PBR Illinois Player of the Week: Jake Zitella
April 19, 2023
St. Charles East has been trending upwards recently, making their debut in our Power 25 this week at No. 24 after a perfect 4-0 week boosted their record to 8-1. One key to their success has been Jake Zitella (2023; Illinois), who swings one of the loudest bats in the entire state. Zitella has the type of bat that can power an entire offense to victory, and that's exactly what he did this past week; finishing at an 11-for-15 clip with four home runs, two doubles, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored - also boasting a 1.667 slugging % and a 2.373 OPS. For his efforts, he has been named this week's Player of the Week.
The first two games of the week were quality showings for the Illinois commit, finishing 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk in a 4-3 win over Lake Park - following up with a 1-for-4 day and a run scored in a 6-3 victory over Lake Park the following day.
Wednesday is when things started to take off, as he went an eye-opening 4-for-4 with a home run, double, two RBIs and two runs scored to help boost the Saints to a 8-7 win over Lake Park and secure the three-game sweep.
Zitella wasn’t even close to being finished at that point, as he followed up on Saturday with a 5-for-5 day with an astounding three home runs, a double, seven RBIs and four runs scored - carrying the Saints to a 15-9 win over Plainfield South.
As mentioned multiple times already, Zitella has premium juice in his right-handed bat, and he has shown this to our scouting staff time and time again. Our most recent look at him in-event came at this past winter’s Preseason ProCase, where he pummeled baseballs throughout his rounds of BP with a max exit velocity of 103.3 mph, averaging 96.2 mph.
INF Jake Zitella (@stce_baseball, 2023; @IlliniBaseball) showed his usual loud RH bat at today’s #ProCaseIL.— PBR Illinois (@PBRIllinois) February 2, 2023
Barreled seven balls over 100 mph, five over 102 mph, peaked at 103.3 mph. Furthest ball traveled 406 ft.
Topped at 91 mph across the infield, too. pic.twitter.com/0pjpPrrY6D
Zitella has more tools to his game than just his power. Listed at 5-foot-11, 195-pounds, Zitella actually moves well for his size, recording a 7.01-60 at the ProCase. His defense profiles on the corners of the infield at the next level, where he should be able to stay on the dirt moving forward. To no one's surprise he also has a strong arm, reaching up to 91 mph across the diamond.
Positional Profile: 3B/SS
Body: 5-11, 195-pounds. Strong, mature frame with strength throughout.
Hit: RHH. Balanced, slightly crouched setup, strong base. Features some of the best bat strength in the class. Swings with purpose and intent. Above-average plate coverage, barrel stays on-plane and through the zone a long time. Gets separation in his hands, looks to elevate the baseball with authority and was consistently making loud, hard contact.
Power: 103 max exit velocity, averaged 96.2 mph. 406’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 91 mph. Clean arm action, high 3/4 slot with the ability to change angles when necessary.
Defense: Worked out at third base. Steady defender, sure-hands, comfortable on the move, clean double play feed showed body control on the run-through.
Run: 7.01 runner in the 60.