Prep Baseball Report

MLB Draft: Illinois Day 3

Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

Illinois saw 25 players with ties to its state selected on Day 3 of the MLB Draft. LHP Antoine Kelly led the day off for Illinois selections in the 13th round. Kelly came on really strong at the end of the season touching 95 mph in his last outing.

From the college ranks, several 2015 grads saw their names called, starting with C Scott Kapers out of Valparaiso. Kapers was the third Mount Carmel product selected in the 2018 draft (Alek Thomas and Josh Stowers) but Homewood-Flossmoor alumni came on strong in Day 3 with three Viking selections including Korry Howell (2016), Zaid Walker (2018) and Kyle Salley (2018).

Here’s a complete look at Day 3 and our reports from high school and college.

Antoine Kelly, LHP, Maine East, 2018
13th Round, 381st Overall, San Diego Padres

HS Report: 5/23/18 - Currently ranked No. 16 in Illinois' Class of 2018. A Central Arizona JC commit. Saw him at his best in the Regional Semifinal against Oak Park-River Forest. The long, lanky 6-foot-5, 175-pound left-hander presents himself as an imposing force on the mound. His demeanor was full of energy, displaying confidence previously not seen. Was deliberate with drop and drive delivery, using all his momentum to drive down the mound towards home. Arm works quickly from a 3/4 slot, gets out front, creates angles with length. Fastball, excellent command of, worked inside and out keeping the ball at the knees or lower, ranged from 90-95, sat 92-94, popped a 95 in the sixth inning. Slider, used sparingly as fastball was dominant, 2/8 shape with depth, 74-78. In a losing effort, pitched 6.1 innings, gave up three hits, two runs (walk-off home run), one walk and 14 strikeouts. Greatly improved his draft status over his past few outings.

Scott Kapers, C, Valparaiso (Mount Carmel, 2015)
17th Round, 509th Overall, Texas Rangers

College Report: 5/9/18 - Athletic, narrow-framed catcher is a plus defender behind the plate. Quick, athletic feet, extremely quick release, plus accuracy and carry to the bag, thigh-high, gloveside strikes, consistent 1.85-1.95 between innings. Receives well, sets up tight behind the plate, sticks pitches and blocks/deadens well. Made two stellar defensive plays in game that saved the team runs. First, with runners on second and third with two outs and one of the top hitters in the country up, Jeremy Eierman, Kapers made a snap throw from his knees to get the runner leaning at third. Later in game, he blocked a ball in the dirt on a drop-third strike, the ball trickled out of the box up the first base line. Kapers bounced up, picked up the ball, made an athletic throw to first to get the runner, then sprinted back to home to receive the throw on the runner trying to score from third base and made a diving tag to get out of the inning. Offensively, the bat is light, though his history of being a premium defensive catcher dating back to high school should draw interest in the later rounds this June.

Report from HS: 5/22/15 1.97-2.09 pop times in between innings. Threw behind a runner at first base, arm is a weapon behind the plate. Short, quick, arm action, quick release, one of the best catch and throw prospects in Illinois, committed to Valparaiso. RBI line drive past second base in first at bat, lined out to center field on a curveball in second at bat, impressing staying back on the pitch. Intentionally walked in last at bat.

Liam Jenkins, RHP, Louisville (Lincoln-Way North, 2015)
17th Round, 523rd Overall, Cleveland Indians

College Report: 3/14/18 - 6’8/240, Junior. Tall, large bodied reliever with H 3/4 slot. Sat 92-94 mph with his fastball. Sprayed it around, both up in the zone and spiked several in front of home plate. Slider was 84-87 mph with 10/4 rotation, yet not for strikes. The lack of a secondary pitch and a poorly located fastball resulted in a tough day, he was hit hard. Arm action and delivery have improved since high school, but even under the tutelage of one of the best college pitching coaches in the game, he remains a project. Depending upon his signability, he is a potential Day 3 pick for a team looking for a big bodied project with a good arm.

