Prep Baseball Report

Preseason All-State: Upperclass Quick Hits

By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Feb. 26, 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 state's Class of 2023. This event helped our staff gain a clearer picture of the top juniors in Illinois, many of whom can be considered the top uncommitted '23s in the state. Inside today’s Quick Hits post, we’re highlighting the best of the best – the talent that exited the event as 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 in the meantime, covering our staff’s primary takeaways.

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



+ Of all the impressive BP rounds on the day, INF Ryan Niedzwiedz (West Aurora), was arguably the biggest standout. To the left-handed hitter's credit, everytime we see him, he seems to be elevating his entire skill set, and this time was no different. The 6-foot, 190-pound, wide-shouldered infielder ran his best 60-yard dash time to date (7.02) and was 90 mph across the infield, all while taking an explosive round of BP. The bat features all kinds of barrel feel to go along with some of the best power potential in the state. It’s a controlled, intentful swing with fluid rhythm, looseness and compact levers that repeats and stays through the zone a long time. Niedzwiedz was all over the barrel with authority, naturally elevating the baseball to both gaps and looks like one of the top left-handed bats still on the market in the class. He recorded a 94.4 mph average exit velocity, 101.8 peak exit, and his furthest batted ball traveled 347 feet – and he was lone hitter to hit each of the balls he struck 90-plus mph. He also led the event in average batted distance (307 feet), average hand speed (26.2 mph), average rotational acceleration (29.9g), and he finished third in average bat speed (76.3). Defensively, he has a strong arm and clean actions that should keep him on the left side of the diamond moving forward. While the bat is certainly a carrying tool, he profiles to slot into either short or third base at the next level. It was an eye-opening performance from the uncommitted West Aurora prospect.

+ These two were responsible for their own attention-grabbing rounds of BP: Bryer Arview (Civic Memorial) and Kerim Orucevic (Maine South), both of whom are left-handed hitters. Arview, a former PBR Future Games participant, showed off a more polished, consistent stroke than we have seen in the past. Arview stayed extremely direct and repeatable throughout his round featuring a high rate of hard contact, especially to his pull-side gap. There is minimal wasted movement with an ease to get to pull power, and he flashes backspin off the barrel as well. Arview registered a peak exit velocity of 93.7 mph, a max batted ball distance of 341 feet, and he ran a 6.75 in the 60 – and this was while showing soft hands and athletic actions on the infield, as per usual. 

As for Orucevic, he is a bat-first prospect with all kinds of intent and violence in a whippy, projectable swing. He stands in the box with a purpose, gets off his backside and his peak exit velocity came in at 95.9 mph, with a max batted ball distance of 337 feet. The talented left-handed hitter also topped at 88 mph across the infield.

+ Here’s a pair of committed prospects who continue to look like high-end infielders in the class: Tony Konopiots (Downers Grove North; West Virginia commit) and Jaden Correa (De La Salle; Nebraska). Konopiots continues to shape his 6-foot-1, 190-pound, broad-shouldered, athletic frame and had one of the more polished right-handed swings of the event. He stays simple and he was consistently on time with quick, strong hands and a knack for easy, hard contact. Correa offers all kinds of rhythm, athleticism and whip in his right-handed swing with upside. The Nebraska recruit was inconsistent at times, but the ball jumps off the barrel to both gaps when he syncs up and is on time. Correa is also one of the more action-y defenders in attendance, playing with confidence and high-level feet. He ran a 7.01 in the 60 and topped at 87 mph across the infield.

+ J.R. Nelson (Stevenson) and Eduardo Letamendi (Von Stueben) are two uncommitted, right-handed-hitting infielders whose stocks are pointing up coming out of the event. Nelson – who has long been regarded as one of the more reliable, natural middle infielders in the class – has shaved his 60 time down to 7.18, and his arm topped at 88 mph across, up from 84 mph in 2021. He’s also shortened and cleaned up his swing, staying much more direct to contact with a line-drive approach to all fields. Letamendi has made some huge gains since our last look in the summer of 2021. At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, he has an athletic, loose-bodied build and he, too, cut his 60 down from 7.31 to a dynamic 6.67, and his arm has seen a 5 mph increase, up to 86 mph across the infield, and his power numbers have jumped as well. Offensively, Letamendi has a fluid, loose swing with length through the hitting zone inside an all-fields approach as he finishes in control and on balance. His peak exit velocity came in at 94.0 mph, with a max batted ball distance of 359 feet, and an average bat speed of 74.6 mph, which was a top-10 measurement at the event. 

