Grand Park Fall Championship: Illinois Takeaways
September 20, 2023
Each year, PBR Tournaments’ Grand Park Fall Championships kicks off the fall season with a one-stop shop recruiting buffet at the pristine confines that is Grand Park outside of Indianapolis. The event, which features teams from the Midwest across each of the four high school classes, overlaps with the prestigious Puma Classic, a junior college tournament that brings in recruiters from all across the country. This year, more than 200 college coaches and professional scouts were in attendance in hopes of finding future impact players and prospects.
Our PBR Illinois staff was on hand to catch as much of the action as possible, but seeing everything was not a reality for this event.
Below is news and notes on all of the prospects that stood out to us over the course of the event.
The top prospect in the Illinois’ 2025 class, LHP Jack Bauer (Lincoln-Way East), took the mound on Saturday for Top Tier Americans 2025. Bauer showed much of what we have become accustomed to seeing; premier arm talent with electric stuff. The overall polish and control for the Virginia commit continues to develop but his fastball sat comfortably in the low-90s, topping at 92 mph, while playing with all kinds of life and jump through the zone. The control was scattered some on this look but when it was in the zone, he was getting a number of uncomfortable, late swings. He also continues to improve the action and upside to his slider. He is still developing the consistent feel to land the pitch in the zone but the intent and spin have ticked up considerably over the past year-or-so. He is now throwing his slider at 80 mph with 2700+ rpm and when it's right it flashes late, tight sweeping action that has all the makings of a wipeout offering down the road. Will be pitching at the inaugural PBR All-American Game in Milwaukee.
LHP Jack Bauer (@LWEBASEBALL; Virginia commit) continues to show high-level stuff for @TopTierBaseball at the #MWFallChamp.— PBRT Scouting (@pbrtscouting) September 16, 2023
The No. 1 ‘25 in @PBRIllinois is sitting 90-91, T92 and flashing an above-average slider at 80 mph with 2700⬆️ rpm.
Will be at the #AAG23 next weekend in… pic.twitter.com/93FaELFH3S
RHP Lincoln Causero (Hersey, 2025), a recent Xavier commit, came out fo the bullpen for Top Tier Americans and worked with a clean, easy operation and loose arm. The fastball was coming out easy at 83-87 mph and seemed to jump on hitters at times. His slider flashed the makings of a real out-pitch at 75-76 mph with late horizontal action and quality depth at times. The stuff and velocity varies at times but the upside remains and he should continue to see his velocity tick up as he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 185-pound, athletic, well-portopiened frame.
CIF AJ Putty (Huntley, 2025) was recently on Team Illinois at the PBR Future Games and committed to Illinois shortly thereafter. Putty, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound, physical right-handed hitter continues to look like a middle-of-the-order bat, taking a number of aggressive swings in his first game of the event. Putty took a breaking ball in the zone and barreled it over the left-field fence for an RBI double.
Recent #Illini commit, CIF AJ Putty (@huntley_bball, 2025), started strong in the first game of the wknd for @RaysIllinois.— PBRT Scouting (@pbrtscouting) September 15, 2023
Middle-of-the-order presence and took a number of aggressive swings throughout.
Deep RBI double to LF ⬇️.
(#MWFallChamp | @PBRIllinois) pic.twitter.com/qPSvZgjzor
RHP Henry Brummel (Pontiac, 2024; Indiana Commit) jumped up the board 40 spots to No. 12 in our most recent rankings update. A recent standout at the Illinois State Games, it took minimal effort for Brummel’s fastball to get up to 91 mph this past weekend, sitting mostly 88-90 mph. He also showed two different breaking balls that have potential to be out-pitches in the future. When his command is there, Brummel is one of the top arms in the state of Illinois.
OF Brendan Tunink (Newman Central, 2024; Notre Dame Commit) stands in one of the more athletic frames in the 2024 class at 6-foot, 180-pounds. The strength in his frame continues to grow, and he runs the bases well. Tunink has loads of power in his left-handed swing with well above-average bat speed. Ranked No. 6 in Illinois, he is one of the top prospects in the state.
MIF Colin Campbell (Brother Rice, 2027), a Louisville commit, is one of a few 2027s committed in the state of Illinois and looks to be one of the top prospects in the state. Campbell is a natural up the middle of the diamond, takes consistent, competitive at-bats, has a knack for the barrel. Campbell consistently shows a matura approach, shooting balls back up the middle of the diamond.
INF Dominic Bonilla (Hope Academy), an Illinois State commit, opened eyes with his left-handed bat on Day two of the event. Bonilla started seeing the ball deep in the zone and worked to stay inside the baseball, lining two loud barrels the other way with backspin and jump off the bat. Potential to be one of the better bat-to-ball left-handed hitters in the class with this most recent showing.
