Prep Baseball Report

Chicago Preseason ID: Quick Hits

By: Drew Locascio and Peter Hamot

On Feb. 18, the PBR Illinois staff traveled to the Pullman Community Center in Chicago to host the Chicago Preseason ID. This event provided us an ample opportunity to check-in on some of the area’s top high school prospects and identify several new names to know as we prepare for the IHSA season, as well as future invite-only events on the PBR Illinois calendar.

Now, at the event’s conclusion, our staff will begin the post-event process by highlighting some of the day’s standouts in this Quick Hits piece. 

Here are a few names that caught our attention from this past Saturday’s event. 


+ RHP Jack Gianikos (Maine South) was arguably the most projectable 2026 arm in attendance. Gianikos sports a long, loose-limbed. 6-foot-2, 165-pound and loose, quick arm. He showed control of all three of his offerings, led by his low-80s fastball that plays clean and lively out of the hand with much more to come down the road. The curveball and slider have similar traits with above-average feel for both; his curveball showed late sweeping action, averaging 2140 rpm, 15.7 average inches of horizontal movement and has a chance to be an out-pitch moving forward.

+ RHP Henry Rouch (Evanston) emerged as a strong-armed uncommitted 2024 to know moving forward. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound, well-proportioned junior sat 88-90 mph with his fastball that averaged 2239 rpm and 16.1 inches of horizontal movement. He paired his firm, lively fastball with two above-average offspeed offerings; a 75-78 mph slider with 2213 average rpm, short late wrinkle and a low-80s changeup that played with fade and was in the strike zone 80% of the time. Another arm to keep tabs on for an Evanston club that won 21 games in 2022.

+ RHP Antwan Harvey Jr. (Lindblom) is an athletic unsigned senior who showed a quick arm and polished four-pitch mix at the event. Harvey Jr. touched 83.3 mph with his fastball but it was his advanced repertoire and feel to spin the baseball that caught our attention. Harvey landed all three of his secondaries for strikes and despite having similar velocities his slider and curveball both feature tight spin, action and two distinct shapes. Potentially more velocity to come for the wiry, athletic unsigned arm.

+ 2024 RHPs William Nazha (Barrington) and Luke Mejdrich (Hampshire) featured two of the better curveballs in attendance. Nazha’s curveball worked at 69-71 mph with sharp, tight spin (2491 average rpm), depth and action off an 11/5 plane with a chance to be a swing-and-miss offering moving forward. Nazha complimented his spin with a fastball that climbed up to 84 mph. Mejdrich has a strong, durable, 6-foot-1, 215-pound build and his 70-71 mph curveball featured similar tight, sharp action as Nazha’s. Mejdrich throws his curveball with conviction and arm speed averaging 2375 rpm while running his fastball up to 85.1 mph.

+ RHP Kenneth Jackson (Simeon, 2023) is a Southeastern CC commit with a long, loose arm and intriguing stuff. Jackson sat 82-85 mph and paired it with an upper-60s breaking ball and 69-72 splitter that featured tumbling action in all directions. Upside arm with more velocity to come down the road.

+ A couple of young 2026 arms who showed a feel for the mound and deserve a follow moving forward are Stephen Winkler (Mount Carmel), Nathan Cera (Maine South) and Dallan Krewatch (University of Chicago). All three worked their fastballs in the 70s and paired it with well above secondary offerings that have a chance to turn into go-to offerings down the road. 

+ RHPs Danny Johnson and Matthew Richert are two uncommitted 2024s from St. Ignatius to know from the event. Johnson has a 6-foot-2, 190-pound, broad-shouldered, well-proportioned frame with an easy, fluid operation on the mound with a feel for his three-pitch mix. Johnson sat 82-84 mph and threw a high-volume of strikes with all three pitches, including his low-70s slider that he landed in the zone 100% of the time. Richert has a 6-foot-4, 190-pound, upside frame and a fastball that sat 83-85 mph while throwing all of his offerings with conviction, especially his upper-70s changeup that gets late running action and an average of 14.9 inches of horizontal movement.

+ RHP Marcus Wolfe (University of Chicago Laboratory Schools) is another arm who has a feel for the mound and multiple pitches for strikes. Wolfe pumped the zone throughout with four pitches, led by a fastball that topped at 82.6 mph with late run and sink. Wolfe also flipped in a curveball and slider in the mid-60s as well as an upper-60s changeup that he kills spin on.

