Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All State, Upperclass: Quick Hits

By: Illinois Scouting Staff

On Feb. 25, the PBR Illinois staff hosted the Preseason All-State: Upperclass showcase at The MAX in McCook, Ill., featuring many of the state’s top players inside the 2024 class. This event helped our staff gain a clearer picture of the on-the-rise prospects in Illinois, and we’ll begin to break down the event thoroughly today and throughout the week. Inside today’s Quick Hits post, we’re highlighting the best of the best – the talent that exited the event with arrows pointed way up headed into the spring.

We’ll be breaking down the event in even greater detail over the next few days, but we’ll kick things off with this piece today covering our staff’s primary takeaways.

To view the event’s landing page, roster, and stats collected, click hereEach of the players below are uncommitted unless stated otherwise.

Committed Position Player Standouts 

+ INF Tyler Bell (Lincoln-Way East), a Pittsburgh commit, made the Illinois State Games his coming out party last August and skyrocketed up the 2024 Illinois board as a result. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound switch-hitter swings a mature  bat from both sides of the plate, with loose athletic hands and easy effort throughout. Bell creates easy bat speed, natural loft off the barrel and works to both gaps. Throughout both rounds of BP, from both sides of the plate, Bell peaked at 99.3 mph, averaging 91.6 mph with his furthest batted ball traveling 350’. Bell also led the loaded field with an average bat speed of 79.6 mph. On top of the offensive prowess, Bell is one of the top infield defenders in the state with smooth, confident, easy actions and a strong arm that plays true with life across the diamond at 90 mph. 

+ INF/RHP Charlie Vercruysse (Normal University) battled some injuries in 2022 but looked back to 100% at the event. The Notre Dame commit continues to add quality, lean strength to his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame and he tied for the top infield velocity of the day at 92 mph. Vercruysse showed easy range and body control to both sides with sure-hands and a feel for the infield. Offensively, the right-handed hitter demonstrated excellent barrel feel during his round of BP, repeating hard-hit line-drive contact efficiently, favoring the pull-side gap and up the middle. He has an easy, athletic swing that gets to upper-90s efficiently (98.5 mph max).

+ OF Savion Flowers (Kenwood) continues to display all kinds of tools and things to dream on, including his 6-foot-5, 200-pound, high-waisted, well-proportioned, eye-catching frame. Flowers displayed the strongest arm in the event from the outfield, reaching up to 94 mph (up two mph since our last look), while playing through the baseball with pace and gaining ground. Offensively, the left-handed hitter looked to be making a conscious effort to stay short and direct to the baseball while controlling the barrel. Flowers creates easy bat speed thanks to his long, athletic levers and loose hands. Flowers was on the barrel to a tune of a 78% hard-hit percentage and he peaked at a 99 mph exit velocity, 90.8 mph average and his furthest ball traveled 328’ while he worked mostly back up the middle and to the pull-side gap. The Eastern Kentucky commit also ran a 7.21 laser-timed 60.

+ INF Cooper Malamazian (Nazareth) is an Indiana recruit that continues to ascend every time we get our eyes on him. As a freshman he was the varsity shortstop on a quality Nazareth club and he has not looked back, featuring smooth actions on the infield with fluid easy footwork and sure hands. His arm stands out playing ultra loose and easy across the diamond (T89 mph), up nine mph since our last look. Offensively the right-handed hitter continues to see his bat speed tick up as well, as he has added quality lean muscle to his athletic, wide-shouldered, 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame. He has a balanced, loose swing, with fluid rhythm throughout, creating freedom in his hands and whip through the zone. Malamazian also hopped on the mound and ran his fastball up to 87 mph while spinning a sharp low-70s curveball. All kinds of ceiling left for Malamazian to tap into down the road. 

+ INF Kenny Perez (De LaSalle) and OF Khamaree Thomas (Kenwood), two members of Team Illinois at the 2022 Future Games caught our eye once again. 

Perez, a Cincinnati commit, continues to prove that he is one of the top defenders in the entire state, boasting all sorts of moxy and fluidness to his actions. His hands are confident through the ball with a quick double-play turn and he moves well laterally, better than his 7.10 60-time would indicate. Offensively, he showcased the same fluidity and comfort in the box that we have seen in the past while flashing some intent and power to the opposite field gap. Perez peaked at 98.7 mph off the bat, 89.8 mph average. 

