Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2023 Rankings Updated

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The 2023 rankings in Illinois were last updated late in the fall and after a flurry of important high-level events such as the Illinois ProCae, Super 60 as well as a number of other Preseason ID events the rankings were due for a shakeup. One common theme from the winter and looking at this updated rankings, is there are a number of high-level prospects in the class and this 2023 class may be the deepest in many years. 

The top-three prospects in Illinois remain unchanged and all three are high-level draft follows this spring in OF Dillon Head (Homewood-Flossmoor; Clemson), RHP Zander Mueth (Belleville East; Ole Miss) and CIF/COF George Wolkow (Downers Grove North; South Carolina). Head, the No. 1 prospect in the state, is a lock down left/left center field defender and one of the top athletes in the country with a loose, athletic swing that flashes sneaky juice. He will be sure to have a number of pro scouts eyes on him throughout the spring. 

Mueth, who sits at No. 2 is another prospect that pro scouts will be eager to get their eyes on this spring. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-handed arm has the most dynamic stuff in the class, highlighted by a 96 mph fastball, frisbee slider and a loose, elastic arm and delivery, with much more velocity to come down the road. 

Wolkow, who has been sitting at No. 3 in the state, was the highest ranked Illinois prospect in the Super 60 and he offered a glimpse at the tantalizing upside and impressive speed/power combination we have become accustomed to seeing. Wolkow was also one of the more interesting prospects at the entire event, despite being in the middle of basketball season, where he helped lead Downers Grove North to a 32-5 record, as well as a 4th place finish at state. Wolkow, a left-handed hitter, led the event with a furthest batted ball of 410’ and despite his 6-foot-7, 237-pound, imposing stature ran one of the top-60 times at 6.75. Wolkow checks a lot of boxes from a pro standpoint and it would not be a shock if his name is thrown around early in the draft.

George Wolkow (2.5.23)

Arguably the biggest buzz this spring could come out of RHP Blake Wolters (Mahomet-Seymour; Arizona). Wolters came away as the biggest winner on the mound at the Super 60 and jumped up nine spots, to No. 4 in the class. Wolters has a 6-foot-4, 215-pound, broad-shouldered frame and moves explosively down the mound with big, controlled arm strength that set a Super 60 record touching 97.7 mph. Here is what we had on Wolters from the Super 60:

"Perhaps the highlight of the entire event, especially on the mound, was RHP Blake Wolters (Mahomet-Seymour, 2023; Arizona commit). The 6-foot-4, 215-pound, broad-shouldered, explosive, right-hander set a Super 60 velocity record on the mound, running his fastball up to 97.7 mph on consecutive pitches, sitting 95-97 mph throughout his electric ‘pen with an average spin-rate of 2,350 (T2466), an average IVB of 16.9 (T19.9) up to 14.4 inches of horizontal movement. Behind the electric velocity was also a feel for the zone with the pitch, as he poured it in for strikes at a 70% clip, which was third-best of the event. His fastball wasn’t his only impressive offering, as he went to a firm, tight, hard-spinning 10/4 slider at 82-83 mph (T2742 RPM) that has the makings of a true out-pitch moving forward. His changeup sat 77-80 mph and was not in the zone in this look. His arm is noticeably quick through release, playing with a long arm swing out of the glove into an over-the-top/high ¾ slot. His delivery is explosive while staying controlled and in rhythm with a recoil finish. Wolters, a former three-sport athlete, has made significant jumps as of late, jumping four mph from 93.6 from our previous look this past summer, and it wouldn’t be out of the question to see another jump in velocity in the coming years. Wolters was one of the biggest revelations of the event and sure to make a big rise in our next rankings update, from a State, National and Draft Board perspective."

Blake Wolters (2.5.23)

RHP Parker Detmers (Glenwood; Louisville), the No. 5 prospect, is yet another high-level arm in this class and he has the stuff and makeup that would typically earn him No. 1 type of status in a class, which speaks to just how talented this 2023 Illinois class is. Detmers has all kinds of pedigree and has long been one of the top prospects in the state thanks to his strong, workhorse frame, athletic delivery, clean arm, high-volume of strikes and starter profile. His fastball sits comfortably at 89-93 mph and his breaking ball works in the mid-to-upper 70s with above average feel and the ability to manipulate shape and location depending on the count and situation. He has a high-level of compete on the mound and thrives in big games which should serve him well in the future. Detmers is yet another arm pro scouts will need to track down and see this spring. 

