Prep Baseball Report

Preseason ProCase: Preview

By Diego Solares & Andy Sroka
Illinois Staff

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the PBR Illinois staff will head to Rhino Sports Academy in Shorewood, Ill., to kick start our winter showcase season with the Preseason ProCase. This invite-only event features some of the top-end talent in the state’s senior class as they’ll participate in a pro-style workout while gathering measurables via our state-of-the-art tech partners.

 For more information about this event, click HERE. To see which players are set to participate in this event, click HERE


Last year was the first time we ran this event, and it produced some strong follows throughout the spring and beyond. Five pitchers recorded fastballs above 90 mph in their ‘pens, headlined by RHP Matthew Tarr (West Aurora, 2022; John A. Logan commit), who peaked at 93 mph. Over the past year, Tarr has established himself as a premier arm to follow in this year’s Midwest JUCO cycle and he’s headed for a key role in the top-ranked Volunteers’ pitching staff. Aside from his fastball’s velocity, Tarr also ripped off a true swing-and-miss breaking ball at 75-78 mph, averaging nearly 2,800 rpm in the process, and he’s garnering more MLB Draft attention already as he continues to progress and impress as a freshman at his new JUCO home, with the 2023 season just about underway.

Matthew Tarr (1/29/22)

Another big winner on the mound was RHP Brayden Marks (Elkhorn Area, WI, 2022; Bradley). The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Badger State native showed polish for his age wielding a five-pitch mix at this event, including a low-90s fastball, feel for a changeup, and two different breaking balls that each spun around an average of 2,600-plus rpm. Marks earned an invitation to the Super 60 as a result of this impressive look and he’ll likely see some time on the mound early on for Bradley this spring.

Positionally, 1B Victor Izquierdo (Lockport Township, 2022; Navy) may have been the day’s standout prospect and he, like Marks, also earned an invite to the Super 60 from this look. Boasting an ultra physical 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, Izquierdo peppered balls off his wooden barrel with ease, averaging 92.6 mph per batted ball with a 101.8 max. He built off that max mark a week later at the Super 60 (105.8 mph) and was a PBR Illinois First Team All-State selection last spring. INF Christian Holmes (Brother Rice, 2022; Kansas State) also came away from last year’s showcase as a winner, displaying a highly projectable right-handed swing on a 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame with strong actions on the infield defensively.

Victor Izquierdo (2/6/22)



Similarly to last year’s group, this event’s roster is shaping up to be equally as talented, with 18 players headed our way on Wednesday.

We’ll see a few names within the top-15 in the Illinois’ 2023 rankings on Wednesday, including OF Brenden Stressler (New Trier, 2023; Saint Louis), INF Cal Sefcik (Marist, 2023; Indiana), and INF Jake Zitella (St. Charles East, 2023; Illinois):

+ Stressler swings one of the state’s cleanest left-handed bats, regardless of class, and has consistently shown our staff professionalism at the plate. A PBR Future Games alum, he’s really ticked up over the last year or so, enhancing his tools and bat strength to pair with a 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame. Stressler’s certain to garner plenty of attention throughout the spring and beyond, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him playing professionally at some point in his career.

+ Sefcik’s physicality and bat speed at the plate are loud, and he’s shown our scouts plenty of thump off his barrel over the past few years. His round of BP at the Future Games in 2021 was amongst the event’s loudest with middle-of-the-order type power nestled inside his right-handed swing. We’re expecting Sefcik to blast baseballs throughout his round of BP at this event – something that’s become a regularity for the Indiana commit.

Cal Sefcik (9/24/22)

+ Few in the Midwest swing with as much aggression, intent, and generate the amount of sheer strength that Zitella does. He attended our ProCase in the summer and took an eye-opening round of BP with wood, barreling balls up at a 95.5 mph average while peaking at 103.9 mph. He did so while consistently elevating the baseball, averaging 276 ft. per batted ball with a max distance of 386 ft., per TrackMan. It’s one of the loudest right-handed swings you’ll find in this region, regardless of class. 

