Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2017 Rankings: Newcomers

By Drew Locascio  
 Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois updated 2017 rankings were released this week and yesterday we took a deeper look inside the Top 175. We highlighted a handful of prospects who elevated their games this winter and in turn rose in the rankings. Today we take a look at some guys who stood out since the last update and now find themselves in the rankings for the first time. Many of the newcomers were new to the PBR circuit or players we had been trying to see for a while. The rankings were expanded from 125 to 175 this time around.  Below we highlighted a handful of the prospects that made an impression over the winter. All of the prospects listed below are currently uncommitted and should be high follows moving forward.

The top newcomer to the rankings is LHP Brogan Kemp (Nashville HS) who is now ranked No. 25. Kemp is a hulking 6-foot-7, 220-pound left-hander that can run his fastball into the mid-to-upper 80’s.

RHP Austin Ruesch (Edwardsville HS) is another newcomer after he showed an impressive velocity spike at a Missouri event this winter. Ruesch sat 87-89 mph, topping at 90 at the event. He also flashed a 12/6 breaking ball at 71-72 mph and changeup with feel. Last summer we saw Ruesch sit 81-82 mph with his fastball.

A nice surprise at the Preseason All-State in February was left-handed pitcher Blake Begner (Peoria Heights HS). Begner won’t blow you away with his size or velocity but he has a quick arm, solid three-pitch mix and repeats his delivery extremely well.

Video of Blake Begner (Preseason All-State)

SCOUTING REPORT (2.14.16) - 5-foot-11, 155-pound left-handed pitcher. Delivery works with regular effort, high front side, squared landing. Arm action is quick, short and loose, over the top slot. Showed an ability to command his fastball, slight arm side run and sink, worked down with surprising tilt for his size. Curveball has 1/7 shape, thrown with arm speed, 64-66 mph. Good feel for his changeup, flashed advance sink and run to arm side, 70-74 mph.

Other notable newcomers include: LHP Sonny Mentone (Antioch HS), C Bobby Barnard (Tolono Unity HS), OF Miles Simington (Normal Community HS), 3B Jeff Heinrich (Huntley HS), C Mike Massaro (Providence Catholic HS), RHP Todd Brown (East Aurora HS), SS/RHP Matt Verdun (St. Rita HS), INF Noah Hibler (Lincoln-Way West HS) and RHP’s Drake Green (Quincy HS), Jimmy Staab (Sangamon Valley HS), Justin Foy (Rockridge HS), to name a few.

Also, 2017 state ranking updates are taking place around our coverage area and the 2017 overall rankings have been updated.

+ CLICK HERE for complete 2017 Illinois Rankings.
+ CLICK HERE for 2017 Illinois Ranking Risers
+ CLICK HERE for 2017 Overall Rankings