Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Players Shine at PBR Future Games Positional Workout

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Prep Baseball Report Future Games kicked off today at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana outside of Indianapolis.  The Future Games is comprised of ten teams from different states in the PBR coverage area.  Day one featured a showcase format for the positional players: 60-yard dashes, defensive evaluations, exit velocities, and on-field batting practice were all taken.  Several members of Team Illinois made their mark with a packed house of collegiate coaches from all over their country. 

The following is a recap of some of Thursday’s top highlights from Illinois players.

Team Illinois Highlights

+ Carmel’s Cooper Johnson stole the show recording pop times down to second base between 1.79-1.94 seconds, 81 mph from the crouch.  Johnson also impressed with two solid rounds of batting practice, driving several line drives from gap to gap from his balanced, wide setup.

+ Mount Carmel’s Jeremy Houston excelled running a 6.69 60, the third fastest time recorded at the positional showcase.  Houston also impressed with his range, smooth hands, and easy fluid arm action up to 82 mph cross the diamond.

+ Warren’s Matt Burch impressed with is all around play, excelling defensively throwing 87 mph across the diamond from shortstop, and putting on one of the more impressive batting practice displays spraying line drives from his open crouch stance with good barrel awareness and 81 mph exit velocity.

+ Lake Forest High School’s Cal Coughlin put on debatably the top batting practice display of the day, from both sides of the plate to boot.  Coughlin left the yard right-handed to deep left field, producing 96 mph exit velocity from the right side of the plate.  From the left side he showed more loft in his swing, hitting two homers down the right field line, with exit velocity up to 92 mph.   He shows an advanced approach at the plate from both sides, slightly more spread out from the left.  Coughlin also showed soft hands defensively at third base, and threw 85 mph across the diamond.

+ St. Ignatius’ Dylan Gilbert showed a closed stance, right-center field approach in the past, but has recently added a leg kick to his swing and took more of a pull approach during batting practice.  He impressed hitting two towering homers to deep left field, and several balls deep in the gaps to left and right center with 89 mph exit velocity.  Gilbert also impressed in the outfield throwing 89 mph from right field with carry and accuracy.  He ran a 6.89 60 time, showing off his versatility and athleticsm.

+ Mt. Carmel’s AJ Lewis put on a clinic when it came to accuracy during the catching portion of the defensive evaluations.  His 1.94-1.97 pop times were delivered consistently down to second at the shortstops knee and on a line at 77 mph from the crouch.  Lewis also showed soft hands at third base, though catching is his primary position.  At the plate, Lewis impressed hitting from an open stance with a short, balanced swing lining balls back up the middle with exit velocity up to 88 mph.  He also ran a 7.02 60 to boot.  Lewis will start a running back for the Caravan this fall, and is a physical specimen compared to his peers, a rock solid 5-foot-10, 175-pounds

+ Brother Rice’s Andrew Dyke ran a 6.84 60 and showed a balanced approach at the plate spraying line drives from gap to gap with 84 mph exit velocity.

+ While not on Team Illinois, three Illinois high school prospects impressed for the Select Team: Sacred Heart-Griffin’s Cal Elvers, Minooka’s Joey Butler, and Downers Grove South’s Danny Oriente.  Elvers set a Future Games record throwing 95 mph from the outfield from an electric, loose, over the top arm aggressive arm action with impressive carry into the wind.  He proved to be one of the top prospects at the position player workout running a 7.08 60, throwing 1.94-1.98 with accuracy down to second base from behind the plate, and producing 93 mph exit velocity.

+ Joey Butler ran a 6.90 60, threw 85 mph across the infield, and impressed with balanced line drive approach with 91 mph exit velocity.  Butler is a 6-foor-3, 185-pound rangy, athletic prospect who has yet to scratch the surface of his baseball potential, as he also played varsity hoops for the Indians as a sophomore.  Butler’s older brother Jake, was  drafted by the Detroit Tigers this spring out of the University of St. Francis with a fastball up to 93 mph, and Joey shows a similar loose, effortless arm action.

+ Danny Oriente produced the event’s top exit velocity at 98 mph and is arguably one of the top hitters in the state of Illinois regardless of class.  The right-handed hitter hits from an open, crouched setup, with lower, quiet hands doing a good job staying inside the baseball.   The former catcher took defensive drills in the outfield throwing 84 mph from right field with an aggressive crow hop.  He also ran a 7.08 60.

+ Bryce Gray from Homewood Flossmoor impressed behind the plate posting pop times between 1.90-2.0.  At the plate, he gets his foot down early, producing a short, level, line drive swing with 83 mph exit velocity.  Gray will start at quarterback this fall for the Vikings, and shows impressive leadership ability both on and off the field.

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