The 2023 Five Tool 55 is Ready to Debut
Following a process that spanned a month, the initial Five Tool 55 for the 2023 class in Texas is complete. Unlike the inaugural 2022 version, the 2023 version cast a wider, more time-consuming net, which makes sense because the 2023 class is less of a known commodity than its older counterpart. Before the list is released, I wanted to explain some of the process behind the list and also some general thoughts after digging through so many names and talking to coaches and scouts.
The process included evaluating and filing notes on nearly 400 juniors in the Lone Star State, and even with that large of a list, we’ll undoubtedly miss someone. While that can be frustrating, it’s also part of the beauty of the state of Texas – fans, coaches, scouts, and evaluators know there are always hidden gems that are eventually discovered. Heck, there are going to be standout senior players a year from now who have yet to even play a varsity inning.
It’s also a reminder high school juniors are in a unique part of their development – some are fully matured; some have yet to come close to even filling out; some are done growing; and some haven’t hit a final growth spurt. Basically, so many players will see their physical makeups change this season and it makes putting together a list like this both exciting because of the potential and daunting because no one likes to screw up. Oh, and I’ve yet to mention these guys could be noticeably different players by the end of next summer before their senior seasons.
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Overall, I think this is a stronger class at the top than its 2022 counterpart and deeper top-to-bottom; the “just missed” list and a significant chunk of the follow list are filled with players who are undoubtedly some of the best in the nation. Although, I don’t think it has the strength in the middle tier that the 2022 group boasts, a group that seemingly features so many fringe MLB Draft guys who could play their way into signing out of high school or end up making college coaches do backflips when they arrive on campus. While the 2022 class doesn’t likely, at least at this very moment, include a day one MLB Draft pick, I’m confident in projecting the 2023 group could have at least three. We’ll get to those three when the list drops. Hey, I need to build some suspense somehow.
Perhaps it’s because the game hasn’t yet dictated which role is the best, but the 2023 group boasts a lot of legitimate two-way talents who could do both in college. Well, maybe that’s not the right way to phrase it because those players are still rare. So, let’s just say they’re talented and skilled enough to make it a legitimate question. The game always has a way, unless you’re Shohei Ohtani, of delivering, often sternly, a message of which path to take. As you’ll see on the list, though, it could be a while until many of those players receive that message.
The catching group in 2023 is, at least upon initial look, very strong. It’s also a good blend of safer, low-risk players and also some upside bets who could be just scratching the surface. Scouts gearing up for the high school season are still wondering if there will be a right-handed pitcher in Texas who makes that big jump to become a clear dude when it’s time to hand out a big bonus this summer. With the 2023 group, they won’t be left wondering. Not only are there a lot of really intriguing, physical right-handed arms with stuff and projection. There are also a lot of guys in the “just missed” tier who are poised to make big jumps and become major dudes as well. Perhaps the most difficult part of this list was picking which right-handed arms to bet on early because there are a lot of very interesting guys who didn’t make the initial Five Tool 55 and many already throw hard or will throw hard.
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I should note that we included more players on the “just missed” portion of the list and also the “follow” list because, again, these are juniors and the class is deeper. It would be silly not to expand the numbers considering we know less about who these guys are and will become as players compared to their elder peers. Fortunately for college coaches, the list of intriguing uncommitted players on the “just missed” and “follow” lists is vast. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the current Five Tool 55 members have already made college commitments with a lot of the usual suspects receiving those verbal pledges.
Like the 2022 list, I didn’t enlist a particular step-by-step process when making this list. It’s a blend of both the best players and prospects in the state of Texas. Some guys are better prospects now and will be in the future. On the other hand, some guys are better baseball players than their prospect counterparts. In the end, the goal is to try to blend the two together and come up with the best 55 now and also an educated list filled with players who could stay where they are. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think there will be risers and fallers, though.
Tune in tomorrow as we release the first part of the initial Five Tool 55 for the 2023 class in Texas.
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