Illinois 2018 Rankings Updated

Illinois Scouting Staff

Taking into consideration the late fall, winter season and national events such as the Super 60 scouted over the last couple of months, we have updated the Illinois 2018 rankings once again.

Over the course of the last four months, the depth of the class has continued to strengthen as well as some of the high-end talent at the top.

A mainstay at the top of the class has been OF Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel). The Texas Christian commit turned himself into a potential Day 1 pick in the 2018 MLB draft thanks to his performance at high-level events last year and nothing has changed since then. The dynamic left-handed hitting outfielder is poised for a big spring season as he will lead a Caravan roster that has nine Division I commits. Thomas and his Mount Carmel teammates will be representing Illinois at the Prestigious National High School Invitational (NHSI) hosted by USA Baseball at the end of March in Cary, North Carolina.   

The biggest jumps in the Top 10 of the updated rankings were made by RHP Jacob Maton (Chatham-Glenwood), LHP Nathan Lavender (El Paso-Gridley) and RHP Francois Castillo (Lake View). All three put on impressive displays at the Super 60. Maton, now at No. 3, was up to 91 mph and his three-pitch mix was easy and advanced, headlined by a slider that was arguably the best breaking ball at the entire event. Lavender, who jumped four spots, will now likely have scouts flocking to the small Central Illinois school after he ran his fastball up to 92 mph; the best velocity from a left-hander at the event. The biggest riser of them all was Castillo who skyrockets from No. 23 to No. 6. Castillo has always had one of the best arms in the class as a position player but recently began focusing as a primary pitcher and the progress on the mound has been remarkable. At the Super 60 his fastball sat 93-94 and he flashed a much improved curveball with late biting action. Castillo should draw plenty of draft interest this spring.

Francois Castillo (2.4.18; Super 60)


1 Alek Thomas IL Mount Carmel 2018 OF Texas Christian
2 Zaid Walker IL Homewood-Flossmoor 2018 OF Michigan State
3 Jacob Maton IL Chatham-Glenwood 2018 RHP Coastal Carolina
4 Branden Comia IL Sandburg 2018 SS Illinois
5 Nathan Lavender IL El Paso 2018 LHP Illinois
6 Francois Castillo IL Lake View 2018 RHP Eastern Illinois
7 Steven Sanchez IL Mundelein 2018 LHP Arkansas
8 Caden Monke IL Mount Olive 2018 LHP Arkansas
9 James Kulak IL Neuqua Valley 2018 LHP Purdue
10 Dakota Kotowski IL Providence Catholic 2018 OF Missouri State


Looking outside the Top 10, RHP Brandon McPherson (Marmion) made one of the most significant jumps. The physical right-hander, has seen his fastball velocity tick up to 91 mph recently and now sits in the Top 40 of the class; a rise of over 60 spots. McPherson is currently the top uncommitted senior in Illinois and should be a high-follow this spring.

Brandon McPherson (2.19.18)

Another big riser is RHP/OF Cameron Robinson (Champaign Central). The recent John A. Logan JC commit, was the top overall prospect at the Unsigned Senior Showcase in January. The highly projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound, two-way talent, ran his fastball up to 86 mph with a quick arm and showed quick, loose hands at the plate at the event. Robinson now sits comfortably in the Top 80.

When it comes to newcomers, nobody made a bigger impression than the 6-foot-3, 180-pound,  RHP Spencer Smith (Olympia). Smith, a Heartland CC commit, now ranked No. 30 in Illinois, was seen in a bullpen this winter by PBR National Crosschecker David Seifert. Smith showed a quick, clean arm, his fastball sat 89-91 mph and he spun a curveball with tight spin at 75-77 mph. Reports also surfaced that Smith touched 93 mph at different event over the winter.

Another top newcomer in the rankings was 3B Ryan Flowers (St. Joseph) who emerged at the Unsigned Senior Showcase in January. The recent Black Hawk JC commit, now in the Top 120 of the class, displayed a loose, athletic swing with bat speed and looked to be a well above-average defender at third base.

CLICK HERE for complete Illinois 2018 Rankings.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for the updated 2018 overall rankings and the Illinois 2019 rankings update.

Also, with the high school season less than a week away, we have begun rolling out our Preseason Power 25. CLICK HERE for the full list of the Top 25.