Thomas, a Michigan State commit, continues to look like the prototypical left/left, center field, leadoff type. Despite not being able to show his elite ability to track fly balls since we were indoors, Thomas’ athleticism was still very apparent throughout his defensive round. He played confidently through the ball in rhythm and also showed off some improved arm strength, now reaching up to 88 mph from a crow-hop. The 6.89 runner (6.71 in the past) has athletic, twitchy hands, a knack for the barrel and gets a lot more jump off the bat (T94.5 mph exit velocity) than his 5-foot-8, 160-pound, wiry frame would indicate.

+ C Jimmy Janicki (Downers Grove North) and INF/RHP David Cox (Nazareth) are also two other prospects off of Team Illinois at last summer’s Future Games that deserve a mention from the event.

Janicki, a Troy commit, continues to fill out the uniform with his 6-foot-3, 210-pound, broad-shouldered frame and he showed the top hand speed of the event, averaging 24.6 mph to go along with a peak exit velocity of 100.7 mph, 91.4 mph average. Janicki’s round progressively got better as he went and by the end of it he was all over the barrel, with easy, loud, line-drive contact back up the middle and to the pull-side. He als showed his usual clean and easy actions behind the plate with an accurate strong arm that played at 82 mph (up from 80 mph) with pop times ranging from 1.94-1.97.

Cox, a two-way Northwestern commit, had a strong all-around showing with maybe the most impressive metric being his 7.21 60 time, which was down from a 7.74 last summer. That foot speed attached to his physical 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame is impressive. Also, given his smooth round of infield, strong arm (92 mph across) and knack for making plays in-game it gives Cox a real chance at sticking at shortstop at the next level. Offensively, the right-handed hitter flashed advanced bat speed and bat strength at times and when the swing syncs up the ball jumps off the barrel. Cox also got on the mound and sat 87-88 mph while mixing in a sinker that showed some heaviness at the bottom. Cox mixes in a short lateral slider with solid feel for his glove side of the plate.

+  INF Nick Drtina (Nazareth), a Louisville commit, is a two-way prospect but most recently honored for his work on the mound this past spring, earning PBR Illinois Second-Team All-State honors. Drtina helped anchor the 3A state champion Roadrunners’ pitching staff throughout the spring season, racking up 12 wins and breaking a 25-year school record at Nazareth in the process. At the All-State event, however, it was Drtina’s left-handed bat that deserved some recognition. There is wiry, strength throughout with present bat speed, direct path and a repeatable swing with well above-average feel for the barrel. Drtina was on time and on the barrel throughout while working with a polished middle of the field approach. Drtina registered a 92 mph average exit velocity, sixth-best of the event with his furthest batted ball traveling 340’.

+ INF Jameson Martin (St. Laurence) is a quality, smooth defender and recently committed to Minnesota. Defensively, his athletic actions and footwork (ran a 7.08 60) will keep him up the middle moving forward and he topped at 84 mph across the diamond. Offensively, he took one of the more polished bat-to-ball rounds of any right-handed hitter in attendance. Martin averaged 91.3 mph off the bat which was only three mph off his peak of 94.7 mph. He stays direct, through the zone a long time and strong through impact with a mature whole field approach. High-quality round of BP that should play against velocity moving forward.

+ INF James Love (Joliet West) had a standout showing at the Aurora Preseason ID earlier this winter and showed much of the same at the invite-only event. Love continues to show a polished all-around game with all kinds of bat speed (75.3 mph average) while leading the event with a 102.9 mph peak exit velocity. Love’s defensive round was above-average, showing soft hands and fluid footwork that play through the ball in rhythm. On the rise Eastern Illinois commit.


+ C Kyle Hartmann (Sycamore) put together one of the top breakout performances from the event. Despite his 5-foot-10, 175-pound, athletic, wiry stature, Hartmann creates all kinds of bat speed and bat strength in his swing. Hartmann has violence and intent in the box, while staying flat, long through the zone and on the barrel with loud, lifted, hard contact. The right-handed hitter led the event with a 96.7 mph average exit velocity, peak of 101.1 mph and a 100% hard-hit percentage. He also stood out behind the plate playing quick out of the crouch with a plus arm that topped at 84 mph (up 4 mph) with a low pop-time of 1.94 seconds. 

+ C Sean Kempf (Crystal Lake Central) is another catcher with an impactful right-handed swing. Kempf has a compact 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame and his swing is much the same. He stays short and direct to the ball, flat through the zone with above-average bat-to-ball skills and creates backspin contact to the gaps with a 96 mph peak exit velocity, 85.4 mph average. Kempf showed improvements from behind the plate since our last look, lowering his pop-time down to 2.00 seconds and adding three mph to his velocity out of the chute (now T78 mph).

