ACE Scout Day: Takeaways


By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Saturday, September 17th, the PBR Illinois staff traveled to the Kroc Center to host the White Sox ACE Scout Day, where 60+ players from the White Sox ACE program participated in a pro-style workout in front of our staff. 

To see a full list of players that attended, click HERE. For all the statistics collected at this event, click HERE

Now, at the event’s conclusion, our staff has compiled a list of prospects that stood out across the day within this takeaways article. Below you’ll find several names, separated by their primary position, that impressed our scouts throughout this event.

CATCHERS

+ C Angel Castro (De La Salle, 2025) inserted himself into the mix as a prospect to keep close tabs on in the class of 2025. Castro has a confident aura about him with a relaxed presence at the plate with controlled movements, yet the ball still explodes off the bat when he is on time. His swing is easy and on plane and projects to have power to all fields down the road. He made hard gap-to-gap contact throughout his batting practice. Defensively he has calm, clean actions and quick exchange. The arm is loose and throws play true with accuracy on the bag. His top pop time was 2.12 on the day.  

+ C Sir Jamison Jones (St. Rita, 2024) stood out amongst his peers at the event. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Illinois State commit walks into the park with a build of a uniform mannequin, he’s extremely physical with strength throughout his frame. Jones was electric with the bat and on defense. Offensively, he was towards the top of a number of statistical categories; his furthest ball traveled 388’ and his hardest batted ball left the bat at 100.3 mph. Jones has a smooth, strong swing with advanced bat speed and power while showing the ability to cover the whole plate and use the entire field.  Defensively his hand speed and arm strength are advanced for his age.  His glove to hand exchange is lightning quick and one of the best we’ve seen on the circuit this year.  His throws were online and accurate with life and carry through the target.  His best pop time was 1.95.  It will be fun to watch this talented backstop continue to ascend over the next few years.

Sir Jamison Jones

 INFIELDERS

+ MIF Joey Barboza (De La Salle, 2024) continues the recent tradition of high level middle infielders coming through De La Salle. Defensively, Barboza has elite infield actions that start with his confident feel, fluid actions and overall ease.  His fluid, quick footwork and smooth glovework translate into a confident infield flare with a loose arm that can play from multiple platforms. His throws carried and played accurately, topping at 85 mph. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has feel for the barrel with loose hands while staying direct to contact and flashing pull-side strength. Barboza ran a 7.33 60 and his furthest batted ball traveled 330’.

+ MIF DaMaurion Butler (Kenwood, 2025) continues to trend in the right direction. He continues to make improvements to his swing path to flatten out through the zone and he was consistently on balance and on the barrel during his round.  He has a line drive gap to gap approach with feel for the barrel while consistently being on time.  Defensively he has active feet, plays fast with a quick release and can make plays in all directions. His arm topped at 85 mph, playing easy and true.

+ CIF Jimmy Downs (Kenwood, 2025) continues to show off an advanced right-handed bat with big power potential. Downs put on a show in BP, which was one of the best of the day, using the entire field while showing off consistent, hard, lifted contact. It’s a loud, heavy barrel with loose, strong hands and jump off the bat. Downs registered the hardest hit ball of the day at 100.4 mph off the bat and his furthest batted ball traveled 374’. Defensively the corner infielder has clean footwork, steady hands and a strong accurate arm.  His top velocity across the infield was 83 mph.

Jimmy Downs

+ One of the highest ceilings of the event belongs to 1B Demir Heidelberg (Homewood Flossmoor, 2025), who boasts a 6-foot-3, 165-pound, long-limbed, highly-projectable frame and swing. His right-handed swing works loose and slightly uphill with jump off the barrel when he gets extended. He has a gap to gap approach and when he adds strength to his lean frame there is a chance to be a power bat to all fields. Defensively he has a long, loose, athletic arm paired with light, athletic feet. Heidelberg registered a max exit velocity of 91.7 mph and topped at 78 mph across the diamond.

+ MIF Derrick Holmes (Brother Rice, 2025) continues to cement himself as one of the top 2025 infielders we have seen to-date in the state. Holmes has elite athletic actions on the infield and he makes everything look easy while playing comfortably on the move with body control. His clean, quick footwork and soft hands should keep him up the middle of the diamond for years to come. He throws from multiple arm slots with some life and carries through the target. Offensively he took a very polished round of batting practice with a direct path, balanced finish and littered the middle of the field with line drives. High-follow uncommitted prospect in the 2025 class. 

