We continue our coverage of the first edition of the 2025 Texas Five Tool 55 with commentary on players ranked 34-55…
(Note: Analysis and evaluation discussion is delivered from a scouting perspective; meaning, tools/talent/skill/physical traits are discussed with the MLB scouting scale and draft in mind. Obviously, each player on the 55 and the next 55 are outstanding players and prospects. The discussion isn’t meant to be in any way negative or overly critical, but realistic and honest as it relates to being evaluated and considered a top prospect. Many players at or near the top of the list could ask for a million dollars or more to sign – the final 2023 Five Tool Texas 55 included well over $10 million in signing bonuses for players in the top 10 - and those types of players are dissected endlessly by scouts.)
Victor Coronado, a Texas commitment from Lutheran South Academy, certainly doesn’t lack projection. Looking way ahead, I could see Coronado being something like a 6-4, 210-pound right-handed hitting third baseman with an impact bat and game power. He checks in at No. 34. Magnolia West third baseman Caldwell McFaddin, a Baylor commitment, stood out during multiple in-person looks because of his natural hitting ability from the right side. At around 6-1 and 200 pounds, McFaddin has more than held his own against top arms, has a good, balanced swing with bat speed and is growing into loud impact. Interestingly, McFaddin has made major strides on the mound recently. His arm strength has always shown at the hot corner and it’s now delivering fastballs with a hint of carry in the upper-80s with enough strength to reach the low-90s. Magnolia West is replacing a lot of pitching, including James Ellwanger and Caylon Dygert who were two of the best in the state. McFaddin could end up being a true two-way dude during the spring and would start to resemble a similar impact as Luke Billings. Another two-way talent, who follows McFaddin on the list at No. 36, is uncommitted left-handed hitter and pitcher Cord Rager (Maypearl). Listed at 6-5, 210 pounds, Rager is a classic left-handed masher who profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat in college. On the mound, Rager creates some angle to his stuff and moves well for his size without much effort in his delivery to create 84-88 MPH velocity; his breaking stuff is a work in progress, but all the ingredients are there to become a starting pitcher.
Next on the list are a couple of big right-handed pitchers who are kind of opposites and are committed to rival programs. Texas A&M commitment Jack Paris (Kinkaid) has one of the state’s best changeups and has a reputation as possessing some of the best pitchability in the 2025 class. He might not have the pure stuff and arm/hand speed that some other big names in this class have, but his advanced pitching feel is certainly better than most with a fastball that can reach 90 MPH. Cooper Rummel, No. 38 on the list, has the power stuff, imposing physical presence and can completely overwhelm a lineup when it’s all clicking. The Dripping Springs product and longtime Texas commitment already throws very hard, and it would be a surprise if he’s not one of the nation’s hardest throwers this time next year. What will determine his future prospect status will be whether the control/command can improve to allow him to throw much deeper in games and the consistency of his breaking ball. Another tall righty on the list is Katy’s Cade Nelson (No. 39). A very thin 6-6, Nelson moves surprisingly well on the mound for a young player with his height and length and has a deep arsenal. TCU wisely gained a commitment from Nelson a long time ago because now that some pitchers at Katy have graduated, he’s poised for a breaking season.
At Nos. 49 and 51 on the list, Masa Chilcutt (Claudia Taylor Johnson) and Dane Perry (Friendswood) are two more undersized studs. Unlike Watkins, both of these prospects project, at least right now, as catchers. Perry, a Texas Tech commitment, is a top performer in high school, in the summer and also won a gold medal not long ago with Team USA. Chilcutt, a Texas commitment, ranks a couple spots ahead because he’s a tick better runner and athlete, but has a similar profile – consistent performer, Team USA member multiple times. As it typically does, DBU was quick to secure commitments from two of DFW’s top outfielders as their prospect status was taking off. At No. 41 on the list, Hogan Nelson (Trinity Christian) ended his excellent summer with an eye-opening performance at Area Code. He showed some of the best plate skills of anyone on the team and consistently put together some of the best at-bats we saw. A physical athlete, Nelson should continue growing into more power. As for Ladusau, who follows Nelson on the list, he’s not quite as polished of a hitter as Nelson is, but he might offer more upside. I was surprised at how well he covered ground in center field during a summer look because he’s already about 6-3, 200 pounds and should continue to grow. Looking long-term, the Rockwall-Heath product could develop into an imposing physical presence that can play good defense in a corner outfield spot and also hit with some of the best power in the state because he already swings a heavy barrel.