Parker Detmers (State Semi: 6.10.22)

Two other Super 60 participants of note at the top of the Illinois’ 2023 class were C Colin Barczi (Naperville Central; Vanderbilt) and SS Cal Sefcik (Marist; Indiana). 

Barczi, who stays at No. 6 in the class, continues to solidify himself as one of the top right-handed bats in the state and he enters this spring coming off consecutive DuPage Valley Conference Player of The Year awards, looking for the three-peat in 2023.

Sefcik, along with the aforementioned Wolters, were two of the biggest winners from our winter circuit. Sefcik earned an invite to the Super 60 thanks to a head-turning performance at the Illinois Preseason ProCase and showed much of the same at the Super 60. Sefcik climbed seven spots and now sits at No. 7. Here is what we had on Sefcik from the Super 60:

“INF Cal Sefcik (Marist, 2023; Indiana commit) may have entered the event as somewhat of a “sleeper”, but we can guarantee that his name is now known among the scouting community. Currently ranked No. 14 in the state, No. 455 nationally. Sefcik has transformed himself into one of the more physical, if not the most physical, right-handed bat in the state. The 6-foot, 205-pound, muscle-bound, right-handed hitter, stole the show during BP, putting together perhaps the most impressive rounds of the day as he led the event in average exit velocity (101.9) and max exit velocity (107.1 mph), to go along with a max distance of 390’. Sefcik peppered the middle of the field with loud backspin and lifted contact, remaining on-time consistently throughout his rounds. The right-handed hitter starts with an open setup, striding long while hanging his foot to stay in rhythm, tipping his bat slightly while landing into foot-strike with hand-separation. His path stays through the zone and flat seemingly forever, creating all kinds of backspin and rise to his up-the-middle barrels. Sefick swings with controlled aggression and quick, ultra-strong hands (26.0 mph max; 24.8 mph average) with notable bat-speed (79.5 mph max; 74.9 mph average) to create eye-opening power. His round of defense was also quite impressive, as he showed off his range laterally to pair with quick/soft hands and an athletic, crisp double play turn. As a 6.90 runner in the 60, Sefcik proved that he is more than capable of staying on the infield moving forward and should be closely followed by scouts moving forward.”

Cal Sefcik (2.5.23)

RHP Ryan Geraghty (Mundelein; Wichita State), RHP/SS Dominic Voegele (Columbia; Kansas) and C Ryan Bakes (Huntley; South Carolina) round out the top-10 in Illinois.

Looking outside the top-10 there are a number of other highly-intriguing prospects and some who should draw pro interest this spring. Here are some names and recent nuggets on some higher-level prospects in this stacked Illinois class:


Ryan Niedzwiedz SS / 3B / West Aurora, IL / 2023


Positional Profile: SS/3B
Body: 6-1, 200-pounds. Strong, durable build.
Hit: LHH. Wide, balanced setup, fluid load and knee-knock stride.   Fluid swing, loose hands, short, direct and repeatable. Polished swing, stays on-plane and through the zone with intent to lift at times. Was on the barrel throughout, registering an 85% hard-hit percentage. One of the top left-handed bats in the class, continues to ascend with every look.
Power: 101 max exit velocity, averaged 95.5 mph. 360’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 91 mph. Accurate arm, plays from a high 3/4 slot, comes out of hand well.
Defense: Active feet, steady, reliable infield defender. Sure hands, quick release, played with body control on the move and clean double play turn.
Run: 7.07 runner in the 60. 


Gabe Smith RHP / Father McGivney, IL / 2023

Smith, an Ole Miss commit, has a strong 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame that continues to trend in the right direction, along with his stuff on the mound. In a bullpen setting this winter Smith sat 91-93 with 18 inches of horizontal break. He paired it with an above-average changeup and slurvy breaking ball that played at 75-77 mph. Smith will be one to continue to monitor and his best days look to still be ahead of him. Climbed 10 spots in this update.

(February 2023)

Zachary Kwasny RHP / 3B / Lincoln-Way East, IL / 2023


Positional Profile: RHP/3B
Body: 6-5, 220-pounds. Large, strong frame. Evenly proportioned strength throughout, broad shoulders.
Delivery: Stretch only, up-tempo delivery, slight coil in leg-lift, powerful drop/drive lower-half, stride works in-line with a strong/sturdy landing foot, shoulders slightly uphill down the mound.
Arm Action: RH. Slight plunge out of the glove into an over the top/high 3/4 slot.
FB: T90, 89-90 mph. Life through the zone with control. Average RPM of 2253 (T2322). Average IVB of 12.2 (T15.1). T2322, 2253 average rpm.
SL: 74-76 mph. Tight 11/5 shape, sharp action, late break, feel for the zone and to the arm-side. Average horizontal movement of -12.4 inches (T-15.7). T2196, 2111 average rpm.
CH: 81-83 mph. Heavy fade, maintains fastball arm action. Averaged 14.0 inches of horizontal movement, reaching up to 20.0 inches for his max. T1941, 1851 average rpm.


