Illinois 2024 Rankings: Update
August 23, 2023
The 2024 rankings update in Illinois are long overdue after a long summer season which featured the end of the IHSA season, a number of PBR Tournaments, showcases, as well as big invite-only events, most notably the Illinois State Games which featured 300 of the best players in Illinois across all classes.
Since the last update in May, the 2024 class has continued to strengthen across the board. A number of prospects have made big gains while a number of other highly-talented prospects have emerged in front of us for the first time. A number of these developments over the last few months have warranted plenty of movement throughout the list, as well as expanding it from 200, to a top-250.
The 2024 class has remained in a strong spot at the top of the class with minimal movement in the Top-10, especially the top-three on the list, which remains the same since the last update.
AT THE TOP
Holding down the No. 1 spot in the state’s rankings once again is RHP Ryan Sloan (York; Wake Forest commit). The durable right-hander had a helium summer, showing well on the PBRT circuit, especially at Creekside, and also representing the White Sox at the Area Code games. There’s plenty to like with Sloan; he’s built like a traditional starter at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, runs his fastball in the low-to-mid-90s, and trusts a swing-and-miss slider, while also flashing a potential out-pitch changeup. Sloan looks every bit the part of the next big arm to be selected in the MLB Draft out of Illinois.
From Area Codes: “Uber-physical and equally athletic at 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Sloan is one of the best arms in Illinois, and it was on display in San Diego. Explosive hand speed out of a deceptive low slot with flat VAA . Easily held mid-90s velocity with bore. Above-average feel to spin with supreme confidence to throw a mid-80s slider in the zone for whiffs and strong tunneling abilities. Changeup in the mid-to-high 80s has the potential to be plus down the line with hard arm-side fade. The Wake Forest commit can be a major factor among the best players in the Midwest.”
+ Bell, coming in once again at No. 2, dominated the IHSA in the spring and kept his strong play going deep into the summer. Currently listed at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, Bell is ultra-athletic and has been steadily adding some strength to his frame which has created noticeable pop in his bat. Already a premium defender, Bell is a well-rounded prospect that continues to trend in the right direction. He, like others on this list, earned high praise from PBR Draft HQ analyst Ian Smith after his trip to San Diego:
From Area Codes: “Quietly, the Kentucky commit was outstanding in multiple facets of the game throughout the week. Flashed 60 grade run times down the line (4.08) and jumped all over a first-pitch fastball for a pull-side grand slam. Switch-hitter, but Bell is more advanced from the left-side with ability to create leverage with ease and present bat speed. Soft hands with impressive footwork and range makes me believe that Bell will stick up the middle long term as well”.
+ Like his counterparts, Crafton is certain to draw professional attention throughout the fall and next spring. Built at an ultra-physical 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, the Warriors’ QB1 had a productive summer circuit, showing well at the National Program Invitational and Area Codes, too. There is no shortage of athleticism in Crafton, as the two-sport standout continues to add strength and speed to his game. He swings a powerful left-handed barrel with plenty of upside, particularly in the power department, and he showed that throughout the week in San Diego:
From Area Codes: “Hands work very well, showing strength and creating separation on a physical left-handed cut. Tapped into some substantial raw juice with the longest pull-side home run of the week, going 392 feet off an elevated fastball. Easy actions in the outfield with sneaky foot speed and a strong, accurate arm. There’s much more to project on the 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, and the Louisville commit could be just beginning to tap into his upside”.
Rising seven spots to No. 4, MIF Cooper Malamazian (Nazareth; Indiana commit) has always had some of the highest upside in the state, and he appears to be tapping into it exponentially. Malamazian is listed at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, still with plenty of room to add on strength as he matures. Easily one of the biggest winners from the Illinois State Games, Malamazian showed improved metrics in virtually every aspect of his game. His glove remains premium up the middle, as he now pairs it with improved foot-speed (6.85 in the 60) and his well above-average arm (T89 mph INF). His right-handed bat has always been reliable with a simple/smooth stroke and line-drive approach, but his added strength now makes him even more dangerous when he steps up to the plate as he is starting to tap into his power potential.
