Prep Baseball Report

PBR IL: Heartland CC Scout Day: Takeaways

By: David Seifert and Peter Hamot

On Thursday, September 15, PBR Illinois hosted the Heartland CC Scout Day at The Corn Crib in Normal, Illinois. The Hawks had a stellar year last year, going a flawless 32-0 in Conference and reaching the Division II NJCAA World Series. They are returning a number of key players and will surely be looking to have similar success this coming spring with their loaded roster.

You can read up on the players that stood out to our scouting staff from the Scout Day, below. 

POSITION players

Sam Antonacci, SS, Sacred Heart-Griffin (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 25 in the Illinois 2021 class. Five-tool talent continues to show consistent in-game power. Recorded a .471 batting average last season with 21 doubles, 6 triples, 14 home runs, 64 RBIs, 90 runs scored, 33 walks and 19 stolen bases on 22 attempts. Uses all fields with authority, producing an event best 101.9 max exit velocity. Arm strength has improved since last fall; now solid-average with on-line carry. Fluid actions on the infield, soft hands with range to both sides of the glove. Reached up to 88 mph across the diamond. Also ran a 6.77 in the 60-yard dash. A top-five round 2023 MLB Draft follow. 

Ben Hartl, C/3B, Springfield (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly the No. 14 ranked prospect in the Illinois 2021 class. Recorded a .435 batting average last season with 25 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 68 RBIs, 86 runs scored and 35 walks. Hartl has continued to add strength to his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame. The right-handed hitter works with a simple operation, minimal load and remains on balance, staying on the barrel throughout his round with a max exit velocity of 99.9 mph; showing barrel control and adjusting to pitches in all quadrants of the plate. Average to slightly better arm strength, reached up to 82 mph from the chute with a top pop-time of 2.00 seconds, clean transfer that could be tightened up a bit for even lower POPs. Reached up to 86 mph on the infield with steady actions and a quick transfer. 

Jacyk Uehling, OF, South Milwaukee (WI), 2020
Redshirt-Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 44 in Wisconsin’s 2020 class. High-level athlete with multiple tools to his game. Finished last season with a .308 batting average, eight doubles, one triple, two home runs, 44 runs scored and 10 stolen bases on 11 attempts. Started off his day by cruising to a 6.58 60-yard dash. Approach at the plate looks to pair with his speed, shooting the gaps with a max exit velocity of 94 mph and finding the barrel consistently. Aggressive, confident, athletic actions in the outfield with an event-best 92 mph from a crow-hop. Average pro-level arm strength with accuracy on all throws.   

Auston Brewer, OF, Snider (IN), 2021
True Sophomore. Athletically built at 5-foot-10, 183-pounds. High-level athlete, recorded the second best 60-yard dash in the event with a 6.45. Smooth, compact and easy right-handed stroke at the plate; fluid tempo with simplicity in the swing, reached up to 97.5 mph for a max exit velocity with a max distance of 354’. Recorded a .292 batting average last year in 106 at-bats. 

Bobby Atkinson, 1B, St. Rita (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 71 in Illinois’ 2021 class. A top returning bat for the Hawks; recorded a .459 batting average last year with 21 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, 81 RBIs, 63 runs scored, 34 walks and swiped seven bases on eight attempts. The left-handed hitter took one of the more impressive rounds of BP on the day using all fields and reaching up to 100.3 mph for his max exit velocity with a 83% hard-hit rate. Showed some high-level BLAST metrics as well; reaching up to 25.3 for his max hand-speed, 81.3 for max bat-speed and 27.3 for max rotational acceleration. Showed accuracy across the infield from a sidearm slot. Ran a 7.05 in the 60-yard dash. 

TJ Williams, INF, Racine Horlick (WI), 2022
True Freshman. Formerly ranked No. 71 in Wisconsin’s 2022 class. Undersized build but has game-changing speed, recording a 6.30 in the 60-yard dash. Line-drive approach at the plate from the left-side. Athletic actions on the infield with quick hands and plus range in all directions. Reached up to 82 mph across the diamond. Spark Plug type player with an exciting style of play. 


Meade Johnson, RHP, Mattoon (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 38 in Illinois’ 2021 class. A favorite from last fall’s scout day at Heartland, the athletic right-hander continues to develop. Last season he recorded an 8-1 record with a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings pitched, also striking out 70 to 22 walks. With a loose arm, lower effort and a fluid, repeatable delivery to a high three-quarter release point, Johnson topped at 95 mph, sitting mostly 91-92 with spin rates into the 2300s. Showed a 79-80 mph, short-actioned, higher spin slider (+2600 RPM) and curveball at 73-75 mph with spin into the 2400s. Also showed a feel for a straight change at 80 mph. Fair deception with high pitch-ability. Continues to gain steam both as a prospect and likely Power-5 recruit. 

Isaiah Jackson, RHP, Champaign Central (IL), 2020
Redshirt-Freshman. Formerly ranked No. 8 in the Illinois 2020 class. Now healthy, Jackson cleaned up his delivery and is now throwing easy cheese. Showed more effort on this look at scout day than he did at the Puma Classic last week where he played catch at 93-94 mph and touched 98 mph. Not just a raw-armed thrower, in-game he showed an ability to pitch, pulling the string on a 78 mph changeup, then elevating a 94 heater for a strikeout. Followed it up with the next batter with a 75 mph breaker, then painted 95 on the outer black for another strikeout. His bullpen from the scout day was also eye-opening, reaching up to 96.8 mph with the fastball and pairing it most effectively with a slider up to 81 mph (T2,388 RPM). He’s a top-five round MLB Draft follow for 2023 who will need to remain healthy and show consistency in his performance. 

