Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 5 Huntley

By: Josh Schoenberg & Diego Solares
PBR Illinois Staff

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 13, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down through the official PBR Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

Our 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Huntley
Preseason Rank: No. 5
2022 Record: 31-5
Conference: Fox Valley
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Andy Jakubowski


Ryan Bakes
2023 South Carolina
Brayden Bakes
OF Huntley 2023 Indiana
Andrew Ressler
Huntley 2023 SIU-Edwardsville
Ryan Quinlan INF Huntley 2023 Eastern Illinois
Parker Schuring RHP Huntley 2023 Northern Illinois
Joey Garlin
Huntley 2023 -
CJ Filipek
Huntley 2023 Lawrence
Derek Huber
Huntley 2023 Rock Valley JC
Vinny Costantino
Huntley 2023 Loras College
Dillon Putty 1B Huntley 2023 McHenry County JC
Michael Dabe 1B Huntley 2023 Dubuque
Malachi Paplanus
Huntley 2024 Wright State
AJ Putty
Huntley 2025 -
TJ Jakubowski
Huntley 2025 -
Ryan Dabe
OF Huntley
2025 -


+ Brandon Hanley (Wisconsin-Whitewater)
+ Adam Guazzo (Valparaiso)
+ Michael Vitellaro (Heartland CC)
+ Chase Jetel (Lincoln Land CC)
+ Ryan Kelly (Kaskaskia JC)
+ Lucas Goldstein (Rock Valley JC)
+ Nick Martino (McHenry County JC)
+ Payton Barr (Milwaukee School of Engineering)
+ Michael Wanhala (Morton JC)
+ Kyle Alther (Oakton CC)
+ Ryan Stary (Rockford College)
+ Ryan Adamik (Kishwaukee JC)
+ Joe Williams (Knox College)
+ Harout Meyer (McHenry County JC)
+ Josh Good


+ MIF T. J. Jakubowski (2025) will be joining the Red Raiders this spring for what will be his first taste of varsity action. He put together an impressive performance at last month’s McHenry Preseason ID, earning kind words from our scouts. Here’s what we had to say about him following the event:

“[Jakubowski] is another 2025 who continues to get better every time we get our eyes on him. The 5-foot-10, 140-pound, high-waisted left-handed hitting shortstop looks nowhere near his ceiling as he showed off a loose, barrel-control swing with whip and athleticism throughout. It's a swing built for contact and the ability to spray line-drive contact to all fields, that should only continue to ascend as he gains quality strength that should come in time. Defensively, he features all the actions while staying fundamentally sound with an ultra-quick glove-to-hand release and easy, confident demeanor. He has a clear understanding of the position and angles of attack on ground balls. His arm plays above-average, reaching up to 81 mph across the diamond from a ¾ slot and easily firing off accurate throws on the move. A name to follow closely in the 2025 class.”

T.J. Jakubowski


(5): The Raiders are coming off of the fifth consecutive season in which they held a share of the Fox Valley Conference championship, an area of the state that seems to regularly produce state title contenders by season's end. Huntley’s bestowed the conference’s crown eight times since the 2010 season, and they’ve also won eight regional titles in that span, including a current streak of six straight.


+ C Ryan Bakes (2023; South Carolina commit) will be playing with a vengeance this spring after having his junior campaign cut short due to injury, and his return to the field makes this Huntley lineup even more dangerous. In just 32 at-bats last year, Bakes slashed .469/.561/1.094 with five home runs. The 2020 PBR Future Games participant is an ultra physical and athletic backstop that has previously garnered national attention. Take a look at what our staff had to say about him last March:

“[Bakes] is a premier defender behind the plate and proved so yet again on Saturday; using quiet/receptive hands to present pitches around the zone, quick/clean transfer with a strong arm that plays with backspin (1.95 pop-time recorded during warmups), while also boasting quick/athletic footwork on throws. His ability to move so well behind the plate makes him a highly reliable blocker of the baseball as well; moving side-to-side with ease and judging angles on balls in the dirt, deadening stray pitches out in front. Bakes possesses one of the best right-handed bats in the entire class on top of his stellar defense; starting with a wide base and using minimal pre-pitch movements. His hands work quickly through the zone with a slight uphill path, maintaining balance throughout the entirety of his swing.”