Derrick Holmes

+ The lone female in attendance, MIF Amira Hondras (Thornwood, 2026), had an impressive showing at the event. Hondras has a polished and clean skill set that allows her to make routine plays look very easy. She has clean footwork and soft hands with a clean exchange.  Her arm projects to improve with added strength. Offensively, she has a fluid, fundamentally sound swing that is on balance while staying short and direct to contact. Hondras has a gap to gap approach with a knack for the barrel.

+ SS Joey Ireland (Mount Carmel, 2026) is an early name to know in the freshman class. The former Junior Future Games participant continues to impress our staff with his ability. Ireland is an elite defender on the infield with soft hands, quick feet and uncanny instincts that allow him to make the toughest plays look relatively routine. Ireland moves with long strides and agile movements and is as sure handed as they come at his age. Offensively he has a line drive gap to gap approach with some occasional pop to the pull side.  As his frame fills out he has a chance to have some sneaky juice for a middle infielder. High-follow 2026 in the state.

+ 1B Danny Mackey III (Lincoln Way East, 2025) was one of many participants at the event who put their names on our radar to follow. Mackey is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound, big bodied right-handed hitter that passes the eye test. He showcased a polished, loose swing with barrel awareness and easy strength. Mackey wore out the middle of the field with hard, line-drive contact and flashed some pull side pop. Those line drives project for much more power as he continues to fill out his frame. Defensively he was equally impressive moving with above average agility for a player his size and age. His feet work well around the bag and his arm plays stronger than the velocity recorded on the day.  Mackey is a prospect to follow that will continue to rise with added strength.

Danny Mackey III

+ MIF Torii Chaney (Simeon, 2024) is an elite defender in the middle of the infield.  His glove to hand exchange is lightning quick and his footwork and soft hands tend to exude confidence and above average instincts. Chaney has a loose easy arm action and produces throws with some carry across the infield. The right-handed hitter flashed twitchy hands and sneaky juice at the plate and ran a 7.49 60.

OUTFIELDERS

+ Jevan Andrews (Hobart, 2024) is a 5-foot-9, 170-pound right-handed hitting outfielder with a compact frame and above-average athleticism at the plate. Andrews stayed balanced with quick twitch bat speed, made hard line-drive contact to the pull side and used the ground well to generate bat speed. Andrews moves well in the outfield with quick footwork that takes direct,  aggressive routes and his throws were online and topped at 81 mph.

+ OF Destin Edwards (Kenwood, 2024) was another prospect from the event who continues to ascend on each look. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound, long, athletically-built Edwards is an above-average defender (as he showed at the Illinois State Games) plays with a bounce to his step and takes very confident routes to the ball. The 7.03 runner also showed off a big arm, topping at 92 mph with life. The right-handed hitter has angry intent when attacking the baseball, making hard contact, spraying line drives to all areas of the park. Edwards is a name to know moving forward in the 2024 class.

+ OF Ezra Essex (Marian Catholic, 2025) continued to show off his toolsy baseball skills, including elite footspeed that translates to every area of the field. Essex ran a 6.66 60, the best of the event and showed a level right-handed swing with twitchy hands. Essex has a gap-to-gap approach and flashed sneaky backspin juice to the pull-side. Defensively, he profiles anywhere in the outfield with quick feet, aggressive and direct routes and a quick arm that plays strong and on-line with carry at 84 mph. Essex is a highly-athletic prospect to follow in the class.

+ Eastern Kentucky commit, OF Savion Flowers (Kenwood, 2024), passes the eye test with his 6-foot-4, 190-pound, highly-athletic, high-waisted frame and continues to intrigue with every look. The left-handed hitter has a loose, athletic swing and when on time the ball jumps off his barrel. Flowers stays direct and flat through the zone with present bat speed with pull-side power which should continue to develop with added strength. In the outfield, he stands out with a strong arm that plays loose and explodes out of his hand at 92 mph. He is fundamentally sound with clean actions and sure-hands.   

