Prep Baseball Report

Peoria Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio & Adam Panayotovich
Illinois Staff

The second annual Peoria Preseason I.D. was held on Feb. 20 at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex with over 60 participating prospects in attendance. Last year’s showcase unveiled to us a handful of upside talents and, in the early going, it looks as if the 2019 event yielded a similar level of on-the-rise talent.

Just like last year, some of the day’s top prospects were the Central Illinois-raised arms who stepped foot on the mound. There were also a handful of upside two-way players that solidified spots on our follow lists, too. Below, we’ve provided a quick snapshot of the top notes and storylines coming out of last evening’s Peoria event. Check out the rapid analysis below and check back tomorrow as we take another look at the showcase, this time from a more statistical perspective.

Be sure to look out for more detailed analysis, accompanied by video from the day, in the coming weeks. For now, here’s some rapid reactions from the Louisville Slugger Dome.



Two of the best bullpens on the day came from a pair of uncommitted righties in 2020s Mitchell Sampson (Galesburg) and Blake Donnan (Taylorville). Sampson, the more chiseled-framed RHP, pitches with conviction and an uptempo style. He possess an athletic, quick arm action and pushed his heater to 88 mph, the event best, with hard run in the zone. Donnan has more of an imposing, thick and strong frame standing at  6-foot-5, 215-pounds. He also pitches with repeatable tempo and may be more of an arm strength guy moving forward. Donnan topped his fastball at 85 mph.

Two more uncommitted 2020 RHPs that solidified themselves on the mound were Caleb Gross (Normal University) and Colin Bauer (Peoria Notre Dame). Gross, a high-waisted, high body projection frame, has looseness in his arm action sitting his fastball in the low 80s with above average feel for a fading changeup. Bauer pitches with a presence on the mound possessing a compact, short and quick arm action. He also sat his heater in the low 80s, a six mph jump in a years time, with signs of a hard fading changeup.

Jack Davis (Sacred Heart-Griffin) and Cayden Ahart (Peoria Heights) are two 2022s to keep an eye on as they enter their high school careers. Davis showed polish on the bump for an incoming freshman with ease and projection in his delivery. The RHP has a loose arm action out front and pounded the strike zone with three offerings. Ahart, a 6-foot-3, 155-pound RHP will continue to see his stock rise as his body matures physically.


A quartet of 2020 uncommitted two-way players who stood out in one way or another were RHP/INF Brayden Childress (Robinson), INF/RHP Tommy Kelly (Peoria Notre Dame), RHP/INF Noah Matheny (Galesburg) and INF/RHP Sam Paden (Libertyville). Childress, who stands 6-foot-3, 205-pounds and currently is in the swing of basketball season, carries himself with confidence and raised his fastball velo three ticks to 85 mph. He has tons upside in his frame and there is no doubt the velo will trend upwards come springtime. At the plate, Childress has strong hands, works on top of the baseball and backspins baseballs to the pull side.

Kelly stood out immediately, thanks to an event leading 6.69 laser-timed 60, right out of the gate. Kelly, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound, high-waisted, loose-bodied prospect, has a flat right-handed swing and a long, quick arm action on the mound, running his fastball up to 83 mph. Kelly paired his fastball with feel for a changeup, featuring sink and fade action.

6-foot-2, 200-pound, Galesburg HS product, INF/RHP Noah Matheny worked out as a two-way player but showed a lot of upside on the mound. Matheny has a loose, quick arm and the ball comes out of his hand easy. His fastball featured late life through the zone and sat 82-85 mph, with seemingly much more in the tank. Matheny also showed feel for a three-pitch repertoire. Alongside Connor Aten, Nick Fields and the aforementioned Mitchel Sampson, Galesburg HS will feature one of the best crop of arms in Class 3A this spring.