+ Bryk Barnard (Hersey), Jake Parpet (Conant), Michael Roberson III (Providence Catholic) and Daniel Bastidas (Metea Valley) helped round out a strong crop of catchers on the day. 

Barnard was arguably the top receiver during the bullpen setting. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound left-handed hitter caught each ‘pen with in-game intent, showing off flexible hips, low target and soft, quiet receiving abilities. Highly-impressive, intentful defensive look during his PBR showcase debut. He also topped at 79 mph from the crouch with accuracy and 2.01-2.04 pop times. Offensively, he stays quiet and repeatable with a simple, barrel-control swing and the ability to use the whole field.

Parpet is an athletic, multi-positional prospect that ran a 6.91 60, was 77 mph from the crouch and registered pop times of 1.95-2.02. Offensively, the right-handed hitter has a relaxed hitterish look in the box while staying balanced and repeatable with a fluid, loose swing. 

Roberson was one of the top defenders during the workout, showing off a plus arm at 83 mph from the crouch while registering nothing but sub-2.0 pop times, ranging from 1.88-1.95. 

Bastidas is a 5-foot-9, 170-pound athletic backstop who made his first appearance at an event since 2021 and made the most of it. Bastidas is now up to 77 mph from the chute and he lowered his pop time to a 1.96 (down from a 2.07). The 7.35 runner also showed the ability to handle his right-handed bat, staying through the hitting zone a long time, staying within himself with a polished, whole field approach.

+ OF Cal Darling (Bradley-Bourbonnais) is another right-handed hitter who continues to warrant attention moving forward. Listed at 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, Darling has quick-twitch, strong hands at the plate while staying direct to the ball and physical through impact. He was consistently on time with a heavy barrel and registered a 97 mph exit velocity with a max batted ball of 356’. Darling also played fast in the outfield, attacking the baseball and gained ground through transfer while showing off a strong arm that topped at 93 mph from the outfield.

+ INF/RHP Michael Umbright (Naperville Central) and INF/RHP Camden Raddatz (Effingham) are a couple of uncommitted two-way prospects who deserve a mention for what they did in all areas of the event. 

Umbright, who was making his PBR showcase debut, catches your attention initially thanks to his 6-foot-5, 223-pound, physical, well-proportioned build. He then proceeded to show off a simple, easy, highly-repeatable right-handed swing with well above-average strength attached to it, resulting in a 96.3 mph average exit velocity (T99.8 mph), good for second-best on the day. Umbright also ran a 7.31 60, showed steady infield actions and jumped on the mound where he worked from a ¾ slot and sat 87-89 mph with heavy running action.

Raddatz put up a very similar numbers with a 95.2 mph average exit velocity and he cracked the triple digits with a 100.4 peak. Raddatz also launched his furthest batted ball 363’ utilizing athletic, twitchy hands and easy bat speed (77.7 mph average bat speed; third best of the event). On the mound Raddatz sat 85-87 mph with a short quick arm action while flashing a sharp breaking ball as well.

+ 1B/OF Ethan Borggren (Lane Tech) was another prospect making his BP showcase debut that earned our attention with his showing. Borggren has a 6-foot-3, 180-pound, athletic, advanced frame and impressive offensive profile. He has an upside right-handed swing that also stands to have another level of physicality to it as he continues to develop and and fill out his big frame with more strength; he has a loose swing and he creates bat speed easily that helps him flash some upside power at impact that, again, projects to be one of his best traits as he continues to tack on strength to a projectable build.

+ 1B Eric DeCosta (Wheaton Academy) is another right-handed hitter with an impressive frame and present bat strength. DeCosta has a 6-foot-4, 215-pound, long, high-waisted frame with plenty of more physical development to tap into down the road and creates leverage and bat strength in his swing. DeCosta swings with controlled intent, natural loft throughout and registered a 101.3 mph max exit velocity and 375’ max batted ball, both land him in the top-three from the event. Powerful right-handed swing with more to tap into moving forward. 

+ INF Jamie Rasmussen (Glenbrook South) is yet another prospect with a highly-projectable frame (6-foot-3, 185-pounds) and looks to be scratching the surface of his future ceiling. He’s an upside right-handed hitter that’s able to create some bat strength with ease, creating some bat speed that projects as he adds muscle to a projectable build; Rasmussen averaged an exit speed of 87.8 mph, 93.9 max.

