Illinois 2019 Rankings Updated

By Andy Sroka & Drew Locascio
Illinois Staff

Baseball’s headed into hibernation. The World Series is over, we hosted our final showcase of 2018 last weekend, and most major fall prep tournaments are behind us. So, with that, it’s time to unveil an updated look at the Illinois Class of 2019 Rankings.

We’ve had ample opportunities to update our 2019 rankings since July. Our national team has seen the state’s top prospects at events like the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., and the World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Fla. The Illinois staff has also hosted over a dozen showcases since mid-July, and has attended several high-profile regional fall tournaments over the course of the last few months, too.

It was time to compile, share notes and update and expand the state’s 2019 class board to a top-250 prospects.

Let’s start by breaking down the top-10 rankings, where our top-two prospects remain unchanged. RHP Quinn Priester (Cary Grove; Texas Christian commit) and LHP Michael Prosecky (Nazareth Academy; Louisville) are ranked No. 1 and 2 in their state’s class for consecutive updates. With Priester at the top spot, there are no surprises. The 6-foot-3 righty has long been on the national radar and is currently ranked No. 12 on the PBR High School Draft 100. Priester’s been the state’s top prospect in the 2019 class since April of 2017. At Area Codes, the highly-athletic Priester was up to 94 mph and showed a sharp breaking ball with swing-and-miss action.

As for Prosecky, the Louisville commit had really shot up the rankings in July when he went from No. 43 to the second spot on the board. He’s done nothing to harm his No. 2 seat. The smooth 6-foot-3, 180-pound, left-hander sat it the low 90s at Jupiter this fall and seems to have plenty more in the tank.

The prospect who has been climbing up draft boards recently is 6-foot-3, 210-pound, 1B/OF Jason Hodges (Marist; Arkansas). At the World Wood Bat Championships, the physically impressive Marist product found his name all over the TrackMan marks. After the first day of action, Hodges had recorded the day’s hardest hit ball (103.9 mph exit velocity) and farthest hit ball (413.4 feet, max estimated carry). Given his size, speed, power and bat-to-ball skills he should draw plenty of draft interest this upcoming spring.

Jason Hodges (7.10.18)

Two other prospects familiar with the top five in Illinois are the No. 4 and No. 5 prospects: C Matt McCormick (St. Laurence; West Virginia) and RHP Zachary Lee (Effingham; Kentucky). McCormick is the reigning PBR Illinois Player of the Year for his impressive high school campaign that helped St. Laurence win its second straight Chicago Catholic League – Blue title. McCormick had a busy summer and fall, traveling to a number of National events where he continues to prove he is one of the top bats in the Midwest.

Lee, who traveled to Long Beach this summer, has been relatively quiet this fall. In Long Beach, the loose, quick-armed right-hander, sat in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball that exhibited his trademark arm-side run. He also showed an above-average changeup with a heavy, sinking action. The former PBR Future Gamer is still working on polishing his three-pitch mix and it wouldn't be a surprise if he draws plenty of pro interest next spring.


1 Quinn Priester IL Cary Grove 2019 RHP Texas Christian
2 Michael Prosecky IL Nazareth 2019 LHP Louisville
3 Jason Hodges IL Marist 2019 1B Arkansas
4 Matt McCormick IL St. Laurence 2019 C West Virginia
5 Zachary Lee IL Effingham 2019 RHP Kentucky
6 Kendal Ewell IL Marist 2019 OF Eastern Kentucky
7 Alex Helmin IL Providence Catholic 2019 OF Arizona State
8 Andrew Wiegman IL Carmel Catholic 2019 SS Louisville
9 Brody Harding IL Moline 2019 SS Illinois
10 Grant Leader IL Lyons Township 2019 RHP Illinois


The biggest riser at the top of the Illinois rankings is OF Kendal Ewell (Marist; Eastern Kentucky). The 6-foot-3, 200-pound, impressively-built, outfielder from Marist has has been one of the more projectable and intriguing names in the class, and he’s finally putting it all together. At the PBR Fall Championship in September, Ewell seemingly made hard, loud contact in every at-bat. His simple swing and electric hands produced some of the hardest contact of the tournament, including a home run to dead center and another double that bounced off the center field fence. He’s steadily been climbing back up the 2019 rankings this year but leaped all the way up to No. 6 from No. 27 in this latest update. Ewell’s floor continues to rise and he arguably features the highest-ceiling in the class.

The remainder of the top 10 is shaped by familiar faces. 6-foot-4, 180-pound, OF Alex Helmin (Providence Catholic; Arizona State) is next up at No. 7. Like Ewell, Helmin features enormous projection and flashes easy power in his bat. He's a fluid runner on the bases, glides in the outfield, and the ball jumps off his barrel. Helmin also launched a two-run home run this fall in the title game of the PBR Fall Championship.

Shortstops Andrew Wiegman (Carmel Catholic; Louisville) and Brody Harding (Moline; Illinois) roll in at No. 8 and 9 in this update. Wiegman has an impressive 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame that continues to fill out and has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order bat at the next level. Harding is the definition of a gamer – he competes in the batter’s box and has the tools to stick at shortstop.

Brody Harding (7.10.18)

Finally, at No. 10, is another Illinois-bound prospect RHP Grant Leader (Lyons Township). A lot like Harding, a fellow Illinois commit, Leader is a gamer and extremely competitive on the mound. He's been one of the most consistent performers in the state, runs his fastball into the low 90s and features an advanced four-pitch mix.

Stay tuned for additional coverage early next week regarding the latest Class of 2019 update, including newcomers to the top-250 board as well as some of the group’s biggest risers.

CLICK HERE for the complete Class of 2019 rankings.