Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Class of 2025 Rankings: First Look

By: Drew Locascio & Diego Solares
PBR Scouting Staff

It is still extremely early, perhaps even premature, to be forecasting Class of 2025 prospects, especially since a number of rising sophomores from across the state haven’t even played a varsity game. Then again, with the acceleration of recruiting in the last handful of years, high-level 2025 prospects are already making verbal commitments.

Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen an impressive amount of talented 2025 prospects, several of whom should become national prospects.

With that said, we have released our initial 2025 rankings, a modest list of 20 prospects that have stood out among their peers. Certainly this list will change and evolve in time, as we know many players will grow, develop and mature. We also know that we likely haven’t seen many other 2025 prospects that may be deserving of this list.

However, we are confident that the players included in the list have extremely bright futures, barring injuries, of course.

Four of the top five prospects in Illinois have already made their college commitment to Louisville, with RHP/OF Tanner Thomas (Arcola) headlining the class. Thomas is a polished, athletic, 5-foot-11, 170-pound, right-handed arm who sits comfortably in the mid-80’s with above-average feel for secondary stuff and plenty of more velocity to come down the road. He is also a highly-athletic outfielder who ran a 6.55 at a Scout Day last fall, topped at 87 mph from the outfield and has a natural uphill stroke with plenty of jump off the barrel from the right-side of the plate. Thomas is a high-floor, high-ceiling prospect with plenty of more to tap into down the road. 

Another highly-athletic two-way prospect, RHP/INF Xavier Crowder (Montini) comes in at No. 2 in the state. The lone uncommitted prospect in the top-five, Crowder features all kinds of electricity in his skill set, especially his right-handed arm. Crowder pitched effortlessly in game at 85-86 mph, touching 87 last fall and he took it to another level this winter at the Preseason All-State Underclass. Here was our report from the event on 2/26/22: 

"Crowder led the showcase with a curveball that averaged a spin rate of nearly 2,700 rpm and Crowder paired his breaking ball with one of the top fastballs of that day, topping at 90.7 mph. Crowder’s dynamic athleticism was on display as a position player as well. He ran the top 60 time for 2025s (6.94) and showed off elite bat speed for his age (75.5 mph max). Crowder swings with intent off an uphill path with pull-side tendencies and his furthest batted ball traveled 346 feet."

Xavier Crowder

The next three prospects on the list have all committed to Louisville; No. 3 SS Ethan Moore (Oak Park-River Forest), No. 4 LHP Joe Olson (St. Laurence) and No. 5 C/INF Jaden Fauske (Nazareth): 

+ Moore caught the attention of our Wisconsin scouts at the South Milwaukee Preseason ID this past winter, impressing in all facets of his workout, having this to say about him in the day’s ‘Quick Hits’: “...ran a 7.07 in the 60-yard dash, threw 84 mph across the infield, and showed bat speed at the plate from both sides of the box. During his defensive session, he traveled low to the ball using a stagger step from right to left with athletic feel. He showcased soft hands while receiving and transitioned quickly with clean exchanges. At the plate, he made short, aggressive swings that produced quality lower ball flight.”

Ethan Moore

+ Olson is the most recent commit, joining the Cardinals’ 2025 recruiting class a few days ago. He was a key piece of the St. Laurence pitching rotation as a freshman, and his production on the mound in his first season of varsity action was key to the Vikings’ success this spring. Our staff took in one of Olson’s starts on April 21st: “...physically mature, 6-foot, 190-pound frame, strong lower-half with equally distributed strength. The freshman southpaw started on the mound for No. 5 St. Laurence, impressing with a high-level fastball and off-speed to pair. His arm works with a short circle out of the glove into a ¾ slot, playing quickly to release. Down the mound, Olson moves with a somewhat up-tempo pace into his leg-lift, dropping slightly into his back knee from balance point and exploding down the mound in-line with the plate. His fastball plays with effortless life out of the hand, running to his arm-side and sitting in the 84-87 mph range. His go-to secondary offering was a tight 1/7 breaking ball, thrown with intent and flashed sharp action at times, 72-73 mph. High-level 2025 arm to follow moving forward.”

