Prep Baseball Report

PBR Future Games: Position Player Recap

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The Future Games took place once again at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana from July 30th - August 1st. The three day event consisted of a showcase/workout day and then two full days of game play. Team Illinois had an impressive showing once again and proved to be a must-see team over the three days. Team Illinois consisted of 2017 and a few 2018 uncommitted prospects throughout the state.

The event was loaded with talented prospects from all over the PBR landscape. Throughout the three days over 200 college coaches showed up from all over the country to check out the action-packed event. Listed below is a breakdown of position players who attended the Future Games for Team Illinois.

Listed Alphabetically

Branden Comia, SS, Sandburg, 2018
5-foot-10, 172-pound right-handed hitting shortstop was one of the biggest risers for Team Illinois at the Future Games. Offensively, his bat stood out as one of the top 2018�??s at the event. Advanced hitter, routinely found the barrel and drove balls with authority. Ball jumps off the bat, aggressive through the zone. Smooth load with good separation. Hands stay on top of the baseball and flashed explosiveness. In game, advanced pitch recognition, routinely taking tough pitches on the border of the zone. Seemed to get into good hitting counts every at-bat. Laced a double down the right field line in Game one. Defensively, smooth, athletic actions and soft hands in the infield. Balanced, under control and fluid feet. Over-the-top, short-arm action, has carry and clocked at 81 mph across the infield. 

Merrick Eddington, C, Mount Zion, 2017
Physical 5-foot-11, 215-pound imposing right-handed hitter had a Future Games best 99 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Also, took one of the most eye-opening batting practices of the day. Consistently, showcased pull-side pop, barreling baseballs deep to left and left-center field. Excellent balance and bat speed throughout contact. Gets a lot out of his lower half. Went 1-3 in each of the first two games of the Future Games with a lot of hard contact outs. One of his hits was a line-drive double down the right field line. Defensively, continued to impress with a strong arm. Clocked at 80 mph from the crouch. Eddington had pop times ranging from 1.94-2.11 during the workout day.

Sam Faith, INF, St. Charles North, 2017
Well-proportioned 6-foot-2, 195-pound athletic switch-hitting infielder. Faith impressed at the Future Games for Team Illinois with his versatility and ability to play any infield position. On showcase day he worked out as a middle infielder but projects more at a corner position at the next level, due to his physical nature. Also, looks as though he will likely outgrow a middle infield spot. Defensively, works from a high ¾ slot, short arm action and some effort on his throws clocked at 83 mph across the infield. Athletic actions, feet work well and maintained body control going to his left or right. Offensively, the switch hitter looks slightly more natural hitting from the right side, recorded a 90 mph exit velocity. Starts from a balanced, athletic setup and short stride. Has an uphill path from both sides of the plate. Maintains balance throughout contact. In game one of the Future Games had an RBI double. Also was 4.39 down the line in game two on a groundout to second base. Ran a 7.12 60 yard dash. Versatile athlete that brings a lot to the table and should be a high follow in the 2017 class.

Thomas Farrell, 1B/OF, St. Laurence, 2017
Projectable, athletic 6-foot-2, 175-pound left-handed hitting first basemen showed impressive speed for a first-basemen, running a 6.77 60 yard dash. Offensively, the left-handed hitter starts from a wide, slightly open set up. Deep load with no stride. Compact, short, level stroke. Used the whole field in batting practice, shooting balls to left and left-center field. In game one and two of the Future Games Farrell went a combined 2-5 with a walk, run scored, RBI, and a stolen base. Exit velocity was 85 mph off of a tee. Defensively, showed feel around the first-base bag. Throws from a ¾ slot, quick release and was clocked at 78 mph across the infield. Also, worked out as an outfielder. Quick, clean release, 80 mph from the outfield. 

Michael Gunartt, OF, Niles West, 2017
Not many look better in a uniform than 6-foot-2, 185-pound strong, right-handed hitting outfielder.  Offensively, utilizes an inside-out approach. Drove a few balls with authority to the right-center field gap in his two rounds of batting practice. Long, lift in swing. Fluid pre-pitch rhythm, tall, open set up and a slight leg-lift trigger. Strength in swing. Registered an 87 mph exit velocity off of a tee. Defensively, operates from a long, high ¾ arm slot. Clocked at 85 mph from the outfield.

Dylan Jones, OF/RHP, Oswego East, 2017
Jones was impressive enough at the Future Games to be the first official verbal commit from Team Illinois. Shortly after the event Jones chose to stay in his home state, committing to Illinois. Jones is a two-way threat who possesses an impressive skill set both on the mound and as a position player. On the mound Jones has a strong arm, reaching 88 mph with his fastball sitting 84-86 mph and it showed life through the hitting zone. Along with the big fastball he showed feel for a curveball at 66-69 mph and flashed a changeup at 81 mph. Offensively Jones swings a left-handed bat that flashes pop, it�??s a longer, slightly uphill path that is tailored for lifting balls into the outfield gaps. In game play Jones added a pair of singles with an RBI and a run scored over the weekend. Defensively Jones is an outfield prospect who has the tools to stick in centerfield. He ran a 6.88 on the laser timed 60 and his arm carries well at 89 mph from the outfield.