HS Report: 4.1.15 - Arizona State recruit; ranked No. 5 in Illinois’ 2015 class, No. 58 overall. Hulking 6-foot-8, 235-pound frame, high-interest draft prospect. Fastball sat 91-93 mph in first inning, reaching as high as 94 mph multiple times. Held velocity well in middle innings, 90-92 mph, was 88-90 in fifth. Fastball has arm side run when down in the zone, late life on strikeouts up in the zone. Threw mostly fastballs first time through the order, started working in curveball in the third inning, two consecutive 73 mph breaking balls froze hitters for strikeouts. Curveball had 11/5 shape, 72-75 mph range. Did not throw a changeup in game, but looked to have solid feel in bullpen and between innings. Jenkins is beginning to put it together, impressing most with the fact he threw 53 of 79 pitches for strikes. Struck out 10, walked two in 4.1 innings. Both walks and the only hit allowed occurred during the fifth inning when he tired.

Alec Barger, RHP, Polk State JC (Champaign Central, 2016)
16th Round, 485th Overall, Milwaukee Brewers

HS Report: 6/19/14 - 6-foot, 165-pound right-handed hitting outfielder/right-handed pitcher currently ranked No. 43 in Illinois' class of 2016 impressed as one of the top all-around athletes at this year's Top Prospect Showcase. Ran 6.64 in the 60, threw 89 from the outfield, and up to 86 off the mound. At the plate, hits from a tall-open setup with a short stride, quiet hands, and a short load producing a short, compact, level line-drive swing with exit velocity up to 88 mph. Moves well side-to-side in the outfield playing through the baseball getting good carry on accurate throws from a high ¾ arm action. On the mound worked between 83-86 with fastball from high ¾ arm action from a smooth delivery that stays in line with home plate. Fastball sat at 83 from the stretch as he failed to get back over the rubber and load hips. 68-69 mph curveball showed occasional 12/6 action, and slowed arm on 70-72 mph changeup with arm side run that he consistently threw for strikes. Easy delivery, clean arm action, and overall athleticism make it easy to project low 90's fastball velocity in the upcoming years.

Korry Howell, SS, Kirkwood CC (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2016)
12th Round, 365th Overall, Milwaukee Brewers

HS Report: 10.11.15 - Athletic and projectable frame 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-handed hitting middle infielder. Committed to Kirkwood Community College following the event. Flashed an impressive combination of tools running a 6.89 60 and registering a 90 mph exit velocity. Offensively, fluid rhythm, loose hands, quick bat and simple swing. Made a lot of hard contact during batting practice. Level path through the hitting zone. Defensively, smooth actions, good body control and a loose, whippy arm. Soft hands, quick exchange and fluid footwork. Clocked at 81 mph across the diamond.

Chris Holba, RHP, East Carolina (O’Fallon, 2015)
11th Round, 333rd Overall, St. Louis Cardinals

HS Report: 6/8/15 - 6-foot-3, 190-pound lean and athletic right-handed pitcher, ranked No. 13 in Illinois, No. 174 overall, committed to East Carolina. Battled in this outing, getting lifted, then returning in the sixth. Impressed after hitting two straight hitters to give Providence the lead. Came back and minimized the damage with a shallow flyout and a huge 6-4-3 double play ball to give O’Fallon a chance. See scouting report from 4/14 on mechanical breakdown. Fastball sat 87-89 mph early on, worked from 83-86 mph later on. Slider worked in 75-77 mph range, also flashed 81-82 mph changeup. Notched a swinging strikeout to a lefty on an 82 mph change in the second, has above average potential with pitch that he rarely needs to use with fastball/slider combination being so good at the high school level. Not his best outing of the year, but battled in six innings giving up three runs.

Cole Daily, SS, Notre Dame (Sacred Heart Griffin, 2015)
22nd Round, 671st Overall, Washington Nationals

HS Report: 6/4/14 - Ranked No. 4 in Illinois’ 2015 class, No. 18 overall. Verbally committed to Notre Dame. High-level defensive shortstop, advanced natural actions, plenty of arm to stick at position at next level.  Listed at 5-foot-10, 160-pounds, may be closer to 6-foot now. Highly athletic arm, throws have easy carry and accuracy. Extremely quick transfer turning the double play, feeds are quick as well exchange.  At times can get a little flashy defensively, but takes over in middle of the diamond, wants the baseball. Threw away ball on long throw on ground ball to his bare hand for only error of the day. Ran 3.95 to first on sac bunt to third base.  Ran 4.2 on groundout to second. Also singled in six-hole. Open stance with hands held high, getting back to square and staying balanced.

