Prep Baseball Report

Central Illinois Open: Top Overall Prospects

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Central Illinois event took place once again this summer at Normal West High School, in Normal, Illinois. For the culmination of the Central Illinois Open recap, our scouting staff got together and ranked the top five prospects from the event. Four of the five ranked prospects are 2017 graduates. Karson Aherin and Evan Fairfield, both 2017’s, were first time participants to PBR events and found themselves in the new 2017 Illinois rankings following the event.


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. Ryan Poland, OF, Normal University, 2017
Compact 5-foot-7, 165-pound right-handed hitting outfielder. Had the highest exit velocity of the event, 92 mph. Offensively, quick hands and bat speed. Balanced, athletic set up. Smooth, deep pre-pitch load onto his backside and hands get into a powerful position to hit. Leg-kick trigger with good balance throughout contact. Long, uphill bat path with a gap-to-gap approach. Defensively, recorded one of the best velocities from the outfield at the event, 83 mph. Quick, fluid footwork and plays through the baseball when fielding. Short-arm action, over-the-top slot with carry on his throws. Also, ran a 7.18 60 yard dash.

3. 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.

4. Evan Fairfield, SS, Dunlap, 2017
Lean 5-foot-10, 148 pound right-handed hitting shortstop stood out as one of the best infield prospects at the event. Offensively, loose, quick hands and flashed a quick bat. Balanced, athletic setup and smooth pre-pitch load. Line-drive hitter, short path to the baseball. 79 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Defensively, impressed in many areas from the shortstop position, leading one to believe he could stick there at the next level. Above-average lateral agility and fluid footwork. Soft hands, quick and clean transfer. Short, whippy, loose arm, with carry, clocked at 81 mph across the infield.

5. 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.


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