INF/RHP Nathan O’Donnell (Providence Catholic, 2025) made a statement with a loud home run to deep left-center field off of a quality upper-80s arm on Saturday morning. The Creighton commit, who was apart of Team Illinois at this summer's Future Games, has a knack for hard, loud contact and swings with controlled aggression.
OF Joey Arend (St. Charles East, 2025) is another Team Illinois Future Games participant from this last summer who continues to show well. The recent Xavier commit, is an athletic, fluid mover with everything he does on the diamond and also barreled up a number of baseballs over the course of a couple of games. Arend has a smooth left-handed swing, stays through the zone a long time and shows a mature approach, staying within himself, letting the hands work and lining balls back up the middle of the diamond.
UNSIGNED SENIOR PROSPECTS
Eric DeCosta 3B / RHP / Wheaton Academy, IL / 2024
UTIL Jonah Weathers (Marian Catholic, 2024) is one of the top unsigned senior position players in the state. Weathers, a former Team Illinois Future Gamer, continues to fill out his athletic 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame and he showed advanced foot speed on a 6-3 groundout, running a 4.18 down the line. He continued to show his direct, quick swing while controlling the barrel and utilizing the big part of the diamond. Should be a 2024 name to know for college coaches.
Michael Furmanek RHP / Plainfield East, IL / 2024
Tyler Ledvina LHP / Lincoln-Way East, IL / 2024
UNCOMMITTED 2025 PROSPECTS
Demir Heidelberg 1B / Homewood Flossmoor, IL / 2025
Aidan Nohava 3B / 1B / Brother Rice, IL / 2025
Two infielders to know from the Elite Baseball Training 2025 group are Vance Kurokawa and Beni Espinosa. Both started up the middle this past spring for DePaul College Prep, who made it to IHSA State in Class 2A.
Kurokawa is a switch-hitter with a simple, fluid stroke and started to heat up with the bat as the weekend went along. He also plays the middle with ease to his game and body control on the move.
Espinosa’s frame continues to fill out with quality strength every time we see him. Currently listed at 5-foot-10, 180-pounds, the right-handed hitter was on the barrel in a number of looks. He has above-average bat-to-ball skills, stays direct and flat through the zone, covers the whole plate and drives balls to all parts of the diamond with a line-drive/gap-to-gap approach. Back spun a double over the right-fielder's head in game one of the event.
RHP Cooper Humphrey (Ozark, MO; 2025) got the start and threw well for Elite Baseball Training in their opening event of the weekend. Humphrey is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound, uncommitted junior that threw a high volume of strikes between an 86-87 mph fastball and above-average curveball. The fastball played around the zone with some carry, effective up in the zone for occasional swing-and-miss and occasionally flashed cutting action. He also landed his breaking ball consistently in the zone, showing depth and action at 69-73 mph and 2400+ rpm. Projectable uncommitted arm from Southeast Missouri.
LHP Cooper Kubinski (Joliet Catholic, 2025) was a noteworthy arm out of the bullpen for Elite Baseball Training 2025s. The 6-foot, 195-pound left-hander had multiple short stints out of the ‘pen where he showed a clean, fluid, easy arm and fastball that he spotted up to both sides of the plate at 82-83 mph. Left-handed arm with some pitchability to follow in the Illinois 2025 class.
LHP Maximos Barriball (Plainfield North, 2025) showed a quick, athletic arm that sat in the low 80-s with more velocity to come. The ball jumps out of his hand and flashes finish through the zone. Command was scattered at times in this look but he has an projectable arm action and is a candidate to make a velocity jump sometime soon.
1B Harrison Clarkson (Libertyville, 2025) is a left-handed hitter to follow for GRB Rays Illinois. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound, Clarkson has strong hands and was on time in a number of at-bats in the first game of the event. It's a heavy barrel and the ball jumped off the bat at times.
3B Pablo Herrera (Plainfield South, 2025) opened some eyes throughout the event. The 5-foot-10, 167-pound, right-handed hitter, has a confident, hitterish look in the box and stays compact and on-plane to the baseball. Herrera flashed some pull-side power, jumping all over a pitch in the zone and driving it to deep left-center field. Also, made a couple of above-average plays at third base. 2025 to follow. Also, hopped on the mound and was 82-84 with a big breaking curveball that he threw for strikes at the bottom half of the zone
RHP Ryan Perry (Plainfield Central, 2025) is a name-to-know in the Illinois 2025 class. A wiry build at 6-foot-2, 165-pounds with plenty to dream on, Perry had a quality outing for his Top Tier Central/South squad. With minimal effort in his delivery, his fastball played in the zone at 82-84 mph with armside run and bore at times. He mixed in a sweeping breaking ball that was 71-72 mph that produced multiple swing-and-misses as well as a changeup in the mid-70s.
