Prep Baseball Report

PBR Future Games: Team Illinois Pitcher Analysis

By Sean Duncan and Drew Locascio

Since the Prep Baseball Report Future Game’s inception six years ago, Team Illinois has always been one of the stars of the show with its high-level pitchers. This year was no exception, as Illinois unveiled an impressive array of arms for the 200-plus college coaches in attendance, headlined by RHP Jacob Maton’s breakout performance.

Illinois finished the event 1-0-2. It rallied late to upend Wisconsin 4-3, and tied Indiana, 2-2, and Iowa/Minnesota, 3-3. The game against Indiana, the final contest of the night on Friday, was arguably the most impressive matchup of the three-day event, thanks to the high-level performances by both teams’ pitchers.

Here’s an in-depth look at all the pitchers and how they performed at the Future Games:

Sammy Butera, RHP, Niles West, 2018
6-foot, 175-pound, right-handed pitcher, average build. High ¾ slot, long firm arm action, one piece delivery, can add separation, uses slide step from the stretch. Works to force the fastball downhill, sat 82-85 mph. Curveball ranged 69-72 mphp. Struck out three in two innings of work.

Andrew Hancock, RHP, Lincoln-Way Central, 2018
6-foot-6, 200-pound right-handed pitcher, athletic build, projection in the frame. Fastball ranged between 82-84 mph, topping at 85, mostly straight. Curveball worked at 74 mph, 11/5 shape, recorded two strikeouts in two innings with the pitch.

Grant Leader, RHP, Lyons Township, 2019
5-foot-9, 145-pound right-handed pitcher, smaller frame, quick arm. Fastball topped at 87 mph, sat 84-87 mph. One of the better fastball velocities from a 2019 at the Future Games. Breaking ball played 71-76 mph, showed some feel and ability to control the zone with it. Struck out three in two innings of work.

Jacob Maton, RHP, Glenwood HS (IL), 2018
Although highly ranked in Illinois, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Maton wasn’t a well-known national prospect. He changed all that with two highly impressive outings, each one-inning stints. In fact, Maton was arguably the top pitcher at the entire Future Games, which is a big statement given the depth and talent at the event. Against Indiana, Maton sat 88-89 with his fastball, touching 90 once, but it was his slider that turned heads. What he previously classified as a cutter, Maton unveiled a slider that had sharp, late bite, thrown aggressively and around the zone at 78-80. He recorded a pair of strikeouts with his slider, which was unquestionably one of the best breaking balls at the event. His second outing was just as effective and impressive, sitting 88-89 with his fastball, and flashing that same sharp slider. Maton has a short, quick arm action and has yet to begin to fill into his frame. His delivery is simple, athletic and repeatable. Both his older brothers were draft picks.

Derek Salata, RHP, Nazareth HS, 2018
6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, sturdy-strong frame and broad shoulders. High-3/4 slot, short, clean arm action, minimal effort. Slow-tempo delivery, works downhill, repeats well.  Fastball sat 83-84 mph with occasional arm-side run; more velocity likely to come. Threw consistent strikes with his fastball. Curveball has early break, mostly 63-64 mph, around the plate with it. Changeup ranged between 76-78. Pitched two crisp innings at the Future Games.

Steven Sanchez, LHP, Mundelein HS (IL), 2018
At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, Sanchez is a monster on the mound. With his length and size, the big question surrounding Sanchez was could he throw consistent strikes? On back-to-back one-inning outings, he filled up the strike zone, both with his fastball and curveball, working two clean innings. On Friday, his fastball sat 86-87 coming from a steep angle with slight arm-side run. He struck out one, walked one and induced two weak groundouts. The following day, Sanchez worked 84-86 from the same steep angle; however, his fastball had more arm-side finish to it. More impressively, he spun several quality breaking balls at 70-71 mph, one which resulted in a strikeout, his second punchout of the inning. With a few mechanical tweaks, such as getting down the mound more and keeping his front side closed, Sanchez could very well just be scratching the surface of his ascension, as his velocity has jumped 4-7 mph since we last saw him in early June. He committed to Arkansas shortly after the Future Games.

Sean Sinisko, LHP, Geneva, 2018
6-foot-5, 230-pound left-handed pitcher; big, durable frame, wide shoulders with solid lower half. Works slightly across his body, arm slot ranges somewhere between 3/4 to a few ticks below, depending on the inning. Although inconsistent with the slot, the net result is he can create an uncomfortable at-bat. Fastball ranged between 82-85 mph with some arm-side sink when not underneath the baseball. Breaking ball sat 66-68 mph, inconsistent shape, more sweeping action, tendency to get underneath. Worked two effective innings at the Future Games.

Evan Tenuta, RHP, Sandburg, 2018
6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed pitcher, lean athletic frame. Quick, athletic arm from over-the-top slot. Fastball sat 87-88 mph, mostly straight and around the plate. Has steadily increased velocity over the last year; with his advanced arm speed and athleticism, more velocity likely to come as he fills into his frame. Worked predominately off his fastball at the Future Games. Flashed a curveball with 12/6 shape, inconsistent action, short break at 69-70 mph. Also mixed in mid-70s changeup. Yielded two hits in two innings work.

Aidan Tyrell, LHP, Joliet Catholic, 2018
5-foot-11, 155-pound left handed pitcher, average frame. Worked exclusively from the stretch, upper body had tendency to lose its line. Short arm action over the top slot. Sharpened up in his second inning of work. Fastball sat 84-87 mph. Curveball played with short quick action on 1/7 plane, 70-72 mph. Struck out three in two perfect innings of work.

Dan Zimmerman, LHP, Lincoln-Way East, 2018
6-foot, 147-pound left-handed pitcher, thin, athletic frame with plenty of room for physical development. Arm is quick, athletic and loose from a 3/4 slot; ball comes out easy. Fastball ranged between 83-85 mph, touching 86 on occasion, some arm-side life, struggled with control, tendency to miss gloveside up. Feel for three pitches. Changeup shows at times to be a plus offering, flashing arm-side fade with aggressive arm action. Curveball ranged between 72-74, inconsistent shape but has feel for spin. Bounced back after tough first outing to throw well in brief one-inning stint.   

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