Prep Baseball Report

Preseason I.D - Peoria: Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

The inaugural Preseason I.D. - Peoria, held at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex, is in the books and today we take a look at some of the standouts from Saturday’s event. The event featured close to 90 prospects, mostly from the Central Illinois area. A number of previously unknown prospects emerged, especially on the mound and made a name for themselves at the event.

Below is an early look at some of the standout performances. Stay tuned for full statistical breakdown later in the week, as well as videos and full scouting reports.

CLICK HERE for complete roster.


+ One of the biggest winners from the event was RHP/OF Connor Aten (Galesburg, 2020). Aten looks to be a legitimate two-way prospect but opened eyes with his ability on the mound. The quick-armed sophomore sat 83-85 mph, touching 87 twice. He complimented his fastball with feel for a 12/6 breaking ball. Should be a high-follow 2020 moving forward.

+ The top 2021 arm in attendance was 6-foot-1, 195-pound Ben Hess (Charleston). Hess has a clean, loose arm action and his fastball sat 82-83 mph, touching 84. The talented freshman also showed well at first base. Defensively, he has soft hands and feel around the bag. At the plate, he has a loose, athletic swing with a gap-to-gap approach.

2019 ARMS

+ Gavin Wahlbrink (Chatham-Glenwood) and Gage Romack (Salt Fork) pounded the strike zone with three pitches. Wahlbrink has a loose, quick arm from a low slot, touched 82 mph and both offspeed pitches are above-average offerings. Romack is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound, athletically built right-hander who sat 82-83 mph and flashed a sharp curveball at 73-74 mph.

+ RHP’s Nate Sammer (LeRoy) and Ryan Rhoda (Prairie Central) eased into their bullpens and saved their best bullets for the end of their pen. Sammer is long and lean, listed at 6-foot-1, 175-pounds, sat 79-80 mph to start the bullpen and touched 83, 84 and then 87 to finish his bullpen. 6-foot-4, 180-pound, Rhoda did much of the same, sitting 80-83 mph early on before bumping a 90, 86 and 84 to finish off his day.


+ 6-foot-2, 165-pound RHP/C Mason Burns (Normal Community, 2020) is polished on the mound for his age. He has a clean, easy arm action and threw three-pitches for a strike. After sitting 79-80 mph to start his pen, he finished with multiple 83’s and an 84, leaving one to think there is plenty more in the tank.

+ Physical 6-foot-4, 195-pound RHP/OF Blake Donnan (Taylorville, 2020), has present bat speed, advanced bat strength and made a lot of hard contact at the plate. On the mound, he gets downhill with his fastball and sat 80-81 mph.


+ Dunlap HS, located about 15 miles north of Peoria, has three high-level junior arms at their disposal this spring. The Class 3A school, has RHP Taylor Catton, committed to Bradley but on Saturday it was two other arms that made a name for themselves; RHP's Andrew Pogue and John Day. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound, highly-projectable Pogue sat mostly 85-87 mph with his fastball, showed feel for a three-pitch mix with his curveball flashing swing-and-miss action at times. Day has a live 6-foot, 165-pound frame and looks to be just scratching the surface of his potential. He has a loose, quick arm and his fastball sat 83-84 mph but it was his slider that should be a separator for him moving forward. He throws it with conviction at 73-76 mph with 10/4 shape and feel.


+ A trio of middle infielders, Ryan Vogel (Metamora), Josh Ohl (Edwardsville) and Ben Schuler (Pontiac) stood out as some of the top infield defenders at the event. Vogel ran a 6.74 60 and has steady hands with a quick, clean release. Ohl has a solid overall game and is noticeably stronger than the last time we had seen him. Schuler has athletic actions, soft hands, and an accurate arm.

+ 3B/RHP Nathan Righi (Pekin, 2019) is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound, physical specimen who filled out the stat sheet. Ran a 7.04 60, 84 mph infield arm and a 98 mph exit velocity from a tee. On the mound, he sat 83-86 mph with a hard slider at 76-79 mph.


+ With the graduation of Jacob Ryan, 2019 Jalen Ping should be in line to take over the catching duties for Chatham-Glenwood HS who went 24-10 last season. Ping has a smooth right-handed swing with a good feel for hitting.

+ Sophomore Chase Mason (Washington) has a quick arm and raw arm strength behind the plate, clocked at 78 mph from the crouch. Mason registered a low pop time of 2.03.

+ Another sophomore catcher to keep an eye on is Max Jones (Pekin), who showed well at the event, despite being in the middle of basketball season. Jones is a 6-foot, 185-pound well-rounded player who has the versatility to play all over the field. Jones takes a highly-aggressive hack at the plate and looks to drive the ball with authority. He also ran a 7.07 laser-timed 60.


+ CJ Lewis (Normal West, 2019) has transformed his frame since our last look and now is listed at an athletic, high-waisted, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. At the plate, he has loose hands, fluid rhythm and present bat speed. He has natural, smooth outfield actions, plays through the baseball and his throws carried at 83 mph.

+ Jack Shields (Peoria Notre Dame, 2020) took one of the top BP rounds of the day. The 6-foot, 185-pound, right-handed hitter has an athletic, loose swing with advanced bat speed for his age. He gets extension through contact and consistently found the barrel. High follow bat in the 2020 class.

+ Ryan St. Ledger (Edwards County) is a toolsy 2021 who ran a 6.89 laser-timed 60 and flashed quick twitch in his swing.