Prep Baseball Report

O'Hare Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Steve Nielsen & Drew Locascio
Illinois Staff

On March 13, the PBR Illinois team hosted the first annual O'Hare Preseason I.D. at the new Bo Jackson Dome in Bensenville, Ill. The event featured approximately 130 players from high school graduates in classes 2021-24, from across the Chicagoland area.

Our staff collaborated in the days that followed to highlight the biggest takeaways and highlights from Saturday’s showcase, and we’re publishing them within this Quick Hits piece. Over the next couple of days we’ll be diving deeper into all of the data we collected rolling out even more coverage from the event.

For now, take a look at the Quick Hits from Saturday.



+ Right-handed-hitting OF/RHP Ryan Henchel (Glenbrook North) is a durable 5-foot-11, 182-pounds and he took a strong round of BP, hitting the furthest ball of the day, measured at over 375 feet. Henschel’s blast came off the bat at 97.7 mph with a launch angle of 25.9 degrees – and it wasn’t the only well-struck ball by Henschel. He posted one of the top average exit velocities of the day, averaging nearly 92 mph off the bat with a steady gap-to-gap approach. Despite all of the gaudy metrics mentioned above, Henschel's best tool is arguably his right-handed arm. Henschel started his day sitting 86-88 mph, touching 89 on the mound, and then showed clean outfield actions, topping at 94 mph to home while playing through the baseball in rhythm. Consider him among the toolsiest uncommitted 2022s in the state.

+ Another prospect who turned heads with their stat line was OF Connor Dickson (Libertyville). The 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder topped 93 mph from the outfield, ran a 7.05 laser-timed 60, and registered a peak exit velocity of 91.2 mph during BP. Like the aforementioned Henschel, Dickson got to his 93 mph high from the outfield with relative ease and every throw home was measured at 90-plus mph.

+ Another strong right-handed hitter came in the form of 6-foot-2, 160-pound INF Luke Brabham (Nazareth Academy). Brabham showed one of the best peak hand speeds (25.9 mph) of the day, according to Blast, to go along with a top exit velocity over 93.2 mph. Defensively, he plays with active feet and a quick release from a short high ¾ slot. 

+ Juniors RHP/INF Charlie Faoro (Homewood Flossmoor) and RHP Michael Hilker Jr. (Yorkville) ripped off two of the day’s better breaking balls, among his classmates. Faoro uses a curveball that showed sharp action with tight spin, thrown confidently and at arm speed, revving max spin rate over 2,700 rpm. Hilker Jr. spins a late-breaking slider with short, quick action, sitting 73-77 mph while spinning at an average of 2,500-plus rpm. His fastball topped at 86 mph, sitting 83-85, with true four-seam action.

Faoro, mentioned above for his prowess on the mound, is just as interesting, if not more so, as an infielder. Faoro has a lean upside frame and advanced infield actions, ranging around with extreme ease; he plays with above-average body control, ultra-confident soft hands and a smooth clean release with the ability to throw from any angle and put it on the first baseman consistently. His 77 mph max infield velocity plays up due to his internal clock, quick release, and accurate arm. Faoro also showed off a loose right-handed swing and came away as one of the biggest winners from the event.

+ INF Alex Vasquez (Evanston) showed some of the better infield actions on the day. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound shortstop is a smooth defender with fluid footwork, plays natural on the move with soft confident hands and a quick arm that played at 81 mph across the infield. The right-handed hitter has a compact swing, worked the middle of the diamond in his round of BP and ran a 6.87 in the 60.

+ Another infielder who made a strong impression at the O’Hare I.D.: Michael O’Conor (Notre Dame College Prep). At his first-ever PBR event, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound right-handed hitter ran a 6.88 in the 60, reached an 84 mph high across the diamond, and he registered a peak exit velocity of 98.7 mph. O’Conor also managed to stick out on defense, taking one of the smoothest rounds of the event. He plays low to the ground and is comfortable on the move, and his arm played loose and easy at 84 mph across the diamond. During BP, O’Connor created easy jump off the barrel and registered a max estimated batted distance of 347 feet.

+ Mount Carmel’s Jacob White showed some impressive pop from a lifted, pull-side approach that helped him launch four balls over 300 feet at a max exit speed of 96.2 mph.

+ In terms of exit velocity, John Rings’ (Maine West) round of batting practice stands out, averaging an exit speed of 93.1 mph, reaching a 99.3 high. Rings is built at a strong 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, and he landed barrels with consistency from an up-the-middle approach that works on top of the baseball – and he squared up most of his barrels for hard line-drives into the left-center gap.