+ Keep an eye on these three uncommitted, left-handed-hitting infielders this spring: switch-hitter Max Pavlik (Hinsdale Central), Joe Chiarelli (Downers Grove North) and William Applegate (Charleston). Each of the three look the part in the box and are worth monitoring closely moving forward.


+ OF Mikey Murphy (Minooka) used Saturday to record one of the top statistical performances of the winter – and that’s really no matter which event you’re comparing it to. Murphy started his day off by running a 6.31 time in the 60-yard dash, the fastest we’ve seen in 2022 (which includes the PBR Super 60), and he followed it up with a loud, strong round of BP. Murphy led the event in peak exit velocity (102.5 mph) and max batted ball distance (391 feet), and his best struck ball traveled 20 feet farther than the next closest. Murphy stays quiet and selective in the box and lets the ball travel deep into the zone. He showed a simple, easy swing and easy jump off the barrel while using the whole field. Murphy contains a dynamic tool-set to keep an eye on moving forward.

+ Four more outfielders – Luke Wallace (Lemont; 6.50), Luke Stulga (St. Laurence; 6.54), Clay Schrader (Naperville Central; 6.55) and Gianni Royer (Lake Forest; 6.56) – posted sub-6.60 times in the 60-yard dash, and impressed in other facets as well.

Wallace has a 6-foot-1, 180-pound, athletic build and flashes a loose, whippy right-handed swing with a line-drive approach.

Stulga was one of the top outfielders in attendance. Listede at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Stulga has a high-waisted, athletic build and as a right-handed hitter, the outfielder stays extremely quiet and repeatable at the plate all while creating some of the best bat speed (78.8 mph average, event-high) and power metrics of the event. Stulga’s on-the-barrel round resulted in an average exit velocity of 90.8 mph off the bat, and he recorded a max batted distance of 371 feet, the second farthest of the event.

Schrader made a strong statement throughout the event, starting with his outfield defense. He played with athletic, aggressive feet and attacked the baseball with concise routes and confident, clean actions paired with arm strength (89 mph). He ran after his round of outfield defense and clocked a 6.55 time that he appeared to be disappointed in, but impressed us nonetheless. Schrader followed all this up with a quality round of batting practice, showcasing a quick, loose swing that made a lot of hard contact right back up the middle of the field. Schrader recorded impressive hand speed (25.5 mph average) during BP, the second highest of the event, to go along with an average rotational acceleration of 26g, which was also the second best on Saturday. Schrader heads into the spring with his stock on the rise.

Royer was yet another dynamic outfielder in attendance who, not only ran a sub-6.60, but went on to impress in other areas. Defensively, Royer plays with rhythm and confidence, attacking the baseball with a purpose, quick release and he topped at 90 mph to home. Despite his lean 5-foot-10, 165-pound frame, Royer put up noteworthy batted-ball numbers while staying extremely quiet and easy throughout his swing. His best batted ball traveled 356 feet to go along with a max exit velocity of 96.3 mph and an average of 88.9.

+ Louisville recruit OF Trey Swiderski (Joliet Catholic) is another outfielder who had a strong statistical showing across the board on Saturday. Swiderski continues to add strength to his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, which didn't hinder his foot speed as he recorded a 6.75 laser-timed 60 time. Swiderski also topped at 93 mph from the outfield and took aggressive, intentful swings at the plate, registering a peak exit velocity of 100.4 mph, average of 92.7, and his farthest batted ball traveked 363 feet.

+ Here’s another physical right-handed-hitting outfielder on the rise this winter, OF Josh Polubinski (Oswego East). After showing well in early February, Polubinski backed it up with another loud offensive round, while improving all of his numbers in less than a month's time. He cut his 60 time to 7.13, down from a 7.44, and he topped 88 mph from the outfield also up from last year, and his peak exit velocity of 101.1 mph was additionally up a couple ticks. Polubinski is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect with a broad-shouldered, physically impressive stature. He does not get cheated at the plate and he repeats his swing well despite the violence he flashes throughout.

