-plane break and a developing changeup, and you have a righty poised for a breakout.

Eduardo Balboa – 3B/C/UTIL/RHP – Weslaco
Eli Hellman – SS/RHP – Georgetown
Elliott Foreman – C/INF – New Diana
Eric Tenery – OF/LHP – Tivy
Esai Puente – C/RHP – La Joya Palmview
Ethan Coronel – RHP – The Woodlands (Houston Baptist commit)
Ethan Farris – UTIL/RHP – Cypress Woods
Ethan Glaze – OF – Clear Lake
Ethan Stone – RHP/3B – Whitehouse
Ethan Uribe – 1B/RHP – Lake Creek
Evan Harbach – RHP/INF – Argyle
Evan Letcher – MIF – Midland Lee
Gabe Cook – 1B/OF/LHP – Stevens
Gabriel Barrientes – INF – Lone Star
Gage Driskell – OF/RHP – Nederland
Gavin Constantine – 2B/RHP – McKinney Boyd
Gavin Hickman – 3B/RHP – Oak Ridge
Gavin Rutherford – RHP/UTIL – Cinco Ranch

Hellman shows quick, confident actions at shortstop with a chance to stick there thanks in part to a strong arm that shows carry across the diamond. A big-time performer in the batter’s box from the left side, Tenery is also capable of missing some bats on the mound from the left side. A recent HBU commit, Coronel has one of my favorite changeups in the class and an easy, smooth delivery.

Harbach flashed really lively stuff and arm strength with a fastball that seemed to jump on hitters coupled with a sharp slider. At times, his control got away from him because he’s still growing into his arm action and delivery. But there’s no doubt he has a chance to emerge as a right-handed power pitcher who can rack up strikeouts. Constantine is another QB1 who is a good athlete with impressive short-area quickness. There’s a gap between where he is presently and what he could become, but there’s more than enough time to bet on the baseball skill to begin matching the plus athleticism. Another standout quarterback, Rutherford set school records on the gridiron this fall and led his team to its first playoff berth in four years and is an interesting right-handed arm to follow on the mound.

Gavin Waits – CIF/RHP – Fulshear (Houston commitment)
Gavyn Jones – 1B/OF/LHP – White Oak
Giancarlo Maldonado – C/INF – O’Connor (SFA commitment)
Graham Laxton – MIF – Katy (Houston Baptist commitment)
Grant Peart – C – Birdville
Grayson Lincecum – CIF/RHP – Tomball Memorial
Greyson Ledbetter – 3B/RHP – Whitesboro
Griffin Turner – MIF – All Saints Episcopal
Harrison Acquaro – UTIL/RHP – Strake Jesuit
Hayden Lee – CIF/OF – Southlake Carroll
Ian McCracken – INF/RHP – Hebron
Isaac Villanueva – LHP – Gunter
Jack Cagianello – RHP/INF – Denton Guyer
Jack Haag – RHP/UTIL – Lake Creek
Jack Marek – RHP – Alvin
Jackson Blank – RHP/UTIL – Magnolia West
Jackson Elizondo – LHP/1B – Smithson Valley

Waits is a physical athlete with a thick build who also plays tight end. His approach in the batter’s box is simple and he’s shown ability to tap into his raw power. Jones is a two-way talent with a projectable, 6-2 frame; an easy left-handed delivery; and an interesting swing which features some athletic extension. Lincecum is a tackling machine for his football team who touched 86 MPH as a right-handed pitcher at Hunter Pence Scout Day. He also created some loud contact in the batter’s box.

McCracken was a standout summer performer and has yet to grow into his 6-4 frame. From the left side on the mound, Villanueva was an all-state pick and one of the top strikeout pitchers in 3A baseball. Blank is elite in the class room and I saw him touch 87 MPH multiple times in the summer with a live arm. A high-waisted athlete and above-average runner, Blank’s overhand hook really flashed on occasion and there’s a lot to like if he can tap into it on the mound.

Jackson Glymph – INF – Central Heights
Jackson Low – RHP – Foster
Jacob Tanguma – MIF – North Shore
Jake Dufner – 1B – Edinburg Vela
Jared White – RHP – Southlake Carroll (Arkansas commitment)
Javi Torres – RHP/INF – Judson (Texas State commitment)
JC Davis – MIF – Argyle
Joe Jefferson – INF – Katy Taylor
Joe Mancinas – MIF/RHP – Hillsboro
John Hebert – RHP – Kingwood (Texas State)
Jon Shields – RHP/LHP – St. John XXIII (Texas commitment)
Jonathan Gonzales – RHP/CIF – Bowie
Joseph “Dane” LeMaster – UTIL/RHP – The Woodlands Christian Academy
JR Ceyanes – RHP/UTIL – Katy
Kade Crawford – OF – Stony Point
Karsen Luther – CIF – Conroe

Low’s natural slot creates some arm-side run to his right-handed heater and he’s touched 90 MPH at a Five Tool event before. If the control improves, he’s a candidate to really take off. Tanguma caught my eye this summer with a competitive, energetic approach to the game and he played a clean shortstop. There’s some ‘it’ about him. Can say a lot of those same things about Davis, too.

Jefferson is a really impressive athlete physically who plays some quarterback, too. He’ll outgrow shortstop, but his defensive actions and bat speed are both promising.  Hebert touched 88 MPH and at times featured some natural cut to his fastball with a straight change. His arm action doesn’t show the ball much to the hitter, which could allow his stuff to play up. A recent commit to Texas, Shields is an ambidextrous pitcher and he’s legitimately good from both sides with a strike-throwing profile.

