Preseason Team Countdown: No. 58 Grayslake Central



By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 75 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Team: Grayslake Central
Preseason Rank: 58
2013 Record:
28-14
Conference: Fox Valley - Fox Division
IHSA Class:  3A
Head Coach: Troy Whalen
Playoff Run: Third-place in Class 3A
2013 Final Rank:  23

Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 2

TOP PLAYERS
Matt Loeffl, OF, 2014
Freddie Landers, RHP/C, 2014
Kyle Clark, 1B, 2014
Pat Burba, OF, 2014
Justin Dooley, OF/LHP, 2014
Russ Lundius, RHP, 2014
Justin Guryn, LHP, 2015
Jay Hoffman, INF, 2015
David Llorens, P, 2015
Sam Nozicka, C, 2016

X-FACTOR
Freddie Landers
. The 6-foot-2 switch-hitting catcher will take his arm strength to the mound this spring. Offensively, he batted .330 with 32 hits and 22 RBI as a junior last year.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Sam Nozicka
, C, 2016. The strong-armed backstop is one of the top 2016 catching prospects in the state.

KEY PLAYER LOST
Jack Spicer, RHP (Southern Illinois)
Kevin Peloza, LHP

STAT RAT
OF Matt Loeffl tallied 38 hits, 30 runs and 28 RBI as a junior last year.

OUTLOOK
Very quietly, the Rams have been one of the state’s most consistent programs. Over the last five years, coach Troy Whalen has averaged 27.6 wins, compiling a 138-60 record, while earning two third-place trophies in Class 3A. Few saw a state trophy in the Rams’ forecast last year, but they got hot at the right time. Whalen returns five starters from last year’s club, so offensively Central should be fine. The question is frontline pitching. The Rams graduated their top two arms (Spicer and Peloza), who combined to win 17 games last year. Look for Landers, Russ Lundius (3-1), junior David Llorens (1.98 ERA, 10 IP) and junior Justin Guryn (3-0) to log significant innings.

BOTTOM LINE
The Rams should be favored to win the Fox Valley Fox Division. On paper, they may not have the talent to make a repeat trip to Joliet. Then again, few forecasted them making it last year.

Season Countdown

+ Preseason Team Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2014 Player Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

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