+ A young, upside prospect to know is OF Haiden Lajcin (Mount Carmel, 2026). The 5-foot-10, 135-pound, former Junior Future Games participant, is very athletic and gets a lot from his small frame. Lajcin moves well in the outfield with easy, clean footwork and sure-hands. His loose, easy arm played at 82 mph from the outfield. The right-handed hitter has loose, easy hands at the plate with a fluid overall swing and upside throughout. 

+ OF Lance Moon (Brother Rice, 2025) was one of the top athletes in attendance and showcased unique quick-twitch ability which allows him to get more out of tools than his 5-foot-8, 155-pound frame suggests. Moon ran a 6.87 60, was 90 mph from the outfield and his hardest batted ball came off the bat at 90.7 mph. The right-handed hitter has quick wrists that produced above average bat speed, stayed level through the zone, generated line-drive contact to all parts of the field and the ball jumped off the bat. He plays fast and light on his feet in the outfield with a quick, strong arm that jumps out of the hand. Moon is a confident, aggressive defender, gaining ground through release. Toolsy 2025 with all kinds of upside to his game. 

Lance Moon

+  2022 Future Games participant, OF Khamaree Thomas (Kenwood, 2024), has above-average athleticism and confidence to all parts of his game. Thomas has a simple, short, loose swing that is level through the zone. Thomas sprays hard contact to all fields and gets all kinds of life off the barrel given his 5-foot-8, 155-pound frame. His athleticism also shows up in the outfield with clean footwork and soft aggressive hands.  His arm action is clean and his throws are accurate, online, and have life through the target at 85 mph. Top-of-the-order, center field profile at the next level.

Khamaree Thomas

VERSATILE DEFENDERS

+ UTIL Jonah Weathers (Marian Catholic, 2024) is still one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state of Illinois class of 2024. The 2022 Future Games participant took one of the best rounds of batting practice during the event. Weathers has a simple, quiet, repeatable swing with easy effort and loose, strong hands through the zone. Weathers drove the ball to both gaps with authority and backspin. Defensively, Weathers profiled equally as well in the outfield and the infield. He has active feet and moves with rhythm and tempo in both spots with his arm strength increasing since the last time we saw him; topped at 88 mph from the outfield and 86 mph from the infield. Weathers is a high follow in the class of 2024.

+ UITL Francisco Rodriguez (De La Salle, 2025) made a strong first impression on our staff both at the plate and on defense. The 5-foot-11, 153-pound, athletically-built, right-handed hitter has a polished swing and middle of the field approach. Rodriguez stays on balance throughout his swing and gets the barrel out front efficiently and on time. The bat path is short and direct to contact with flashes of some juice to the pull side. Rodriguez continued to impress in both the outfield and infield with quick and clean footwork and natural ease and confidence to his game.  He has a calm approach to the ball and soft hands with athletic overall actions. 2025 to know moving forward.

Francisco Rodriguez

+ UTIL Phillip Thigpen (Kenwood, 2025) stood out with his confidence and energy he displayed defensively. Thigpen was actiony in the outfield, playing light on his feet and showing off a whippy arm that topped at 79 mph. Thigpen plays quick with confident, sure-hands and instinctive feel in the infield and outfield. His right-handed swing is loose and strong, especially compared to our last look. Utilizes a leg-kick for timing and uses the ground well for leverage, flashing some pull side thump with an overall line-drive, gap-to-gap approach. 

TWO WAY PROSPECTS

+ LHP/OF Aaron Scott (Lincoln-Way East, 2025) came away a winner from the event. The southpaw cruised with his fastball in the 79-81 mph range, reaching up to 18.7 IVB. His curveball played off a 1/7 plane and was thrown with fastball intent, 63-66 mph. Changeup sat 70-74 mph and played with slight fading action to the arm-side. Offensively, the right-handed hitter kept his bat on-plane and was on the barrel consistently with hard gap-to-gap contact throughout his round. Follow 2025 prospect.

+ C/RHP Brandon Stinson (Kenwood, 2025) is a big-bodied catcher with an above-average skill set and a frame that looks far from done growing. At the plate, the right-handed hitter gets into his legs during his setup and swings with intent and aggression with a feel for the barrel. He stays short to contact and he utilizes the whole field. Defensively, behind the plate, he has a loose arm and a quick, clean exchange. He stays on balance with quick feet well and strong, accurate throws, topping at 75 mph with a low pop time of 2.03. On the mound, Stinson worked his fastball up to 81.5 mph to pair off an 11/5 curveball at 63-67 mph and slight fading changeup at 65-70 mph.

