Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 1 Huntley

By: Diego Solares
Associate Scout, Staff Writer

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 14, 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 2022 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 2022 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: Huntley
Preseason Rank: No. 1
2021 Record: 32-3
Conference: Fox Valley
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Andy Jakubowski


Adam Guazzo RHP
2022 Valparaiso
Brandon Hanley C
2022 Wisconsin-Whitewater
Ryan Kelly C/1B
2022 Kaskaskia
Michael Vitellaro LHP
2022 Heartland CC
Chase Jetel 1B/LHP
2022 Lincoln Land CC
Lucas Goldstein MIF
2022 Rock Valley JC
Harout Meyer RHP/UTL
2022 McHenry County JC
Peyton Barr LHP
2022 Milwaukee School of Engineering
Ryan Bakes C/OF
2023 South Carolina
Brayden Bakes OF
2023 Wichita State
Andrew Ressler RHP 2023 Butler
Ryan Quinlan MIF
2023 -
Joey Garlin OF
2023 -
Malachi Paplanus RHP
2024 -


+ MIF Tyler Castro (2021; McHenry County JC)
+ RHP Michael Moise (2021; Triton JC)
+ RHP Eric Lin (2021; South Alabama)
+ RHP Jake Jakubowski (2021; Heartland CC)
+ OF Alex Janke (2021; McHenry County CC)
+ Trent Ottavino (2021; McHenry County CC)
+ RHP Aiden Pavoris (2021; Oakton CC)
+ RHP John Persino III (2021; Kishwaukee CC)
+ RHP Dylan Drobny (2021; McHenry County CC)



C Ryan Bakes (2023; South Carolina): Bakes has turned himself into one of the nation’s top players over the last two summers, currently at No. 39 overall in our National Class of 2023 Rankings. He’s built at a muscular 5-foot-10, 187-pounds with plenty of strength attached throughout his entire body and athleticism to pair. Last season, as a sophomore in his first season in varsity, Bakes batted .378 with a .512 on-base percentage, homered five times, stole 12 bags, and earned All-Conference honors. There’s little doubt that he’ll improve upon those numbers this year and he certainly has a shot at earning an all-state selection once the season concludes. Bakes is arguably the best player in the entire Fox Valley Conference and should see time both in the outfield and behind the plate for the Red Raiders. He’ll be the lifeblood of this team offensively as a dynamic, all-around offensive force. 


Malachi Paplanus (7/20/2021)

RHP Malachi Paplanus (2024): Paplanus really popped to our staff at a preseason event last winner and he’s steadily ascended into one of the state’s top sophomore arms and a nationally ranked prospect over the last calendar year. We saw him recently at the Preseason All-State: Underclass event on February 26th, where the 6-foot, 170-pound right-hander ran his fastball up to 89.3 mph and spun a 2,400+ RPM curveball to compliment it. Huntley is a program that typically doesn’t bring up freshman to the varsity level, but Paplanus excelled last year as a deterrence from the norm. He punched out 31 batters and pitched to a 1.50 ERA in 23 ⅓ innings pitched – an impressive statline for anyone, let alone a player in his first year of varsity competition. Paplanus will likely shoulder a heavier workload this spring and if he continues to pitch like he did last year, Huntley will have yet another high-end arm nestled inside their rotation. 


5: The number of consecutive regional championships Huntley has won under head coach Andy Jakubowski. The Red Raiders are used to playing deep into the playoffs, having now advanced to a sectional game in five straight seasons. They’ve captured three sectional titles under Jakubowski, made it to state twice, and have also won seven Fox Valley Conference titles in his tenure, including four straight. 


Since Andy Jakubowski took over the Red Raiders’ program, Huntley has turned itself into one of the area’s most competitive programs on a year-to-year basis. They’re consistently competing for the Fox Valley Conference title, an honor they captured last year, and fell one run short of the 4A state championship back in 2018. With a strong core of player’s returning from last year’s 32-win team, Huntley is poised yet again to be one of the state’s best teams. 

It’s important to note that the Red Raiders did graduate several key players from a talented 2021 group. INF Tyler Castro’s (2021; McHenry County JC) departure means a new face will man shortstop for Huntley on a game-to-game basis, while RHP Michael Moise (2021; Triton JC), RHP Jake Jakubowski (2021; Heartland CC) and RHP Eric Lin (2021; South Alabama) all leave a void on the mound that’ll need to be filled. Still, the Red Raiders had a multitude of sophomores and juniors that played on varsity last season. All of them return this spring, more battle tested and with necessary experience that they did not enter last season with. 

