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The Five Tool Five (1/2/23)

We hope your 2022 ended in style to conclude a great year and your 2023 is even better. As for us at Five Tool, we’re excited to continue showing off our new website and are still thinking back to the exciting, loaded Hawaii Sandlot Classic. The first 2023 edition of the Five Tool Five gives some love to the MVPs and again is impressed with the catching talent in Hawaii. 

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 -

Let’s give some love to the Hawaii Sandlot Classic MVPs…

Tournament MVP - Coen Goeas

This is the fourth Five Tool Five we’ve done and each one could have discussed something Goeas did impressively and none of his mentions would have been a repeat. He’s simply that skilled and talented. With the game on the line in the championship it Goeas, of course, closing out the victory with a strikeout looking to earn the save.

I don’t know the Hawaii player pool well enough to definitively state this, but I can’t imagine there are many pound-for-pound better, pure baseball players than Goeas. BYU’s coaching staff is going to love him.

Pitching MVP - Loren Iwata

Too often I feel like young pitchers who don’t light up the radar gun are slapped with a “pitchability” label but the description is accurate when discussing Iwata. Nothing Iwata, an uncommitted 2024 prospect from Waiakea High School (Hawaii), was straight and he competed well with a four-pitch mix - 82-84 MPH fastball, 69-70 MPH slider, 63-64 MPH curve, 75-76 MPH changeup - that found the strike zone. Across 5.0 innings, the left-handed gave up just one unearned run on five hits, two walks and punched out eight. 

Hitting MVP - Aydan Lobetos

Shout out to SoCal Director and Hawaii baseball expert Tim Arakawa for telling us during the Five Tool Podcast to keep an eye on Aydan Lobetos. The uncommitted 2023 right-handed hitter went 5-for-9 in the Hawaii Sandlot Classic, which included blasting a deep double in the championship game. 

In addition to putting on an impressive display in batting practice thanks to his raw power, Lobetos, who is uncommitted, showed impressive hitting feel; he seemed to see and track pitches well and calmly kept his weight/energy back in the box before rotating with a quick bat through the hitting zone. And if I’m keeping it real, we all wish our arms looked like Lobetos. 

Infielder or catcher? This guy can do both at a high level…

I said it in our Hawaii Sandlot Classic preview podcast and I’ll say it again: I swear Hawaii always has good catchers. Each time I watch a team from Hawaii, I immediately become a fan of the guy calling the pitches behind home plate. And to be fair to Noah Kubo, it’s possible he doesn’t end up at catcher because he’s a talented infielder, too. But after seeing some of what he did this past week, I think he gets a long look at catcher when he moves on to the next level because it’s more difficult to find catchers than middle infielders. 

An agile, energetic mover behind the dish, Kubo followed a 1.96 pop time during the showcase portion of the event by hosing a runner at second base with a perfect throw. Unsurprisingly, Kubo made an impact with the bat, too. From the right side, he’s unafraid to use the entire field and has good feel for the barrel. 

Another 2024 catcher who stood out

Let’s stick with the catching theme to wrap up the first Five Tool Five of 2023: Isaac Ahokovi is another name to track in the 2024 class. After showcasing a 1.90 pop time before game action, the uncommitted 2024 prospect threw out a runner in game action. 

He showed his future power potential during batting practice rounds and the ‘Iolani School (Hawaii) product hammered the ball at a high rate during game action. But it did find gloves deep in the outfield. Regardless, he has some intriguing all-around ability as a catcher. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor