Prep Baseball Report

2017: A Look Forward

By Steve Nielsen and Matt Huck
PBR Illinois Scouting Staff

2016 is in the rear view mirror and every year we like to put together a preview of sorts to the new year. As we kick off 2017, we take a look ahead at some of the top things to watch for in 2017. Players, story lines, predictions, you name it - here's a few things to keep your eye on for 2017.

IHSA Implements New Pitch Count

New years always bring new laws into effect and 2017 brings changes to the IHSA rule book regarding pitch counts. Many states across the country have jumped on the initiative to protect pitcher's arm health by way of pitch count regulations. States have implemented different versions of the pitch count regulations, in Illinois no pitcher will be allowed to throw over 105 pitches in a game.

Regular Season Varsity Game Guidelines 

CLICK HERE to view the Pitch Count Guidelines Policy in its entirety.

The new rules will undoubtedly effect every team across the state, some more than others. Obviously smaller schools with smaller rosters will be challenged. Weather will inevitably change the schedule to postpone more games towards the end of the year, navigating the challenge of possibly five games a week. But at the heart of the rule, the main objective is to protect pitchers from being abused on the mound.

Looking ahead to 2017 it will surely change the way games are managed, for the better or worse...I'll let you be the judge of that. Will coaches take their ace out earlier in games knowing they have a big double header coming up on the weekend? Will they start to use their better arms essentially as closers, knowing they can have them every other day if they keep them under 45 pitches? How will opposing coaches manage knowing the pitcher in the other dugout is nearing his pitch count limit? Will they take more pitches?

All questions to see played out on the diamond in 2017.

Crop of 2017 Draft Arms

The Illinois Class of 2017 is loaded with pitching as evident by the top eight ranked players all being pitchers. Look for Austin Marozas (Plainfield South), Brendan Murphy (Mundelein), Bobby Miller (McHenry), and Reid Detmers (Chatham-Glenwood) to receive the most interest this spring. 

+ Marozas, a Kentucky commit, sticks out with his 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame. He works from a lower slot and features a solid fastball/slider combination sitting 89-90 mph with his fastball and gets occasional sharp breaking action on his slider at 76-77 mph. 

+ Murphy, an Arizona State commit, has a projectable, athletic frame at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds with room to add more strength. Has shown 3-pitch feel in the past and ran his fastball up to 92 mph to go a long with slider and changeup.

+ Miller, a Louisville commit, stands at 6-foot-5 and 190-pounds with an athletic frame. Miller has a lot of moving parts in his delivery and has ran his fastball up to 93 mph to go along with a slider in the upper 70s that has wipeout potential.

+ Detmers, a Louisville commit, checks in at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds and had an impressive year making the 40 man roster for Team USA and showing swing and miss stuff a long the way. Detmers transferred to Chatham Glenwood for his senior year.

Three Coaches Nearing 800 Wins

2016 Saw a trio of coaches eclipse the 800 win mark with Mike Napoleon (New Trier, 822), Leroy Franklin (Simeon, 809) and Pat Moomey (Chatham-Glenwood, 808) all three put themselves in the top five all time winningest coaches in IHSA history. Napoleon and Moomey are still active coaches and will likely continue collecting W’s.

In 2017 we are likely to see this historic feat happen in back-to -back years. Jerry Rashid (Illinois Valley Central, 793), Jerry Cougill (Reed-Custer, 788) and Dave Hogan (Fenwick, 781) are all nearing the 800 mark and could eclipse that number this year. If all three do that would make nine coaches to surpass 800 all-time wins, five of which are still active.

Can Providence 4-Peat?

Providence Catholic made IHSA history last year becoming the first team in any classification to win three straight titles. 2017 will be an opportunity to further distance themselves from everyone else with an unprecedented fourth straight title. It may be a large task for the Celtics, as they will come into the season looking to replace a ton of graduating seniors led by Player of the Year Mike Madej who is now at Purdue, Jackson Dvorak (South Suburban JC), Jackson Stulas (Parkland JC), Jim Jeffries (Heartland CC), Matt Waznis (South Suburban), Tom Kelley (Miami (OH)) and Zach Pych (Parkland JC) to name a few.

2017 Showcase Schedule

Showcase State Date Location
Underclass Invitational (Invite Only) IL Jan 15 The MAX - McCook, IL
Preseason I.D. - Litchfield IL Jan 16 Litchfield Sports Inc. - Litchfield, IL
Unsigned Senior Showcase IL Jan 22 The MAX - McCook, IL
Preseason I.D. - Illiana IL Jan 28 Ho-Chunk Sports and Expo Center - Chicago Heights, IL
Preseason I.D. - McHenry IL Jan 29 Pro Player Academy - McHenry, IL
Super 60 Pro Showcase IL Feb 5 The MAX
Preseason All-State Showcase (Invite Only) IL Feb 19 The MAX - McCook, IL
Winter Pitcher Showcase IL Feb 19 Bud Dome II; Saint Louis, MO
Preseason I.D. - Lockport IL Feb 20 Bo Jackson Elite Sports Dome - Lockport, IL
Preseason I.D. - Gurnee IL Feb 26 Bat Speed Academy - Gurnee, IL
Future Prospects Showcase & Educational Camp IL Mar 5 The MAX - McCook, IL