From Illinois State Games: “...continues to trend up in front of our scouting staff, giving a strong look on both sides of the ball. Stands at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds with lean strength and plenty of room to add on muscle in the coming years. The right-hander hitter has fluidity and looseness in his stroke, remaining on the barrel throughout the weekend with hard contact to his pull-side. Power potential in the swing as he continues to put on good weight. Reached up to 98.1 mph for his max exit velocity with a max distance of 349’. His BLAST Metrics are also worth noting, as he averaged 22.7 mph for his hand speed and 73 mph for his bat speed. On the infield, Malamazian moves with ease and rhythm, shifting easily to either side of his glove with confident hands and actions. His arm plays with easy life across the diamond and on the move, reaching up to 89 mph in the workout.”
Climbing three spots, C Jimmy Janicki (Downers Grove North; Troy commit) now holds down the No. 5 position in the state. Janicki was far and away one of the top performers in the state over the last year, showing well on our showcase circuit as well as earning PBR First Team All-State honors in the spring after he hit .488 with 14 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 53 RBI and only striking out nine times all season. Janicki is a true gamer who can change the game in more ways than one. His aforementioned bat seemingly never slows down, and his defense is rivaled by few, if any behind the plate with an ultra-clean catch/throw and well above-average arm.
Rising up to No. 6, OF Brendan Tunink (Newman Central Catholic; Notre Dame) continues to open eyes each time we see him. Listed at 6-foot, 180-pounds, Tunink seems to add on more and more strength in each look we get. The left-handed hitter has some of the highest upside in the state, already possessing well above-average metrics across the board with bat-speed, hand-speed and exit velocity. His natural lift and rapidly increasing strength makes him one of the more intriguing bats in the state. Not to mention he’s also a 6.64 runner in the 60-yard dash and he roams around the outfield comfortably, too.
Coming in at No. 7 in the state, C/3B Collin Mowry (Lincoln-Way Central; Louisville commit) continues to cement his name as one of the top prospects in the Illinois’ 2024 class. Listed at a physical 6-foot, 205-pounds, there is present strength in Mowry’s right-handed bat and he has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority. He’s a qualidy defender behind the plate, boasting strong and soft hands to pair with a clean catch/throw operation.
One of the top, if not the top two-way in the state, LHP/OF Brayden Mazzacano (Schaumburg; Illinois commit) came away a major winner from the PBR circuit this past summer and now holds down the eighth slot on our board. The southpaw can run his fastball up to 90 mph to pair with a tight upper-70s slider, low-70s curveball and changeup in the upper-70s. He’s nothing to scoff at on the other side of the ball either, showing the ability to play both the outfield and first base. A 6.82 runner in the 60, Mazzacano has defensive versatility as well as present athleticism which should help his case on the mound as well. He also swings a loud left-handed bat that was routinely on the barrel in all of our looks this past summer.
From Illinois State Games: “...continues to cement himself as one of the premier two-way prospects within the state. The southpaw is simple, yet athletic down the mound with little perceived effort. He worked his fastball up to 88.9 mph and cruised right at 84-88 mph with run and some finish through the zone. Slider and changeup looked to be his go-to offerings throughout our look; going to a 10/4 SL at 76-79 mph with the ability to land for some strikes and an upper-70s changeup with fade and feel for the zone. Flashed a 1/7 curveball at 73-75 mph and splitter at 74-79 mph with killed spin. Mazzacano took defensive reps both in the outfield and at first base, showcasing athletic actions at each position with the ability to track down fly balls when roaming the outfield. The left-handed hitter took an impressive round of BP, averaging 87.4 mph for his exit velocity and reaching up to 95.2 mph with a max distance of 363’. He put up some impressive numbers on BLAST across the board; averaging 22.8 mph for his hand speed (T26.1 mph), 74.5 mph for his bat speed (T80.6 mph) and 17.1 for his average rotational acceleration (T28.9). He has some rhythm in his left-handed swing, utilizing a controlled toe-tap timing trigger before firing through the zone with a flat path.”