+ OF Luca Royer (Lake Forest) has a 6-foot-4, 205-pound, highly-impressive, projectable build and above-average combination of tools. In the outfield he moves with easy range, plays light on his feet and natural outfield actions. His arm played true at 85 mph. Right-handed hitter, creates leverage and natural lift to the pull-side with loose strong hands and minimal effort. Royer’s peak exit velocity was 94 mph and he ran a 7.08 laser-timed 60.

+ A trio of Jack Swaney (Rochester), Ryne Woods (Batavia) and Jack Cozzi (St. Edward Central Catholic) are physical left-handed hitters who put up some above-average metrics and warrant attention moving forward. Each recorded max batted distances at 366 feet or farther – Swaney’s high of 384 feet led the event; Cozzi’s round was a memorable one, as he showed barrel feel off a naturally lofted plane that produced an average batted distance of 276 feet, among the day’s best.

+ Jackson Spring (St. Charles North), Cael Karczewski (Joliet West), Blake Crancer (Normal West), Will Potter (Downers Grove South), Bobby Kutt (Providence Catholic) and Jaden Obaldo (Crystal Lake Central) were a strong crop of middle infielders that should be able to stick up the middle moving forward and they all swing intriguing right-handed bats. 

+ Trevor Geis (Mascoutah), Andrew Schweigert (Bradley-Bourbonnais) and Morgan Wachler (Palatine) are three right-handed hitting outfielders to know moving forward. 

Geis is a twitchy athlete with a strong arm that topped at 91 mph from the outfield and he creates whip through the zone at the plate.

Schweigert has a 6-foot-2, 200-pound physical frame that he uses in the right-handed box swinging with strong, fast, intentful hands and a heavy barrel. Schweigert was on time, on the barrel and made loud elevated contact throughout resulting in an average batted ball distance of 283’, third-highest of the event. Also, ran a 7.70 60 and was 86 mph from the outfield.

Wachler has a strong 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame with all kinds of bat strength in the box. Wachler, who ran a 7.11, launched a ball 347’ and registered a 98.5 mph exit velocity. He also topped at 87 mph from the outfield.

+ INF/RHP Alex Schimmel (Moline) is a 6-foot, 190-pound, broad-shouldered, strong left-handed hitting infielder who showed equally as well on the mound and ran a 6.98 laser-timed 60. At the plate, he stays short and inside the baseball, with intent to use the whole field and looked natural driving the baseball to the opposite field. Schimmel registered a 94.2 peak exit velocity and showed a strong arm on the infield that topped at 87 mph. On the mound, he showed a tight spinning curveball that topped the day's charts for top revving curveball at 2630 rpm (2552 average). Shimmel pairs it with a running fastball at 87-89 mph with a clean simple delivery. True two-way uncommitted follow in the 2024 class. 

+ Joe Dolenga (Stevenson) did not work out defensively on this day but he deserved noting with his BP and 6.92 60 time alone. Dolenga packs strength in his 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame and uses it in the box, delivering intentful, strong swings while staying on the barrel for elevated contact with a peak exit velocity of 95.5 mph and max batted ball of 372’.


+ One of the top arms in the country, Wake Forest commit RHP Ryan Sloan (York, 2024) lived up to his billing. Sloan showed off some premium arm strength out of a ¾ slot, working at 92-94 mph and touching 95 mph with a big running fastball. Sloan backs it up with a hard sweeping slider at 80-82 mph and revving at 2600-2700 rpm. His changeup rounds out an elite three-pitch mix that will likely put him in 2024 draft discussions come this summer.

+ There were a trio of long levered right-handers who showed plenty of upside and present stuff to pitch at the next level. RHP Tom Ford (Lisle, 2024) is a long levered arm who’s body screams upside. His 6-foot-6, 185-pound frame brings an 89-91 mph fastball with presence in the strike zone. He showed an 11/5 curveball as well with similar feel and repeated a low and away location at 74-76 mph. Bryce Koch (Barrington, 2024), at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds, showed a lively fastball at 88-89 mph, topping at 90 mph with a hard sinking changeup. Brady Chambers (Lyons Township, 2024) is a 6-foot-6, 210-pound Michigan State commit who went after the zone with intent and pace. His fastball plays with occasional tilt and backspin from an over the top slot, flashing carry through zone.

+ RHPs Aidan Hayse (Joliet Catholic) and Luke Weber (Highland Park) are two committed arms that currently sit towards the top of the class and continue to enhance their arsenals. 

Hayse, a Tennessee commit, has a young, athletic look, short, quick, loose arm action and well above-average stuff across the board. Hayse pumped his lively, jumpy fastball in the zone at 89-90 mph. His slider is thrown with conviction and late, sharp biting action at 77-80 mph (2178 average rpm) with a low-spinning changeup in the upper-70s with late fade and sink. The ceiling is arguably as high as any in the class and he continues to harness his well above-average arsenal.

Weber, a former Team Illinois Future Games participant and recent Illinois commit, has long had a highly-athletic, loose arm tailored for more velocity to come down the road. His fastball at the event topped at 91.3 mph (up from 87.9 in 2022) but it was the development of a new sweeping slider that was the biggest revelation. The slider shows all kinds of promise with tight spin and late lateral action that has the makings of a swing-and-miss pitch if he can continue to corral it. The changeup was once again a plus offering as we have seen in the past, thrown with all kinds of feel and action at the bottom of the zone. 

+ RHP Trevor Rehnstrom (Glenbard East) threw one of the more complete, polished bullpens we saw on the day, absolutely filling up the strike zone with three above-average offerings, including a changeup that showed plus-feel to the arm side and at the bottom of the zone. Rehnstrom, who stands at a long and athletic, 6-foot-4, 185-pounds, has also seen his velocity climb, topping at 88.2 mph which is up from 86 mph in 2022. It is a true three pitch mix with starter profile written all over it and more velocity to come as he continues to fill out that upside frame. Uncommitted arm to follow closely in the class. 

+ RHP Jack Olson (Antioch), also swings an impactful left-handed bat but it was his right-handed arm that warrants attention on this day. Olson has long, live-levers at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds and a loose, lively arm that produces a fastball sitting 89-91 mph. He features a four-pitch repertoire with his curveball playing above-average at 69-72 mph with sharp 12/6 biting action and 2219 average rpm.

+ RHP Nick Baffa (Niles Notre Dame) is an athletic, upside arm that toed the rubber for Team Illinois at last summer’s Future Games and remains on the market. The 6-foot-1, 155-pound loose-levered junior still has plenty of upside in the frame and velocity to tap into down the road thanks to a loose, free-flowing athletic arm action. Baffa pounds the strike zone with a fastball that topped at 88.1 mph, landing in the zone 83% of the time. He also shows above-average feel for his 68-70 mph curveball (75% strikes) and late fading changeup. Athletic uncommitted arm to keep tabs on moving forward. 

+ Recently back on the market after a decommitment from Louisville, RHP Luke Oblen (De Paul College Prep, 2024) featured a four pitch mix with an 88-90 mph fastball that topped at 91 mph, working mostly down in the zone. Oblen showed a slider, cutter and changeup, his slider showed to be his best compliment to his fastball spinning in the 2400 range at 75-79 mph. 

+ RHP Casey Giemzik (Brother Rice, 2024) also touched 90 mph with a sturdy 6-foot-3 220-pound frame. His fastball plays down and heavy at the bottom with a sinking change (78-79 mph) and sweeping curveball (73-75 mph). 

+ RHP Cole Noreuil (Delavan, 2024) showed off a big bending breaking ball with 11/5 shape. Highly spin efficient, his curveball averaged over 20 inches of vertical action, the best of the day. On top of that, he touched 90 mph with his fastball, ranging from 86-89 mph. 

+ Another 90 mph arm came from Illini Bluffs RHP Joshua Vaughn (2024). At 5-foot-11, 170-pounds he possesses a loose whippy arm out of a ¾ slot that generates action to his arm side. Vaugn also lands a slider with 10/4 shape at 73-75 mph. 

+ From the left hand side, three southpaws showed above average fastballs at the Preseason All-State. Frankie Bilecki (Marist, 2024), Ethan Eberle (Normal Community, 2024) and Jacob Gimbel (Joliet, Catholic, 2024) all worked in the mid to upper 80’s. Bilecki sat 84-86 mph with good depth to his curveball. Eberle was up to 87-88 mph with natural arm side run and flashing a sharp breaking ball. Gimbel sat 86-87 mph and showed a four pitch mix highlighted by a sinking changeup with arm speed.

+ RHP Laughton Joyce (Prospect, 2024) showed some deception from an over the top slot with effort that produces an 87-88 mph fastball with tilt. He kept it mostly down in the zone, as well as a firm 74-75 mph curveball with 12/6 shape and above average depth.

CLICK HERE for a full look at the invite-only event roster, data and more.