+ Arguably the biggest winner, on the mound was RHP Jose Rodriguez (Reavis, 2026). Standing 6-foot-1, 168-pounds, Rodriguez moves with a slight drop/drive lower-half down the mound, striding slightly across his body. His arm works with a long/loose swing out of the glove into a high ¾ slot. His fastball sat 82 mph for most of his ‘pen, reaching up to 83 mph. His slider played off a sharp 10/4 plane with depth, kept mostly down at 67-69 mph. Curveball plays with more 11/5 shape, occasionally getting around it but flashing depth, 65-67 mph. His final offering was a straight changeup at 70-72 mph.  As a position player, Rodriguez got our attention when he showed above-average bat speed, continuously squared balls up and flashed power to the pull side.  On defense he has above average arm strength and raw defensive skills that should improve with consistent reps. 

Jose Rodriguez

ARMS

+ One of the more polished arms on the day from a mechanical standpoint was RHP Anthony Cantelo (St. Rita, 2024). With a fluid and controlled tempo, Cantelo moves with a clean drop/drive lower-half from balance point, remaining in-line down the mound when he strides out. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander worked his fastball in the 80-81 mph range, playing with running action to his arm-side. He maintains arm-speed on his changeup to create deception, playing with some fading action at 73-75 mph and thrown for strikes. 

+ RHP Bishop Cappetto (Munster, 2025) was a winner before he even stepped on the mound, standing at an ultra-projectable 6-foot-5, 173-pounds. He moves with a fluid pace on the mound, shifting into a slight drop/drive lower-half and striding in-line to the plate. His arm and lower-half were occasionally delayed coming through release, causing him to lose pitches to his arm-side. His fastball sat 77-81 mph, topping out at 82 mph. He displayed both a changeup at 76-78 mph and a splitter at 73-77 mph; with the splitter flashing above-average dive to the bottom of the zone at times. His final offering was an 11/5 curveball at 62-65 mph.

+ LHP Peter Pipikios (Neuqua Valley, 2024) gave an impressive look throughout his ‘pen. He works with an up-tempo pace on the mound, using a tall/fall lower-half and striding in-line with the plate. His arm plays short out of the glove into a high ¾ slot, moving with arm quickness to release. His fastball sat 81-83 mph with an average IVB of 20.2, topping out at 30.7. His curveball missed up at times but flashed sharp and tight 1/7 action, 67-72 mph. His changeup sat 71-73 mph, running heavily at times to his arm-side (T-18.6 inches).

+ RHP Antonio Brown Jr. (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2026) continues to show advanced arm-strength for his age. The 6-foot, 175-pound right-hander ran his fastball up to 83 mph, sitting 81-82 mph, which is even more impressive when you look at how he is doing it. Brown moves into a short balance point and uses a minimal stride down the mound, surely looking to have much more in the tank when he starts to use his levers more. 

Antonio Brown Jr.

+ RHP Arthur Stamps (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2025) has all sorts of upside in his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame. His fastball reached up to 78 mph, sitting mostly 74-77 mph. To pair off his fastball he went to an 11/5 curveball at 62-64 mph and straight changeup at 61-66 mph. 

+ RHP Trenton Rosebourgh (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2024) stands at a projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. He moves with a fluid pace on the mound, coiling slightly into balance point before moving with a drop/drive lower-half down the mound. His arm plays with a long stab out of the glove before transitioning into a ¾ slot. Rosebourgh’s filled up the zone with his fastball, sitting in the 75-77 mph range with slight sinking action. He featured both a changeup at 68-72 mph and splitter at 67-68 mph, both killing spin and playing with fading action. His final offering was a cutter at 70-71 mph that came in off a short 10/4 plane and flashed late bite at times. 

+ LHP Joseph Vargas (Thornwood, 2024) showed off a quality three-pitch mix during his ‘pen. His fastball sat 77-78 mph with some ride through the zone (T18.0 IVB) and set up both his off-speed offerings effectively. His curveball played with tight 1/7 shape at 62-66 mph (T2226 RPM), while his changeup sat 68-69 mph with slight fading action to his arm-side.

CLICK HERE for a look at the showcase in its entirety.

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