Paden, an athletic, wiry, 5-foot-11, 167-pound, right-handed hitter, has a loose right-handed swing, stays short to the ball and sprays line-drives to all fields. On the mound, the right-handed pitcher pounded the zone with a low-80’s fastball and flashed a swing-and-miss changeup.


Last year’s event featured a number of prospects from Central Illinois who emerged as high-follows. This year’s big winner was 2022 OF Ramon Jimerson Jr. (Sacred Heart-Griffin). The highly-advanced Jimerson showed off a complete, well-rounded game that should make him one of the more highly-coveted 2022 prospects in the state. The right-handed hitter currently boasts a strong, 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame, has a simple, repeatable swing, gets extension through contact and routinely barreled balls to both gaps. The 7.00 runner also is a natural outfield defender with easy actions and an 83 mph arm.

OF Dylan Drumke, a Libertyville HS product, made the most of his trip down from the Northern suburb of Chicago. Drumke, has a compact, strong build at 5-foot-10, 190-pounds and an efficient, repeatable right-handed swing with strength through contact (95 mph exit velocity). Drumke also looked natural in the outfield and ran a 7.02 laser-timed 60.

Another uncommitted 2020 outfielder to keep an eye on is Peoria Notre Dame product, Jack Shields. Shields has a strong, barrel-chested 6-foot, 185-pound frame and the ball has a tendency to jump off his right-handed bat. Shields registered one of the top exit velocities of the day, 94 mph and was 86 mph from the outfield.

Left-handed power was on display during BP thanks to Rochester HS OF Logan Sapp. Sapp a 6-foot-1, 200-pound, physically-advanced uncommitted junior swings the bat with intent, has natural lift and consistently made loud contact to the middle of the field.


Uncommitted 2020s, SS Eric Hall (Champaign Centennial), MIF Jayden Myren (Rochester), 3B Bryce Brown (Morton), 3B Aaron Jayne (Blue Ridge) and Ashton Gray (Limestone) all showed off natural infield actions and have the ability to stick on the infield moving forward. Myren, a switch-hitter, arguably had the best all-around day of the group. Myren, has added strength to his 5-foot-11, 180-pound, frame and has a quiet simple swing. Myren has quick hands and stays short to the ball from both sides of the plate. Defensively, he has soft hands, plays well on the move and topped at 80 mph across the diamond.

Two intriguing 2021 infielders to follow were Liam McGill (Bloomington) and Sam Antonacci (Sacred Heart-Griffin). McGill ran a 7.00 60, has a simple right-handed swing where he looks to control the barrel and made consistent line-drive contact. McGill has sure hands on the infield, maintains body control on the move and has a quick, clean release. Antonacci is a 5-foot-11, 170-pound, left-handed hitter with athletic hands, fluid rhythm and stays short to the ball.

Another Rochester HS product who impressed on Wednesday was 2022 Seth Parkinson. The 6-foot, 170-pound, right-handed hitter took an advanced round of BP. Parkinson has a highly-repeatable, fluid swing, flat path, gets extension through contact and works to both gaps. Defensively, he has athletic infield actions and plays through the baseball.


Perhaps the best catcher on the day was Washington’s Chase Mason. The 2020 Mason has athletic actions for a catcher noting his 7.15 60-yard dash time. He has plenty of arm strength to stick behind the plate tossing 83 mph seeds to second with a personal best 2.01 pop time. A handsy RHH at the plate, Mason showed line drive abilities with rhythm through contact, topping 90 mph on the exit velocity testing.

Tyler Wessels (Elmwood, 2020) checks off plenty of boxes as a LHH backstop. A capable catch and release defender, he has a short arm action and averaged his pops at 2.05-2.12. Offensively, he has a violent left-handed swing and when timed up, the ball jumps off the bat.

Tyler Steck (Galesburg, 2020) and Josh Heyder (Washington, 2021) both tied for the event-best pop time at two-flat from the crouch, respectively. Heyder has advanced skills defensively for a ‘21 classification with a quick/clean transfer and an easy/athletic release.