The Red Raiders have been a force in the state’s northwest region over the last handful of years. They’ve won more than 30 games in four of the last five seasons, finishing as the 4A state runner-ups in 2018 and playing in six straight sectionals. Though several key contributors from last year’s squad departed, the Red Raiders do bring back a talented bunch and once again look the part of a premier team at the 4A classification. 

On the mound, The Red Raiders return more than 110 innings from last season led by a slew of committed upperclassmen; RHP Andrew Ressler (2023; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville), RHP Malachi Paplanus (2024; Wright State), RHP Parker Schuring (2023; Northern Illinois), RHP Derek Huber (2023; Rock Valley College), and RHP Vincent Costantino (2023; Loras College).

The rotation will be headlined by a pair of PBR Future Games alumni in Ressler and Paplanus. Both received All-Conference honors last spring after combining for 113 strikeouts to just 27 walks in about 80 innings. The two will be heavily relied upon if the Red Raiders want to make a deep playoff run. Rounding out the rotation will be Schuring, who punched out 27 opposing batters in just 17 innings of work last season out of the ‘pen. With a spot in the rotation this spring, he is primed to play a key role for the Red Raiders' pitching staff.

While the ‘X-Factor’ may be the aforementioned Ryan Bakes, the Red Raiders return four of their top five run producers from a season ago. Leading the bunch is OF Brayden Bakes (2023; Indiana commit). The left-handed hitter posted an impressive .444/.565/.939 slash line last spring, leading the club in home runs (10) and RBI (38) en route to earning both FVC Player of the Year and PBR 2nd Team All-State honors. Fellow seniors MIF Ryan Quinlan (Eastern Illinois commit) and uncommitted OF Joey Garlin were also key members of the lineup last season, each posting an OPS north of .950 and combining for 56 RBI. 

The last of those returning run producers from a year ago, 3B/RHP AJ Putty (2025) will be relied upon heavily on both sides of the baseball. As a freshman last spring, Putty posted an OPS of 1.054 to go along with 28 RBIs while hitting in the heart of a loaded lineup. He’ll be a mainstay in the same spot this season, but is also expected to be a key contributor on the mound. He showed his two-way talents last month at our McHenry Preseason ID, earning praise from our scouts after an impressive showing: 

“[Putty] continues to trend in the right direction and has a chance to be an impact right-handed bat at the next level. Putty’s 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame looks as strong and athletic as-ever and he led the event with the best average exit velocity at 93.1 mph and the top average bat speed at 79.9 mph. Putty stayed on balance, in rhythm and on the barrel throughout his round showing a feel to hit to go along with some of the better power potential in the class. On the infield, Putty moves well for his size with smooth actions and soft/steady hands, playing with a clean transfer and clean high ¾ slot (T83 mph INF). On the mound, Putty showed obvious arm-strength, reaching up to 87.5 mph with his fastball and never dipping below 86 mph. He flashed some sharp 10/4 action with his slider at times, 68-70 mph. His changeup sat 72-75 mph and was thrown with fastball intent, fading some to his arm-side.”

AJ Putty 

One of the strong suits for the Red Raiders will be the depth on their roster. After producing in limited plate appearances during his junior campaign, 1B CJ Filipek (2023; Lawrence commit) will have the opportunity to battle for a starting spot this spring. Additional depth that Huntley will be adding this spring include CIF Michael Dabe (2023, Dubuque commit), OF Haiden Janke (2024), CIF Dillion Putty (McHenry County College commit), and OF/C Aidan Zimmerman (2023; Judson commit).


From top to bottom, Huntley has talent filtered throughout the roster, while also returning 11 players from a 31-win team this spring. Pitching will unquestionably be a strength, and a few key middle of the order bats that thumped it for them last spring will look to carry out this offensive attack once again. They’ll look to compete for another Fox Valley title with their sights set on the program’s return to Joliet, their first since 2018.

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2022 season.

Find more information on the 2023 Red Raiders below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter