Prep Baseball Report

Team Illinois Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

From August 1st - August 4th, PBR put together one of the summer’s premier scouting events: The Future Games. The event took place at the state-of-the-art Grand Park complex in Westfield, IN. The four-day event pitted some of the country’s top 2020 and 2021 prospects against one another in front of over 250 college scouts.

Despite Team Illinois finishing 0-2-1 on the weekend there were a number of standout performances coming out of the Team Illinois dugout.

Game Stories:

+ Game 1
+ Game 2
+ Game 3

Today we take an early look at some notable performances and Illinois prospects whose stock should be on the rise.



+ Arguably the biggest riser on Team Illinois was RHP Jake Kuntzendorf (Aurora Christian, 2020). We had seen plenty of Kuntzendorf leading up to the event but his improved velocity along with his impressive back-to-back, one-inning stints, have elevated Kuntzendorf’s stock immensely. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound, right-hander struck out three hitters in his two innings and attacked hitters with a fastball that was up to 90 mph, sitting comfortably at 86-89 mph. Kuntzendorf also showed off a breaking ball that has the makings of a go-to pitch in the future at 72-75 mph.

+ Another arm who has been catching some helium after his two outings is LHP Isaiah Coupet (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2020). Coupet is an athletic, 6-foot, 160-pound, lefty with a quick arm. The ball jumps out of his hand and he sat mostly 85-87 mph, touching 88 in his outings. Despite scattered command in his second outing, Coupet showed dynamic stuff and the makings of two above-average offspeed offerings.

+ Another left-handed pitcher who showed well over his two innings was Noah DeLuga (Lake Zurich, 2020). DeLuga, long known as of of the top arms in the state, worked the bottom of the zone with a fastball that sat 85-86 mph.

+ Two arms who ran their fastball up to 90 mph were RHP’s Austin Greco (Mundelein, 2020) and Eben Heine (Plainfield North, 2020). Greco, actually ran his fastball up to 91 mph in his first outing and struck out two in his two innings of work. Heine touched 90, sitting 87-89 mph in his first outing.

+ Two other right-handed arms who helped their cause were Zach Hise (Joliet Catholic, 2020) and Mason Burns (Normal Community, 2020). Hise, who has an impressive 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame pounded the zone in his two innings of work behind a fastball that sat 84-87 mph, touching 89 once. Burns threw his two innings on Friday. The projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pound, right-hander, has a clean, loose arm action, struck out two and did not allow a hit. Burns fastball sat 84-87 mph and complimented it with a breaking ball for strikes, up to 75 mph.


+ SS Tony Livermore (Mount Carmel, 2020) capped off his impressive summer in a big way. Livermore headed into the Future Games with plenty of buzz and only created more throughout the four-day event. The talented left-handed hitting middle infielder hit everything in sight over the three days, ran a 6.89 60 on workout day and showed advanced instincts in the field and on the bases. Livermore steps in the box ready to hit and routinely jumped all over first pitch fastballs. Livermore went 4-for-6 in his final two games of the event. Defensively, he was rock solid on the infield all weekend long and made a few head-turning plays as well.

+ C Jack Payton (Brother Rice, 2020) stood out all weekend with his prowess behind the plate. The strong, athletic, 5-foot-11, 185-pound, backstop is a highly-advanced receiver. Payton has soft, strong hands and routinely gets borderline pitches called strikes due to the way he presents pitches. Payton also looks to have middle of the order potential at the plate. The right-handed hitter has a quiet setup, minimal wasted movement and keeps the barrel through the hitting zone for a long time. Payton has present bat strength, which he showcased driving a triple to deep right-center field in the final game of the weekend. Payton is also an above-average runner for a catcher (6.91 60).

+ OF Ryan Thiesse (St. Charles North, 2020) put up impressive numbers during workout day, 6.67 60, 85 mph outfield arm and 92 mph exit velocity. Thiesse also was the offensive standout in Team Illinois’ second game of the weekend against Team MN/IA. Thiesse had two clutch, two out, two-run singles.

+ The most versatile athlete on Team Illinois was Tre Hondras (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2020). Hondras showed equally as well on the infield as he did in the outfield, ran a 6.65 60 on workout day and is a force at the plate as well. Hondras made the play of the day in center field during game three, tracking down a deep fly destined for the right-center gap. Hondras plays the game with reckless abandon, is always looking to take the extra base and put pressure on the defense.

+ Left-handed hitting power potential belongs to C Trevor Davis (Danville, 2020). Davis came on as the weekend progressed, routinely taking impressive rounds of BP and making hard, loud contact to the pull side. Davis’ most impressive at-bat may have come in game one where he battled with two strikes, fouling off a number of 92-93 mph against Team Wisconsin, before ultimately grounding out sharply to shortstop.

+ When it comes to Team Illinois and right-handed hitters, INF Jacob Mote (Normal U-High) may have the most power potential. Mote got going in the third game of the weekend, lacing a single to left field and then taking a number of impressive swings before walking in his second at-bat. He will be one to watch as he continues to refine his overall game.

+ INF Joshua Houston (Mount Carmel, 2020) can flat out hit. The thick, strong, right-handed hitter has a highly-advanced feel for the barrel, plate coverage and hand/eye coordination. Houston routinely backspun hard line-drives in BP and carried it over to game play. Houston and Livermore took the most consistent, competitive at-bats on the weekend for Team Illinois. Houston stands in the box looking to damage the baseball while maintaining his balance and recognizing pitches.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for full reports on all of Team Illinois.

+ CLICK HERE for a look at the Team Illinois roster.
+ CLICK HERE for the Team Illinois Stat Story.