The 2023 Five Tool 55: Continuing With the Rankings (33-23)

We’ll continue the inaugural Five Tool 55 for the 2023 in Texas with players No. 33-23 (Click HERE for players 55-45 and HERE for 44-34). If you missed our primer to explain the process and address some frequently asked questions, click HERE and also HERE for general thoughts about the 2023 process. Also, following the release of the entire list, ending with No. 11-1 on Monday night, we’ll also release a list of players who just missed the cut and also a follow list of players who stood out and will be closely monitored by college programs this spring. Cutting the list of players to 55 wasn’t as easy as I hoped and that meant plenty of good players being left off the list. Let’s continue:

No. 33 – Drew Markle – SS/3B/OF – Tompkins

Markle, upon the most recent in-person look this summer, appeared to be around 6-3, 170 pounds. He’s not done growing or filling out. So, it’s possible he outgrows shortstop. In the meantime, he plays it just fine currently and if his glove does move to third base or a corner outfield spot, his bat profiles at both places just fine. Because Markle can hit.

He can hit and he’s a winner too, beloved by teammates and coaches. It’s not a surprise he plays for very successful high school and select programs. On the diamond, Markle plays with an energetic bounce and a noticeable love for getting into the batter’s box or running onto the diamond. As he fills out, more power will come too, which makes him an even more intriguing player. Ole Miss landed his commitment in October.

No. 32 – Tristan Russell – SS/INF – Cy Woods

A longtime Florida State commitment, Russell is a switch-hitting shortstop with a track record of performing with the bat. The swing is pretty short from both sides, but creates more fly balls from the left side compared to more liners, gap-to-gap juice from the right. Russell has reportedly been up to 92 MPH off the mound, which means the arm is plus from shortstop. A lot of things come naturally to him on defense and he quietly carries himself like the big-time player he is.

No. 31 – Cam Pruitt – SS – Wylie

A plus runner I’ve seen 4.18 down the line, Pruitt is a right-handed hitter who puts the ball in play at a very high rate with bat speed and good hand-eye coordination. The way his hands and feet work on the dirt allows his below average arm to play up. If the arm strength improves, it should make college coaches feel even better about his chances to stick at shortstop at the next level. Regardless, Pruitt’s hitting ability and speed make him one of the best infielders in the state. He’s currently uncommitted.

No. 30 – Micah Dean – OF/SS/RHP – Travis

Dean is a dynamic, quick-twitch athlete who creates explosive plays on the baseball field. He’s a solid shortstop who can play the position in college, capable of making the highlight plays others can’t, although the routine can be a little more interesting than it should be. That said, he’s a future plus center fielder with the chance for an above-average arm at worst.

On the mound, Dean, a commitment to Kansas State, showcases a quick, loose arm with an athletic delivery reminiscent of 2022 Five Tool 55 member Chase Mora. He’s going to be a big-time high school pitcher and it’s going to be tempting to use him on the mound in college. However, his future probably is with the bat and flying around center field. As for the bat, it features noticeable bat speed from the right side and impact already.

No. 29 – Zane Adams – LHP – Porter

Committed to Alabama, Adams is one of the most intriguing, projectable left-handed pitchers in the state. He attacks hitters with a heater, change and a big curve with feel for spin. The control can come-and-go at times, but the present skill set combined with the tall, projectable frame make him extremely intriguing. More velocity will come and probably easily.

No. 28 – Noah Paddie – MIF – Carthage

A standout, first-team all-district football player for Carthage who uses his plus, maybe plus-plus speed to fly by opposing players, Paddie flies around the diamond too. His bat speed also stands out for its quickness thanks in part to how well he rotates his hips and athletically manages an active lower half. For an undersized player, he can create some loud contact. Paddie, committed to Texas A&M, has more than enough quickness, athleticism and glove to stay on the dirt and plays shortstop currently, where he’ll have a chance to stick.

No. 27 – James Ellwanger – RHP – Magnolia West

A big-game picture for Texas Twelve, Ellwanger’s velocity ticked up again this fall. Already a tall, physical right-hander, Ellwanger isn’t done growing. He’s worked his fastball up to 92 MPH, but his curveball, which occasionally flashes plus, could be the standout pitch. Along with his velocity, his control is improving, too. If the control and changeup continue to come along, Ellwanger has the ingredients to emerge as one of the nation’s premier right-handed pitchers.

No. 26 – JM Long – 3B – Pleasant Grove

A recent commitment to Texas Tech, Long is a physical, left-handed hitting third baseman. He features a balanced, repeatable swing with promising barrel paths to the baseball and bat speed. Around the 5 Star Performance select program, Long is regarded as being one of the best defenders they’ve ever had on the hot corner and he plays shortstop for his high school team. I think Texas Tech knows how to pick their future third basemen pretty well…

No. 25 – Caden Sorrell – OF – Marcus

Sorrell is 6-3, maybe 6-4 and looks like a major hitter from the left side. Already, the projectable outfielder is showing some in-game power with major hitting upside. As for the other tools, Sorrell is going to rate at least average as a runner and a thrower from the corner outfield spots, giving him one of the most intriguing all-around talent packages in the 2023 class. But make no mistake, the bat is the calling card with its special potential.

No. 24 – Dondreone ‘Dee’ Kennedy – SS/OF – Benbrook

A former standout running back in high school, Kennedy showed noticeable gains on the diamond this fall. A quick twitch athlete with good bat speed, Kennedy is showing more impact with the bat, especially to the pull-side. A plus runner and good athlete, Kennedy shows some surprising strength in his swing with loud contact off the bat. The defensive profile isn’t as easy to project currently, but it’s easier to bet on good athleticism and speed being in the middle of the diamond somewhere.

No. 23 – Jack Bell – SS – Corpus Christi Ray

Each class, there are only a handful of guys who can truly hit in the eyes of professional evaluators. Bell, a left-handed hitter, has a chance to be in that small group and created some buzz with the way his swing looked at Area Code. Athletically and physically, Bell projects well and the game seemingly comes easy to him; everything looks pretty smooth whether it’s on the dirt or in the batter’s box. The way his active hands and athleticism show in the batter’s box, his swing kind of reminds me some of 2022 Five Tool 55 member Jared Thomas, one of state’s premier pure hitters.

The release of the 2023 Five Tool 55 for Texas will continue Sunday night. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor
Five Tool Baseball

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