+ Right-handed-hitting outfielders Krew Bond (Mendota) and Lucas Smith (Nazareth; UIC commit) both give off hard-nosed, competitive, top-of-the-order vibes. Bond ran a 6.75 60, stayed compact with a feel to hit to go along with sneaky strength and jump off the barrel. He also plays with rhythm in the outfield and a strong arm that topped at 90 mph. Smith ran a 6.86 60, and is comfortable driving balls into the right-center field gap. He has above-average strength in his hands and wrists and he registered a peak exit velocity of 95.6 mph. Smith also showed athletic, aggressive actions in the outfield while topping at 87 mph. 

+ Here’s two uncommitted left/left outfielders who warrant close follows coming out of the event: Kaden Griffitts (Williamsville) and Tommy Townsend (Sycamore). Griffitts ran a 6.91 60, was 85 from the outfield, and he swung the bat with intent, looking to do damage. Townsend has cut his 60 time down from a 7.53 in 2021 to a 7.09 on Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Townsend has a wide-shouldered build that he used to swing a loose, strong left-handed bat with natural lift and easy extension through contact.


+ AJ Malzone (St. Rita) continues to show a highly advanced left-handed swing to go along with an improved defensive skill set. Malzone hit with authority every time we saw him in 2021 and it looks like it is set to continue in 2022. It's a simple, fluid swing that stays on-plane with natural loft and he flashed pull-side power throughout his round of BP. He registered a peak exit velocity of 95.2 mph and reached a max batted distance of 347 feet. Malzone’s catcher velocity is now topping at 80 mph which helped produce a low pop time of 1.94 at the showcase, which was down from a 2.05 low in 2021. If Malzone can prove he is a lockdown defensive catcher in 2022, his stock will continue to rise sharply. The bat, however, should play no matter where he slots defensively.

+ As one of the more athletic catchers in attendance, Henry Wolfe (New Trier) showed a swing that has made noticeable improvements since our last look. Wolfe is staying direct to the baseball, working on balance, and he lets his hands work throughout the swing with some more freedom from the right side. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect ran a 6.78 and he also showed off a strong arm behind the plate that topped at 82 mph, with pop times in the 1.95-2.06 range.

+ Andrew Mack (Minooka) and Cooper Cohn (McHenry) showed as two of the better right-handed-hitting catchers in the group. Mack topped at 78 mph from the crouch with a low pop time of 2.00, but it was his right-handed swing that turned some heads. Mack sits comfortable in the box with a quiet, easy swing with well-above-average bat strength. He was on the barrel throughout his round working to both gaps with ease. Cohn swings with intent and occasional violence, but he’s also able to stay on the barrel consistently and make a lot of hard contact, especially to his pull-side gap. Cohn registered a max distance off the bat of 352 feet, aided by a max exit velocity of 96.0 mph. Defensively, he uses his feet well getting out of the crouch and gaining ground while showing off a plus arm that has life and carry at 81 mph. He also registered pop times of 1.90-1.94. On top of that, Cohn got on the mound and ran his fastball up to 87.2 mph with a downer, high-spin curveball, 75-77 mph, spinning at an average of 2,558 rpm.


+ It’s worth separating these two players into their own two-way category: CIF/RHPs Dalton Miller (Quincy Notre Dame) and Christian Graves (Jacobs). Miller has a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and strength attached to all parts of his game. At the plate, he flashed strong hands, bat speed and power potential to all fields. Miller registered a peak exit velocity of 100.2 mph and a hard-hit rate of 72 percent. On the mound he works from a ¾ slot with arm speed out front and he ran his fastball up to 87.8 mph while spinning at a 2,341 rpm on average, pairing it with a tight slider featuring above-average lateral action and complementary spin rates (2,520 on average). Graves is listed at a similar 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, and he wields some of the top bat strength in the class. Graves swings with violence and he recorded the top average exit velocity of the event (96.5 mph), leading to a max batted ball distance of 362 feet. He also got on the mound and ran his fastball up to 88.4 mph.