Fitz Stadler, RHP, Arizona State (Glenbrook South, 2015)
18th Round, 536th Overall, Toronto Blue Jays

HS Report: 4.30.15 - 6-foot-8, 220-pound, right-handed pitcher with good coordination and athleticism for size. Currently ranked No. 8 in the Illinois Class of 2015. Arizona State commit. On the mound works from a high ¾ arm slot with a clean arm action. Online, balanced delivery with a shorter stride than you would expect from someone of his height. Starter profile with the ability to throw 3 pitches for strikes. Features a 2-seam and 4-seam fastball, occasionally shows cutting action. Fastball sat 86-87 topping out at 90 in the 1st and 91 mph in the 2nd. Reached back for more velocity when he got ahead in the count. Curveball showed 11-5 shape, occasionally gets sweepy, shows the ability to throw it for strikes at 75-76 topping out at 78 mph. Changeup showed sinking and running action at 81-82 mph.Worked 6 innings striking out 9 allowing only 4 hits.

Cody Hawthorne, LHP, Parkland JC (Galesburg, 2016)
21st Round, 629th Overall, Texas Rangers

Michael Mateja, 3B, North Central College (Bradley-Bourbonnais, 2015)
25th Round, 742nd Overall, Atlanta Braves

HS Report1.11.15 - 5-foot-11, 180-pound right-handed hitting MIF hits from a crouched, open setup, smooth hand load, short stride, uphill bat path, strength evident in swing, good barrel awareness, 88 mph exit velocity off the tee. Defensively, threw 87 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot, with accuracy and carry. Average hands fielding, quick footwork, plays through the baseball. Above average runner, 6.96 60. Mateja was one of the top middle infield prospects at the Unsigned Senior Showcase.

Luke Mangieri, OF, Bradley (Dunlap, 2015)
25th Round, 744th Overall, Pittsburgh Pirates

HS Report: 7.17.13 - Highly athletic and projectable left-handed hitting prospect. 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame with long limbs and plenty of room to develop. Moves fluidly with long easy strides, 6.82 runner. Easy, loose left-handed swing with barrel whip through zone. Hits from open setup, fast hands, pull hitter, uphill path, excellent extension after contact. As he fills into frame, should develop more power. Worked out at first base only at event, though we’ve seen him at third. Has enough arm (77 mph) and athleticism to play on left side of infield. May project as outfielder at next level. High-follow prospect in Illinois’ 2015 class.

Connor Kopach, 2B, Southern Illinois (Downers Grove North, 2013)
25th Round, 748th Overall, Seattle Mariners

HS Report: 10/14/12 - Kopach is an extremely athletic shortstop with above average feet. Kopach showed elite foot speed running a 6.79 60 while exhibiting excellent range at shortstop. Defensively Kopach is a high level shortstop his actions are smooth and athletic. His arm showed good carry at 80 mph getting it out quickly with a clean exchange. Offensively Kopach proved to be just as athletic, hitting from a balanced setup and using an explosive lower half. He has the ability to spray line drives from gap to gap showing advanced extension through the baseball.

Brady Schanuel, RHP, Iowa (Belleville East, 2015)
27th Round, 815th Overall, Milwaukee Brewers

College Report: 5/9/18 -Medium durable frame with slightly narrow shoulders and solid strength in lower half. Controlled sideways rocker step to pause, travels across the rubber, and lifts into a higher knee tuck and turn balance point. Inconsistent rhythm and timing in delivery and battles to sequence his upper and lower half. Strides across body in delivery landing with his front foot open to plate. After separation from glove; the arm action on back-side is inconsistent causing issues in being able to repeat. Unravels body out of balance point, shoulders work mostly east to west, and delivers from a H3/4 arm slot. Fastball has varying cut and sink action depending on which side he is throwing to. Flashes occasional riding life in to right-handed hitter. Touched 94 and 95 mph once each, otherwise was 90-93; predominantly 90-91mph. Heavy rolling 11/5 breaking ball with average depth at 78-80 mph and mixed in hard slurve at 81-83 mph; one time back-footing left-handed hitter for a strikeout. Flashed changeup sparingly in three inning outing. Schanuel has been drafted twice in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft... selected in 36th round in 2015 by Oakland and in the 20th round in 2016 by Philadelphia.