+ RHP Calvin Proskey (Oak Park-River Forest) is an intriguing loose-armed righty with a clean arm action and feel to manipulate the baseball. His fastball sat 82-83 mph, topping at 84, with feel for an 11/5 curveball that flashed sharp action and above-average spin for his age. His three-pitch mix was rounded out by a straight change that flashed fade to his arm-side and played below the zone.

+ Tyler O’Connor (Wheaton North) played with pace and above-average actions on the infield. Listed at 6-foot, 160 pounds, O’Connor plays light on his feet, with smooth hands, and he showed an athletic double play turn with the ability to drop down and change angles on the feed. O’Connor also ran a 6.82 and flashed a fluid right-handed swing. 

+ RHP/INF Graham Goodman (Libertyville) brought a unique, intriguing look to the mound. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right-hander worked from a side-arm slot with a short, quick, athletic arm, and he showed the ability to sink the baseball at the bottom of the zone, especially late in his ‘pen at 77-79 mph, touching 80. It was his curveball that is his separator as he throws it with intent, plus spin off a 10/4 plane measured at a peak spin rate of 2,627 rpm. Goodman also showed a fluid right-handed swing at the plate with natural lift and pull-side tendencies.

+ RHP Bennett Musser (Mundelein) had one of the livelier arms in attendance. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Musser worked from the stretch-only with some effort in the delivery, but he showed control of the strike zone with his fastball that sat 87-88 mph. He paired it with a mid-70s breaking ball measured at average spin rate of 2,239 rpm, as well as a mid-70s fading changeup. Musser’s a notable athlete, too, as he ran a 6.96 in the 60.

+ C Damon Brena (Niles West) put together a strong day behind the plate. Brena has clean and easy actions out of the chute and his arm showed carry and accuracy, while topping at 78 mph from the crouch. Brena has a compact 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame that profiles well for the catcher position and he flashed a loose right-handed swing with natural lift and extension through contact.

+ C Jack Rozmus (York) was one of the more dynamic catchers during the defensive portion of the event. Rozmus is quick and athletic out of the chute while displaying soft hands, natural catcher actions and a strong arm that played with carry. Rozmus recorded pop times ranging from 2.01-2.11. At the plate the right-handed hitter stays short and direct to the ball with feel for the barrel.

+ OF Ethan Serrano (Von Steuben) is a wiry 5-foot-9, 165-pound outfielder who put together an impressive performance at his first-ever PBR event. The stat line was as follows; 7.06 in the 60, an 85 mph high from the outfield, and a 91.1 max mph exit velocity in BP. Serrano moves with ease in the outfield while showing clean actions and an easy, loose projectable arm that played with carry. The right-handed hitter has rhythm to his swing, stays short to the baseball and creates whip at times.

+ INF Troy Stukenberg (Lyons Township) had his strongest showing to date. Stukenberg is now running a 6.89 in the 60 – down from a 7.46 time he ran just over a year ago – and his exit velocity jumped from 80 mph (off a tee) to a 96.9 max during BP. Stukenberg also showed natural infield actions and a smooth double play turn.

+ INF Dominic Jacoby (Taft) has a 5-foot-11, 140-pound, long loose-bodied frame and athletic infield actions. Jacoby’s hands play soft and confident with advanced actions ranging to both sides. He’s a natural defender on the infield whose hands will clearly play in the middle of the diamond. He has the same loose, wiry actions at the plate with a right-handed swing that repeated line-drive contact.

+ OF Owen Duffy (Marist) went gap-to-gap for one of the loudest rounds of BP among the sophomores in attendance. Duffy showed bat strength and speed with a leg kick trigger that led to big exit velo numbers, averaging over 90.7 mph with a 96.7 max.

+ OF Nicholas Altobelli (Andrew) is an athletic right/right outfielder with well-above-average feet and hands. He plays well to and through the baseball while using his hands to generate a middle-of-the-field, line-drive approach.

+ C Noah Caceras (Reavis) stood out with his left-handed bat at the plate. Caceras is a strong-bodied catcher with a compact, uphill stroke that hits in rhythm, with bat speed and barrel accuracy. The Reavis prospect also ran a 7.13 in the 60, a time that’s above-average for his age and position, and his throws played true from behind the plate, flashing carry.

+ Here’s another left-handed-hitting catcher in the 2023 class who made an impression on Saturday: John Phillip Ferraro (Oak Park-River Forest). Ferraro is a lean and proportional 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, and he showed well with the bat. He showed a tendency for hard line-drive contact to his pull-side gap while working a rhythmic swing.

