Class of 2024 Showcase: Quick Hits
October 11, 2022
On Sunday, October 9, PBR Illinois hosted the Class of 2024 Showcase at The MAX in McCook, Illinois. The event featured over 40 players from the 2024 class and gave our staff an in-depth look at a number of intriguing prospects within the state.
Today, we’ll begin breaking down the event’s highlights inside of this Quick Hits post. Stay tuned throughout this week as we continue to spotlight these ‘24s in additional analysis that on-site technology like TrackMan, Blast Motion, and Swift helped produce.
For now, here’s some of the day’s top performers, broken down by position players, two-ways and pitchers.
+ One of the top players in attendance on Sunday was OF Jalen House (Downers Grove South). Standing 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, House has a lean/athletic build with plenty of room for additional strength. He’s a well above-average athlete, leading the event with a 6.78 60-time (recording as low as 6.60 in the past). The L/L outfielder took one of the better rounds of BP on the day; staying short to the ball with bat-speed and flat path, using the middle and opposite fields with a max exit velocity of 93.7 mph. He put up some intriguing BLAST metrics as well; reaching up to 76.1 mph for his max bat-speed with a max rotational acceleration of 24.5. Defensively, House moves with fluid footwork and athletic actions, working with steady hands through the ball and a clean exchange. His arm played with life and carry from a high ¾ slot, reaching up to 83 mph from a crow-hop. High-follow L/L prospect with upside.
+ OF Brady Gilroy (Burlington Central) was another outfielder that had a strong showing on Sunday. 5-foot-9, 165-pound build, compact/athletic with round shoulders. The right-handed hitter has sneaky pop off the bat, reaching up to 93.5 mph for his max exit velocity (339’ max distance). He uses a line-drive approach at the plate, staying on the barrel up the middle of the field with quick hands. 6.99 runner in the 60-yard dash, his speed easily translates to the outfield; moving with clean/fluid footwork and soft hands through the ball (T84 mph OF). High-follow 2024 prospect.
+ As the only 2025 in attendance, C Collin Roche (Nazareth) fit right in with the older crowd. His frame is highly projectable and has gotten stronger since our last look, now standing 6-foot-1, 165-pounds. The right-handed hitter has a long/loose swing that stays flat through the zone, creating easy hand-speed and staying on the barrel up the middle. Defensively, Roche has quiet/confident hands that work to present the ball around the zone. Out of the crouch, his footwork is fluid and works in-line with second, moving with a clean transfer and producing a pop-time as low as 2.21 (T73 mph C). Upside 2025 prospect that has already started to show jumps in his game.
+ INF Ben Ford (Waubonsie Valley) made a loud statement in his PBR debut on Sunday. Standing 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Ford still has room to fill out within his lanky frame. The right-handed hitter works short to the ball with quick hands and a level path, creating line-drives up the middle of the field with a max exit velocity of 95.5 mph. He’s an above-average runner, recording a 6.95 in the 60-yard dash. Defensively, he moves with steady actions on the infield; using fluid footwork through the ball with reliable hands and a clean transfer (T81 mph INF).
+ One of the louder rounds of BP on the day came from OF Lucas Hicks (Westmont). Standing 5-foot-10, 185-pounds, Hicks has a strong build with evenly distributed strength throughout. The right-handed hitter led the event in exit velocity, reaching up to 96.1 mph with a line-drive approach to the whole field. His BLAST numbers were some of the best in-event as well; with a max hand-speed of 23.8, max bat-speed of 78.8 and average rotational acceleration of 16.3. He’s a steady defender in the outfield, moving with fluid footwork and soft hands through the ball (T84 mph OF).
+ One of the top catchers in attendance was Nicholas Franklin (Father McGivney). Franklin has an imposing frame, standing 6-foot-1, 225-pounds. At the plate, the right-handed hitter moves with a fluid rhythm; remaining flat through the zone with bat-strength and a middle/pull-side approach (93.3 max EV; 70.8 avg. bat-speed). Defensively, he’s a steady receiver of the baseball and moves with a clean transfer and direct footwork to second - reaching as low as 2.09 for his pop-time (T72 mph C).
+ OF Jordon Dumas (Grayslake Central) is an arrow up prospect that showed well on both sides of the ball Sunday. Standing 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, Dumas has a projectable build with plenty of room to fill out. At the plate, the right-handed hitter reached up to 91 mph for his max exit velocity; working loose/quick through the zone and creating hand separation at footstrike. Defensively, his actions are reliable with steady hands and a clean transfer. His arm played on target, reaching up to 82 mph from a crow-hop.
+ One of the more intriguing prospects in attendance was INF/RHP Clay Gadbois (Kankakee). Standing 6-foot-3, 170-pounds, Gadbois has an upside build with present athleticism. The right-handed hitter works with a fluid rhythm at the plate, working flat through the zone with loose arms and a whippy barrel, reaching up to 91.6 mph for his max exit velocity. On the mound, the right-hander is an athletic mover, working with a high leg-kick into balance point before transitioning into a fall/fall lower-half, striding long to the plate while remaining in-line. His arm is loose throughout its circle and plays from a high ¾ slot. Gadbois ran his fastball in the 82-83 mph range throughout his ‘pen, spinning between 2,300-2,400 (T2455 RPM). His curveball sat 67-68 mph, playing with downer 11/5 shape. His final offering was a fading changeup at 74-76 mph.
