Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2017 Rankings: Risers

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois updated 2017 rankings were released yesterday and today we delve deeper inside the rankings. With a lot of baseball being played since the last rankings update a number of prospects improved their stock and have risen in the rankings.

Austin MarozasNo one in the 2017 class in Illinois has done more for their stock than RHP Austin Marozas (Plainfield South) who is now No. 5 in Illinois. We saw Marozas this spring sitting in the low to mid 80's and thought there was more in the tank, given his 6-foot-5 frame at the time and loose arm. He certainly did not disappoint a couple of months later when we finally got our eyes on him again. It was August at the Chicagoland Open and he now stood 6-foot-7. That day he sat an easy 88-89 mph and touched 90 from a low slot that produced heavy and hard arm-side-run and sink. On top of that he flashed a much firmer breaking ball than we had seen in the past and his changeup looked to be a plus offering. Marozas attended the Class of 2017 Showcase in October and proved that his 88-89 mph was no fluke. He once again showed more of the same that we had seen in August and was ranked the top overall prospect from the event.

Two physical right-handed hitters climbed into the Top 25. 3B/OF Easton Bertrand (Manteno) now sits at No. 18 and 3B Gavin Lovesky (Lockport) comes in at No. 24. Both put on impressive showings at the Class of 2017 Showcase in October and both are still uncommitted. Bertrand has versatility, tools for days and his bat profiles as a middle of the order type at the next level. Lovesky had the most impressive round of batting practice at the event and may very well be the best right-handed hitter in the class.

RHP Mark Smith (Edwardsville) jumped 14 spots and now sits at No. 26. Smith is a strong-bodied right-handed pitcher that can run his fastball into the low 90’s and has feel for a breaking ball. Another big riser climbing 24 spots to No. 30 is RHP/OF Johnny Ray (Quincy Notre Dame). Ray has shown a fastball up to 89 mph this fall to go along with an above-average breaking ball.

Left-handed hitting catcher Jackson Petersen (Libertyville) climbed 20 spots and is now in the Top 40. Petersen showed well at the PBR Labor Day Challenge this fall and backed it up with another strong performance at the Class of 2017 Showcase where he was ranked the top catcher from the event. His pop times ranged from 1.97-2.01, on the bag, was 80 mph from the crouch and registered an exit velocity of 88 mph.

Also, climbing 20 spots and now sitting at No. 66 is RHP Garret Goetz (Oswego East) who keeps seeing his velocity climb. Solidly-built Goetz recently showed a heavy fastball, down in the zone, that sat 85-86 mph at the Southwest Suburban I.D. held on November 1st.  

Stayed tuned for another look inside the Illinois Class of 2017 Rankings. We will take a look at some of the top newcomers to enter the Top 125.

CLICK HERE for a look at the updated rankings.


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