Central Illinois Open: Pitcher Analysis



By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The top five pitching prospects from the Central Illinois Open offer a variation of pitching styles. Karson Aherin (2017) is a projectable left-handed pitcher that showed potential for a puls breaking ball and took home the top honors. Johnny Sanchez (2016), ranked second, is a thick-bodied right-hander with a live fastball. James Raffauf (2017), ranked fourth, is a long and lean right-handed pitcher that flashed the ability to throw four pitches for a strike.

Listed below is a list of the top five pitching prospects from the event.

Top Pitching Prospects

1. Karson Aherin, LHP, Glenwood, 2017
Long projectable frame, 6-foot-4, 175-pound left-handed pitcher, plenty of room to fill out and carry additional strength. Delivery works directionally, lands squared with athletic finish. Arm action is short and loose, quick arm projects well, high ¾ slot. Fastball showed slight running action, 77-79 mph, showed some control. Slider has proper rotation and flashes biting action, lacked control but showed dynamic swing and miss action, two plane break, 67-68 mph, potential out pitch. Straight changeup flashed arm side action once, fastball arm speed, 70-72 mph. Good follow in the 2017 class.

2. Johnny Sanchez, 3B/RHP, Rockford Lutheran, 2016
Strong lower-half 5-foot-10, 195-pound right-handed hitting infielder and pitcher. On the mound the right-handed pitcher featured some arm strength. Registered the highest velocity of the event, 86 mph. Fastball had late life, sitting 84-85 mph and touched 86. Deliberate delivery with some rhythm. Short-arm action, over-the-top slot and some effort. Curveball thrown for strikes, 11/5 action, 70-71 mph. Change-up featured inconsistent action ranging 73-77 mph. One flashed arm-side-run and slight sink. Interesting arm that is currently uncommitted in the 2016 class. Offensively, strength through contact, evidenced by one of the better exit velocities of the event, 90 mph. Flashed a quick bat at times with a level bat path through the zone. Balanced, tall setup, no load and short stride. Gap-to-gap type hitter. Defensively, arm strength across the infield, carry and a true flight on his throws. Short-arm action, high ¾ slot, with some accuracy. Clocked at 82 mph across the infield.

3. Braydon Weber, RHP, East Peoria, 2017
6-foot-3, 190-pound right-handed pitcher. Delivery has some effort, slightly collapsed back side, squared landing. Arm action is short, high ¾ slot, clean arm. Fastball is mostly straight, four seam action, 78-80 mph. Curveball has 12/6 type action, 68-70 mph, flashed good action. Slider showed more lateral break, sweep, 72-74 mph. Changeup has some sink, occasionally pulls it, 75-76 mph.

4. James Raffauf, RHP/OF/INF, Marian Central Catholic, 2017
Projectable, lanky 6-foot-2, 155-pound right-handed hitter and pitcher. On the mound showed projectability and throws four pitches for a strike. Deliberate windup, repeatable, with some effort and rhythm. Over-the-top lot, short-arm action, quick and loose arm. Fires off towards first base on his finish.  Threw a heavy fastball for strikes, 78-80 mph. Slider was firm, with feel at 70-71 mph, with two-plane action. Curveball has 12/6 action, occasionally backed up, 65-67 mph. Plus feel for his change-up, fastball arm speed, sitting 71-73 mph. Offensively, short, level bat path through the zone. Wide, closed and balanced setup. Slight pre-pitch load, short stride and average balance through contact. Opposite field approach during batting practice. Registered an exit velocity of 78 mph. Defensively, worked out on the infield and outfield. Handled both positions effectively. Quick and fluid footwork on both the infield and outfield. Played through the baseball, clean exchange from the outfield. Long arm action, over-the-top slot and clocked at 78 mph with slight carry from the outfield. On the infield flashed plus feet on his exchange. Reliable hands and clocked at 75 mph across the infield.

5. Nathaniel Jones, RHP, Normal Community, 2017
6-foot, 180-pound right-handed pitcher, large build. Delivery works with tempo and direction. Arm plays from a ¾ slot, short draw down out of the glove. Showed pitchability with two pitches. Fastball features arm side run, 76-78 mph with both two-seam and four-seam fastballs, showed the ability to pound the zone. Curveball plays like a slurve, works best on sweeping 10/4 plane from ¾ arm slot, 64-67 mph. 

