Prep Baseball Report

Inside The Rankings: 2017 Newcomers

By Drew Locascio 
Illinois Scouting Director

The Illinois updated and expanded 2017 rankings were released last week and a couple of days ago we took a deeper look inside. We highlighted a handful of prospects who rose in the rankings since the last update.

With the Illinois 2017 rankings expanding from 175 to 200 prospects, there were a number of newcomers who entered the rankings for the first time. 10 incoming seniors not only find themselves in the rankings for the first time, they also sit in the Top 100. 9 of the 10 newcomers in the Top 100 are still uncommitted and should be high follows moving forward.

The top newcomer in the rankings is C/SS Brian Fuentes (Crystal Lake South HS), an uncommitted prospect who is now ranked No. 34. Fuentes, who recently moved in from Venezuela, has shown high-ceiling potential at the plate, advanced defensive actions on the infield and behind the plate.

(Fuentes - PBR Midwest ProCase)

Close behind Fuentes is 1B/LHP Damian Pierce (Springfield HS). Pierce, a left-left athlete, now ranked No. 42, had a huge spring at the plate for a Springfield team that finished runner-up in Class 3A. Entering the state tournament Pierce was hitting .438 with 19 doubles, six triples, six home runs and 46 RBI.

Coming in just outside the Top 50 is hard throwing RHP Justin Bauersachs (Trico HS). The 6-foot-4, uncommitted, right-hander came to the Metro East Open in June and his fastball sat 88-89 mph. Right behind Bauersachs is LHP Chad Cwik (Oak Lawn HS) at No. 55. Cwik, an Arkansas commit, sits in the mid 80’s and features an above-average changeup.

At No. 57 is another LHP in Dan Vos (Chicago Christian HS). In a playoff game this spring, 6-foot-3, 190-pound, Vos, sat comfortably in the mid 80’s, touching 87 frequently with feel for three pitches. Vos flashed a couple of changeups that flashed plus action at 74-75 mph. RHP Brett Wicklund (Lane Tech HS), now ranked No. 63, has a projectable 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame and a fastball that was up to 87 mph this spring.

Rounding out the newcomers in Top 100 is OF Casey O’Laughlin (Fenwick HS), a Northwestern commit, RHP Jake Jones (Oak Forest HS), LHP Cole Kmet (St. Viator HS) a Notre Dame football commit and C Nick Airola (Minooka HS).

CLICK HERE for a look at the updated rankings.