Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2018 Rankings: Newcomers

By Drew Locascio 
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois updated 2018 rankings were released this week and yesterday we took a look at some of the biggest risers in the Top 75. We highlighted a few prospects who elevated their games this winter and 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 35 to 75 this time around, therefore making way for a number of new 2018’s.  Below we highlighted a handful of sophomores who have made an impression since the last update.

In the initial Illinois updated 2018 rankings story we touched on the top three newcomers in the updated Top 10; RHP Jacob Maton (Glenwood), LHP Nathan Lavender (El Paso-Gridley) and LHP Danny Zimmerman (Lincoln-Way North).

The top newcomer outside of the Top 10 is LHP Caden Monke (Mt. Olive), a recent Arkansas commit. Ranked No. 15, Monke has a projectable, wiry, 6-foot-1, 145-pound frame and features a quick, clean arm.

Ryan Louck (Plainfield East) is another left-handed arm who now sits in the Top 20 of the class. Louck impressed at a college camp over the winter and he showed more of the same stuff at the Preseason I.D. – Romeoville Showcase held in February. 6-foot, 155-pound Louck sat in the low 80’s with his fastball, showed feel for three pitches and a curveball with plus potential. He was named the top overall prospect at the event.

Coming in at No. 24 is middle-infielder Malik Peters (Mount Carmel). Peters has made significant strides in his game, shaving almost a full second off of his 60 time in the past year. At the Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Peters ran a 7.28 60. He was also clocked at 85 mph across the infield, his previous best at an event was 78 mph.

Video of Malik Peters (Milwaukee Preseason I.D.)

Scouting Report – 2.21.16 - 6-foot-1, 155-pound right-handed hitting shortstop with a thin, lanky frame. Defensively has a loose arm action from a high ¾ slot. Plays thru the ball with soft hands and solid actions. Throws showed carry throwing 85 mph across the infield. Offensively hits from an open stance with a long stride and average balance. Short, level swing path with fluid rhythm. Loose hands with a fast bat. 77 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.28. 

No. 27 is now Nate Dirkes (Wheeling) a 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-handed pitcher whose velocity keeps climbing.  One of the top right-handed pitchers at the Underclass Invitational held in January, Dirkes sat 82-85 mph with a firm breaking ball at 78 mph, leading one to believe he has plenty more in the tank.

RHP/INF Evan Tenuta (Sandburg) is another right-hander who showed well at the Underclass Invitational. 6-foot-1, 180-pound, Tenuta, now in the Top 35, has a loose arm, three-pitch mix and low 80’s fastball.

Other notable newcomers in the Top 50 include: RHP Gary Volz (Alton), SS D’Eric Shenault (Kenwood), LHP Keegan Bates (Plainfield North), OF Dakota Kotowski (Providence Catholic), LHP/OF Kyle Salley (Homewood-Flossmoor), RHP Sammy Butera (Maine West), OF Cameron Robinson (Champaign Central), INF Joe Payton (Brother Rice), INF Jacob Plastiak (Andrew), C Collin Brown (Bremen) and C Jake Kapers (Mount Carmel).

Also, 2018 state ranking updates are taking place around our coverage area and the 2018 overall rankings will be updated soon.

+ CLICK HERE for complete 2018 Illinois Rankings.
+ CLICK HERE for 2018 Illinois Ranking Risers
+ CLICK HERE for 2017 Illinois Rankings