There’s a few other high profile prospects in this class set to attend this event on Wednesday: 

+ INF Ryan Niedzwiedz (West Aurora, 2023; Southern Illinois-Edwardsville) is another name to really tick up over the last calendar year, ascending into a nationally-ranked name in our latest class update. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior put together a standout offensive performance at last winter’s Preseason All-State, swatting balls off a loud left-handed barrel both on average (94.4 mph) and at peak (101.8 mph). Niedzwiedz hit in the spring, then in the summer, and again in the fall, translating a complete offensive skill-set from a showcase setting to the diamond. He’s a 7.02 runner with arm strength (90 mph) across the diamond that can stick on the left side down the road.

+ C/RHP TJ Schuyler (Antioch, 2023; Indiana) has intrigue on both sides of the ball and also attended our ProCase in the summer. He’s a strong defender behind the plate with advanced catch-and-throw skills to go along with athleticism - he’s a 6.88 runner with a 1.66 10-yard split and 20.3 mph max run speed. Schuyler repeated hard, elevated contact off his barrel in that look, including a 99.1 mph max batted ball that traveled an estimated 378 feet. We’ve seen him up to 90.1 mph on the mound, pitching in the upper-80s, with run and sink at times. He pairs a low spin, high-70s changeup off that fastball to left-handed hitters and a tightly spun slider in the mid- to upper-70s as well.

+ It’s been some time since we’ve seen OF Adison Worthman (Bloomington, 2023; Missouri) up close, but the reigning Big 12 conference ‘Player of the Year’ and a Third Team All-State selection last spring, with off-the-charts tools within a 6-foot-2, 235-pound frame. He swings an extremely physical right-handed bat that’s sure to generate advanced-type exit velocities on Wednesday. We’re eager to see Worthman yet again and the Mizzou signee has a chance to leave this event as one of its biggest winners.

+ OF AJ Garcia (DePaul College Prep, 2023; Michigan) may be the state’s most impressive athlete. Garcia recorded a 6.49 time in the 60-yard dash as an underclassman in 2021, just to underscore his next-level athleticism, and he has always had advanced tools physically for his age. He appeared to have refined those in our brief fall look at the Midwest Fall Championships, where Garcia strung together a handful of polished at-bats while continuing to show his usual speed. It’ll be our first look at Garcia in a showcase setting in almost two years and we’re eager to see the strides he’s made in that span.


It’s obviously early in the calendar year, so we’ll see how these pitchers look indoors as they really start to warm up for the spring, but there are some arrow-up arms within this group who started generating momentum last fall or as they’ve started to exit this offseason.

RHP Zachary Kwasny (Lincoln-Way East, 2023; Ball State) was one of the most effective pitchers as a junior in the IHSA last spring, and he recorded 95 Ks across 57 innings for his high school with a 1.47 ERA, and this was as a mostly mid- to upper-80s arm with a firm, riding fastball and a tight slider. Another diligent offseason could have the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Kwasny as a performance Wednesday as a break-out kind of winner.

Another interesting arm to note ahead of time is RHP Jarron Thompson (Waubonsie Valley, 2023; Seminole State JC), who’s a former member of Team Illinois’ Future Games squad in 2021. He sat in the upper-80s across a couple summer looks, touching 90 mph from a low release height that features some hard arm-side run. It’s an attractive pitch profile to watch for scouts this spring, coupled with his on-mound athleticism.

RHP Colin Miller (Hampshire, 2023; Illinois State) is a lean 6-foot-3, 190-pound righty with an uber smooth, clean delivery and he was up to 90.6 mph around this time last year at our Preseason All-State showcase. Miller’s fastball runs naturally while also spinning at an above-average rate, and the spin translates to his breaking ball well. His size and effortless delivery make him an intriguing prospect to watch develop as he physically matures over the next year and beyond.

And really, we’re just scraping the surface of the kind of break-out talent making its way to Shorewood this Wednesday, so we’re eager to see who busts through this year’s second annual Preseason ProCase.


+ Check-in Times:

  • All Position Players: 5:45 p.m.

  • Pitchers-only: 7 p.m.

  • Catchers will stay for both sessions 

*Times subject to change


Click here to learn more about our tech partners that have enhanced our players showcase experience. Tech partners like TrackMan, Blast Motion, Vizual Edge, and Swift have helped both our in-event evaluation process, as well the compilation of our post-event scouting reports – and they're also a tool for our players to learn more about their measured and collected data, that can be applied to improve upon their game following their performance at the showcase in which their data was captured.