HS Report: 1.11.15 - Prototypical pitchers frame, long legs, long and thin, broad shouldered, can carry plenty of additional strength, excellent physical projectability, 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed pitcher. Delivery has some tall and fall tendencies, toe lift to balance position, lacks load over rubber, can get more out of lower half, open toe landing. Arm action is long and loose, slight wrist wrap, high ¾ slot, quick arm. Fastball showed slight running action, comes out of hand easily, sat 87-89 mph. Curveball had gradual 12/6 action, 70-72 mph. Changeup is mostly straight, showed feel of the zone, solid control, 77-80 mph.

Jake Plastiak, 3B, Andrew HS, 2018
28th Round, 831st Overall, San Diego Padres

HS Report: 3.28.18 - Wichita State commit. Currently ranked No. 19 in the Illinois’ 2018 class. 6-foot-2, 190-pound, switch-hitting, shortstop, strong, athletic, long build. Continues to emerge as one of the top hitters in the state. Only hit left-handed in this game and finished 2-for-3 with two triples. His one out was a fly ball to the warning track in left-center field. Tripled down the right-field line in his first at-bat and into right-center field in his third at-bat. 4.50 and 4.54 on the turn. Confident and comfortable in the box. Quiet load, minimal stride and stays balanced throughout. Loose hands, easy bat speed with physicality in swing. Ball comes off his bat hard, jumps at times. Seems to recognize spin and has a good understanding of the strike zone. Defensively, actions continue to improve on the infield. Sure handed, clean release, can throw from multiple angles. Showed a quick, clean release and strong arm when needed.

Reid Birlingmair, RHP, Illinois-Chicago (Normal West, 2015)
28th Round, 833rd Overall, Oakland Athletics

HS Report: 5/16/15 - 5-foot-11, 180-pound athletic RHP, ranked No. 118 in IL works from a short, quick, high ¾ arm slot, toe up at balance point, high leg kick from the windup, level shoulders throughout delivery, works from the first base side of the mound, stride direction is in line with home plate. Fastball sat 87-89 mph, touching 90 mph once in the first inning. Settled into the 85-87 mph range throughout the outing, holding his velocity into the seventh. Fastball generally straight, ability to expand/beat hitters up in the zone for strikeouts. Curveball flashed 11/5 shape 68-71 mph. Struck out eight in six plus innings, game shortened by rain, officially credited with no-hitter. Also flashed a 75-77 mph change, fade to his arm side. Left-handed hitter at the plate. Single up the middle past second baseman in first at bat, 4.45 runner to first on the play.

Marshawn Taylor, SS, Grambling State (Simeon, 2013)
28th Round, 849th Overall, Arizona Diamondbacks

HS Report: 5/17/13 - No. 59 ranked class of 2013 in Illinois. Eastern Illinois commit. Highly athletic middle infielder, lean build. Defensively shows advanced defensive actions, soft hands, clean transfer. Advanced arm plays well across the diamond, athletic arm action. Offensively hits from the left side, open stance, contact hitter, slight oppo approach. Advanced runner, 4.1-4.2 runner home to first.

Micah Coffey, INF, Minnesota (Batavia, 2014)
30th Round, 888th Overall, Chicago White Sox

HS Report: 6.13.13 - Coffey is an athletically built left-handed hitting third-baseman, 6-foot-2, 185-pounds. Showed athletic abilities in all areas of his game.  He has a solid approach at the plate, setting up with a slightly open stance and short stride. He showed an advanced bat path, short and quick to the ball with extension through contact, maintaining balance throughout the swing.  Flashed some pull-side power, recorded an 81 mph exit velocity. Coffey displayed solid defensive actions showing natural third-base instincts. He plays through the ball well and showed a 78 mph arm across the diamond with accuracy and some carry.  Also, he ran a 7.28 60 at the event.