C/3B Gael Urbieta (Loyola Academy, 2025) was a member of Team Illinois at the PBR Junior Future Games in 2021. The strong built, 5-foot-11, 200-pound right-handed hitter showed well in the early morning game on Saturday. An easy swing with power, Urbieta recorded two triples after blasting the baseball to the deep outfield. Ranked inside the top-150, he’s a prospect to follow in Illinois’ 2025 class.
SS Davis Weeks (Dunlap, 2025) is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound, two-way prospect, who spent much of the weekend holding down the shortstop position for Top Tier South/Central. Weeks has a 6-foot-2, 175-pound, high-waisted, athletic frame with more physicality to come and he played a smooth shortstop in every look. His arm plays easy and loose across the diamond. Offensively, he has a simple, repeatable swing and looks to control the barrel.
INF Dominic Holton (Notre Dame College Prep, 2025) stood out on the defensive end for his Top Tier Central/South team. Holton was playing shortstop and looked the part in his 5-foot-10, 170-pound frame. Making a diving play up the middle and throwing the runner out at first, Holton showed the ability to be an above-average defender. He has a smooth swing from the left side of the plate, but the results weren’t there in this look.
RHP Owen Walsh (St. Ignatius, 2025) is a name our staff has gotten multiple looks at over the past year and he’s steadily improved within that period. He’s a clean mover on the mound with a fluid arm to pair, all while using minimal effort. His fastball sat 82-84 mph and touched 85 mph, and he also mixed in a breaking ball that sat in the mid-70s with some downward shape.
INF/RHP Brayden Zilis (Minooka, 2025) is another two-way prospect to know. Zilis, who was playing for Top Tier Americans 2025 squad came out of the bullpen late on Friday night and threw a high-volume of strikes. Zilis works with an easy, loose arm and sat in the low-80s with his fastball but it was his high-spinning slider that was the separator. Zilis worked his slider up to to 75 mph while playing out of his fastball window with above-average feel and late sweeping action with spin rates climbing above 2700 rpm. The left-handed hitter was also on time and on the barrel in a couple of looks over the weekend and plays a steady second base with the ability to turn over the double play with an athletic, quick glove-to-hand release.
RHP Brayden Zilis (@MinookaBasebal, 2025) filling up the zone out of the ‘pen for @TopTierBaseball.— PBRT Scouting (@pbrtscouting) September 16, 2023
FB working in the low-80’s, spins a slider up to 75 mph (2700+ rpm) with advanced feel.
(#MWFallChamp | @PBRIllinois) pic.twitter.com/iUC0iRoHZ1
Another 2025 for Top Tier Americans that caught our eye was former Future Games participant, SS Jackson Natanek (Brother Rice, 2025). THe uncommitted shortstop made a number of plays defensively over the weekend. His footwork stood out, playing through the baseball with active feet while showing an advanced arm across the diamond that was consistently on the bag playing with life and carry.
OF Filippo Baratta (Lincoln-Way Central, 2025) stood out for Cangelosi Sparks 2025 over the weekend. THe athletic leadoff hitter split the right-center gap for an opposite field double in the first game of the event and followed up with a leadoff extra base hit to deep left-center field in game two. Baratta stays short and quick to the baseball with sneaky gap-to-gap power and is quick to get to his top-end speed. Uncommitted, athletic 2025 to follow.
RHP/OF Cooper Eggert (Providence Catholic, 2025) should be a high-follow on the mound and with his potent left-handed swing. He continues to wear the uniform well at 6-foot-1, 180-pound and carries himself with quiet confidence on the field. On day one he stood out on the mound where he works with a fluid, clean operation and filled up the zone with an 84-87 mph fastball. He also showed a tight breaking ball that is an above-average secondary offering. He also continued to look the part at the plate where he has fluid movement patterns, stays on-plane with natural uphill lift throughout and was on time.
UNCOMMITTED 2026 PROSPECTS
There were a number of position players on the Hitters 2026 squad that deserve a mention despite getting a quick look. Daniel Coyle (St. Laurence, 2026) was hitting out of the three-hole and despite not having any results to show for it, he took aggressive swings throughout. Coyle has loose hands, creates whip through the zone and stays on top and flat through the baseball.
INF Nehemiah Torres (Glenbrook North, 2026) and C Alex Nielsen (Antioch, 2026) were two other Illinois prospects to follow on the Hitters squad. Torres has an upside frame that moves free and easy with fluid rhythm to all parts of his game. Nielsen has a compact frame, was a reliable receiver behind the plate and stays compact and on-plane from the right-side of the box with loose, strong hands.
INF John Strzechowski (St. Laurence, 2026) is a two-way prospect to know in the class but he caught our attention as a position player on day one of the event. The right-handed hitter has a long, upside frame and his swing should only continue to tick up as he adds quality strength. He stays short and repeatable to the ball with loose hands and a mature approach utilizing the middle of the field.
