Inside The Illinois Rankings: 2020 Newcomers

By Drew Locascio and Andy Sroka
Illinois Staff

Throughout this week, we’ve been providing insight into our recently updated class of 2020 Illinois rankings. We took a magnifying glass to the hectic summer season and used it to update our 2020 board, expanding it to a top 120 prospects. Earlier this week, we delved into the top-10 rankings to see what was new, and yesterday we checked in on the prospects rising most notably up the board.

Today, we’ll be examining those making their debuts on their state class rankings entirely, beginning with one obvious debutant: RHP Jake Kuntzendorf (Aurora Christian; uncommitted). The 6-foot-2 righty had been on the rise all spring after a dominant season as a two-way star for the Eagles, helping his 1A program capture its first-ever state title. Headed into the summer, it became evident that his stuff stacked up against the region’s top competition. At the PBR Future Games, Kuntzendorf worked two innings where he went right after hitters, sitting in the 86-89 mph range, touching 90 mph. The quick-armed right-handed also features an above-average breaking ball that he has feel for and uses as an out-pitch.

Kuntzendorf makes his debut on the 2020 board just short of the top 10, as the state’s top uncommitted pitcher – he even nabbed a spot on the national rankings just released today.

Jake Kuntzendorf (8.2.18)

Further down the board, but still within the top-25 ranks, is Riverside-Brookfield’s Mike Schicker (Purdue commit). The 6-foot-3, durable, extra-large, catcher stood out at the Future Games, statistically, by recording the lowest pop time (1.91) for Team Illinois and the highest velocity out of the crouch (81 mph) in the workouts. He’s long been heralded for his defensive prowess behind the plate; he has soft, receptive hands and accurate, true arm. Schicker parlayed his performance this summer and at the PBR Future Games into a commitment at Purdue earlier this month.

One of the biggest pop-up guys of the summer was RHP Holden Phelps (Prairie Ridge). Phelps, long and lean at 6-foot-4, 185-pounds, emerged at the Central Illinois Open and earned an invite to the All-State Games that same week. At the All-State Games, Phelps, showed an easy, loose arm and ran his fastball up to 90 mph. If Phelps continues to refine his off-speed and delivery it wouldn’t be shocking if he finds himself in the “risers story” the next time the rankings are updated. Phelps currently sits just inside the top 35.

Holden Phelps (8.9.18)

The next two newcomers to the list reside in Central Illinois, C Isaiah Gudeman (Morton) and RHP Logan Tabeling (Tuscola), both now in the top 50 in Illinois. Gudeman continues to fill out his impressive 6-foot-2, 195-pound and was one of the top catchers at this summers All-State Games. Gudeman, known for his ability behind the plate, had the low pop time of the event at 1.95, is a quality receiver and a highly-agile blocker. At the plate, the the ball jumps off his bat when he times it up and he registered a 99 mph exit velocity at the event.

When looking at Tabeling, he made his statement at the 2A state finals in Peoria in early June. The highly-competitive right-hander started the semi-final game for Tuscola and made a lasting impression on anyone in attendance, despite not coming away with the win. Tabeling sat anywhere from 83-87 mph throughout and mixed in a sharp-biting breaking ball with above-average feel at 72-75 mph. Tabeling ended up going 7.2 IP, and struck out 14 opposing hitters (an IHSA State Finals record). He allowed just one earned run and walked two.

Here are some notes on a few more 2020 newcomers:

Clayton Johnson RHP / Prophetstown, IL / 2020

6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher, sat 83-86 mph with a good changeup at the PBR Limited Series in Kentucky.

Josh Dima LHP / Althoff Catholic, IL / 2020

Lean, left-hander, sits in the mid-80's with a downer breaking ball.

Cade Zalewski 1B / Wheeling, IL / 2020

6-foot-3, 180-pound, right-handed hitter with a loose, strong swing and middle of the order potential.

Daniel Clawson OF / Hersey, IL / 2020

6-foot-2, 205-pound, physical right-handed hitter with some of the best raw power in the class.

Tucker Shalley RHP / Jersey, IL / 2020

6-foot-4, 175-pound, highly-projectable right-handed pitcher with a loose, quick arm and fastball that sits in the mid-80's.



Tyler Woltman C / Wheaton North, IL / 2020

Illinois State commit. Advanced defensive catcher with a quick release and strong, accurate arm. Started and batted leadoff for Wheaton North varsity this past spring.