Michael Costanzo, LHP, Austin Peay (St. Rita, 2014)
31st Round, 930th Overall, Tampa Bay Rays

HS Report: 10/21/12 - Costanzo established himself as one of the premier left-handed prospects in the Midwest. The 6-foot, 165-pounder earned top prospect honors at the event after his electric bullpen. Coming from a high-3/4 angle, Costanzo’s 87-88 mph fastball exhibited hard, late arm-side life. He also showcased a 72-75 mph curveball with sharp two-plane action. His curveball showed the potential to be a swing-and-miss pitch at the next level. He also showed a firm 79-80 mph changeup that had some cut and sink action. All three pitches he threw with confidence and with similar arm action. Costanzo has an extremely quick arm, and is athletic and deceptive in his delivery.

Zach Neff, LHP, Mississippi State (Gibault, 2014)
31st Round, 934th Overall, Minnesota Twins

HS Report: 6/3/13 - In a class that lacks left-handed depth, Neff looks to be one of the better left-handed prospects in Illinois’ 2014 class. 6-foot-1, 160-pound frame. Throws three pitches for strikes. Fastball ranged between 80-82 mph with arm-side run (throwing on short rest). Curveball in 66-69 range, threw few in the 70-72 range. Curveball has depth and throws it for strikes. Knows how to pitch; works with confidence. Has longer arm, ¾ to high ¾ arm action, slight wrap in the back. Pitched complete game in Class 1A state championship game to lead Gibault to its first state title. Allowed 5 hits, 2 earned runs with 8 strikeouts and no walks. Threw only 67 pitches. Improved his record to 7-2 on season.

Clark Brinkman, OF, Creighton (Immaculate Conception, 2014)
32nd Round, 945th Overall, Detroit Tigers

HS Report: 5.24.14 - 6-foot-1, 180-pound athletic frame. Hit from a crouched open stance, with pre-pitch bat waggle. Swing showed the ability to produce loft with power potential down the road. Doubled on the first pitch of the game to deep left field. Also singled hard in the six-hole in second at bat, beating Donovan’s throw on a spectacular diving stop by running to first in 4.3 seconds. Showed off athleticism in gaps running down several flyouts, 6.96 runner in the 60 yard dash. Arm strength in pregame warm-ups, showed accuracy and carry, clocked at 81 mph in previous showcase.

Zaid Walker, OF, Homewood-Flossmoor, 2018
36th Round, 1069th Overall, Cincinnati Reds

HS Report: 5.1.18 - Adding from Week 5 Scout Blog. Played CF and hit three-hole. Walker looks extremely dialed in at the plate right now, intimidating presence in the box, comfortable setup, slightly open. Staying plate disciplined and recognizing pitches he can do damage to, knowing he will not see much. Ball jumps off the bat, made consistent plus contact, confident and convicted in his swings. Took four swings on Tuesday in five plate appearances - 1) FB in, short hopped LC fence, 2B. 2) CB in, barreled long foul ball pull side. 3) same AB, next pitch CB mid, barreled hard line out to deep LF. 4) FB down, deep HR to LF. Intentionally walked in other two plate appearance, both to load the bases. Ran a 4.47 on the turn of his double, later stole third. Arm carries and accurate, easy arm strength. Never challenged in CF, made all the routine plays. In two games this week has seven hits - 2 doubles, 3 HR; 10 RBI. Day two type draft prospect.

Zac Taylor, OF, Illinois (Downers Grove South, 2014)
36th Round, 1084th Overall, Minnesota Twins

College Report: 3/7/18 - 6’1/195, Junior. Put on a spectacular defensive show in centerfield. Ran down balls over his head and to both gaps. His highlight was a full dive and catch on a sure double in the left-center gap. He also showed a fringy arm and plus run speed underway. Offensively, he’s strong with above average bat speed. His pull heavy approach with an around the ball swing got the best of him as he went 2-for-13 on the weekend. He is a potential Day 3 pick. Where he’s ultimately selected will be highly based on his signability. He could gain value by making an adjustment to hitting the ball where pitched and using all fields.

