Illinois 2018 Rankings Updated

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Now that the 2016 and 2017 rankings have been revised and updated we take a look at the 2018 class. There have been numerous showcases, camps and events since the last update and many new sophomores have come to the forefront. All of these events have come into play when updating the 2018 class.

The Underclass Invitational took place in January and featured some of the best 2018’s in the state. The event played a big role in the updated Top 10. The depth of the 2018 class has strengthened considerably and was expanded from the Top 35 to the Top 75 this time around.

The top of the sophomore class remains the same as OF Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel) stays at the No. 1 spot. Thomas, a three sport varsity athlete for the Caravan, has transitioned into the baseball season quite nicely. In the second game of the year he hit a walk-off home run for preseason No. 5 Mount Carmel.  A couple of days later Thomas hit two home-runs against Oak Lawn. The sophomore is off to a torrid start  and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Catcher Chase Stanke (Marmion) rose to the No. 2 spot in Illinois. Since the last update, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound Stanke, has continued to show that he is the best left-handed bat in the class. He opened his spring season at the Lenz Field Jamboree in Jacksonville, IL. He went 3-for-3 with and home-run, double and five RBI in his first game and hit an opposite field home-run in his second game. Stanke has easy pop in his bat and an advanced approach.

RHP Jacob Maton (Glenwood) and LHP Nathan Lavender (El Paso-Gridley) come in at the No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. Both were top prospects from the Underclass Invitational and were new to PBR events. 6-foot-3, 170-pound Maton earned top pitching honors at the event. He displayed an advanced three-pitch mix, headlined by an easy 87-89 mph fastball with late arm-side life. Lavender, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound left-hander, displayed a lightning quick arm and a sharp breaking ball with depth at the event. Fastball flashed some run and sat 85-86 mph. Lavender projects for more velocity down the road given his present arm speed.

Another 2018 left-handed pitcher to keep an eye on, now in the Top 10, is Danny Zimmerman (Lincoln-Way North). Now No. 9, we saw Zimmerman quite a bit this winter at numerous college camps. He routinely showed good feel for three-pitches, repeated his delivery and sat anywhere from 82-85 mph, reaching as high as 86. Zimmerman should see plenty of innings this spring for a Lincoln-Way North team that was No. 13 in the Preseason Power 25 Team Rankings.


Rank Name State School Class Pos Commitment
1 Alek Thomas IL Mount Carmel 2018 OF
2 Chase Stanke IL Marmion 2018 C
3 Jacob Maton IL Chatham-Glenwood 2018 RHP
4 Nathan Lavender IL El Paso 2018 LHP
5 Jake Rosing IL Richmond Burton 2018 RHP Louisville
6 Branden Comia IL Sandburg 2018 SS Illinois
7 Zaid Walker IL Homewood-Flossmoor 2018 OF
8 Brooks Coetzee IL Mahomet-Seymour 2018 OF
9 Danny Zimmerman IL Lincoln-Way North 2018 LHP
10 Steven Sanchez IL Mundelein 2018 LHP

Keep an eye out the rest of this week for a further breakdown of the updated 2018 rankings. We will take a look at several of the top new prospects and some of the biggest risers. Also, 2018 state ranking updates are taking place around our coverage area and overall rankings will be updated in the near future. Stay tuned the next couple of weeks to find out how Illinois fits into the overall picture.

CLICK HERE for complete 2018 Illinois Rankings.