Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2018 Rankings Updated

By Drew Locascio
 Illinois Scouting Director

Now that the 2017 rankings have been analyzed and revised, we move on to the 2018 class. Taking into consideration the late fall, winter season and events such as the Preseason All-State scouted over the last couple of months, we have updated the Illinois 2018 rankings once again.

Over that time we have seen a number of guys make jumps and plenty of new prospects who made a name for themselves. It has caused a good amount of reshuffling and allowed us to expand the rankings from 125-to-150.

OF Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel), a Texas Christian commit, remains at the top of the class. Thomas, a left/left athlete, has top-end tools that continue to ascend. At the Preseason All-State he ran a personal best 6.63 laser-timed 60 and was up to 86 mph from the outfield.

The biggest riser at the top of the class was LHP Caden Monke (Mt. Olive). Monke made a huge splash at the Illinois Preseason All-State Showcase and now sits at No. 3 in Illinois. The Arkansas commit has a long, loose and quick arm and his fastball jumps out of his hand at 88-90 mph, touching 91. He also showed feel for a three-pitch mix.

Caden Monke (2.19.17)

Danny Zimmerman
(Lincoln-Way East), a Louisville commit, is another southpaw who made a big statement this winter. Zimmerman added about 25 pounds since the Future Games last August and made a significant velocity jump establishing himself as one of the premier left-handers in the Midwest. At the Preseason All-State he showed effortless arm speed and his fastball sat 89-91 mph, topping out at 92. Zimmerman now sits at No. 5 in Illinois.

Updated Top 10

1 Alek Thomas IL Mount Carmel 2018 OF Texas Christian
2 Jacob Maton IL Chatham-Glenwood 2018 RHP Coastal Carolina
3 Caden Monke IL Mount Olive 2018 LHP Arkansas
4 Branden Comia IL Carl Sandburg 2018 SS Illinois
5 Danny Zimmerman IL Lincoln-Way East 2018 LHP Louisville
6 Steven Sanchez IL Mundelein 2018 LHP Arkansas
7 Zaid Walker IL Homewood-Flossmoor 2018 OF Michigan State
8 Chase Stanke IL Marmion 2018 C Arkansas
9 Jake Rosing IL Richmond Burton 2018 RHP Louisville
10 Nathan Lavender IL El Paso 2018 LHP Illinois


Taking a look outside of the Top 10, RHP/INF Hayden Juenger (O’Fallon) made one of the biggest jumps in the rankings. Juenger, still uncommitted, is now No. 12 in the state. Juenger, has turned himself into a formidable ace for O’Fallon HS, with his loose, quick arm, upper 80’s fastball and three-pitch repertoire. At the Metro East Kickoff Classic in mid-March, he worked 86-88 mph topping out at 90 mph early on in the outing and consistently pounded the bottom of the strike zone.

Riley Gowens (Libertyville) is another uncommitted right-handed arm on the rise. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound, solidly built, right-hander has a loose, whippy, quick arm and a heavy fastball at 86-87 mph. He also features two secondary offerings with above-average potential.

When it comes to position players, C Jake Zylman (St. Rita) and SS Christian Lucio (Mt. Carmel) made two of the biggest jumps. Zylman is a physical right-handed hitter with loose hands, bat speed and consistently makes hard contact. Behind the plate he has above-average arm strength and pop times consistently in the low two’s. Lucio is a left-handed hitting middle infielder who continues to come into his own. Lucio recently ran a 6.88 60, showed a smooth left-handed swing and athletic actions on the infield.

Some notable newcomers to the rankings were RHP/CIF Brayden Arnold (O’Fallon), 1B Jacob Marti (Normal West), MIF Jimmy Allen (Timothy Christian), MIF Jackson Kaplowitz (Notre Dame), RHP/C Bryce Hellgeth (St. Viator), RHP Billy Pierce (Plainfield East) and C Brandon Bannon (Richmond Burton).

CLICK HERE for complete Illinois 2018 Rankings.

CLICK HERE for the updated overall 2018 rankings.

Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks as the updated 2019 overall rankings and state rankings will be coming soon.