HS Report: 6.13.13 - Athletic body, 6-foot-2, 175-pound two-way player. On the mound delivery showed regular effort, closed balance point. Arm works from a ¾ slot, long loose arm action. Fastball has slight run and sink, showed solid control, 83-85 mph, touched 86 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, slurve action, 69-70 mph. Change up has sink and fading action, 74-75 mph. Defensively worked uphill, 78 mph arm from the outfield, 6.7 runner. Offensively uses leg kick trigger, pull side approach, 81 mph exit velocity from the tee.

Jacob Maton, RHP, Chatham-Glenwood HS, 2018
39th Round, 1168th Overall, Seattle Mariners

HS Report: 4.11.18 - Coastal Carolina commit, currently the No. 1 ranked pitcher in the Illinois’ 2018 class. 6-foot-3, 185-pound, athletically-built, right-handed pitcher with well-proportioned strength. Overall, electric outing for Glenwood. Went six innings, gave up one hit, one unearned run, struck out 14 and walked two. Was in total control throughout; quiet, confident, competitive demeanor on the mound. After he gave up his one hit and unearned run on the night, he did not throw a fastball under 90 mph. Highly-athletic, repeatable delivery, works on-line and with rhythm. Clean, ultra-quick arm action, comes out of a short window and ball jumps out of the hand. Fastball sat mostly 90-91 mph throughout, touching a handful of 92’s and 93 twice (once in his sixth and final inning). Fastball works straight, has finish and liveliness through the hitting zone. Fastball command was better than last look early in the spring; quality misses and worked it to both sides of the plate at times. Breaking ball is true swing-and-miss, out-pitch. Goes to it frequently, throws it with intent/conviction and can throw it in any count. Blends between a slider and curveball at times, can manipulate it, throws it to both sides of the plate and to left-handed or right-handed hitters, sat 76-79 mph. Did not see a changeup in game. Continues to cement himself as the top arm in Illinois and should be a draft follow throughout the spring.

Pierson Gibis, C, Wauconda HS, 2017
39th Round, 1178th Overall, Chicago Cubs

HS Report: 6/16/16 - 6-foot, 175-pound left-handed hitting catcher, average body type. Hits from an open setup, smooth loading action, slight leg kick trigger with some length. Loose hands, path works, showed control of the barrel, some lunge, doubles type hitter with ability to work both gaps. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively pop times ranged 2.07-2.16. Gets tall out of the crouch, can gain more ground. Arm action is short and over the top, average arm strength at 74 mph out of the chute. 7.5 runner in the 60.

Tyler Acosta, OF, Barrington HS, 2018
39th Round, 1179th Overall, Arizona Diamondbacks

HS Report: 4.23.18 - State JC of Florida commit, currently ranked No. 20 in the Illinois’ 2018 class. Right-handed hitting center fielder; lean, athletic, live body with wiry strength. High-level defensive center fielder with natural oufield actions. Covers a ton of ground, quick first step, gets to top-end speed quickly and takes concise routes to the baseball. Almost made a highlight-reel play early on in the game, ranging into deep left-center field on a ball tailing away from him. Laid out, full-extension and the ball tipped off the tip of his glove. Made a number of other plays look relatively easy.  During pregame I/O played through the baseball, soft hands and arm showed well above average; plays true, accurate and carries. At the plate, right-handed hitter, leads off for Barrington. Confident, athletic look in the box, smooth load and leg-lift timing trigger. Not your prototypical leadoff hitter swing; looks to drive the baseball and is aggressive to pitches in the zone. Present bat speed and quick twitch in swing. Smoked a double down the left-field line in his second at-bat, 4.64 on the turn. Also walked, was hit by a pitch and reached on an error. High-level 2018 outfield prospect.

Kyle Salley, LHP, Homewood-Flossmoor, 2018
40th Round, 1188th Overall, Chicago White Sox

HS Report: 5.1.18 - Duke commit. 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed pitcher, average frame, developed lower half. Repeats delivery, addresses rubber to third base side, rocker step into medium leg lift, closed down the hill. Arm action is loose and clean out front, high ¾ slot. Fastball showed command to arm side, sat 86-87 mph, reached for 88, 89 and 90 a handful of times, comfortably settled in at 83-87 mph. Curveball played 1/7 flashed late action, 70-75 mph. Occasional changeup at 77 mph, sink action.

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