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The Five Tool Five (1/23/23)

We hope your week is off to a great start. Soon, actual baseball games will be here. In the meantime, today's edition takes a look at a very cool thing MLB and USA Baseball recently held, an early candidate for top player in Texas for 2026, and a trio of uncommitted players from Texas, California and Arizona. 

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 - 

MLB and USA Baseball's Dream Series

It sounds like being selected to #TeamDustin during the second-annual Five Tool Texas High School Player Draft wasn’t the biggest honor David Hogg II received recently. In all seriousness, Hogg, also a part of the Rangers Youth Academy, received an amazing honor and opportunity when he was selected to participate in the 2023 DREAM Series. 

Established in 2017, the Major League Baseball and USA Baseball event affords prep players an opportunity to spend three days in Arizona during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend and learn from big league players, past MLB greats and MLB instructors. The date isn’t just a coincidence. MLB and USA Baseball established the event to both promote and highlight diversity in baseball and Hogg was among the small group of position players invited. I encourage all baseball fans to learn more about it, and you can read about it here. For Hogg, poised for a huge junior year at Mansfield, it's more recognition he's among the most talented group of players in 2024 nationally.

Way-too-early No. 1 in Texas for 2026?

Speaking of the MLB Dream Series, 2026 Episcopal shortstop and right-hander Miles Young was among the prospects MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo highlighted as a top performer from the workouts. Already 6-3 with plenty of room to fill out, Young is a unicorn: he’s talented and skilled enough to have a real chance to stick at shortstop even when the physical projection is considered, and he’s already touched 90 MPH off the mound. Sometimes, a young player who already throws that hard as a freshman in high school is physically mature and lacks projection; that’s not the case for Young. 

I had an opportunity to see Young on a college campus this summer and I came away thinking it would be extremely difficult to find a better 2026 prospect in Texas. Heck, maybe nationally, too. The two-sport athlete who also stars on the hardwood showed future plus raw power when he drilled a homer out of UFCU Disch-Falk Field in batting practice. His bat showed up when it was time to compete, too. Long-term, I’d be surprised if Young doesn’t become one of the top infielder prospects in the nation and will be a very, very strong pitcher, too, reminiscent of someone like Blake Mitchell. 

Henderson should be a big part of another great season for Celina

It’s not a surprise to see Celina is again expected to be one of the top 4A teams in the state. A state semifinalist last year, the Bobcats bring back some outstanding seniors, like Noah Bentley and Caden Mitchell. A junior I really liked this past summer is do-it-all standout Zack Henderson. There’s something to be said about players who are a part of winning at all levels.

All Henderson, who was a first-team all-district selection at second base in 2022, did last season was win. His high school team nearly won the state title and his summer team, Dulins Dodgers Prime Godwin, barely lost any games. He also hit. A lot. In the Pudge Rodriguez World Classic against some of the best competition a 2024 prospect can face, Henderson hit .466 from the left side with quick, loose hands and bat control. Then, he went to the AABC Mickey Mantle World Series and hit there, too. 

And he also threw a ton of quality strikes in the summer. I like Henderson more as a position player, who has the skill to play in the outfield, long-term, but he’s adding velocity and physicality this offseason. So, don’t overlook his ability on the mound. 

A physical 2024 right-hander from Arizona to follow… 

Dante Johnson (Sahuarita) is a physical, imposing presence on the mound who doesn't mess around; he comes right at you. And there is a lot more in the tank. 

At around 6-1, 185 pounds with muscle packed onto a good frame, Johnson’s impressive strength shows in his delivery and fastball. He can squat 405 pounds, bench 260 pounds and power clean 225 pounds already as a junior poised for making a big impact at the varsity level for the first time. Up to 89 MPH with a lively heater that sometimes attacks hitters with some natural, arm side life, Johnson is a good bet to throw harder as he ages and leverages more of his physical gifts in his delivery. 

Uncommitted 2024 infielder should have college coaches’ attention at Five Tool HS Festival

We’re still over a month away from the inaugural Five Tool High School Festival, but we can’t help ourselves. Already, we’re dissecting rosters and getting excited for the talent set to take over DFW March 2-4. I could probably list over 100 players we’re looking forward to seeing and our preview covered many of them. An uncommitted 2024 player I imagine colleges will pay close attention to is Meter Dei infielder Brody Connors. 

Connors sees the ball out of the pitcher’s hand well, has good bat control, typically doesn’t whiff at a high rate and has some pull-side juice. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t put together quality at-bats at a high rate regardless of competition and his natural hitting ability should stand out this season. 

Dustin McComas
Senior Editor