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Aidan Cossio, 3B/RHP, Bloomington, 2016
Strong, well-proportioned 6-foot, 195-pound right-handed hitting infielder and pitcher. Connected on a home-run in batting practice. Plus strength through contact. Does not get cheated at the plate. Quick bat with pull-side power. Balanced stance, leg-kick trigger, long uphill path. 83 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Defensively, in the infield flashed an above-average arm with carry and true ball. Long-arm action, over-the-top slot, clocked at 81 mph across the infield. On the mound the right-handed pitcher flashed a curveball with good depth and spin. 12/6 action, fastball arm speed, good feel, 65-66 mph. Mixed a four-seam and two-seam fastball. Two-seam fastball showed slight run and sink. Fastball sat 78-80 mph and touched 81. Change-up flashed inconsistent action, cutting occasionally. Featured one plus change-up, with run and sink. Change-up ranged between 73-76 mph.

Peyton Dillingham, SS/RHP, Normal West, 2017
Solidly built, strong 5-foot-10, 175-pound right handed hitting infielder and pitcher. Offensively, he impressed with one of the better exit velocities of the event, 86 mph. Strong swing, with a lot of upper body involvement. Balanced setup, slight pre-pitch rhythm in hands and a short stride. Linear lower half at times. Defensively, athletic fielding position, hands out front and good body control. Long-arm action, high ¾ slot with accuracy and carry. Clocked at 80 mph across the diamond. On the mound flashed repeatable delivery and feel for both of his off-speed offerings. Operates with a quick, clean arm action and high ¾ slot. On-line direction, square landing and athletic finish. Fastball ranged between 75-79 mph, touching 80, sneaky life. His best secondary offering looked to be his change-up. Good feel, slight fade, 66-69 mph. Also, featured a curveball with 11/5 action, thrown with near fastball arm speed, sitting 61-64 mph.

Kevin Duffy, 2B/RHP, Pontiac, 2017
5-foot-9, 110-pound smaller build right-handed hitting second-basemen and right-handed pitcher. Offensively, starts from a balanced setup, short stride. Registered a 68 mph exit velocity. Defensively, has a short arm action, from a ¾ slot. Clean exchange and showed some accuracy across the diamond, 66 mph. On the mound the right-hander operated from a high ¾ slot, short arm action and some rhythm throughout the delivery and lands square. Fastball ranged between 68-72 mph with some arm-side-run. Curveball had 10/4 action, 57-60 mph. Change-up sat 67-70 mph.

Owen Ericson, RHP, Normal West, 2016
Slender build, lanky frame, 6-foot-1, 140-pound right-handed pitcher. Works fast, slightly rotational delivery, finishes to first base side. Arm action is loose, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight run to arm side, 79-80 mph. Curveball has sweeping action, 10/4 plane, gradual action, showed feel for the zone, 57-59 mph. Straight changeup sat 72-73 mph.

Josh Fuchs, RHP, New Berlin, 2016
5-foot11, 155-pound right-handed pitcher, average lean frame. Tall and fall delivery, works directionally, squared landing. Short arm action works from the ear, showed arm speed, high ¾ slot. Fastball is mostly straight, slight action, 79-81 mph. Curveball flashed action, showed slight feel, occasional 12/6, 68-71 mph. Straight change played at 68-73 mph.

Chase Hacker, 1B/OF/LHP, Normal West, 2018
Lanky 5-foot-11, 150-pound right-handed hitting first-baseman, outfielder and left-handed pitcher. Offensively, starts from a tall, closed and balanced setup. Slight pre-pitch load, short stride and a linear lower half. Long and level bat path through the hitting zone and average balance throughout contact. Defensively, worked out at first base and in the outfield. In the outfield plays through the baseball, throws from a ¾ arm slot and long-arm action. Clocked at 70 mph from the outfield. On the infield the left-handed thrower, fields tall with average hands. Throws from the same ¾ arm slot that he showed in the outfield. 67 mph across the infield. On the mound operates with a long-arm action, tall and fall delivery. Online, square landing with an upright finish. Fastball sat 70-71 mph. Curveball ranged between 55-61 mph. Change-up was 55-57 mph.