Sitting at ninth overall is RHP Aidan Hayse (Joliet Catholic; Tennessee) who is one of the more intriguing arms in the entire state, with some of the highest upside as well thanks to his explosive arsenal and elite movement patterns down the mound. Still learning how to harness his potent stuff, the ‘clay’ that Hayse has is undeniable and it appears he’s just scratching the surface of what his future outlook could be on the mound.
From Area Codes: “A brief, but loud look at the Tennessee commit. Simple, repeatable mechanics with whippy, explosive arm speed. Fastball lived 89-93, touching 94 with some deceptive late life and command to paint the corners. Low-80s slider shows good tilt that creates depth. Hayse will deploy a firm, mid-80s changeup to RHH that flashes as a potential above-average pitch down the line. High-level athlete with both pitchability and projection remaining”.
Rounding out our top-10 is the lone uncommitted prospect on the board: RHP/INF Nate Harris (Yorkville). The ultra-physical 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander has taken a jump in velocity this summer, reaching 96 mph in a handful of stops, while pitching in the low-90s. His inherent strength translates to the plate, where we’ve seen Harris display more than advanced raw power from a fast, physical right-handed swing.
THE TOP 10
||Tyler Bell||Lincoln-Way East
||Cole Crafton||Lincoln-Way West
||Cooper Malamazian||Nazareth Academy
||Jimmy Janicki||Downers Grove North
||Brendan Tunink||Newman Central Catholic
||Collin Mowry||Lincoln-Way Central
||Aidan Hayse||Joliet Catholic
OUTSIDE THE TOP 10…
Cash Campbell 3B / Montini Catholic, IL / 2024
From 8/2/23: "...One of the premier left-handed bats in the state, Campbell swung it well in front of our staff with a two-hit game. The left-handed hitter has a fluid rhythm in the box, hanging his foot with an upper-half coil before firing his hands with effortless power though the zone. Finished the day with a double, single and a walk."
Henry Brummel RHP / Pontiac, IL / 2024
From 8/16/23: "...emerged a winner from the event after his dominant showing on the bump. Listed at 6-foot-4, 200-pounds with long limbs and strength throughout. Brummel pitches with a controlled tempo and simple tall//fall delivery, gaining ground with ease down the mound. He worked his fastball up to 91.8 mph, sitting 89-91 mph consistently with some arm-side run through the zone. He showed confidence in a slider at 79-82 mph with late 10/4 action, thrown both for strikes and to put hitters away. Flashed a sharp curveball with over-the-top depth, kept mostly down at 72-74 mph. Also went to a fading changeup (14.3” avg. HM), 78-80 mph. Dynamic arsenal that should gather some intrigue from professional scouts this coming spring."
Nate George OF / Minooka , IL / 2024
From 8/2/23: "...high-caliber player that has consistently impressed in front of our staff throughout the summer circuit. To start, the 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitting outfielder possesses elite athleticism, previously running a 6.39 second 60 yard dash at the Lockport Preseason I.D. He would continue his success on Friday, combining his advanced bat-speed and bat-to-ball skills to launch a home-run to left-field. A free mover in the outfield with a strong arm, George has the tools to remain in centerfield at the next level."
Savion Flowers OF / Kenwood Academy , IL / 2024
From 8/16/23: "...who easily came away as one of the bigger winners from the event in the 2024 class. At a chiseled, yet still projectable, 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Flowers ran a 6.69 60 and reached 20.6 mph of run speed as well. He almost exclusively elevated the baseball in BP (80%) from the left side and hammered his hardest barrel up at 98.3 mph while launching his furthest barrel 360 feet, per TrackMan. Flowers was also up to 90 mph from the outfield, though we’ve seen him touch 94 mph previously, and flashed his natural arm strength in game on a lively throw to third base from right field. His tools, physical stature, and upside should undoubtedly draw professional buzz around Flowers this fall and into the spring season."