A trio of left-handed pitchers to discuss who all recently made college commitments: No. 40 Baron Mannis (Argyle), No. 47 Chris Gutierrez (Bridgeland) and No. 54 Hector Arellano (Lopez). Mannis, a TCU commitment, uses a big, overhand curveball to torment hitters and it could develop into the state’s best lefty hooks. Physically, he should continue filling into his frame with wide shoulders and some length and added strength should help quiet the head whack/effort in the delivery… he’s somewhat reminiscent of what Dasan Hill was like at this stage. As for Gutierrez, he’s probably the skinniest pitcher on the list, but that didn’t prevent him from consistently sitting 85-89 MPH with a lively fastball with some natural sink this summer. At times, Gutierrez’s hard, short slider flashed as a bat-missing weapon that was unfair against left-handed hitters and his changeup is a true third offering with promise. Like Mannis, he needs to add strength and weight to help quiet some effort in his delivery, but he’s already proven he can get deep into games and fill up the strike zone. Houston has recruited South Texas very well in recent years and Arellano, a Brownsville native who was flying a bit under the radar, is yet another example. Up to 90 MPH this fall at college camps with a quick arm and easy delivery, Arellano has the makings of one of the state’s best sliders, which at times features angry, late sweep that can make left-handed hitters look silly. During the summer and fall, Arellano routinely filled up the strike zone with easy and hardly ever walked hitters.
In addition to Rager, there are three more uncommitted prospects on this portion of the list: Southlake Carroll’s Tanner Carson, Concordia Lutheran’s Connor Jones, and Episcopal’s Preston Sullivan. Carson is the prototypical third baseman prospect. He has size, developing power thanks to impact bat/hand speed, promising right-handed swing and soft hands on the dirt with the ingredients to profile fine defensively. He has the skill to profile at multiple defensive spots, but it’s easy to envision him at third base. Jones can spin his breaking stuff about as well as anyone in the state and is developing into a pitcher who can record whiffs at a high rate with increasing velocity. Sullivan is one of the state’s best strike-throwers with a delivery to support his outlook as a starter. He has a distinct curveball and slider he can use early and late in counts with legitimate feel for a quality changeup. If his velocity continues to improve, he’ll be one of the most in-demand pitchers in the state.
Jones and Sullivan are two of the many talented right-handed pitchers in Texas and ranking that group as the most difficult part of this process. Davis Perkins is also a two-way prospect who could legitimately profile as either a shortstop or right-handed pitcher, similar to current 2024 OU signee and Perkins’ future college teammate, Michael Catalano. I prefer Perkins as a pitcher long-term after an in-person look showed impressive athleticism, arm speed, an easily projectable frame and good spin feel; all of that accompanied impressive summer production, too. Cole Lanclos (Concordia Lutheran), ranked No. 51, is another talented righty, but I prefer him, at least right now, as a right-handed hitting infielder. A skilled player with good instincts who plays faster than the stopwatch and processes the game at an advanced level, Lanclos had the best summer as a hitter for a loaded Texas Twelve group. He has a knack for making quality contact with a natural hitting feel, is really hard to strike out, and keeps a slow heartbeat in tense moments. He's more of a hit collector than loud impact hitter currently, but more strength will help change that.
The Woodlands/Grand Oaks/Oak Ridge area has turned into a hotbed for finding good pitching and Texas A&M has emerged as a major force in the area. A year after signing Houston Tomlinson and Marc Barnhard, the Aggies made an aggressive and wise move to gain a commitment from Oak Ridge’s Jake Evans. He has a unique slot/release position, and he possesses a quick arm with a sweeping breaking ball that has really promising shape. Athletic with plenty of physical projection, the Aggies landed Evans just before he popped as a major dude in Texas. The third pitcher from Katy High School on the list is tall right-hander Connor Udland, who has a track record of performance and can create some easy velocity when he isn’t overthrowing. In addition to a fastball that can beat hitters in the zone now, Udland’s feel for spin and physical outlook are both favorable. Houston wisely gained Udland’s commitment a while ago.
It's always a pain in the you-know-what to limit this list to 55 players. In a year where the state is unusually thin with players who could potentially stick at shortstop long-term, Jesuit’s Jake Fults (No. 52) stands out as one of the best. A Kentucky commitment, Fults is beloved by coaches because of his presence and instincts on the diamond and boasts future leadership qualities with a knack for thriving in big situations. And he can hit, too. Plano West catcher and Xavier commitment Mitchell Morton rounds out the list. He’s growing into more impact from the right side as a hitter, but his calling card right now is his defensive skill behind the dish. He’s a good bet to stick at catcher long-term and has shown impressive receiving and catch-and-throw skill to go with a promising frame and physical traits at the position.
Up next is our coverage of the “Just Missed” List, which features the next 55 players in the class in alphabetical order. Many of those players from our 2024 debut ended up moving up in the rankings. Tune in tomorrow for a full breakdown of each player on the list.