Day Two MLB Draft Analysis: Illinois Prospects Taken In Rounds 3-10

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Day two of the 2015 MLB Draft saw several players with Illinois’ ties selected in rounds three through ten. Today we’ll take a look at the prospects selected, while also reflecting back on their prospect status several years ago. With the culmination of the Draft today, tomorrow we will have in-depth analysis on all the selections in rounds 11-50 with Illinois ties.

Top Ten Round MLB Draft Picks

+ Bryan Hudson, LHP, Alton, 2015
Bryan HudsonHudson was the first Illinois high schooler selected, going to the Chicago Cubs in the 3rd round with the 82nd overall pick. The 6-foot-8 lefthander went 10-2 this season for the Redbirds, with an astounding 152 strikeouts in 70.1 innings pitched. He tallied five shutouts with a 0.50 ERA, holding opponents to a .138 average, and a 0.90 WHIP, while walking only 29. The Missouri commit impressed this spring with an 88-91 mph fastball, topping at 93, paired with one of the drafts better breaking balls from the left side, a late breaking upper 70’s curveball that he’s showed advanced feel for both in and out of the zone.

+ Paul DeJong, C/INF, Illinois State (Antioch HS), 2011
Little was known about the 6-foot-1, 197-pound C/INF coming out of Antioch HS in Illinois. In fact, DeJong wasn’t in the PBR rankings, redshirted as a freshman at Illinois State, then had a breakout sophomore campaign where he hit .349 with nine home runs. He continued the success into the summer by breaking the Northwoods League home run record with 20. This spring, before a thumb injury ended his season early, DeJong hit .333 with 14 homers and 15 doubles for the Redbirds. He was selected in the 4th round by the Cardinals with the 131st pick of the draft.

+ Kevin Duchene, LHP, Illinois, Joliet Catholic, 2012
Kevin DucheneDuchene was named First Team PBR All-State in 2012. Let’s take a look at his final HS year:

No pitcher was more dominant this season than Duchene. The University of Illinois recruit carved up top-ranked opponents all spring, helping the Hilltoppers climb to No. 1 in the state for a period of time and win the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Duchene works both sides of the plate with three pitches, in any count, including an 86-89 mph fastball. Exactly how dominant was Duchene? Well, he yielded only one earned run in 51 innings for a 0.14 ERA. He struck out 95, walked nine and had a remarkable WHIP of 0.61. His perfect 8-0 record included victories over state powers Marist, Plainfield North, Lockport, Carmel, and Lemont to name a few.

The Illini ace continued his winning ways in college, going 24-4 over a three-year career, capping it off with an 11-2 junior year while leading Illinois to the NCAA Super Regional. Duchene was selected in the fifth round by the Oakland Athletics with the 158th pick in the draft. The crafty lefty, known to professional scouts as one of the best strike throwers in college baseball, will take his four-pitch mix into professional baseball fresh off the Illini’s record breaking season.

+ Blake Hickman, RHP, Iowa (Simeon Career Academy), 2012
Blake HickmanWith the 202nd overall pick in the seventh round the Chicago White Sox selected RHP Blake Hickman from Iowa. A converted catcher with only a year of pitching under his belt, Hickman impressed as the Hawkeye’s ace, going 9-2 with a 2.99 ERA, limiting opponents to a .215 average, allowing only 66 hits in 84.1 innings pitched. Hickman, known his high school for his strong arm behind the plate, has reached the mid 90’s with his fastball. Let’s take a look at Hickman’s scouting report from his Simeon days:

Since eighth grade, Hickman has been earmarked as a top-level prospect. Despite the considerable hype surrounding him, Hickman has flourished. Blessed with an incredibly projectable frame, Hickman possesses a top-level arm behind the plate – as he has proved at nearly every national event over the last two years. Hickman’s body-type and arm strength alone have put him on every pro scout radar. Hickman, who has been a starter at Simeon since his freshman year, has a fundamentally sound swing at the plate. The Chicago Public League hasn't seen a prospect as promising as Hickman in a long time. With an athletic frame and overall excellent athleticism, Hickman has the tools to be a premier catching prospect in the country. Hickman possesses a plus arm behind the dish and has quick hands and raw ability at the plate. ... Older brother Christian, a 2009 grad, is a shortstop at Southern University.

+ Ryan Hinchley, LHP, Illinois-Chicago (York HS), 2011
Ryan HinchleyThe senior southpaw out of UIC had an up-and-down career for the Flames, but excited scouts this spring running his fastball up to 96 mph out of the pen. Hinchley flourished in the closer’s role in 2015, posting 10 saves and striking out 50 in 37 innings pitched, posting a 3.89 ERA. The lefthander was selected in the 9th round by his hometown Chicago White Sox with the 262nd pick of the draft. Let’s take a look at Hinchley’s scouting report from before his senior year of high school:

Committed to University of Illinois-Chicago unknown heading into a December Prep Baseball Report junior showcase, Hinchley quickly became a prospect to pay close attention to, as the athletic left-hander opened eyes with an easy 87-88 mph fastball that topped out at 90. He also showed feel for a curveball and changeup. Not long after, Hinchley gave a verbal to Kentucky, from where he has since decommitted. Although he didn’t have a strong junior campaign, he showed over the winter that he definitely has the potential for continued success.

+ Kevin Kaczmarski, OF, Evansville (Prairie Ridge HS), 2010
Kevin KaczmarskiThe speedy Kaczmarski was selected in the 9th round by the New York Mets, the last prospect with Illinois ties to be selected on day two within the top ten rounds. Kaczmarski led the Purple Aces in every offensive category in 2015, hitting .465, with 19 doubles, nine triples, five home runs, and 57 RBI. Let’s take a look at Kczmarski’s short scouting report from 2010:

6.50 runner in the 60, Committed to Evansville ... LHH flat-out flies (34 stolen bases on the year) and hits (.428 BA, 3 HR, 7 2B, 3 3B)...One of class's fastest athletes: runs, consistent sub-4 home to first from left side

----2014 IL Scout Blog Slide - 2014ILScoutBlogSlide.jpg