LeMaster is showing arm strength on the mound and quick hands in the batter’s box. The production is trending positively to match the intriguing tools. Hardly ever cheated in the batter’s box, Crawford is unafraid to unleash a dangerous barrel that makes it clear it’s on the move to impact and lift the baseball. He stood out during an in-person look and backed it up with strong summer numbers.

Kole Kinnison – UTIL – Clark
Kolvin Davis – OF – Cypress Woods
Kris Grimes – C – Klein
Kyle Bade – LHP – Plano
Kyle Kubichek – C/UTIL – Bryan
Kyndall Cassidy – 1B/OF – Burleson
Landyn Grant – LHP – Longview
Larry Drake – SS/2B – Grand Oaks (Rice commitment)
Lawrence Lara – RHP/UTIL – Stony Point
Lazaro Alvarado – 1B – Arlington
Liam Richards – OF – Lake Travis
Luke Ekdall – UTIL/RHP – Lake Creek
Luke Pettitte – RHP/CIF – Second Baptist
Marshall Burke – MIF – Kingwood Park
Mason Arispe – OF – London
Mason Kirk – C/CIF – China Spring
Mayson Winters – INF – Bowie

Davis ran a 6.6 60-yard dash at Hunter Pence Academy’s Scout Day and is a toolsy athlete with upside. The bat speed and the way the hands work in the batter’s box from the right side suggest he’s a good bet to improve. Bade is regarded as an excellent competitor with some big-time performances to his name despite stuff that isn’t presently overpowering. The shape of the lefty’s stuff could allow it to play up, and he punched out 28 hitters in 18 Five Tool innings this summer.

Drake was the Defensive MVP of the Pudge Rodriguez World Classic thanks to his instincts and excellent work at shortstop. Major ‘gamer’ vibe and he makes contact at a high rate in the batter’s box, too. Lake Travis’ Defensive MVP in the past, Richards can cause havoc on the bases and his performance is trending positively with the bat.

Mekhi Betancis – 1B/3B – Robinson
Micah Kendrick – MIF – Jasper (Louisiana commit)
Michael Cook – C – Mansfield
Morgan Sampson – CIF/RHP – Orangefield
Noah Kendrick – UTIL – Nederland
Orlando Jose Gonzalez, Jr. (OJ) – RHP/OF – Lake Travis
Owen Cassano – SS/3B/RHP – Wakeland
Owen Farris – SS/UTIL – Ridge Point
Payton Bush – MIF/RHP – Randall
Pete Martinez – RHP/3B – Cleburne
Peyton Brewer – RHP/UTIL – New Diana
Robbie Vela – INF/RHP – Brandeis (UTSA commit)
Ryan Alexander – 3B/2B/OF – Reedy
Ryan McCormick – RHP – Tom Glenn
Ryan Rodriguez – OF – Corpus Christi Ray
Ryland Morin – LHP – Frenship
Ryne Farber – SS/INF – Johnson

Kendrick has a knack for pushing the action on the bases and exudes natural hitting ability in the batter’s box from the left side. A fun guy to follow will be Kendrick, a standout two-sport athlete who shows his receiver athleticism on the diamond and in the batter’s box. Farris, a Five Tool All-Summer Team member, has noteworthy bat-to-ball ability, makes all the plays at shortstop with soft hands and is simply a solid ballplayer.

Martinez followed a good summer with a similar fall and has already proven he can hold his stuff deep into outings. The righty executes his slider to the glove-side and his heater jumps on hitters. One of the youngest players in the 2023 class, Alexander is a great looking athlete with rhythm and bat speed in his hitting profile. He hardly ever struck out during Five Tool events. Farber is a gamer. Sometimes, guys can stand out simply by how they take and track pitches. He’s one of them, and is a switch-hitter with good instincts and a chance to emerge as a major dude with more strength.

Sammy York – OF/RHP – The Woodlands
Samuel Gerth – RHP/OF – Coram Deo Academy
Sawyer Bonin – RHP – Homeschool (Houston commitment)
Stepehn Sepulveda – RHP/OF – Americas
Tanner Jackson – RHP/UTIL – Round Rock
Tanner Sever – 2B/INF – Coppell
Tanner Wiggins – C/UTIL/RHP – Temple Christian
Terrius Causey – LHP/OF – Hirschi
Tice Purpura – CIF/RHP – Southlake Carroll
Tre Broussard – OF – Summer Creek
Ty Dagley – OF/LHP – Tompkins (Houston Baptist commit)
Tyler Akers – OF – Azle
Tyler Dobbs – LHP/OF – Hebron
Tyler Garritano – IF/RHP – Boerne (Baylor commitment)
Tyler Moody – OF – Brock
Tyler White – CIF/RHP – Southlake Carroll
Will Ryals – 3B/OF – Lamar
Zach Frye – RHP/CIF – Timber Creek
Zach Thibodeaux – MIF – Cypress Christian

After a big velocity jump, Houston grabbed Bonin’s commitment. He’s a skinny, 6-2 righty with a fairly easy, clean delivery and some present ability to command his fastball. A three-sport athlete who plays quarterback, Causey is an upside lefty on the mound with a loose arm and a chance to improve rapidly. Broussard has a noticeable feel for the barrel, uses the entire field to hit and has a track record of performance in all competition.

Dagley carved out an important role for a loaded Tompkins team last season. He throws a lot of quality strikes on the mound and his left-handed swing stood out this fall. White is probably destined to be a big-time kicker in football, but he also played up an age level at times last summer and held his own with the bat. Thibodeaux’s short, quick swing stood out majorly during Hunter Pence’s Scout Day.

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball

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