The return of both C/3B Brandon Hanley (2022; Wisconsin-Whitewater) and C/1B Ryan Kelly (2022; Kaskaskia College) will be key to the success of this offense. Both of them were All-Conference selections last season as juniors and each played impact roles as middle-of-the-order types throughout the season. Hanley led the Red Raiders in batting average (.367) and on-base percentage (.446) while homering three times and driving in 33 runs. He brings plenty of defensive value behind the plate as well, serving as an experienced backstop that knows how to handle this staff. Kelly left the yard five times last spring, posting a .296 batting average, .381 on-base percentage, and he brought 29 runs in, too. Expect him to see time at multiple spots on the diamond, including at first base and even on the mound.

Ryan Kelly (8/10/2021)

Several other seniors will see time for the Red Raiders in their final season. MIF Lucas Goldstein (2022; Rock Valley) likely slots into one of their up-the-middle infield spots on Opening Day. He posted a .286 batting average and .386 on-base percentage in 70 at-bats last spring. RHP/UTL Harout Meyer (2022; McHenry County JC) is another name-to-note, as he too saw time on the infield and on the mound last season as a junior, a role he’ll repeat in this spring. 1B/LHP Chase Jetel (2022; Lincoln Land JC) succeeded in the opportunities he received in 2021, batting .286 with a .352 OBP in 49 at-bats. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Jetel adds another left-handed bat to this lineup and some speed, as he swiped nine bags last year. 

We mentioned Ryan Bakes as an offensive anchor early on in the ‘X-Factor’ portion, but his twin brother OF Brayden Bakes (2023; Wichita State) has all the tools necessary to be an absolute offensive force in the middle of this lineup, just like his brother. Bakes is a dynamic athlete, running a 6.45 at the PBR Future Games this summer, and he swings a fairly loud left-handed bat to pair - bringing a dangerous power/speed blend into this lineup. He’ll look to build off a successful sophomore campaign where he batted .299 in 97 at-bats with 26 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. Bakes elevating himself into a true weapon at the top of this lineup would make this offense more potent than it already is. 

Brayden Bakes (7/28/2021)

There are a handful of other names worth nothing, each of which could see an expanded role this spring. OF Joey Garlin (2023) is a high level runner that showed his speed this winter at our McHenry Preseason ID, running a 4.08 home-to-first time. In 60 at-bats as a sophomore on varsity, Garlin batted .333 and swiped five bags as well. He’ll be vying for more playing time come the spring and could add even more athleticism to a lineup full of it already. Another standout name from that McHenry Preseason ID was MIF Ryan Quinlan (2023). Quinlan is another high-level athlete with a smooth left-handed stroke and athletic actions on the infield that was on varsity last year as a sophomore. He’ll be fighting for playing time on the dirt as well and adds talented all-around depth that’s capable of contributing in multiple areas of the game to coach Jakubowski’s squad.

Ryan Quinlan (2/12/2022)

Moving over to the mound, Huntley is positioned nicely with an experienced group making their way back. They return more than 100 varsity innings from four players, all of which had really successful seasons last year. We mentioned Paplanus as the ‘Underclassman To Watch’ earlier, but joining him in this rotation are RHP Adam Guazzo (2022; Valparaiso) and RHP Andrew Ressler (2023; Butler). Guazzo, who’s headed to Valpo this fall and is also a quality basketball player for Huntley, posted a 2.86 ERA in 36 ⅔ innings last season. He’s a strike-thrower with feel for three pitches, including a fastball we’ve seen get up to 89 mph. Ressler represented Team Illinois at the Future Games this past summer, committing to Butler shortly afterwards. He owns an arsenal conducive of getting swings-and-misses, including a high-80s fastball and an advanced ability to spin a sharp slider. Ressler was very impressive last season as a sophomore, striking out 46 batters and posting a 2.74 ERA across 30 innings. Don’t forget about relief ace LHP Michael Vitellaro (2022; Heartland CC), who was arguably the Red Raiders’ most dependable arm last year. Vitellaro punched out 26 batters in 21 ⅔ innings and he allowed just three earned runs all season (0.97 ERA). This quartet of talented arms should pace the Red Raiders all season with a handful of the aforementioned two-way players, and newcomer LHP Peyton Barr (2022; Milwaukee School of Engineering) chipping in as well.

Andrew Ressler (2/12/2022)


Yet again, Huntley brings one of the state’s most complete teams to the table. They have little holes, boasting an experienced lineup of talented players and bringing back more than 100 innings on the mound. All of that with Jakubowski, who’s an IHSA Hall of Famer, at the helm and it’s hard to envision this team not fighting for a spot at the 4A state playoffs in June. 

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

Find more information on the 2022 Red Raiders below: 

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter