Inside The Illinois Rankings: 2021 Risers


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Last week we updated the Illinois 2021 Rankings list, one of the biggest in recent memory, expanding it to 250, including all of the data and analysis we saw from our winter preseason showcases. 

Today we dive deeper into the rankings, looking at some of the notable risers on our 2021 list. One trend that rings true for the majority of the risers in the class, is they are uncommitted and should be highly-sought after moving forward.

ILLINOIS RISERS

We touched on the Top-10 prospects during the initial rankings story last week and the two biggest risers at the top of the rankings were RHP Ben Hess (Charleston) and C Ty Batusich (Joliet West). Hess jumped from No. 8 to No. 5 and was poised for a huge spring. Batusich, who rose from No. 12 to No. 9, continues to display one of the best left-handed bats in the class, along with an above-average run tool for his size/position, as well as arm strength (82 mph from the crouch). 

The top uncommitted prospect in the state, LHP Eric Orloff (Glenbrook North), was also the biggest riser that landed just outside the Top-10. Orloff jumped from No. 20 to No. 11 after one of the top performances at this winter’s Preseason All-State. Orloff packed 10 pounds onto his already durable, strong frame and sat comfortably at 88-89 mph with feel for both his secondary offerings. On top of the jump in velocity, Orloff creates a tough look for the hitter, working across his body with a high front side, creating a lot of angle and deception to his entire repertoire. Given the unorthodox delivery, Orloff repeats extremely well and both of his secondary offerings have above-average potential. Expect the rising junior to draw plenty of attention from college coaches moving forward, if he has not already.

Eric Orloff (2.9.20)

RHP/INF Tyler Conklin (Kaneland), another uncommitted prospect, made the second-biggest numerical jump in the entire rankings, climbing 95 spots, from No. 115 to No. 20. Conklin’s performance on the mound at the Preseason All-State was arguably the biggest breakout performance of the winter. Conklin carries unassuming strength in his live 5-foot-9 frame, along with a quick athletic arm and sat a relatively easy 90-91 mph. Conklin also mixed in a sharp slider at 77 mph and feel for a changeup. Conklin's feel for three pitches and his compact repeatable delivery allow him to pound the zone giving him starter upside. The strong-armed right-hander attended the Libertyville Preseason I.D. later in the winter and made a case as a two-way follow thanks to his advanced tools across the board. Conklin topped at 94 mph across the diamond, ran a 7.13 60 and was 96 mph off a tee.

Tyler Conklin (2.9.20)

Xavier  commit, C Emmanuel Scott (St. Ignatius),  jumped from No. 26 to No. 21. Scott continues to add quality lean-strength to his 6-foot, 175-pound frame and took one of the more impressive rounds of BP at the Preseason All-State. Scott has quick, twitchy hands at the plate, feel for the barrel and the ball is starting to jump off the bat with authority. Defensively, he is highly-athletic with soft hands and continues to improve his already-advanced receiving abilities. 

Emmanuel Scott (2.9.20)

Coming in at No. 35 and No. 36 on the updated list are a pair of high-level uncommitted right-handed arms, Ben Plumley (Lane Tech) and Dominic Guzman (Crystal Lake South), both of whom shined at events this winter. Plumley, who climbed almost 30 spots made his statement at the South Milwaukee Open. Plumley has a wide-shouldered, 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, clean, quick arm and spins one of the better breaking balls in the class. The fastball was sitting a lively 87-88 mph, T89 while his curveball is thrown with intent at 73-76 mph. Furthermore, Plumley showed a much-improved changeup that has out-pitch potential. The biggest numerical jump in the class belongs to Guzman, who jumped over 100 spots. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound, athletically-built, Guzman made his statement at the Preseason All-State and came away as the  No. 1 ranked right-handed arm at the event. Guzman has a compact fast arm and sat 87-89 mph, touching 90 with control of the zone. Guzman showed feel for two off-speed offerings including a sweeping breaking ball that he landed for strikes consistently.

Ben Plumley (3.1.20)

RHP Noah Edders (Downers Grove South; No. 45) and C/RHP Brian Rapanan (Warren; No. 46) are another duo that rose in the update and find themselves next to each other on the list. Edders, is a physical 6-foot-3, 220-pound, Bradley commit, with a clean uninterrupted arm action, and he is yet another prospect who made noise at the Preseason All-State. Edders filled the strike zone up with a fastball that played with angle at 84-87 mph. He also flashed a power curveball at 77-78 mph, that plays with late action and tunnels well off the fastball. Rapanan, still uncommitted, climbed six spots and continues to prove he is one of the more versatile prospects in the state. Defensively he is clean, efficient and athletic out of the crouch with a highly-accurate arm that plays at 80 mph out of the crouch. He also has the tools to stick on the infield if he so chooses and has a clean arm on the mound with a mid-80’s fastball and feel for a four-pitch repertoire.

Brian Rapanan (2.9.20)

MORE RISERS INSIDE THE TOP 100

Brayson Shew RHP / Toledo-Cumberland, IL / 2021 

John A. Logan commit. 6-foot-4, 200-pound, projectable right-hander has a clean arm, feel for three and continues to see his fastball velocity tick up. Shew mostly sat at 87 mph, touching 88 at the Preseason All-State and climbed four spots.  

Jack Stellano LHP / Reed Custer, IL / 2021

Uncommitted, 5-foot-11, 185-pound, durable left-hander, was one of the more polished arms at the Preseason All-State, sitting 84-86 mph, touching 87 and climbed 26 spots as a result.

Tyler Pecson C / Palatine, IL / 2021

Uncommitted, 6-foot, 175-pound catcher possesses an impressive combination of tools and took a loud round of BP at the Preseason All-State. 6.77 60, 1.93-2.09 pop times, 76 mph from the crouch and 99 mph exit velocity. Climbed over 20 spots.

Gavin Bennett C / Libertyville, IL / 2021

Illinois commit. 5-foot-11, 185-pound left-handed hitting catcher. Quiet, sound receiver with a simple, repeatable, barrel-controlled swing. Jumped 13 spots.

Quinn Willard OF / Cornerstone Christian Academy, IL / 2021

Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-handed hitting outfielder showed huge tools at the Preseason All-State and shot up almost 100 spots in the rankings. Willard ran a 6.59 60, was 90 mph from the outfield, registered a 97 mph exit velocity and showed pull-side power during BP.

Matt Santarelli SS / RHP / Lockport, IL / 2021

Uncommitted. Santarelli, a 6-foot, 170-pound right-handed hitting shortstop made huge strides over the winter, with his best showing coming at the Lockport Preseason I.D. Santarelli plays with pace and bounce on the infield, has a big arm at 88 mph across the infield, runs a 6.88 60 and his bat speed continues to improve. Santarelli jumped 74 spots and looks to be just scratching the surface of his potential. 

Jackson Kent LHP / Lake Park, IL / 2021

Uncommitted. Kent battled an injury during his sophomore season but looked to be 100% healthy in his bullpen at the Preseason All-State. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound southpaw showed a clean easy arm and filled up the zone with his fastball that touched 86 mph. Climbed 15 spots.

Luke Trepanier OF / LHP / Manteno, IL / 2021

Bradley commit. Trepanier, a left/left athlete who runs a 6.77 60 and has legitimate two-way potential. Trepanier has a simple swing, knack for the barrel, natural outfield actions and sat 85-86 mph with a 75-76 mph curveball at the Preseason All-State. Rose over 25 spots. 

DJ Morand RHP / Loyola Academy, IL / 2021

Morand is an athletically-built, 6-foot-2, 195-pound, uncommitted right-hander who continues to see his velocity and stuff tick up. At the Preseason All-State Morand sat 84-87 mph with steep angle at times. Climbed over 60 spots.

Cameron Hailstone SS / 2B / Gillespie, IL / 2021

Hailstone, an uncommitted infielder, was recently highlighted in our "Progress Report" thanks to the improvements he has made in a span of six months. Hailstone improved in every statistical category; trimmed .26 seconds off his 60 times, added three mph to his infield velocity and five to his exit velocity. Hailstone has a wide-shouldered, strong frame and a potent enough right-handed bat that could profile him at third base moving forward or as an offensive second baseman. Hailstone swings with controlled aggression, is consistently on the barrel and he flashes pull-side power. Climbed 28 spots.


CLICK HERE for the complete 2021 Illinois Rankings. 

Stay tuned over the next couple of days for more coverage of the 2021 Illinois rankings. 

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