Drew Koenen RHP / Maine South, IL / 2023

Koenen stood out at the inaugural Illinois State Games last August, committed to Dartmouth shortly thereafter and has only continued to ascend since. 

Reports emerged this winter that Koenen has seen his velocity climb, apparently touching low-to-mid 90s now, which is not surprising given what we have seen out of him in the past. He could be a sleeper Illinois arm that pro scouts will want to check in on this spring. 

Below is what we had on Koenen at the Illinois State Games:

"....was one of the biggest takeaways on the mound from the Illinois State Games. At 6-foot-3, 210-pounds with present strength and room for more, Koenen generated upper-80s velocities relatively easily, pumping a 90.3 mph max on his hardest bullet. Koenen’s primary secondary offering was a firm 77-80 mph breaking ball thrown with conviction and intent, peaking at 2,500+ RPM on our TrackMan. With a starter’s frame and more in the tank, Koenen is a high-follow uncommitted senior in the state."


Kerim Orucevic SS / OF / Maine South , IL / 2023


Positional Profile: SS/OF
Body: 6-1, 193-pounds. Athletic build with developing strength.
Hit: LHH. Wide, crouched setup, fluid pre-pitch load and hitterish look in the box. Swings with controlled aggression, hands stay inside and on top of the baseball. Whippy strong barrel with present bat speed and ball jumps off the bat at times. Worked to drive baseballs back up the middle or to the opposite field.
Power: 94 max exit velocity, averaged 86.4 mph. 320’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 85 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 slot, quick out front.
Defense: Feel for the infield, attacks his hop, plays through the baseball with soft, confident hands.
Run: 6.80 runner in the 60. 


Eduardo Letamendi SS / Von Steuben, IL / 2023


Positional Profile: SS/3B
Body: 5-11, 196-pounds. Wide-shouldered, athletic build; added quality strength since our last look.
Hit: RHH. Wide, crouched setup, leg-kick timing trigger and gets separation at foot strike. Strong hands, stays short and direct, controls the barrel and featured the third-best average bat speed at the event 76.3 mph. Line-drive, middle-of-the-field approach.
Power: 99 max exit velocity, averaged 91.4 mph. 335’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 89 mph. Clean athletic arm action, natural high 3/4 slot with ability to change platforms.
Defense: Defends with flair and athletic actions. Light on his feet, attacks the baseball, plays through in rhythm and body control. Soft, confident hands and fluid double play turn.


Austin Brown RHP / Triad, IL / 2023

Brown, who committed to Chipola in the fall, features one of the highest upsides in the class. He is currently listed at 6-foot-5, 155-pounds, featuring a high-waist and long, elastic limbs. His arm plays clean and runs his fastball into the upper-80s with reports that he has been touching 90 this winter. Regardless of the fastball the separator for Brown is his sharp, sweeping breaking ball that is arguably one of the top offspeed pitches in the state. He has advanced feel for it and at last summer's Illinois State Games it played in the mid-70s with an average of 2587 rpm with 16.6 inches of horizontal movement. Brown will be an arm to watch this spring for Triad as he struck out 81 hitters last spring in 56 innings with a 0.50 ERA.


Dimitrios Bourmas RHP / Harvard , IL / 2023



Eli Kieser SS / RHP / Normal University, IL / 2023


Positional Profile: SS/RHP
Body: 6-3, 190-pounds. Long, loose-limbed, athletic build with plenty of room for continued physical development.
Hit: RHH. Simple, wide setup with a minimal stride.  Easy, repeatable, balanced swing with developing strength in the barrel. Stays short and quick to the ball, level path with a line-drive approach, uses the whole field. Polished approach and round.
Power: 91 max exit velocity, averaged 86.4 mph. 314’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 90 mph. Fluid arm plays accurately from a 3/4 slot, flashed carry.
Defense: Steady infield actions, soft confident hands, plays low to the ground and through the ball in rhythm, long athletic strides when moving laterally.
Run: 6.86 runner in the 60.