Illinois 2025 Rankings: Update
August 30, 2023
A lot has happened since we last updated the 2025 Illinois class back in April. A number of talented prospects emerged down the stretch of the IHSA season as well as throughout a busy summer which featured a number of high-profile events, showcases and tournaments. On top of that, the PBR Future Games Team Illinois (roster full of 2025 prospects) squad was as talented, top-to-bottom, as in any previous year. The Illinois State Games, in its second-year running, once again provided a ton of valuable information that was instrumental in some of these updates throughout the list.
The influx of new prospects, as well as many others that took their game to the next level has warranted all kinds of movement up-and-down the list, as well as an expansion to the board. As a result, a number of players actually saw their ranking “drop” despite them actually rising in our minds. As the classes continue to age through the high school ranks, we as a staff continue to accumulate more and more prospects that go into our database (ultimately the rankings), many of whom never did before. With that many more players now in the mix players are bound to drop in the rankings despite our opinion on them as a prospect having not changed.
The top two names in the class remain unchanged, and both LHP Jack Bauer (Lincoln-Way East; Virginia commit) and UTL Jaden Fauske (Nazareth Academy; Louisville commit) are further cementing themselves as high-end names on a national scale:
+ Bauer’s climbing even more so in this update, slotting as one of the top prospects in the nation. Standing at a long-limbed and highly projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, Bauer’s arm talent matches his premier stature with present loud stuff as well as more to dream on. He’s taken considerable strides over the last calendar year, sustaining more velocity and building on his natural ability to spin the baseball more consistently. He recently made the trip to San Diego for the Area Code Games and was deemed a winner by Shooter Hunt, our Vice President of Scouting:
“...Bauer is easy to dream on at a square-shouldered, 6-foot-3, 175-pounds, dripping with athleticism while holding significant room to add strength. A simple delivery and boring arm action produced some eye-opening stuff including a fastball that ranged from 90-93 with high likelihood of seeing significant upticks in future looks. Less apt to use a quality changeup (83 mph with fade in this look), the pitch holds above average characteristics, but it is the advancement of the slider which is likely to carry Bauer to the upper echelon in the class with regards to prospect status. Less effective a year ago, the pitch now rips off at 76-77 with sweeping action north of 2900 rpm. Given his physical profile and the spin characteristics, it is hard not to compare Bauer to recent White Sox 1st rounder, LHP Noah Schultz, and similarly to Schultz, Bauer might see remarkable strides forward in as little as a year as he grows into his frame and becomes more comfortable with movement patterns. He struck out three in two innings of work.”
+ Fauske helped lead Nazareth Academy to consecutive state championships as a sophomore this past spring, hitting right in the middle of a loaded Roadrunners’ lineup while playing multiple spots on the diamond, too. His left-handed swing is both fluid and potent, coupling a natural hitting ability with power to all fields. Aside from true impact potential from the left side of the plate, Fauske’s defensive versatility only ups his value, slotting behind the plate, on the dirt, and in the outfield grass in our looks. He also proved to be more than capable on the mound, getting a number of valuable innings across the spring while working behind an upper-80s fastball. He clearly made a name for himself nationally at the Area Code Games, coming away with some nationwide buzz following the event:
“...Fauske handled the barrel as well as any player at the event in eliciting the look of a professional bat with visible flick and inherent plate coverage. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound left-handed hitting catcher looked plenty comfortable with each plate appearance against some of the top arms in the country, and went 3-for-7 with a double and a home run, driving in five runs on the week. Handsy with a whippy barrel that turned heavy with easy plate coverage, there is a strong chance that he combines both hit and power-tools in the future, and develops into a run-producing bat. The defensive skills behind the plate looked to be more future average, but his athleticism might allow for a corner outfield spot as well. Overall, it was a breakout week at the plate from Fauske.”
Staying put at third overall, 1B/LHP Conor Essenburg (Lincoln-Way West; Kansas State) is a high ceiling 6-foot-1, 190-pound two-way athlete that’s done nothing but impress thus far into 2023. Essenburg was a staple on both sides of the ball for a Lincoln-Way West squad that spent a large chunk of the year towards the top of our Illinois’ Power 25 rankings, earning PBR Illinois All-State honors as only a sophomore. His right-handed bat is fast and physical with aggression, juice, and gap-to-gap feel, slugging at multiple checkpoints on our scouting circuit. On the mound, Essenburg boasts an upper-80s fastball and comfort with his curveball/changeup mix, both of which profile as above-average offerings. Essenburg’s two-way talents keep trending upward and the Kansas State commit’s stock rises with it.
Climbing significantly in this update after stellar showings throughout the summer, including at the PBR Future Games, are C/RHP Quinn Schambow (Libertyville) and 3B/OF CJ Deckinga (Minooka), who now sit at No. 4 and No. 5 overall, respectively:
+ Schambow couldn’t have improved his stock more at the Future Games, starring for Team Illinois both behind the plate and on the mound. The starting quarterback for the Wildcats’ football squad, Schambow looks the part of a high-end backstop, boasting a muscled-up 6-foot, 190-pound broad-shouldered frame. His arm talent behind the plate rivals that of any in the state, regardless of class, and it goes further than his arm strength, though that aspect is advanced (T84 mph), too. Schambow’s aggressive with his arm, routinely looking to throw behind runners and show off his best tool whenever possible. Pairing with his glove is a strong and balanced right-handed swing with inherent strength, juicing a loud opposite field double at the Future Games. To add even more value to his game, Schambow jumped on the mound to close out his trip to LakePoint and bumped his fastball up to 89 mph with a real swing-and-miss slider at 73-74 mph, averaging nearly 2600 RPM. The top uncommitted prospect in the class, Schambow should be a popular commodity amongst collegiate circles until he comes off the board.
