Prep Baseball Report

Inside the Illinois 2024 Rankings: Risers

By: Illinois Scouting Staff

After a long winter full of events and a good chunk of the IHSA season now behind us, the Class of 2024 in Illinois was long overdue for an update. There were a ton of new names who entered into the fold, as well as a number of others who continue to elevate their game. 

Yesterday, our staff updated the state’s present junior class formally, expanding the list to feature 200 names with plenty of movement throughout. We detailed the new top-10 extensively inside our official release, which you can find HERE

Today we’re highlighting some names that rose up our rankings, with detailed scout notes from our winter events or live looks from the IHSA season. These prospects are trending upward as the summer circuit approaches and there’s a handful of them that remain uncommitted, too. 

Learn more about a handful of arrow-up 2024 graduates below. 


Cooper Malamazian SS / Nazareth Academy, IL / 2024

From 3/2/23: “ an Indiana recruit that continues to ascend every time we get our eyes on him. As a freshman he was the varsity shortstop on a quality Nazareth club and he has not looked back, featuring smooth actions on the infield with fluid easy footwork and sure hands. His arm stands out playing ultra loose and easy across the diamond (T89 mph), up nine mph since our last look. Offensively the right-handed hitter continues to see his bat speed tick up as well, as he has added quality lean muscle to his athletic, wide-shouldered, 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. He has a balanced, loose swing, with fluid rhythm throughout, creating freedom in his hands and whip through the zone. Malamazian also hopped on the mound and ran his fastball up to 87 mph while spinning a sharp low-70s curveball. All kinds of ceiling left for Malamazian to tap into down the road.”

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Nate George OF / Minooka , IL / 2024

From 3/27/23: “...Eastern Illinois commit. 6-foot, 190-pound, twitchy, athletic, right-handed hitting outfielder. Was one of the biggest winners coming off the winter showcase season where he showed some of the most dynamic set of tools in the class. Ran a 6.39, was 94 mph from the outfield to go along with a 103.7 mph max exit velocity and 377’ max batted ball distance. George started in center field and hit in the two-hole for Minooka. He finished 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. His biggest swing of the day was a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning that helped break the game open. Aggressive mentality in the box, ready to hit approach and minimal swing-and-miss on the day. Ball flashed jump off the barrel, especially on a hard ground ball to the third baseman that resulted in a fielder's choice. Gets out of the box quick and athletic, high-motor on the bases. Talented junior who continues to impress every time we see him.”

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Daniel Cercello RHP / Neuqua Valley, IL / 2024

From 3/27/23: “...Uncommitted. Listed at an eye-opening 6-foot-7, 180-pounds, he has all sorts of room to add on additional strength to his long-limbed frame. Cercello was incredibly impressive over his three innings of work, allowing just one hit, no runs and striking out seven - staying in and around the zone throughout despite walking four. The big right-hander toed the mound in sub-50 degree temperatures and was ultra-impressive throughout our brief look - sitting right at 92-93 mph early on and settling in around 88-91 mph. He flashed a changeup at 86 mph, thrown with improved arm-speed and late fade to the arm-side. His breaking ball is still developing for the time being, getting on the side of it and spinning off at times, 83 mph with gradual 10/4 shape. Cercello showed an improved ability to repeat his delivery, working with minimal perceived effort to create his explosive fastball, and he certainly appears to have much more in the tank.”

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