+ 1B Jake Nawrocki (Hampshire) is a solid 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and he’s able to create bat strength from a simple approach at the plate that doesn’t try to do too much. His strength is generated from his size and well-above-average bat speed, and Nawrocki is also nimble around the bag at first base.

+ Left/left OF Andrew Garcia (DePaul College Prep) put up some head-turning numbers on Saturday, leading the event with a 6.50 in the 60-yard dash time, and he reached a 91 mph high from the outfield. His offensive round was inconsistent but the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Garcia is, clearly, highly athletic and one to follow moving forward.

+ LHP Luke Brown (Plainfield North) has a 6-foot-2, 215-pound strong, durable frame that’s able to produce a clean arm action and projectable three-pitch mix. Despite the fastball playing at a lively 84-85 mph, it was his changeup that showed the best on this day, with the potential to be a go-to secondary offering. It is thrown with intent at arm speed and features advanced arm-side-run, measured at a max of 23.7 inches of horizontal movement, according to TrackMan. Brown also featured a sharp low-70s curveball that spun at an average of 2,294 rpm.


+ Left/left prospect Khamaree Thomas (Kenwood) is a fluid outfielder in the 2024 class to follow moving forward. Still physically developing at 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Thomas ran a 6.92 in the 60 and showed sneaky jump off the barrel, registering a peak exit velocity of 90.7 mph during BP. Thomas has loose, athletic hands at the plate and stays short to the baseball. Defensively, he is a smooth outfield defender with sure hands.

+ Joshua Wicker (Fenwick) is an advanced 2024 infielder whose arm plays short, loose, and easy across the diamond. Wicker has a quiet confidence in the way he defends, and his feet work clean and smooth while ranging and playing on the move with ease. A freshman infielder to follow moving forward.

+ One of the top all-around performances on the day came from freshman RHP/INF Malachi Paplanus (Huntley), who was making his PBR-event debut. On the mound, Paplunas’ most impressive asset may have been his biting 11/5 curveball, spinning at an average of 2,500-plus rpm, it played at 70-73 mph to go with an 83-84 mph fastball. As a position player, he was equally as impressive. On the infield, he plays with pace, controls his body on the move, and his arm played lively at 87 mph with carry across the diamond. Offensively, it is an athletic right-handed swing with uphill tendencies in a gap-to-gap approach, and he recorded a peak exit velocity of 89.0 mph during BP.

+ Listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, freshman Nick Drtina (Nazareth) looks the part of a legitimate two-way threat. He has a loose, wiry frame with a ton of upside, and he swings a left-handed bat to further complement this profile. There’s a ton to like with Drtina’s offensive game, as his loose, whippy levers find the barrel with regularity. On the mound, those same whippy levers produce a tight 12/6 curveball, 71-72 mph, and a fastball that touched 82 mph. 

+ Here’s another impressive two-way freshman follow: Brady Chambers (Lyons Township). Chambers has a highly-advanced, 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame and he used it to sit at an easy 82-83 mph from the mound, touching 84. His low-70s curveball is presently above-average, working off a 10/4 plane, featuring sharp action and an average spin rate of 2,220 rpm. Chambers also showed a projectable right-handed bat with length through the zone, and he registered a max batted distance of 324 feet.

+ LHP Beau McBride (New Trier) had one of the best freshman fastballs of the day, reaching 84 mph, and the pitch showed run to complement a fading changeup. He has a loose, projectable arm action with above-average arm speed that projects for more in the tank while he controls his durable 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame down the mound.

+ INF Cash Campbell (Montini Catholic) has been a high-follow left-handed bat on our radar since last winter’s Illiana Preseason I.D., and he continues to trend that way. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound corner infielder has a hitterish look in the box, swinging off a short path with natural lift, Campbell was on the barrel with authority throughout much of his round. He averaged an exit speed of 90.8 mph off the bat (95.6 mph max), among the day’s highest, regardless of class. Defensively, he showed off improved glove work on the infield, and his arm played at 82 mph across.

+ C Sir Jamison Jones (St. Rita) is a strong-handed hitter from the right side. For a freshman, he put up impressive exit velos with several measured over 90 mph. It’s a compact swing that stays short and on top of the baseball, driving his best batted-ball over 324 feet up the middle of the diamond. Behind the plate, Jones featured some of the softest hands on the day. He is a quiet receiver with athletic catcher actions and he showed off much improved arm strength since his performance at the 2024 Top Prospect Games this past summer.