+ RHP Michael Belbot (Stevenson) was a big winner from Saturday’s event, putting together one of the more eye-opening bullpens on the day. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander moves fluidly down the mound from a quick high ¾ slot, producing easy velocity. Since our last look in early February, the right-hander added 2 mph to his fastball, reaching up to 91 in his ‘pen on Saturday. His fastball rides through the zone and comes from a loose/easy arm with little perceived effort, sitting 89-90 mph (2,349 rpm max spin rate). The separator in Belbot’s arsenal is his power curveball, thrown aggressively, 74-77 mph, while averaging a spin rate of 2,539 rpm, and it pairs effectively off his fastball and it should be a high-level out-pitch this spring. His changeup also showed potential to be an out-pitch in the near future, he demonstrated above-average feel for it while also possessing fading action to the arm-side, 83-84 mph.

+ RHP Colin Tarr (West Aurora, 2023) created some intrigue among our scouting staff with his ultra-projectable frame and eye-popping TrackMan metrics. Standing at 6-foot-2, 165 pounds, the right-hander moves down the mound with highly athletic movement patterns in his lower half, transitioning into a clean and loose arm that plays from a high ¾ slot. In addition to his fluid movements, Tarr boasted the top spin rate among the event’s curveballs, averaging over 2,700 rpm and reaching a max of 2,771. He throws his curve with confidence while consistently landing it for strikes, playing with sharp 11/5 shape and depth in the 72-73 mph range. Tarr also displayed one of the best sliders in the entire event, thrown with intent off a short 10/4 plane at 74-75 mph, averaging 2,555 rpm (2,642 max). The right-hander’s fastball impressed on its own, working up to 87.8 mph while spinning at an average of 2,365 rpm (2,416 max), jumping out of the hand and playing through the zone with natural running action to the arm-side. 

+ RHP Tommy Haggerty (Homewood-Flossmoor) made a statement in his ‘pen on Saturday, adding some velocity since our last look. At strong-bodied 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, the right-hander moves exceptionally well down the mound with an efficient drop/drive lower half. He stays in line with the plate while creating a notable amount of hip/shoulder separation at footstrike. His fastball jumped through the zone at an 88.5 mph max, spinning at a max rate of 2,209 rpm. Haggerty paired his fastball with a short 10/4 slider, 74-75 mph, thrown with feel and depth to the bottom of the zone. His third offering was a changeup that he was able to throw for strikes in the bottom quadrant of the zone, showing slight fading action, 84-85 mph. 

+ RHP Colin Miller (Hampshire) stands 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, with upside that’s easy to dream on, given his size and the peripherals on the fastball. The right-hander cruised throughout his ‘pen at 87-90 mph (90.6 max) from a quick ¾ slot that produced natural arm-side action that he consistently landed inside the strike zone. His slider sits in the 76-77 mph range while playing off a sharp 10/4 plane, kept mostly down with complementing depth. Miller’s changeup pairs extremely well off his fastball, mimicking arm speed heavy sink to the arm-side, 80-82 mph.

+ RHP Finn O’Meara (Nazareth) boasted some of the best TrackMan metrics we’ve seen so far this year. His fastball sat comfortably in the 85-87 mph range while averaging a spin rate of 2,383 rpm (2,464 max), making it easy to see why the pitch exploded through the zone with arm-side life, enhanced by his ability to locate the pitch glove-side consistently. He featured the second highest spinning slider in the entire event, averaging 2,606 rpm, while playing off a sharp 10/4 plane, kept down in the zone at 74-75 mph. His changeup looked to be a solid third offering, fading heavily at times to the arm-side while occasionally landing for strikes, thrown at 81-83 mph.

+ RHP Logan Barnett (Pontiac) catches the eye before he even steps onto the mound, standing at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, boasting a workhorse frame. The strong-bodied right-hander put together the most impressive bullpen we have seen from him. Barnett poured in a bunch of strikes with his fastball, up to 87.8 mph, creating a tough downward angle for hitters through the zone due to his over-the-top slot. His curveball plays from a true 12/6 plane at 73-74 mph, possessing above-average depth at times and much improved feel for the bottom of the zone. With a hard, diving changeup at 82-83 mph, Barnett possesses a quality three-pitch mix that should only improve with time.