Jacob Price, RHP, Christian Academy of Louisville (KY), 2022
True Freshman. Formerly ranked No. 43 in Kentucky’s 2022 class. The tall, loose-armed right-hander impressed throughout his ‘pen with a polished four-pitch mix. His fastball, which was up in the zone often, reached up to 93 mph, sitting mostly 89-92 mph while averaging 2,486 RPM (T2545 RPM). He went to a cutter at 86-88 mph with short 11/5 shape, averaging 2,389 RPM (T2444 RPM). His slider worked in the 80-81 mph range with larger 10/4 action than his cutter. Changeup sat 81-82 mph, killing spin and playing mostly straight. Developing a consistent release point for improved command will be a large key to his development as a professional prospect. 

Cylis Cox, LHP, Rochester (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 47 in Illinois’ 2021 class. Standing 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, strong-bodied southpaw with a developed lower-half. Cox was noticeably more fluid with his delivery and more relaxed on scout day than during the Puma Classic. With a drop/drive delivery he worked his fastball in the 88-91 mph range, topping out at 92 mph (T2238 RPM) with slight sinking action. Slider looks to be an out-pitch for him, working with late action off a 2/8 plane at 76-79 mph (T2605 RPM), showing control over the zone and kept mostly down. Flashed a cutting changeup at 81-83 mph.  

Keegan Buksa, RHP, Homewood-Flossmoor (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 86 in Illinois’ 2021 class and flying a bit under the radar, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander showed above-average arm strength, working his fastball up to 92.7 mph and sitting 91-92 mph throughout his ‘pen. Slider backed up on him at times, but flashed a sharp biter at 79-81 mph. He also showed a cutter with shorter 10/4 action than the slider at 81-84 mph. Struggled to command the changeup but flashed sinking action, 78-80 mph. 

Parker Bradford, RHP, East Peoria (IL), 2020
Redshirt-Sophomore. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander provided a tough look for would-be opposing hitters with a loose submarine release point. He scooped his fastball up to 88.5 mph, sitting 85-87 mph with sink. Struggled to find a consistent release point for the changeup, but flashed sinking action at 71-73 mph. Slider played with short 10/4 shape, flashing sharp at times, 70-71 mph. 

Jake Jakubowski, RHP, Huntley (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 259 in Illinois’ 2021 class. One of the top arms out of the ‘pen for the Hawks last year, recording a 2.33 ERA in 19.1 innings, striking out 24 to only seven walks. The sidearm right-hander seems to have added a couple ticks to his fastball; reaching up to 81 mph, sitting 79-80 mph with heavy sink and advanced control of the zone. He also showed above-average control over his slider, playing with sharp 10/4 action and averaging over 2,600 RPM. Changeup plays with heavy sink and similar action to his fastball, 73-74 mph. 

Will Fletcher, RHP, Wheaton North (IL), 2022
True Freshman. Formerly ranked No. 224 in the Illinois 2024 class. Simple delivery with a short balance point. Hides the ball out of the glove before moving into a high ¾ release, quick arm to release. Fastball worked 89-90 mph, topping at 91 mph with slight running action to his arm-side. Curveball plays with big-breaking 11/5 shape, 68-70 mph. Changeup sat 73-74 mph and played with fading action, maintaining fastball intent.  

Mason Telford, RHP, Streator (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly the No. 187 ranked player in Illinois’ 2021 class. Last season he recorded a 3.95 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched, striking out 12 to only four walks. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound right-hander displayed a quality three-pitch mix throughout his ‘pen. His fastball worked up to 89.6 mph (T2303 RPM, sitting 85-88 mph. His slider worked 77-79 mph with 10/4 shape - while his changeup came in at 75-78 mph. 

Michael Rivera, RHP, Warren (IL), 2021
Redshirt-Freshman. Formerly ranked No. 81 in Illinois 2021 class. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander worked his fastball up to 89.7 mph, sitting 88-89 mph with life through the zone. His changeup plays with fading action to his arm-side, coming from a similar fastball release at 76-80 mph. His cutter sat around 79-84 mph, playing with short horizontal action through the zone. His slider plays with more depth than the cutter, flashing late bite at 80-81 mph. His final offering was a curveball at 77-78 mph, flashing depth off an 11/5 plane at times.  

Jack Stellano, LHP, Reed Custer (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 77 in Illinois 2021 class. The 6-foot, 200-pound mature-bodied southpaw worked his tailing fastball up to 88.5 mph and paired it effectively off a firm, sinking changeup at 80 mph. His curveball played with short downer shape, 74-76 mph. 

Drew Martin, RHP, Mt. Pulaski (IL), 2021
True Sophomore. Formerly ranked No. 78 in Illinois 2021 class. Martin stands 6-foot-2, 205-pounds with an athletic build and strong lower-half. There’s some length in back before releasing from a three-quarter slot. His fastball boasts above-average spin, averaging 2,332 RPM (T2411 RPM) and topped out at 89.1 mph, sitting in the 87-89 mph range. His best pitch was a slider that flashed above average to plus at times at 78-81 mph, playing with depth and sharp action off a 10/4 plane, averaging 2,329 RPM (T248 RPM). Also showed fair feel for a 80 mph changeup. 

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