Central Illinois Open: Infield Analysis



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Central Illinois Open took place on Wednesday, August 6th on the campus of Normal West HS.  The open showcase featured prospects from the 2015-2018 classes in Illinois.  The Central Illinois Open is a long standing event in the PBR schedule and has unveiled several high end prospect over the years including such names as Cole Daily (Sacred Heart Griffin, 2015, Notre Dame), Cole Bellair (Lockport, 2015, Illinois) and Connor Manous (Munster, 2016, Miami).  Several players impressed at this year’s event, and may see similar success over the next two years.  Over the next week we will reveal the top players at each position, and then finish with the top overall prospects from the event. 

CLICK HERE for the article on top statistical performers from this year’s Central Illinois Open.

Today we’ll take a look at the top corner infielders from the event.  Champaign Central’s Joe Aeilts, who took home top honors at the catching position, also leads off our list of infielders.  Aeilts took infield at short, and may fit better at his spring high school position of third base, but nonetheless impresses with his soft hands and arm strength.  Aeilts high school teammate Matt Brown impresses with his physicality, and gives the Maroons yet another 2016 prospect, which they are chalk full of.  Moline’s Cacey O’Brien has a projectable frame and soft hands at first base.  Pontiac’s Cam Brown and Springfield’s Trevor Minder impressed at shortstop as well.

Let’s take a look at the top corner infielders from the 2014 Central Illinois Open.

Top Infield Prospects

1. Joe Aeilts, 3B/C, Champaign Central, 2016
6-foot-2, 185-pound right-handed hitting third baseman/catcher currently ranked No. 56 in Illinois’ 2016 class impresses both behind the plate and at the hot corner defensively.  Started as a sophomore at third for Champaign Central’s 35-3 Regional Championship squad.  Hits from a wide, balanced setup, front foot starts closed, utilizes a leg kick getting down late at times during batting practice.  Short, uphill, inside-out bat path drove several pitches to opposite field during BP, with 85 mph exit velocity off the tee. Took infield at shortstop, throws from long, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy 83 mph across the diamond.  Showed average hands, clean exchanges, playing through the baseball.  Shows off similar arm strength behind the dish at 79 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging between 2.00-2.08, with accuracy and shortened arm action.  Quick feet on the transfer, lower half stays open.  Ran a 6.99 60 and 4.68 seconds from home to first.  Aeilts has versatility and should be able to catch and play third in college.

2. Matt Brown, 3B/1B, Champaign Central, 2016
5-foot-11, 195-pound muscularly built, right-handed hitting 3B/1B hit from an open setup, short stride, hands start high, drop down and back smoothly during load, creating short, quick, level bat path with 77 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, took infield at shortstop, throwing 74 mph across the diamond from short, over the top arm slot with some accuracy.  Ran a 7.17 60 and 4.54 seconds from home to first.

3. Cacey O’Brien, 1B, Moline, 2016
6-foot-5, 185-pound lanky, athletic right-handed hitting first baseman hits from a wide, open setup, front foot gets down early, short stride, producing fluid, level swing with several line drives from gap-to-gap during batting practice.  75 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively at first, throws 70 mph across the diamond from short, loose, high ¾ arm slot with feel and accuracy.  Showcased soft hands fielding the baseball, turns double play quickly.  O’Brien has good feet and good feel around the bag, and impresses with his overall athleticism and size for a first baseman.  Ran a 7.07 60, and 4.90 seconds from home to first. 

4. Cam Brown, MIF/RHP, Pontiac, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound lanky left-handed hitting MIF/RHP impressed more on the mound with long, quick, loose, high ¾ arm slot delivering 80-82 mph fastballs with arm side run and smooth, easy effort in delivery.  Utilizes tall and fall delivery, shoulders stay level, closed off at balance point, lower half stride direction stays in line with home plate, lands closed throwing across his body.  66-72 mph breaking ball was best when it had 11/5 shape with slider like action.  Also threw a split at 67-69 mph with bottom, consistently down in the zone.  Hits from a balanced, wide setup, short stride, hands load smoothly, producing short, level bat path with extension.  81 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, showcased middle infield actions with soft hands, and same athletic arm action as on the mound with accuracy. Ran an 8.28 60, and 5.10 from home to first.

5. Trevor Minder, SS, Springfield, 2017
6-foot, 150-pound athletic, right-handed hitting shortstop hits from a tall, open setup, hands load back smoothly, short stride, creating long, uphill bat path with 75 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, showed athletic middle infield actions, throwing 70 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot.  Arm strength is average for age, but quick transfer and ability to get rid of the ball is well above average.  Ran a 7.59 60 and 5.00 from home to first.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Drew Beachy, SS, Arthur Christian, 2015
6-foot, 140-pound lanky right-handed hitting shortstop hits from a balanced setup, short leg kick stride, creating flat, level bat path with 73 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, made all the plays during infield.  Threw 71 mph across the diamond from long ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Ran a 7.38 60 and 4.61 seconds from home to first.

Jackson Bronke, RHP/MIF, Normal, 2016
5-foot-9, 165-pound two-way player. Projects more on the mound. Delivery is up-tempo, regular effort. Arm action is loose quick arm speed, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight running action, 80-82 mph touches 83 mph. Throws two breaking balls, curveball has 11/5 shape, 62-66 mph. Slider has flatter action, throws from lower slot, 67-68 mph. . Defensively uses a short arm action from a high ¾ slot, showed occasional carry across the diamond, 78 mph. Showed the ability to play on the move, showed some body control, athletic arm action. Right handed hitter, closed stance, leg kick trigger, minimal lower half. Line drive type hitter, occasionally lunges, 82 mph exit velocity from the tee. Ran a laser timed 7.81 60.

