Prep Baseball Report

Chicagoland Open: Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

For the seventh straight summer, the PBR Illinois team has ended its summer showcase circuit with the Chicagoland Open, an event open to all high school athletes that typically lends itself to a hefty roster to evaluate. With 100-plus in attendance last Sunday, our staff had its work cut out for us as many of these players earned some added recognition here today inside of our Quick Hits post.

We’re providing you with rapid analysis here today regarding prospects who performed well at Sunday’s event, so keep on reading below for our staff’s insight.


+ 2023 RHP Josh McDevitt (Effingham) looks to be the next in line of high-level arms to come out of Effingham HS. McDevitt has a well-proportioned 6-foot, 170-pound frame with strength throughout, loose, easy arm and the fastball showed lively finish and jump through the zone. Fastball sat mostly 85-87 mph with a median spin rate of 2,257 rpm. McDevitt also spun two different breaking balls; curveball was 69-71 mph with median spin rate of 2334 rpm and slider was 72-74 mph with median spin rate of 2,408 rpm. The changeup is also an above-average offering showing feel at the bottom of the zone at 77-79 mph. McDevitt is one of the top 2023 arms we have seen to-date in Illinois. 

+ 2025 INF Derrick Holmes (N/A) is one of the top 2025 prospects we have seen and will be one to watch as he gets into high school. He features all of the tools and fundamentals to be one of the top prospects in the class down the road. Holmes, a right-handed hitter, has athletic hands, was consistently on time and on the barrel. Holmes stays level through the zone and is in the hitting zone a long time. Defensively he showed plus hands on the infield with confident actions and clean, quick release and plenty of arm strength, especially for his age. High-level 2025 prospect.

+ RHP Joseph Swanson (Chaminade College Prep, MO, 2022) is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound, PBR first-timer, hails from the Peoria area but attends school in Missouri. Swanson is not yet polished but he features one of the livelier, high-ceiling arms we have seen in the class. Swanson topped at 89.4 mph according to TrackMan, sitting comfortably at 88 mph, with a max spin rate of 2,435 rpm. The slider was inconsistent but he flashed a couple good ones late in the bullpen with a max spin rate of 2,319 rpm. Swanson emerged as one of the stronger arms in the class and given his frame, arm speed and spin rates, there should be plenty more velocity to come.

+ Roger Simon (Loyola Academy, 2022) was known as a pitcher before this event. He left the event as one of the toolsiest uncommitted 2022 position players in the state. Simon, a right-handed hitter, has a 6-foot-2, 180-pound, high-waisted frame with present strength. Simon, who looks the part of a high-end right-fielder, has long easy strides and showed he is a plus runner with his 6.67 laser-timed 60. He showed fluid, athletic outfield actions and his arm carried at 87 mph. Offensively, he has advanced bat speed, uphill bat path and creates leverage to the pull-side. Simon ranked No. 3 at the event in average exit velocity off the bat at 90.27 mph during BP. Simon also ran his fastball up to 85 mph. Also, supposed to be a talented football player and track star. High-ceiling uncommitted 2022.

+ The top uncommitted 2021 arm in attendance may have been 6-foot-2, 170-pound, RHP Meade Johnson (Mattoon). Johnson has a clean, loose highly-athletic arm with the ability to spin the baseball at a high level. Johnson’s fastball comes out of his hand clean and easy with control of the zone at 84 mph, touching 85 (T86-87 mph during warmups) with seemingly much more in the tank. It was his curveball/slider combo that was the separator, with his curveball showing best on this day. The curveball works between 11/5 and 10/4 is thrown aggressively and flashed sharp, tight action with swing-and-miss potential. The median spin rate on the curveball is 2,525 rpm, according to TrackMan. Johnson also showed good extension at 6-foot-2 on the fastball. Johnson’s strong impression at his first-ever PBR event will most certainly make him one of the top newcomers in the soon-to-be released Class of 2021 Illinois rankings update. 


+ Case Sparks (Springfield, 2021) is a compact 5-foot-10, 165-pound, right-handed hitting catcher who had a solid overall day. Sparks has a repeatable, balanced swing with strong hands, feel for the barrel and made a lot of hard contact working gap-to-gap. Defensively, his arm works short, over-the-top and he recorded a low pop time of 2.05.

+ The top defensive catcher on the day looked to be Ryan Caccia (St. Charles North, 2022). Caccia’s pop times ranged from 1.94-2.01 and he topped at 79 mph from the crouch; throws played true with carry and were consistently on the second base bag. Highly-athletic and quick out of the crouch with natural catcher actions. Offensively, right-handed hitter with bat strength and stays short to the baseball. Caccia, who also ran a 6.93 60, has made big strides in his game since his last event in February. 


+ One of the top rounds of BP on the day belonged to OF Garrett Peters (Geneva, 2021), who was making his PBR debut. Peters is a 6-foot, 168-pound right-handed hitter who showed a simple, highly-repeatable swing and seemed to find the barrel with every swing. Peters has present bat speed, stays short and direct to the ball with fluid rhythm throughout. He averaged the fourth best average exit velocity off his bat during BP at 87.64 mph, according to TrackMan. The 6.84 runner showed off his athleticism in the outfield, playing light on his feet and playing through the baseball in stride. Peters topped at 84 mph from the outfield. Follow uncommitted 2021 outfielder.

+ 6-foot-1, 180-pound, left-handed hitting outfielder Zachary Stokes (Waubonsie Valley, 2021) had his most impressive PBR performance to-date. Stokes has trimmed his 60 time down to 6.88 and registered a personal-best exit velocity of 92 mph off a tee. Stokes most impressive portion of the event was his BP. Stokes swings with aggression and intent, staying level through the zone and creating advanced bat speed. Defensively, he showed natural outfield actions, topped at 85 mph and given the way his footspeed continues to improve, could potentially play all three outfield spots. 