+ RHP/OF Braden Vanderheydt (Washington) had a strong showing on both sides of the ball this past Sunday. Standing 6-foot-4, 178-pounds, Vanderheydt has all sorts of upside and projection in his wiry frame. His arm proved to be plenty strong from each position he went to, reaching up to 82.5 mph on the mound and 84 mph from the outfield. He’s a clean mover on the mound, working into a slightly coiled balance point with a high leg-kick, maintaining a bend in the back knee throughout his stride. His breaking ball has potential, playing with tight 11/5 shape and flashing sharp action at 64-67 mph. His final two offerings were a slight fading changeup at 66-70 mph and a knuckleball with killed spin, 62-65 mph. At the plate, the right-handed hitter had a long/loose swing, working uphill through the zone and reaching up to 89.1 for his max exit velocity.
+ INF/RHP Joe Stellano (Reed Custer) showed well for himself in multiple aspects on Sunday. 5-foot-10, 160-pounds with room to fill out. The right-handed hitter has a simple stroke at the plate, looking to put the ball on a line to the whole field. On the infield, Stellano has reliable actions with soft hands and fluid footwork, reaching up to 82 mph across the diamond. Moving over to the mound, the right-hander moves with a fluid tempo throughout his operation; starting with a high/athletic leg-lift into balance point before dropping slightly into his back knee down the mound, remaining in-line with the plate. His arm plays long and loose out of the glove into a high ¾ slot. He showed feel for all three of his pitches, starting with a heavy sinking fastball that sat 80-81 mph, topping out at 82 mph. He then went to a sharp 10/4 slider at 71-73 mph and a fading changeup, 75-77 mph.
+ 1B/RHP Lance Kiesewetter (Henry Senachwine) is listed at a physical 6-foot-4, 230-pounds. On the mound, the right-hander moves into a medium leg-lift before working with a tall/fall lower-half down the mound, striding in-line with the plate. His arm works long out of the glove and plays from a high ¾ slot. His fastball possesses above-average induced vertical break, maxing out at 20.9 with an average IVB of 18.9, 81-83 mph. His curveball plays with tight 11/5 action, 70-73 mph with some feel for the zone. His final two offerings were a straight changeup at 74-75 mph and fading splitter at 70-71 mph. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a strong right-handed swing, remaining loose throughout the operation with a whole-field approach. At first-base, he has some feel for the position with steady actions and quick footwork around the bag.
+ One of the biggest winners on the mound from Sunday was RHP Nick Bestrick (Sandburg). 5-foot-10, 175-pounds with an athletic build. The right-hander works with a controlled tempo throughout his delivery; coiling into balance point before moving into a drop/drive lower-half, striding in-line with the plate. His arm is short of the glove and plays from a high ¾ slot; creating a fastball up to 86.8 mph, sitting right at 86 mph throughout his entire ‘pen with a max IVB of 19.4. He showed some feel for both his breaking balls; with the curveball sitting at 71-73 mph and playing with 11/5 downer shape. While his slider sat 74-75 mph with shorter 10/4 action.
+ RHP Jack Wilson (New Trier) is listed at 5-foot-11, 183-pounds. He’s a clean mover on the mound; moving with a strong lead hip before dropping into his back knee, striding in-line down the mound. He uses a clean arm-circle out of the glove, playing into a high ¾ slot. Wilson’s fastball sat right in the 80-81 mph range, topping out at 82 mph with slight running action to his arm-side. He showed feel for both his breaking balls, with the first being a sharp 11/5 curveball at 68-70 mph. His second breaking ball was a 10/4 slider at 69-71 mph, backing up on him at-times but flashing sharp action. His final offering was a 76-77 mph changeup, thrown with intent and fade to his arm-side.
+ An upside arm from Sunday is RHP Chris Danko (York). Listed at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, Danko still has a lot of room for added strength as he continues to develop. The wiry right-hander moves with a medium leg-lift into balance point, maintaining a slight bend in his back-knee while striding down the mound. His arm plays long and loose out of the glove from a high ¾ slot, producing a fastball in the 82-83 mph range with life through the zone and slight running action. He went to two breaking balls throughout his ‘pen; the first being a downer 11/5 curveball at 64-65 mph and the second being a tight 10/4 slider with feel for the zone, 67 mph. His final offering was a knuckle ball at 63-66 mph, killing spin and landing for some strikes.
+ RHP Eli Travis (Oak Park River Forest) displayed a fastball/curveball combination that has potential with improved command. The right-hander worked his fastball right at 80-82 mph and paired it with a sharp downer curveball, 62-65 mph (T2554 RPM).
+ RHP Joshua Caccia (St. Charles North) is listed at a projectable 5-foot-11, 165-pounds and he put together a high-upside ‘pen on Sunday. Working out of the stretch only, Caccia features an uptempo delivery paired with a short, stabby arm action into a low ¾ slot that creates some funk to his delivery. His fastball plays with life and run through the zone and averages 2,309 rpm. As for his offspeeds, Caccia features both a slider and curveball that both profile somewhat the same but nonetheless both of these breaking balls play with sharp, late life and they both have the potential to be an out pitch as this young arm progresses. To round out his four-pitch mix, Caccia has developing feel for a changeup that flashed some arm side run.