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The Five Tool Five (1/19/23)

Writing about some of the powerhouse programs from the state of Oklahoma participating in the inaugural Five Tool High School Festival reminded me of one of my favorite hitters from the summer, who remains uncommitted. We’ll also check in on a couple of premium, uncommitted bats from Arizona, an exciting 2025 prospect from Texas and a 2024 right-handed pitcher I’ll be keeping an eye on this season. 

What is the Five Tool Five? The short, succinct definition: it’s simply a look at five players who recently caught our attention. The long-winded, more detailed explanation: showcasing our coverage from around the United States and highlighting noteworthy baseball talent, skill, performances, news, uncommitted players who colleges should pay attention to and more. We plan to deliver a fresh Five Tool Five every Monday through Friday to help satisfy baseball fans’ hunger for coverage at the amateur level and welcome you to the home of what we believe is the best amateur baseball coverage you’ll find - 

Our leadoff hitter today has a swing I could watch on repeat:

Looking back at one of my favorite hitters from the summer… 

OK Fuel was one of my favorite teams to watch this summer with its loaded roster and competitiveness at the Pudge Rodriguez World Classic. And Choctaw prospect Drake Fittro was a big reason why. I looked back at what I had to say about Fittro’s performance:

“I didn’t see every left-handed swing in the event, but I can’t imagine liking one more than Drake Fittro’s. The Choctaw High School product finished with a slash line of .600/.600/.700 and routinely created good barrel paths thanks to his excellent, quick hands. A player who plays with under control, natural competitiveness, Fittro looked like one of the top hitters in the state of Oklahoma.”

A two-sport athlete who flies around the football field as a defensive back, Fittro is a twitchy athlete with an explosive bounce to his step. From the left side, he uses a quick, short, powerful swing to smack the ball all over the field and while he’s likely going to be more of a gap-to-gap than home run hitter, Fittro’s wheels and athleticism will play on the bases, too. Fittro also gets it done on the mound, too. However, I really like his long-term outlook as a hitter and an outfielder. 

In addition to being a good competitor with a heartbeat that doesn’t get too high or low, Fittro seems to have good character too; someone filmed him cleaning up a Cane's restaurant following a team event and he was so diligent it earned a gift card from the staff. 

I didn’t know this sophomore could throw this hard… 

Speaking of teams I thoroughly enjoyed watching this past summer, let’s check in on another talented prospect from Stix Scout 2025 making gains this offseason. 

That’s Timberview’s Cayden Mitchell easily tossing 91 MPH in a live at-bats session; simple delivery, barely any wasted movement, and a quick arm that fires a rocket, with some natural life, towards home. Not bad for a guy who is a standout hitter and infielder, too. 

During 42 Five Tool summer plate appearances, Mitchell hit .314/.405/.457 and a chunk of those plate appearances came against 2024 competition as part of Pudge Rodriguez World Classic championship team. Long-term, I like Mitchell as a future third baseman, and it’s clear he’s going to have the arm to play the hot corner. But he might be an arm to watch this season, too; there aren’t many sophomores who can throw that hard that easily.

It seems like Central Texas produces more talent each year… 

Maybe it’s just me and my own wishful thinking since I live in Austin, but I swear each year Central Texas produces more baseball talent. Add Leander 2024 right-handed pitcher Harrison Thayer to the list of emerging prospects from the area. Tall and lean with plenty of room to fill out, Thayer flashed some intriguing ability to get whiffs on the mound this summer. 

In a very small sample, Thayer had a high strikeout but also a high walk rate in our summer events. I think the latter was a fluke because Thayer’s delivery shows strike-throwing potential. Recently, I’ve noticed some college camps giving data to prospects who attend, which is a cool gesture to help players know how they compare to their peers and also teach them about the ways college programs evaluate and develop. 

I won’t be surprised if Thayer has a strong year. He has the making of a four-pitch mix with improving velocity. 

One of the top uncommitted seniors in Arizona

There’s a lot to like about Cactus Shadows (Arizona) 2023 outfielder Antonio Gianni, a one-time Kansas commitment who re-opened his recruitment not long ago. A right-handed hitting outfielder, Gianni has some muscle packed onto his frame and it shows in the batter’s box. He rotates well with bat speed that can impact the baseball and drive it into the gaps with the occasional home run. Also, Gianni has proven capable of timing good velocity. 

A standout 2024 shortstop from Arizona

Sticking in Arizona, Gavin Smith is poised to become a major dude in the 2024 class. A shortstop with a chance to stick thanks to his actions and arm strength from a lower slot, Smith possesses a good right-handed swing capable of doing damage in the air to the pull side. As he matures, the high-wasted athlete should grow into even more game power. Smith stood out this fall and should attract the attention of D1 programs this season. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor