Preseason Team Countdown: No. 18 Brother Rice



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:
Brother Rice
Preseason Rank: 18
2014 Record:
26-11
Conference: Chicago Catholic League-Blue (11-5, 4th Place)
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: John McCarthy
Playoff Run: Regional Championship (Lost 5-4 to eventual State Champion Providence)
2014 Final Rank: 18
Returning Starters: 3
Returning Pitchers: 2

TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Michael Schalasky, RHP/C, 2015 (Indianapolis)
Michael Massey, SS, 2016 (Illinois)
Andrew Dyke, OF, 2016
Ryan Kutt, RHP/1B, 2017 (Illinois)
Jack Nelligan, RHP, 2016
Ryan King, 2B/SS, 2017
Jake Ridgway, OF/C, 2017
Jack Guzek, RHP, 2017

X-FACTOR
University of Illinois commits SS Michael Massey and RHP/1B Ryan Kutt are two of the top players in their respective classes. Kutt is currently the No. 1 ranked player in the 2017 class, and has one of the best breaking balls in the Midwest. Massey is ranked No. 10 in the 2016 class and is one of the smoothest defenders in the state.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
MIF Ryan King has speed (6.93 runner) and arm strength (83 mph) in the middle of the diamond, and should form one of the state’s better double play combinations with Massey. Sophomore RHP/3B Jack Guzek is a lanky, projectable 6-foot-3 and has shown easy low-to-mid 80s velocity this offseason. Guzek could end up being one of the more highly recruited right-handers in the 2017 class.

KEY PLAYERS LOST
Brother Rice will have to replace the left side of the infield with the loss of 3B Kevin Biondic (Maryland) and SS Kevin Sullivan (Middle Tennessee State). Massey started at 2B as a sophomore and should transition well since he is a natural shortstop. The young arms will have to replace the innings of Mike Enriquez (Lewis), Brian Musielak (Concordia), and Ian McGinnis (Illinois Wesleyan), who accounted for 166 of the 250 innings pitched last season.

STAT RAT
The sure-handed Massey made only three errors at second base as a sophomore in 37 games, while hitting .333. OF Andrew Dyke led the Crusaders offensively, hitting .383 with 7 2B, 2B, 2 HR, 34 RBI and 21 BB.

OUTLOOK
Rice has two experienced arms in Schalasky and Kutt, but will still be extremely young on the mound. According to coach John McCarthy, “Our strengths will be our ability to defend and pitch. We will have plus defenders throughout the field. We have some depth with our arms, but our experience is not there. Our conference is ultra competitive, so we will need our young arms to get weathered quick.” The Crusaders will need more bats to step up in the lineup, but should be anchored by Dyke (a 2014 PBR Future Games participant) and Massey.

BOTTOM LINE
Brother Rice may be a year away from being one of the top teams in the state, or the process could speed up this spring with several talented, young players in the mix. Competing in the ultra-competitive Chicago Catholic Blue should have the Crusaders primed come playoff season.

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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