Joe Olson

+ Fauske, who’s now represented Team Illinois at the Junior Future Games three times, earned playing time for a Nazareth Academy team that is currently still battling for a state championship. He’s a confident left-handed hitter with upside at the plate, and he’s capable of moving around the diamond on defense, too. Fauske’s just now starting to scratch the surface of his ceiling and he could certainly rise up this list throughout his high school career. 

Jaden Fauske

At sixth on our initial release is RHP Joseph Chiarodo (Edwardsville). Chiarodo jumped onto our radar after a breakout performance at the Missouri Preseason All-State this winter, and he parlayed that momentum into playing time as a freshman for the Tigers, who are set to compete for the 4A state playoffs this weekend. A quick nugget on him from in-game action earlier this spring: “...uncommitted, high-level right-handed arm in the 2025 class. Works athletically down the mound with a drop/drive lower-half - arm works from a quick high ¾ slot. His fastball sat at 83-85 mph throughout his inning of work, exploding through the zone and pouring in strikes. Chiarodo also displayed feel for a sharp breaking ball at 63-66 mph, playing off a slurvy shape with sharp action, kept mostly down.”

Joseph Chiarodo

Committed to Illinois, INF/RHP Jack Wheeler (Morris) slots into the seventh spot on the 2025 board. He’s a high-upside 6-foot-3, 165-pound athlete with lanky levers that ooze projectability. Wheeler made the trip to LakePoint last August to represent Team Illinois at the Junior Future Games, and he was also amongst the top prospects in attendance at this winter’s Preseason All-State event: “...features one of the highest upsides out of all the 2025s in attendance, as he features a long-limbed, high-waisted 6-foot-3, 165-pound frame fit with athleticism. Wheeler ran a 7.40 in the 60 and showed advanced feel on the infield with loose actions, clean hands, and his arm topped at 84 mph to first. He also showed an aggressive right-handed swing that works level through the hitting zone.”

Jack Wheeler

1B/LHP Conor Essenburg (Lincoln-Way West) was also a part of Team Illinois this summer, and owns high upside in his own right attached to an athletic 6-foot-1, 168-pound frame. He stood out as one of the top prospects throughout the week at the Junior Future Games in Georgia, and did so again this winter at our Preseason All-State showcase. Essenburg continues to show an uptick in velocity on the mound as he recently ran his fastball up to 88 mph at the Top Tier Scout Day. Here is what we had on the two-way talent at the Preseason All-State this winter: “...has an athletic look to his overall game and especially at the plate. It is a loose, athletic swing that gets extension through contact and is tailored to elevate the baseball with authority and sit somewhere in the middle of an order. He is also an above-average first baseman and has a bright future on the mound, though he did not pitch at this event; his 85 mph high across from a loose, quick left-handed arm is evidence of this, however.”

Conor Essenburg

RHP/INF Cody Freitas (Bradley-Bourbannais) is another incoming sophomore that’s currently off the market, committing to Illinois State in February. Our last look at the 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander came at the Preseason All-State this winter, where he bumped his fastball up to 87 mph, sitting at 85-86 mph throughout his ‘pen. Freitas also showed a low-70s breaking ball with depth and downer spin, landing it around the zone, and he mixed in a hard-running changeup in the high-70s, too. Freitas debuts at ninth on the initial Illinois’ 2025 rankings. 

Cody Freitas

Rounding out the top-10 is C/INF Enzo Infelise (Providence Catholic), who wields one of the more physical right-handed bats on this list. Infelise routinely hammered baseballs off the barrel in BP across multiple looks this winter, reaching exit speeds as high as 98.3 mph with a max distance of 346 feet. The improvements he’s made defensively, particularly behind the plate, are noteworthy and he earned the starting catcher spot for Providence Catholic towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. Infelise profiles as a middle-of-the-order bat thumper down the road. 

Enzo Infelise

There are plenty of other prospects in the Top-20, and beyond, worth mentioning but one in particular is LHP Jack Bauer (Lincoln-Way East). When looking at the arms in the class, Bauer possesses some of the highest upside in the class. Bauer still needs to polish his arsenal but the arm talent is undeniable for the 6-foot-2, 170-pound, long-limbed, high-waisted left-hander. Bauer recently ran his fastball up to an easy 88 mph with a developing breaking ball. Bauer comes in at No. 12 on our initial list. 

CLICK HERE for a look at the initial 2025 rankings list.