Kenny Perez SS / De LaSalle , IL / 2024
From 8/16/23: "...continues to look the part of a future asset in the middle of the field. Perez carries one of the more advanced gloves in the class, providing noticeably productive defense on the dirt with the likelihood being he sticks up the middle long term. His arm, alongside his glove, is advanced too, and Perez was 88 mph across the diamond on his hardest bullet. Offensively, Perez swings a simple, athletic right-handed barrel that flashed above-average raw power with wood, reaching peak exit velocities upwards of 95 mph while also elevating his furthest batted ball 347 feet, per TrackMan. Heading into the final year of his prep career, Perez looks the part of a pro follow that should draw attention throughout the fall, as well as into the spring."
Luke Teschke RHP / Monticello, IL / 2024
From 4/13/23: "...Illinois State commit. Ranked No. 14 in the Illinois’ 2024 class. Stands at an athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pounds. The right-hander started on the mound and threw a complete game with 15 strikeouts, two walks, two hits allowed and three earned runs. Athletic delivery, repeatable, high leg lift with slight tuck, tall and fall delivery, works in-line down the mound, toe is slightly closed at footstrike. Long, loose arm out of a high ¾ slot, clear acceleration out front. Fastball showed control of the zone (70% strikes) sat 90-91 mph, topped out at 92 mph with carry through the zone. Mixed in a curveball that sat 75-76 mph with 11/5 shape, occasional depth and landed in the zone for strikes. Threw one changeup at 82 mph."
Sir Jamison Jones C / St. Rita, IL / 2024
From 4/14/23: "...Illinois State commit. Currently ranked No. 17 in the state. Physical, 6-foot-2, 215-pound build, continues to advance his frame with muscle, appearing to be leaner since our last look. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has advanced bat-strength, especially for this age - seemingly flicking a ball to the opposite field for a double in his first at-bat. He’s always been a vocal leader behind the plate, and his defense looks to be trending upwards - showing improved hands while receiving with a hop to his step, also flashing a well above-average arm down to second. High-level 2024 backstop that profiles in the middle of the order at the next level."
Ethan Bagwell RHP / Collinsville , IL / 2024
From 7/6/23: "...Missouri commit. Doesn’t lack size, strength, or physicality by any means, standing at 6-foot-3, 230-pounds. Entered emphatically in relief on Sunday morning, punching out four over two innings out of the ‘pen. Fastball touched 93, sat 90-92 mph with aggression, challenged hitters in the zone consistently. Power sweep on a 76-78 mph slider that generated awkward and uncomfortable swings from his opposition. Is also the starting quarterback at Collinsville. Another high-end arm to know from southern Illinois."
Luke Weber RHP / Highland Park , IL / 2024
From 5/24/23: "...Illinois commit, currently the No. 20 overall player in the state’s junior class. Standing at a lean 6-foot-1, 180-pounds with some room for continued physical development and is a high level athlete. Athletic drop and drive delivery, works in-line towards the plate, lands front foot open and throws with intent. Fluid, whippy arm action out of a ¾ slot with arm speed out front. Fastball sat 87-89, T90 mph throughout his outing and was able to spot in the zone and generate swings and misses. Showed two offspeed pitches; a slider that worked at 79-81 mph, with tight lateral movement and flashed a fading changeup that he threw with intent. A high level arm in the state’s junior class that continues to impress in our looks."
Ethan Eberle LHP / Normal Community, IL / 2024
From 8/16/23: "...continues to be a tough look for opposing hitters. Listed at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, long limbs. Eberle is deceptive with his delivery, working with a big leg-lift into a slight coil before striding across his body slightly down the mound. Hides the ball well with his short arm action and low ¾ release. The southpaw worked his fastball in the 85-87 mph range with up to 18.4” of run, averaging 16.5”. He went to his sweeping slider most often, ripping it confidently for strikes and to put hitters away, 71-73 mph with 2/8 shape. Flashed a straight changeup at 77 mph. Quiet confidence, “try and hit it” mentality."