+ Xavier commit RHP Drew Zemaitis (Providence Catholic) showed an uptick in velocity at the Preseason All-State, sitting 90-91 mph with a hard 80-81 mph curveball. He’s a sturdy 6-foot-2, 195 pounds and he showed a starter’s profile with three above-average pitches, including a hard sinking changeup to go along with similar characteristics on his fastball. Zemaitis’ 90.6 mph high was among the day’s best, and it averaged a spin rate of 2,419 rpm which did top the event.

+ RHP Dimitrios Bourmas (Harvard) was among the winners of the event, having recorded the top fastball velocity at Preseason All-State, reaching 91.5 mph. Its TrackMan characteristics are equally impressive, as the pitch features large induced vertical and horizontal movement, measured at 16.6 inches and 16.0, respectively. The fastball spins at 2,359 rpm on average from a lower release height (5.6 feet), which helps create his rise/run pitch profile.

+ At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, RHP Gabe Smith (Father McGivney) generated one of the more unique profiles of the day. On top of his hulking, durable frame, his atypical fastball worked from a ¾ slot and created heavy arm-side action, sitting at an easy 88-89 mph. His curveball is a direct complement, working on-plane with his arm slot as a sweeping breaking ball that created more horizontal action than any other breaking ball of the day, averaging over 19 inches of movement.

+ RHP Adam Behrens (Warren Township) continues to show an uptick in stuff after coming off a strong 2021 campaign, including a trip to the PBR Future Games. Behrens shows feel for an above-average three-pitch mix, including a fastball that sat 88-90 mph, touched 91, a curveball that averaged 2,300-plus rpm, and a changeup that averaged over 15 inches of horizontal movement. He's a strong-bodied, competitive strike-thrower whose velocity continues to rise.

+ Another arm on the rise coming out of the event: RHP Taylor Waldron (Ottawa-Marquette). Waldron has added almost 30 pounds of quality muscle to his athletic frame since last year, now standing at 6-foot-1, 188 pounds. Waldron, long known for his advanced feel and quality three-pitch mix, has seen his velocity take a huge jump as well. Saturday, his fastball sat 89-90 mph with an advanced curveball featuring late downer action, 70-72, and a 79-81 changeup. Given the uptick in strength, velocity and stuff, Waldron should be a high-follow arm this spring and beyond. 

+ Bennet Musser (Mundelein) is another right-handed pitcher who saw his velocity jump in between our looks. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound uncommitted junior has a long, loose arm from a ¾ slot and he was one of 10 pitchers at this event to touch 90 mph. Musser's slider plays with sweeping action and matches his arm slot at 73-75 mph (2,306 rpm on average), and his changeup, a go-to offering for him in the past, sat 77-78 mph at this event.

+ Two other hard-throwing righties to continue to monitor: Grant Tenuta (Sandburg) and Donald Tober (Timothy Christian). Tenuta was around the zone with his entire arsenal, including a fastball that sat 88-90 mph. His curveball played with short, tight action at 71-73 mph and his changeup sat 78-80 with above-average feel and late sinking action. Tober has a 6-foot-1, 205-pound durable frame and notable TrackMan numbers to go along with his true four-seam 90 mph fastball. His fastball spun at an average of 2,360 rpm with a well-above-average induced vertical break (18.4 inches on average, event-high). He paired his interesting fastball with feel for both secondary offerings; a tight slider with 10/4 shape in the mid-70s (2,098 rpm on average), and a fading changeup, 78-79 mph.

+ Right-handers Hank Liss (Evanston) and Ean DiPasquale (Belleville East) proved to be a pair of need-to-know arms from the event. Liss’ high-end feel for spin – 2,333 rpm average on the fastball, 2,704 on the curve, and 2,811 on the slider – helped separate himself from the group. DiPasquale reached an 83 mph high in June of last year, and climbed to an 89.0 high on Saturday, showing off what must have been a productive offseason.

+ For a complete look at this event's stat tabs and roster, click here to navigate back to the showcase's landing page.