Tyler Joaquin, OF/RHP, Normal West, 2018
Athletic build 5-foot-10, 160-pound right-handed hitting outfielder and pitcher. Offensively, short bat path through the hitting zone. Linear lower half. Balanced open stance, leg-lift trigger. Exit velocity registered 72 mph off of a tee. Defensively, quick, fluid footwork and plays through the baseball. Short-arm action from an over-the-top slot, clocked at 73 mph. On the mound the right-hander has some rhythm throughout the delivery. Drop and drive type pitcher, short-arm action with in-line, square and athletic finish. Fastball ranged between 69-72 mph. Curveball featured 12/6 action, thrown with fastball arm speed, sitting 55-60 mph. Change-up had some feel, mainly located underneath the zone, 63-64 mph.

Zack Jones, LHP/1B, Normal West, 2018
Athletically built 6-foot-1, 185-pound well-proportioned, left-handed hitting first baseman and pitcher. Offensively, loads hands back pre-pitch. Level bat path through the hitting zone. Tall setup, short stride. Registered an exit velocity of 79 mph. Defensively, the left-handed first baseman featured a clean exchange. Short-arm action from an over-the-top slot with some accuracy. Clocked at 63 mph on the infield. On the mound, throws similarly to what he showed on the infield, high ¾ slot and short-arm action. Best pitch appeared to be his curveball, flashing good feel and pretty tight spin with some depth. 12/6 action and ranged between 65-69 mph. Fastball worked 72-74 mph, touching 75. Change-up sat 68-72 mph with slight fade.

Cooper Patterson, RHP, Harrisburg, 2017
6-foot, 155-pound right-handed pitcher, lean athletic frame. Tall and fall delivery with easy effort, stays in line, squared landing to balanced finish. Arm action is long, over the top slot. Fastball sat 76-77 mph, with slight arm side run, showed control of the zone. Curveball has depth, 12/6 action, showed some feel with the ability to drop for strikes, 67-69 mph. Changeup has occasional sinking action, 72-74 mph, thrown with arm speed.

Bill Pospisil, RHP/3B/C, Pomona, 2019
Athletic and versatile 5-foot-8, 170-pound right-handed hitter and pitcher. Ran one of the better 60 yard dashes at the event, 7.26. Offensively, incorporates his lower half into his swing. Closed, tall setup and a short, toe-tap trigger. Flattens bat during his pre-pitch load. Long, uphill bat path through the zone. Exit velocity registered 78 mph. Defensively, worked out as an infielder and a catcher. On the infield, flashed clean transfer and good feet on the play in the hole. High ¾ arm slot with average hands. Clocked at 71 mph across the infield. As a catcher recorded pop times ranging from 2.29-2.36. Velocity from behind the plate was clocked at 71 mph. On the mound the 2019 graduate sat 76-78 mph with his fastball, flashing slight run and thrown for strikes. Curveball featured 10/4 shape, sitting 66-68 mph. Also, mixed in a change-up, near fastball arm speed, ranging between 64-67 mph.

Brandon Roth, 2B/RHP, Normal West, 2019
Lean build 5-foot-9, 130-pound infielder and right-handed pitcher. Offensively, some rhythm in hands throughout swing. Wide, closed setup. Slight pre-pitch load to his backside. Long stride, leg-kick trigger. Recorded a 73 mph exit velocity. Defensively, flashed solid hands in the infield and a clean exchange. Short-arm action, high ¾ slot and some accuracy. Clocked at 69 mph across the infield. On the mound the right hander throws from a high ¾ arm slot. Up-tempo delivery, level shoulders, on-line direction. Fastball sat 66-69 mph. Curveball, thrown with fastball arm speed, 11/5 action ranging between 52-56 mph. Change-up was 58-61 mph.

Maxwell Rumpf, 3B/RHP, Peoria Richwoods, 2017
Athletically built 5-foot-11, 175-pound right-handed hitting infielder and pitcher. Offensively, hits from a balanced, slightly closed setup. Pre-pitch rhythm and load. Level bat path through the zone and generates some bat speed. Inconsistent use of the lower half in swing. Defensively, short-arm action from a high ¾ slot and some accuracy. Clean, quick exchange. Clocked at 73 mph across the infield. On the mound the right-handed pitcher has a loose, clean arm. Ability to repeat his delivery consistently. High ¾ arm slot, regular effort and smooth rhythm. On-line delivery, square landing and an upright finish. Fastball was 75-76 mph, up in the zone at times. Feel for his curveball, 11/5 shape ranging between 62-65 mph. Change-up had inconsistent action, with cutting actions at times, 67-70 mph. When good, flashed some sink.