Position Players 

+ INF Brenden Beals (Barrington, 2023) came away one, if not the biggest winner from Saturday’s event. His size won’t blow you away, but there is clear athleticism within his 5-foot-8, 140-pound frame. At the plate, he starts with a wide/athletic setup, moving with a controlled toe-tap into a long stride. He creates some extension with his hands at footstrike before moving with controlled aggression and a flat/slightly uphill path through the zone - reaching up to 92.4 mph for his max exit velocity with a max distance of 348’. On the infield, Beals moves around with fluid and athletic footwork, playing through the ball in rhythm with soft hands. He ranged well laterally to both sides of his glove, easily transitioning into throws and maintaining body control throughout - reaching up to 77 mph across the diamond. Beals also tied for the fastest 60-time in the entire event - running a 6.88 on a track that notoriously gives slower than normal times. Beals is certainly an uncommitted prospect to know for any school looking to add an athletic middle-infielder with some sneaky pop. 

+ INF Luke Yolich (Whitney Young, 2025) was another standout infielder from Saturday’s event. Listed at 5-foot-8, 160-pounds with round shoulders, Yolich looks to have added on some good weight since our last look at him over the summer. Currently the No. 20 ranked player in Illinois’ 2025 class, Yolich initially stood out to our scouting staff this past spring/summer with his impressive ability to handle velocity and control the barrel throughout his at-bats. His BP round showed even further his maturity at the plate, working line-drives that favored the middle and opposite fields. His swing is simple and fluid, creating whip through the zone and taking pitches where they are thrown. His defensive round was also above-average; demonstrating a clear feel for the position with fluid footwork through the ball, soft hands and a quick/clean transfer. He moves well laterally with a quick first step, allowing him to cover ground to both sides of his glove easily. As a proven in-game performer, Yolich is a polished right-handed bat to know in the 2025 class. 

+ An intriguing young prospect from Saturday’s event is C/INF Peter Corthinos (Maine South, 2026). The 5-foot-7, 160-pound catcher/infielder is athletically built throughout his frame. At the plate, the right-handed hitter works with a fluid stroke that creates extension through contact, staying flat through the zone with looseness and the ability to repeat his swing. He put together one of the best defensive rounds behind the plate on the day, working with a quick/clean transfer and directional footwork out of the crouch to produce a pop-time as low as 2.07 seconds (T71 mph). He also showed well on the infield, showcasing quick/athletic footwork that plays through the ball to pair with steady hands and a quick arm (T79 mph). 

+ C/OF Ellis Alexander (Jones College Prep, 2025) turned some heads on Saturday with a strong all-around showing. Alexander is listed at 5-foot-10, 166-pounds with muscle attached and round shoulders, looking to have even more room for added physical development. The right-handed hitter is whippy through the zone with a line-drive approach, remaining on the barrel throughout his round of BP. Defensively, he showed quality receiving during ‘pens, presenting pitches in and around the zone with confidence while being a willing agile blocker on anything in the dirt. In the outfield, he’s an athletic mover with a bounce to his step, working with steady hands through the ball and reaching up to 80 mph from a crowhop.  

+ C Freddie Matvias (DePaul College Prep, 2025) popped up as an impressive defender behind the dish. Listed at 6-foot-1, 170-pounds, Matvias still has plenty of room to fill out in the coming years. His defensive round was one, if not the best on the day; working with extremely quick hands throughout his transfer, staying simple and directional out of the crouch to produce a pop-time as low as 1.93 seconds (T77 mph). At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a loose swing with uphill tendencies and upside and he continues to develop. 

+ An athletic outfielder to make note of is  Angel Mohammad (Taft, 2024). Mohammad started his day by cruising to an event-best 6.88 in the 60-yard dash (6.69 in the past). His athleticism is present throughout all aspects of his game, listed at a lean 6-foot, 165-pounds with upside. His right-handed swing has some twitch and whip in the barrel (avg. bat-speed of 74.5 mph; T81.2 mph), maintaining balance through contact and looking to control the barrel. In the outfield, Mohammad plays through the ball with steady hands, reaching up to 83 mph from a crowhop. 

