Preseason Team Countdown: No. 15 Providence



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Providence
Preseason Rank: 15
2014 Record: 28-14
Conference: Chicago Catholic League-Blue (5th Place Finish in 2014)
IHSA Class: 4A 
Head Coach: Mark Smith
Playoff Run:
Class 4A State Champions
2014 Final Rank:
2
Returning Starters:
5
Returning Pitchers:
3

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Brenton Villasenor, RHP, 2015
(University of Chicago)
Mike Madej, 2B/SS, 2016

Zack Pych, 3B/1B, 2016

Jimmy Jeffries, C, 2016
Jackson Stulas, SS, 2016
Matt Diehl, OF, 2015
Jake Carlsen, RHP, 2015
Alex Brittan, RHP, 2015
Tom Kelley, OF, 2016
Justin Hunniford, RHP/3B, 2015
Matt Waznis, 2B, 2016
Michael Jerik, C, 2015 (Carrol University)

X-FACTOR
Junior 2B/SS Mike Madej begins his third season on varsity after hitting .310 as an everyday player as a sophomore. The switch-hitting middle infielder is ranked No. 78 in Illinois’ 2016 class, and possesses plus bat speed (95 mph exit velocity) from both sides of the plate.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Look for junior OF Tom Kelley to make an impact in right field during his varsity debut. Kelley possesses a plus arm from the OF (90 mph) and could be a Division-I prospect if the bat, which has impressed in showcase settings, shows up in game play.

KEY PLAYERS LOST
Jake Godfrey, RHP
(LSU)
Dylan Rosa, 3B/RHP
(Kent State)

STAT RAT
Senior RHP Brent Villasenor went 7-1 as a junior and is a three year varsity starter. The University of Chicago commit returns and steps into the role of staff ace. He impressed this winter with solid command of a three pitch repertoire, highlighted by a running 83-85 mph fastball, and an upper 70’s changeup that is a plus pitch at the high school level.

OUTLOOK
Coach Mark Smith noted that the returning infield depth will be a strength in 2015. There may be no headliners/superstars like Rosa or Godfrey, but they are deep with talented underclassmen. The Celtics may lack power arms, but what they lack in fastball velocity they’ll make up in pitchability. Villasenor can be a true ace, capable of beating anyone in the rugged Catholic League, and senior RHP Justin Hunniford is no stranger to winning big games after quarterbacking the Celtics to a Class 7A state title on the gridiron this fall. Senior RHP Jake Carlsen could step into the rotation, and senior RHP Alex Brittan has a powerful arm that was up to 88 mph this summer and could be a huge wild card for the Celtics.  

BOTTOM LINE
If last season was any indication, you can throw out the regular season records when it comes playoff time. The Celtics have young position players, but they are experienced in big games. They might struggle early in the rugged Catholic League-Blue and on paper look to be behind the likes of St. Rita and St. Laurence, but CCL games aren’t won on paper and Smith’s squad embraced the underdog role well late last season. Look for Providence to play spoiler in the CCL and focus on playing their best baseball come playoff time. 

preseason Countdown

+ Top 50 Preseason Countdown Rankings

+ 2015 Schedules Released

+ Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2015 Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

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