Inside the Rankings: 2018 Risers

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Yesterday we updated and expanded the Illinois 2018 rankings. Over the course of the past couple months plenty of seniors have elevated their games and performed at a high level, warranting a shift in the rankings. Today we take a look at some of the notable 2018s who are on the ascent.

INF Jacob Plastiak (Andrew), a Wichita State commit, jumped 30 spots and now sits in the top 20. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound switch-hitter swung a hot bat at a number of high-level events throughout the fall. He routinely showed he could handle velocity and has a chance to develop into a power bat at the next level.

RHP Scott Youngbrandt, another Andrew HS product, impressed throughout the fall and sits at No. 21 in the class. Youngbrandt, a St. Louis commit, is highly competitive, pounds the strike zone, runs his fastball into the upper 80’s and throws a sharp breaking ball with aggression and good feel.

Francois Castillo (Lake View) who was known in the past as a third baseman with a big arm (96 mph across the infield) has made noise on the mound this fall. The Eastern Illinois commit, who sits at No. 23 in Illinois, is still very new to pitching and profiles as a late inning reliever. On multiple occasions this fall Castillo has been 89-91 mph with his fastball that has heavy finish and flashed a curveball that shows plus potential at times.

One of the more intriguing arms in the class is 6-foot-8, 255-pound RHP Jase Wallingford (Quincy Notre Dame). Wallingford, still uncommitted, attended the Unsigned Senior - St. Louis in early October. The imposing, big-bodied right-hander, commanded the zone behind a fastball that sat 86-88 mph, touching 89. He also showed feel for a slider that had power action at 76-77 mph. Wallingford, now ranked No. 30 in the class, is the highest ranked RHP still on the market.

RHP’s Jeffrey Massey (Gwendolyn Brooks) and AJ Golembiewski (Marian Central Catholic) both have been on the rise as of late and still have plenty left in the tank. Massey, a recent Minnesota commit, was a big buzz name this fall as his velocity has continued to tick up. Reports had the 6-foot-3, 165-pound, wiry, quick-armed right-hander up to 90 mph this fall with a three-pitch mix and now comes in at No. 33.  Golembiewski, an Illinois-Springfield commit, is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound, projectable arm who ran his fastball up to 87 mph at the GPA Games in August. Golembiewski gets good run and sink to his fastball and compliments it with a sharp slider. Golembiewski climbed 77 spots and sits at No. 57.

AJ Golembiewski (GPA Games - 8.13.17)

LHP Giuseppe Mattera (Pleasant Plains) climbed to No. 60 in the class thanks in part to his performance at the Capital City Open in early October. Mattera, who has always intrigued with his wiry frame and quick arm, sat 86-88 mph with his fastball. The hardest we had seen Mattera previously was 84 mph.

With the rankings getting expanded to 225 players there were a number of newcomers who we will touch on in the next few days.

CLICK HERE for the complete 2018 Illinois Rankings.

CLICK HERE for the 2018 updated rankings story.


Unsigned Senior Showcase