Preseason All-State: Quick Hits



 By Illinois Scouting Staff

The Preseason All-State, one of Illinois’ most highly anticipated events for the top 2018 prospects in the state, took place on Sunday, February 19th. The event brought over 125 of the top junior prospects to The MAX in McCook, IL.

A number of the players in attendance helped elevate their stock heading into the spring high school season. Today we take a quick look at some notable performances from the event.

  • 3 LHPs - The Preseason All-State was full of premium arms, particularly from the left side. A trio of lefties touched 90 mph on Sunday, LHP Danny Zimmerman (Lincoln-Way East) showed the biggest spike in velocity from last seeing him, the uncommitted southpaw looked more physical at 6-foot, 170-pounds and showed an easy fastball that touched 92 mph. Illinois commit, Nathan Lavender (El Paso) touched 90 mph and looked sharp in his pen with a an easy loose arm action that projects well. The highest left-handed ceiling goes to Caden Monke (Mount Olive). The Arkansas commit has an electric arm that touched 91 mph out of a loose live body at 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, Monke also ran a 6.82 for good measure.  
  • Uncommitted RHP/INF Hayden Juenger (O’Fallon) was one of the biggest winners from the event after his performance on the mound. Juenger, an athletic right-hander, pitches from a ¾ slot creating run and sink on his fastball that sat 87-88 mph, touching 89. Also, flashed a changeup with good feel and action.
  • Uncommitted RHP Ryan Vice (Lincoln-Way West) ran his fastball up to 93 mph, the top fastball velocity of the event without much effort in his delivery. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound also threw three pitches for strikes in his pen.
  • Recent TCU commit Alek Thomas (Mount Carmel) continued to show why he is the No. 1 ranked player in the Illinois ‘18 Class. Thomas ran a 6.63 60 yard dash, registered 93 mph exit velocity, and showed improved arm strength from the outfield throwing 86 mph. In batting practice he showed a professional approach working gap to gap before showing off pull side power on his last swing.
  • The event featured a strong crop of infielders, led by Illinois commit Branden Comia (Sandburg). Comia showcased top level hands and confidence on the infield. Most intriguing about Comia however, may have been the fact that he switch hit for the first time. His new left-handed swing is loose, athletic and looks like he has been crafting it for years. Christian Lucio (Mount Carmel), Ryan Howe (Prospect) and Jimmy Allen (Timothy Christian), all still uncommitted, elevated their stock with their performance at the event. Lucio is a left-handed hitter who ran a 6.88 60. Howe, ran a 6.75 60 and was 88 mph across the diamond while Allen ran a 6.94 60 and was 90 mph across the diamond.

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