+ A committed standout from the event is INF Dominic Jacoby (Taft, 2023; Spoon River commit). Currently ranked No. 243 in the state, the right-handed hitter stays short to the ball with bat-speed and extension through contact, staying flat through the zone and using a middle/pull approach throughout his round. His BLAST numbers were above-average; boasting an average hand-speed of 23 mph (T25.9 mph), average bat-speed of 69.1 mph (T77 mph) and average rotational acceleration of 17.7 (T23.6). Defensively, Jacoby has active/fluid footwork up to and through the ball, ranging easily to both sides of his glove. He secures the ball into his body with soft hands before moving into a quick/clean transfer, reaching up to 84 mph across the diamond. 

+ Already mentioned above for his showing on the mound, Dallan Krewatch (2026) also showed some intrigue at the plate. The right-handed hitter has a loose and whippy swing with upside, using the whole field throughout his round of BP. He also showed well defensively, utilizing soft hands and fluid footwork from both the infield and outfield, pairing it with a loose arm action. 

+ One of the louder bats in attendance was CIF Justin Butcher (Taft, 2024). Listed at 6-foot, 195-pounds, Butcher has a strong and durable frame with evenly proportioned strength throughout. The right-handed hitter works with a fluid rhythm at the plate, working with strong hands and an uphill path through the zone, remaining on the barrel with authority to his pull side throughout his round. On the infield, he has steady and reliable actions, reaching up to 85 mph across the diamond. 

+ A polished right-handed hitter to note is INF Diego Lugo (St. Laurence, 2024). Listed at a projectable 6-foot, 170-pounds, Lugo has a lean/athletic body that still holds room to add on strength. At the plate, the right-handed hitter utilized a controlled swing with a polished approach, using the whole field and keeping the ball primarily on a line. His actions on the infield are steady, using a two-hand gather to secure the ball into his body with active footwork and a clean transfer.

+ Recent Judson commit C Christian Martinez (Solorio, 2023) had a strong showing at Saturday’s event. The right-handed hitter has an athletic swing, moving with a fluid load into a flat path, keeping the ball on a line and using the whole field. He also was on the sweet-spot an eye-opening 100% of the time throughout his round per TrackMan. Behind the plate, Martinez produced a pop-time as low as 2.15 seconds (T76 mph). 

+ CIF Trey Blanchette (Kankakee, 2024) boasts plenty of raw strength within his right-handed bat, reaching up to 95.2 mph for his max exit velocity with an average of 84.6 mph. His BLAST data was extremely impressive; averaging 24.9 mph (T25.8 mph) for his hand-speed, 76.5 mph for his bat-speed (T80.1 mph) and 16.9 (T20.5) for his rotational acceleration. He worked with a line-drive approach at the plate, staying flat through the zone with aggression and intent in his swing. 

+ One of the best defensive rounds on the day came from INF Andrew Crenshaw (Lindblom, 2024). On the infield, Crenshaw showcased athletic footwork with a quick first step, playing through the ball with soft hands and a clean transfer. He ranges easily to both sides of his glove and has above-average speed (6.99 60-yard dash). His arm plays better than the radar gun reads (T75 mph), coming out of the hand with backspin and accuracy to his target. At the plate, the right-handed hitter utilizes a line-drive approach that works to the whole field. 

+ Two big right-handed hitters to make note of are 1B Jaden Franckowiak (Andrew, 2024) and CIF/RHP Christian Lott (Simeon, 2026). 

+ Franckowiak led the entire event in max exit velocity, reaching up to 102.1 mph with an average exit velocity of 91.2 mph (375’ max distance). He was routinely on the barrel throughout his round of BP, working with an uphill path through the zone and intent to lift the baseball. His BLAST metrics were also highly impressive, averaging 23 mph for his hand-speed (T24.7 mph), 75.8 mph for his bat-speed (T79.6 mph) and 19.7 for his rotational acceleration (T24.1). 

+ Lott, listed at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds with even more room to fill out, impressed with his simple, yet strong right-handed swing, remaining level through the zone and using his pull-side primarily. Lott also provides intrigue on the mound with an arm that plays from an over-the-top slot getting true four-seam action on his fastball with occasional ride through the zone. 

CLICK HERE for a full look at the Chicago Preseason ID event page.