Ricky Collins, MIF/RHP, Coal City, 2015
6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder/right-handed pitcher hits from an open setup, utilizes a leg kick.  Swing works uphill hitting several line drives to the opposite field during batting practice with 76 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, threw 71 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Ran a 7.76 60, 4.61 seconds from home to first.  On the mound, raises arm slot a bit to over-the-top, throwing slightly across his body.  Fastball sat 73-76 mph, 64-68 mph breaking ball was better out of the stretch with some lateral movement.  Changeup had cutting action at 68-70 mph. 

Colin Dearing, 3B, East Peoria, 2016
5-foot-10, 180-pound, left-handed hitting third-baseman. Defensively showed some body control on the infield, above average hands. Offensively hits from the left side, slightly closed stance, short stride. Strong swing, shows occasional pop, solid balance through contact. 78 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Jeremy Fischer, RHP/SS, Normal West, 2018
5-foot-8, 130-pound two-way player. Right-handed hitter, balanced stance, short stride, starts hands low. Opposite field contact, 68 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively plays with a longer arm action, over the top slot, 63 mph across the infield. 8.06 laser timed in the 60.

Matthew Inness, MIF, Avon, 2015
5-foot-10, 170-pound middle infielder, longer thin frame. Defensively played well on the move, well above average infield actions, mechanically sound, field out in front, plays through the baseball, excellent footwork. Arm plays loosely from a high ¾ arm slot, 74 mph across the diamond, occasional carry and accuracy. Right handed hitter, balanced stance, no stride approach, heel lift trigger. 72 mph exit velocity from the tee. 7.52 runner in the 60, laser timed.

Alex Larson, RHP/1B, Hononegah, 2016
6-foot-4, 185-pound left-handed hitting right-handed pitcher/first baseman with wide shoulders and projectable frame.  Hits from a wide setup, short stride, drops hands down and back to load, wraps barrel slightly, uphill bath path with pull tendencies produced 78 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, threw 73 mph across the diamond from long, high ¾ arm action with some accuracy.  On the mound utilized same arm slot, tall and fall delivery, shoulders work uphill, throws across body falling off towards first base side.  Fastball sat 77-79 mph with running action thrown for strikes.  62-65 mph breaking ball backed up at times with 11/5 shape.  Had more success throwing his breaking ball for strikes from the stretch position.  Ran a 7.97 60, 5.08 from home to first.

Michael O’Brien, MIF, Joliet Catholic, 2017
5-foot-3, 105-pound middle infielder. Defensively showed solid body control and softer hands, projects as a second base type, arm action is athletic and displayed a soft backhand. Arm plays at 66 mph across the diamond. Ran a 7.88 laser timed in the 60. Right handed hitter, slightly open stance, short stride. Showed feel for his barrel, athletic hands, sound path to the baseball, line drive approach, with the ability to spray the baseball. 69 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Brad Parsons, MIF, Hononegah, 2016
6-foot, 160-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder hits from a wide, balanced setup, slight leg kick trigger, hands held high load back smoothly, producing short, level bat path staying on top of the baseball.  Hit several line drives with an up the middle approach in batting practice.  Exit velocity at 78 mph off the tee.  Defensively, threw 71 mph across the infield from short, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Showcased average hands fielding the baseball with quick, clean exchanges.  Ran a 7.37 60 and 4.47 from home to first.

Reid Rector, 1B/LHP, Bloomington, 2018
6-foot-1, 145-pound left-handed hitting first baseman/left-handed pitcher impressed at the plate hitting from a balanced setup with a short, leg kick stride, with a short, level bat path producing 74 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 60 mph across the diamond from first from short, high ¾ arm action.  Ran a 7.44 60 and 4.75 seconds from home to first.  On the mound, utilized the same short, high ¾ arm slot, shoulders stay level throughout delivery, lower half stride direction stays in line with home plate, easy effort.  Arm action is clean, repeats delivery well and projects to throw harder in the future.  Fastball sat 64-67 mph with slight run, was underneath 52-56 mph curveball, but threw it for strikes from the stretch.  Showed feel for 60-61 mph changeup, throwing it for strikes with fade to his arm side.

Jake Rutkowski, 1B/RHP, Normal West, 2018 
6-foot-0, 150-pound  right-handed hitting first baseman/right-handed pitcher hits from a wide setup, no stride, hands start back already loaded, producing level bat path with 72 mph exit velocity. No stride and no hand movement/load limits momentum and rhythm in swing.  Defensively at first base, threw 61 mph across the diamond from long, high ¾ arm slot.  On the mound, utilizes same long, high ¾ arm slot, locks out arm at power position, shoulders stay level throughout delivery, lower half stride direction stays in line with home plate, lands closed at foot strike, rotating on front foot, slide steps out of the stretch.  Fastball sat 61-63 mph, curveball sat 48-50 mph, changeup 51-53 mph, and cutter with lateral movement sat 57-58 mph.

Kyler Stork, MIF, Normal West, 2016
6-foot-5, 180-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder hits from a balanced setup, drops hands when loading, swing is long, uphill bat path, with line drive/pull tendencies in batting practice.  Exit velocity off the tee was up to 83 mph.  Defensively, threw 65 mph across the infield with accuracy from ¾ arm slot.  Thanks to large frame may settle in at first base.  Ran a 7.33 60, and 5.65 seconds from home to first.

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