“...Schambow first made his way into the notes column with impressive defensive work that included 1.9’s on the bag between innings and quality receiving. However, it was the offensive production which featured an exclamation point double on the final day that belted off the wall in right field, that elevated his status as a must-follow prospect moving forward. The sturdy, 6-foot, 194-pound backstop finished the week going 4-for-5 with a double and five walks, and even hopped on the mound to showcase his arm strength in a clean inning that saw him work up to 89 mph. In all, it was a stellar all around performance that cemented Schambow’s presence on the national scene.”
+ Deckinga was unquestionably one of the biggest winners in this update after multiple impressive looks this summer, rising 74 total spots, and now sitting at fifth overall on our board. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Deckinga controls his long limbs exceptionally well for his age and stature, featuring a fast/athletic, yet polished, right-handed barrel at the dish. He got off several eye-popping swings at the Future Games, kicking his week off by rocketing a home run to the pull-side and barreling a screaming line drive to the opposite field later on in the event, too. Deckinga’s athleticism shows on the dirt, where he’s a quality glove at third base with lateral comfort and the ability to work accurately from multiple arm angles.
“...Deckinga’s breakout performance at the Future Games was highlighted by a booming home run in the first game of the week with Team Illinois. Wiry and ultra-athletic with a projectable, 6-foot-4, 174-pound frame, the right-handed hitter showcased some dynamic movements through impact to go along with lightning-quick hands that showcased some explosive upside. There is still some rawness in the approach, but the fact that he was able to perform (3-for-8) in-game is comforting when imagining where he might be in two years. A 6.97-runner with long strides, he likely profiles in the outfield. Overall, Deckinga presented one of the highest upsides at the event.”
C Enzo Infelise (Providence Catholic; Oklahoma commit), RHP/OF Joseph Chiarodo (Edwardsville; Alabama commit), and INF Ethan Moore (Oak Park-River Forest; Louisville commit) occupy the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots on our updated board, respectively:
+ Infelise's sheer ability to hit is certainly advanced for his age and he’s done nothing but rake since entering high school, earning PBR Illinois Second Team All-State honors as a sophomore this spring. It’s an accurate/heavy right-handed barrel with bat speed and bat strength, covering the whole plate with confidence, while showing above-average all-field power with consistency. Defensively, Infelise has shown above-average arm strength behind the plate in workout and gameplay settings, too.
+ All Chiarodo does is dominate when he’s on the rubber and the Alabama commit helped lead Edwardsville to consecutive 4A state champions for his efforts on the mound. At 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, Chiarodo’s an explosive athlete downhill that pairs a natural ability to pitch with an uptick in stuff this spring, leading to a highly successful sophomore season. We’ve seen him up to 92 mph with his fastball, pitching anywhere in the upper-80s to low-90s, with a true four-pitch mix. He’ll manipulate spin while adding/subtracting on his breaking ball and he also has confidence in a low-80s changeup that he primarily throws to left-handed hitters. On top of his talents on the mound, Chiarodo is also an intriguing follow as a position player and served as an integral part of the Tigers’ championship offense. His tools across the board - 6.87 60, 100.8 mph max EV, 98 mph from the outfield - are loud, and his bat speed and barrel force proved across several in-game looks this spring.
+ Moore’s defensive prowess headlines his game, as the Louisville commit features as clean and polished actions defensively as anyone in the class. Aside from his advanced glove, Moore showed well at the plate at Creekside this summer with more bat speed and bat strength than we’d seen from him in the past, particularly from the left side. He was on the barrel to all fields a handful of times, all while continuing to make difficult plays look routine on defense.
Rounding out the top 10 are two arms from southern Illinois that are on the rise after highly impressive looks throughout the year, especially at the PBR Future Games: RHP Drew Winslow (Triad) and RHP Austin Musso (Mascoutah).
+ Winslow is unique in many ways, starting with his long, lanky 6-foot-6, 195-pound stature. A standout on the hardwood for the Knights’ basketball team, Winslow’s an up-tempo and athletic mover down the mound who’s arm works from a unique lower ¾ arm window. From that slot, Winslow generates plenty of arm-side run on a nightmare fastball to right-handed hitters that plays in the upper-80s, touching 91 mph down in LakePoint with Team Illinois. Though still developing full feel, Winslow will flash true sweep on his 73-76 mph slider and he also showed hard-running action on a firm low-80s changeup. Still relatively new to pitching, Winslow’s ceiling is as high as any arm in the class.
+ Musso helped anchor a Mascoutah pitching staff that wasn’t keen on giving up runs this spring, allowing just six total over 32 innings of work and punching out 56 batters in the process. He holds present strength and athleticism on his 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame with room to add more as he continues to mature physically. Musso’s calling card is his ability to flat-out pitch and dominate games, bringing an ace-like presence to the mound each time he toes the rubber. His fastball plays in the upper-80s, touching 89 mph in our looks, with true four-seam carry and life up in the zone (T21.5 IVB, T2515 RPM). He’ll spin a more bendy and gradual high-60s breaking ball for strikes, turning to a harder, sharper, and more lateral slider at 76-78 mph for whiffs. Rounding out his arsenal is an upper-70s changeup with natural run and fade that you’ll see him throw down in the zone to both handed hitters. The makeup, polish, pitchability, and stuff gives Musso a repertoire that checks so many boxes
THE TOP 10
||Oak Park-River Forest