Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Team Countdown: No. 65 Champaign 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: Champaign Central
Preseason Rank:
2013 Record:
Big 12
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
John Staab
Playoff Run: Lost in First Round
2013 Final Rank: Not Ranked

Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers:

Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Alec Altmyer, RHP, 2014 (Illinois State)
Jake Cribbett, C, 2014 (Lake Land JC)
Jacob Snider, 2B, 2016
Luke Beesley, C/RHP/1B, 2015
Connor Mapes, OF, 2015
Alec Barger, OF/RHP, 2016
Nick Brunson, INF, 2015
Zach Dorner, P, 2015
Phillip Swartz, RHP, 2016
Joseph Aeilts, C, 2016

RHP Alec Altmyer. The Illinois State-bound right-hander has the pure stuff to be one of, if not the most dominant pitcher in the Big 12 Conference. He features an upper-80s fastball and a big swing-and-miss curveball. On a team loaded with top underclass talent, Altmyer will need to deliver in order for Central to be a factor this year.

Alec Barger
. A two-way talent, Barger has all the tools to be an impact player: speed, strong arm, bat speed at the plate.

Kurtis Brown
, 1B (Richmond)

The outlook - and future for that matter - is brighter than it has been in a while. The Maroons have a healthy mix of talent throughout the program, particularly in the 2016 class. Champaign Central has several highly ranked sophomores in the state, led, by 2B Jacob Snider, who’s a top-level left-handed hitter, Barger, and Joseph Aeilts. But as we all know, sophomores don’t win championships; seniors do. While the strength of this team isn’t its senior class, coach John Staab returns its shutdown No. 1 in Alec Altmyer and his starting catcher, Jacob Cribbet. Central also features several juniors who should make significant impacts. C/RHP Luke Beesley, an athletically built 6-foot-4, 180-pounder, is a ranked prospect for his catching prowess, but he’s also mid-80s on the mound with an easy arm action. Look for Connor Mapes, an athletic, versatile performer, to have a breakout junior campaign.

The Maroons are likely a year or two away from being a serious Class 3A contender. Nevertheless, their blend of senior talent and high-end youngsters should put them right in the Big 12 title mix.

Season Countdown

+ Preseason Team Rankings

+ Updated Illinois 2014 Player Rankings

+ June Event Schedule

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