Ryan King, SS, Brother Rice, 2017
Small framed 5-foot-9, 145-pound athletic, right-handed hitting shortstop. Ran the fastest 60 yard dash for Team Illinois, 6.65. Defensively, showcased some of the best hands at the Future Games on the infield. Plus actions, quick transfer, athletic, short-arm action. Throws were true, had carry and clocked at 81 mph from across the diamond.  Flashed an electric transfer in game, relaying a throw that was in and out of his glove in a split second, had life and was right on the money to the third-basemen. Also, made the slow roller play look easy. Offensively, in batting practice flashed plus bat control, spraying line-drives all over the yard. Hit a triple in game to the right centerfield gap and floated around the bases. Projects to hit for a high average at the next level. 

Zion Pettigrew, SS, Mount Carmel, 2017
6-foot, 165-pound, toolsy, athletic right-handed hitting shortstop seems to do everything well on the baseball field. He ran a 6.91 60, clocked at 88 mph from across the infield, defends, and looks to be a force at the plate.  Defensively, has plenty of arm strength, range and hands to stay on the left-side of the infield at the next level. Flashed a quick arm from an over-the-top arm slot. Plus carry on his throws especially from deep in the hole.  Plays tall with body control and a plus transfer. Offensively, the right-handed hitter had an exit velocity of 91 mph. Loose, really athletic hands, and lots of whip in swing. Pull-side hitter, attacks the baseball. Hands work above the ball as he enters the hitting zone. Utilizes the lower half; routinely up off his back toe and contact. Pettigrew has an extremely high ceiling and should be a high follow in the 2017 class.

Keaton Rice, C/OF, Geneseo, 2017
6-foot-1, 175-pound projectable body, left-handed hitting catcher has catch and throw abilities well beyond his years. Rice flashed one of the easiest arms at the future games, clocked at 80 mph from the crouch. Throws were true with plus carry. Short arm action and quick transfer. Pop times ranged between 1.93-2.01. Offensively, the left-handed hitter starts from a balanced, open stance, slight leg lift trigger. Loose hands and some rhythm through contact. Recorded an 87 mph exit velocity. 

Max Rosenthal, C, New Trier, 2017
One of the more physically impressive specimens at the Future Games, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rosenthal is a left-handed hitting catcher/first baseman with a power bat. Rosenthal flashed some of his juice in game play with a triple to his pull side off the right-center wall. The big man also runs well for his size, getting him at a 7.31 in the 60 and a 4.53 on the turn of his in game triple. Behind the plate he also carries a physical presence, the muscle-bound receiver showed a strong arm out of the crouch at 80 mph and posted pop times at 2.00-2.08. Left-handed hitting catchers are always an attractive commodity, add Rosenthal�??s size, strength and power and there are likely to be several suitors.

KC Simonich, CIF/OF, Joliet Catholic, 2017
Simonich entered the Future Games as one of the more projectable bats in attendance for Team Illinois. His long thin frame projects well at 6-foot-3, 175-pounds. Hitting from the left side, Simonich has a pretty swing that features easy hand speed and a power potential when he fills out. He hits from a tall setup with short stride, staying balanced all through contact. His bat didn�??t produce much in game play over the weekend but his BP sessions showed the ability to consistently barrel baseballs to all fields. Defensively his position isn�??t clear cut, he shows the ability to play any of the corner spots either in the outfield or infield, most likely his arm and foot speed will be the determining factors. Currently his arm action is loose and highly accurate which will play from likely anywhere (81 mph across the diamond, 84 mph from the outfield). His hands and lateral action are suitable for third base making him a well above average first baseman and his 60 time (6.93) should give him the tools at either corner outfield spot. Either way Simonich�??s bat will be his calling card, and a left-handed bat is always in need.

Alek Thomas, OF, Mount Carmel, 2018
Ultra athletic 5-foot-10, 157-pound left-handed hitting outfielder impressed in all facets of the game. Began his day running a 6.74 60. The left-handed hitter then flashed his offensive prowess during batting practice at the Future Games. Hits from an open, athletic set up, smooth deep load. Plus rhythm throughout his swing. Extremely loose, quick hands and easy bat speed. Showed off his pull-side pop by putting his last swing of the day easily over the right-field fence. Hit an opposite field double over the left fielders head in game. Also, registered an exit velocity of 93 mph. Defensively, smooth, easy athletic actions in the outfield and a long, loose-arm action. Routinely tracked down balls in game and was clocked at 82 mph from the outfield. Makes everything he does look easy.