Bryson Swift, SS/RHP, Pekin, 2018
Lean build 5-foot-9, 140-pound shortstop and right-handed pitcher. Ran the best 60 yard dash of the event, 7.17, above average for his age. Offensively, flashed a level bat path through the zone. Tall, open setup, toe tap stride. Pull-side approach during batting practice. 77 mph exit velocity. Defensively, body control going to his left and right. Short arm action, high ¾ slot. Clocked at 68 mph across the infield. On the mound, right-handed pitcher, on-line direction, square landing and athletic finish. High ¾ slot, short-arm action and regular effort in delivery. Fastball ranged between 74-76 mph. Feel for curveball, featured 11/5 shape and sat 59-62 mph. Change-up worked from 67-69 mph.

Evan Warrington, RHP/OF, Sacred Heart-Griffin, 2018
Athletically built 5-foot-11, 150-pound well-proportioned right-handed hitting outfielder and pitcher. Has a future on the mound. Throws three pitches for a strike and showed good feel for his off-speed. Flashed quick-arm speed, smooth rhythm and a repeatable delivery. High ¾ arm slot, short-arm action, square, in-line and athletic finish. Fastball sat 75-76 mph, touching 77. Ability to spin the baseball, with feel, working his curveball 11/5 with some depth. Curveball ranged between 59-61 mph. Also showed good feel for his change-up, pounding the bottom of the zone, 69-70 mph. Offensively, short, level bat path through the hitting zone. Pre-pitch rhythm that he maintains through contact. Starts from a balanced stance, smooth deep load and a short, toe-tap stride. Incorporates lower half into swing. Registered an exit velocity of 77 mph. Defensively, short-arm action, high ¾ slot, with accuracy in his throws, 79 mph from the outfield. Ran a 7.89 60 yard dash.

Kyle Werries, 3B/RHP, Glenwood, 2018
Big bodied 5-foot-9, 175-pound right-handed hitting infielder and pitcher. Projects well as a right-handed pitcher. Smooth, slow-paced delivery that is very repeatable. On-line delivery, square landing and athletic finish. Big, balanced leg-lift. Over-the-top slot, clean, short-arm action. Regular effort in his delivery. Fastball, when located down in the zone, had some tilt, ranging between 74-77 mph, touching 78. Feel for his curveball which worked mostly 11/5, quality spin, depth, sitting 62-65 mph. Change-up had inconsistent action but when good had sink, fade and was down in the zone, 63-65 mph. Offensively, bat stays flat through the hitting zone. Some pop in bat to the pull side. Balanced, tall stance, pre-pitch load onto his back side. Short stride, long path, with early rhythm. 76 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Defensively, flashed reliable hands on the infield with a clean exchange. Short arm action, over-the-top slot and some accuracy, clocked at 70 mph.

Ben Williamson, 3B/RHP, Blue Ridge, 2016
5-foot-11, 165-pound athletically built right handed hitting third baseman and right-handed pitcher. Offensively, simple swing, with an uphill path. Crouched, wide stance, loaded hands back pre-pitch and utilized a leg-lift trigger. Registered an 82 mph exit velocity. Defensively, flashed good body control and the arm plays from the left side of the infield. Long arm action, high ¾ arm slot with carry across the infield. Clocked at 83 mph on the infield. On the mound the right-handed pitcher operated from the same high ¾ slot he had on the infield. Slow, deliberate delivery, extremely repeatable and quick arm. Ability to throw all four of his offerings for a strike. Fastball sat 79-80 mph, touching 81. Plus feel for his change-up, down in the zone, worked at 70-74 mph. Curveball and slider had similar action. Curveball featured 11/5 shape, sweeping action and ranged between 64-66 mph. Slider flashed sharper action and spin, 11/5 shape, sitting 66-67 mph. Showed feel for both breaking balls.

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