INF/RHP John Strzechowski (@stlbaseball1, 2026; @PBRIllinois) is an upside two-way prospect to follow for @hittersbaseba11.— PBRT Scouting (@pbrtscouting) September 16, 2023
5-11 / 160-pounds. Polished on the mound and has looked the part in the box so far today at the #MWFallChamp.
Sac fly 👇 pic.twitter.com/vSqabk4ZTQ
A member of Team Illinois at the 2022 PBR Junior Future Games, OF Logan Fernandez (Mount Carmel, 2026) impressed in a brief look this past weekend. He stands in a hard-to-miss frame at 6-foot, 170-pounds with plenty more quality strength to come and a quick, athletic swing from the right side. A 6.78 runner at our past events, Fernandez peppered a ball to deep centerfield and recorded a triple, running the bases with an athletic gait. Fernandez is a high-level prospect in the state’s talented 2026 class.
RHP Joe Kelly (Loyola Academy, 2026) is another former member of Team Illinois at the 2022 PBR Junior Future Games that was in attendance this weekend. The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect seemingly gets bigger and stronger each time we see him. In a relief appearance, Kelly showed an easy and fluid delivery with a quick arm to pair. His fastball sat 83-86 mph with fade, and his curveball sat in the low-70s with a range of 2500-2600 RPMs.
C/UTIL Anthony Nottage (Glenbrook South, 2026) is a 2026 that is on our radar moving forward. The athletic right-handed hitter has a confident, hitterish look in the box and flashed bat speed and an aggressive approach in the box. RIght-handed hitter to follow moving forward.
Yet another former member of Team Illinois at the 2022 PBR Future Games is LHP Isaac Harris (Joliet Catholic, 2026). The 5-foot-11, 155-pound, left/left prospect threw a no-hitter, which was his second no-hitter in two weeks. He’s an athletic mover with clear arm acceleration out front. He mostly utilized his fastball which sat 80-83 mph while mixing in a changeup in the mid-70s with fade and a curveball with 1/7 shape.
RHP/UTIL Jeremy Thompson (Romeoville, 2026) is a physical right-handed hitter that took a number of aggressive, intentful swings for Cangelosi Sparks North 2026’s. Thompson has a 6-foot-1, 190-pound, strong, thick build and a presence in the box. There is length in the swing but he flashes bat speed with a heavy barrel and was on time.
RHP/UTIL Jacob Conover (Wheaton Warrenville South, 2026) was another prospect who caught our eye from the Cangelosi North squad. Conover started on the mound and hit in the middle of the order. He has a clean, easy, polished delivery on the mound and ran his fastball into the low-80s. He also impressed with his fluid, left-handed swing that creates leverage to the pull-side with easy jump off the barrel. Name to know in the 2026 class.
UNCOMMITTED 2027 PROSPECTS
1B Richard Carlson (South Beloit) stood out in game one for the Cangelosi Sparks 2027 group. Carlson has a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, advanced frame and makes a wood bat look relatively small, especially for a 2027 grad. Carlson swung with controlled aggression, has present bat speed and a presence in the box. Carlson drove a ball deep into left-center field for a long single in the first game of the event. Big-bodied right-handed hitter to follow moving forward.
1B Richard Carlson (South Beloit, 2027) standing out for @CangelosiSparks so far.— PBRT Scouting (@pbrtscouting) September 15, 2023
6-3 / 200-pound, long-levered frame and swinging a physical bat for his age.
Singles into the LC gap ⬇️.
(#PBRFallChamp | @PBRIllinois) pic.twitter.com/f6ailEsawQ
MIF Jacsen Tucker (Oswego East, 2027) is another highly-projectable prospect on the Cangelosi Sparks 2027 squad. Tucker’s 6-foot-2, 165-pound, long-limbed, high-waisted frame continues to tick up and he is a natural on the infield playing with fluid, easy actions and accurate arm. He also flashed his intriguing offensive upside, launching a home run in the Championship game of the event. The former Team Illinois Junior Future Gamer is a name to know in the 2027 class.
RHP/INF Brady Cunningham (Brother Rice) was another name to know from the 2027 Cangelosi Sparks squad that ended up taking home the Championship at their age group. Cunningham has a 6-foot-1, 195-pound, strong, advanced frame and true two-way potential. In a quick look on Friday he squared up a baseball to center field, showing strong wrists and a heavy barrel.
An infielder to know from the Cangelosi Sparks North squad was SS Julio Ayala (Montini Catholic, 2027). Ayala has strength in his 6-foot, 165-pound frame and has natural infield actions. Ayala never seemed to be in a rush on the diamond, playing with clean footwork, soft hands and an easy arm that played from multiple slots. Also, is a left-handed hitter that stands in the box with confidence and rhythm and short, uphill stroke.
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