+ Strong-bodied, 6-foot, 185-pound, OF Will Meyer (Maine South, 2021), has a simple swing with the ability to backspin the baseball to both gaps. Meyer registered a 95 mph exit velocity off the tee (second-best of the event) and ran a 7.13 laser-timed 60. Defensively, he moves around athletically, plays through the baseball and topped at 90 mph. Follow uncommitted 2021.

+ Another strong-bodied outfielder who took a noteworthy round of BP was Wilson Irvin (Lake Forest, 2021). The 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitter works uphill through the zone with strong hands and made a lot of hard pull-side contact. Defensively, he fits the mold of a corner infielder with steady hands and a long arm that plays over-the-top.

+ Another OF who filled up the stat line was Ryan DiGrazia (Waubonsie Valley, 2021). DiGrazia, listed at 6-foot-3, 185-pounds ran a 6.65 in the 60, was 92 mph off a tee, and topped 80 mph from the outfield.


+ INF Christopher LeCrone (Dunlap, 2021) grabs your attention thanks to his high-waisted, loose-bodied frame which is listed at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds. LeCrone, a right-handed hitter, has an athletic, hitterish look in the box with loose levers and a swing that stays short to the ball with minimal effort. Defensively, his frame may profile him best at third base and he showed reliable hands that could keep him on the infield. 

+ INF/RHP Gavin Parkerson (Armstrong) is a strong, athletic two-way prospect in the 2023 class. Parkerson swings with effort and aggression showing present bat speed, natural lift in swing and fluid rhythm at times. Parkerson recorded the top exit velocity of the event; 96 mph from a tee. Defensively, his 5-foot-10, 180-pound frame may continue to fill out which would profile him best at third base. On the mound Parkerson ran his fastball up to 85 mph, sitting 83-84 mph.

+ Another follow in the 2023 class should be Luke Perry (Mattoon) who had a strong showing in early June at the Underclass Trials. Perry has a 6-foot, 147-pound wiry frame and loose, upside actions on the infield. The right-handed hitter has loose, whippy hands, stays on top of the baseball and has the ability to backspin line-drives to all fields.

+ Downers Grove North product, Joe Chiarelli, is a projectable left-handed hitting infielder in the 2023 class. Chiarelli hits with fluid rhythm throughout, has loose, athletic hands, repeatable swing and sprayed hard line-drives to all fields. Defensively, he showed natural infield actions with fluid footwork and sure-hands. Follow 2023 left-handed hitting infielder.


+ An Illinois-Springfield commit, RHP Richie Snider (Springfield, 2021) immediately gets your attention thanks to his highly-athletic, 6-foot-6, 195-pound, upside frame. It did not stop there however, as Snider showed one of the livelier arms on the day, sitting comfortably at 88 mph, touching 89 with finish through the zone. The arm works long on the backside and extremely quick out front from a ¾ slot. Snider also showed an above-average changeup with angle and feel for the bottom of the zone. The curveball was inconsistent but the spin is present as he averaged 2,247 rpm, according to TrackMan. Snider is one of the more projectable arms in the class and helped his stock with his performance.

+ Ty Altenbaumer (2022) is yet another quality arm to come out of St. Joseph-Ogden, the 2A stalwart next door to Champaign. Altenbaumer, only a junior, has a lively arm and the fastball was jumping out of his hand at 83-85 mph with a median spin rate of 2,226 rpm. Altenbaumer also showed the makings of a three-pitch mix. A 2022 right-handed arm to follow moving forward. 

+ Lean, athletically-built, RHP Oliver Barkal (New Trier, 2022) sat 83-84 mph in his bullpen but his slider is a real out-pitch; thrown with confidence and aggression. The slider ranged between 72-76 mph, showing sharp spin, late biting action and wipeout potential.

+ Evan Eberle (Oak Park-River Forest, 2022) is a 6-foot, 165-pound, athletically-built right-handed pitcher with an upside arm. Eberle’s arm works long and over-the-top, quick and loose out front. The fastball comes out of the hands clean and gets sink and boring action at times, sitting 83-84 mph, touching 86.

+ William Applegate (Charleston) is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound, 2023 right-handed pitcher with above-average arm strength for his age. Applegate sat 80-81 mph, touching 83 with a maximum spin rate of 2102 rpm on his fastball. Applegate also showed feel at the bottom of the zone with his 71-72 mph changeup.

+ Hulking 6-foot-4, 223-pound RHP Connor Lutes (Libertyville, 2021) wields a four-pitch arsenal with feel. He showed separation for both a 12/6 curveball and 10/4 slider that feature different action. The curve has a deeper shape while the slider’s tighter spin and sharper action look like they can be more of an out-pitch. The fastball sits in the 83 mph, straight, again with feel.

+ RHP Joseph Martin (Newark, 2023) knows how to spin the baseball. A winner within his age group with the help of TrackMan, Martin averaged 2,100 rpm on his 80-82 mph fastball that worked well alongside a tighter curveball that nearly reached a spin rate of 2,200, a neat mark at his age and stage of development.

+ At 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, RHP Alex Day (Andrew) looks like a follow 2023 arm with upside. A tall-and-fall delivery with a pause at the bottom of his balance point, Day has a loose arm that generates some tilt off his fastball, that touched 80 mph. He also mixes in a slurve-y 11/5 breaking ball that works well off the fastball.