Prep Baseball Report

Recruiting Roundup: Who's Heading Where?

By Matt Huck          
Area Scout

Every Friday National Scouting Supervisor Nathan Rode provides a roundup of insider recruiting information and commitments throughout the PBR coverage area: The Buzz. CLICK HERE to take a look at this week’s National Buzz. With that in mind, let’s take an in depth look at the Illinois prospects who have committed to colleges, with detailed scouting information.

Nathan Lavender, LHP, El Paso, 2018

Nathan Lavender1.17.16 - 6-foot-1, 175-pound, left-handed hitting LHP/1B. Emerged as one of the premier arms in the 2018 class at the event. On the mound works from a high ¾ to over the top arm angle with a long arm action. Lightning quick arm. Tall and fall, online delivery with a square landing. Up-tempo delivery with some effort. Fastball flashed some running action at 85-86 mph. Curveball showed sharp action with 1-7 shape and tight rotation for strikes at 69-70 mph. Maintained armspeed on changeup at 74-78 mph. Projects for more velocity with present armspeed. Defensively has a long, loose arm action from a high ¾ arm slot. Some accuracy with carry on throws. Fluid footwork with athletic actions and soft hands. Showed good feel around the bag. Threw 78 mph across the infield. Offensively hits from a tall balanced setup with a short heel lift stride. Gap to gap hitter with a long, uphill swing path. Showed big time strength thru contact with 93 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.71. Lavender is one of the top players to follow in the 2018 class.

Brian Fuentes, SS, Crystal Lake South, 2017
Wabash Valley JC

Brian Fuentes6.21.16 - Uncommitted prospect, recently moved in from Venezuela. 5-foot-10, 178-pound multi-positional athlete, strong frame, developed lower half. Right-handed hitter, high-ceiling potential, shows rhythm, strength and bat speed in swing. Balanced and athletic in the box, uses pronounced leg lift in BP (not in game), strong through contact, excellent extension through contact, slightly uphill path, natural loft in swing. Ball jumps off barrel, registered 94 mph exit velocity with wood. In game, barreled the ball in all three at-bats, finishing 1-for-3 with a single and a line-out to left field and flyout to centerfield. Defensively, can play multiple positions well, super-utility type. Primary catcher, highly athletic feet, quick transfer and release, average arm strength at 74 mph; gets out the chute well. Delivered top pop times of 1.93, 1.97 and 2.01. Also shows legitimate infielder actions. Athletic hands and feet, shows ability to throw from multiple angles on the move, quick release, above-average range, solid carry across the infield at 76 mph. Ran a 7.06 laser-timed 60.

Christian Knapczyk, SS, Joliet Catholic, 2020

7.16.16 - Undersized shortstop. Should be a high follow middle infielder moving forward. Plays the game with energy. Defensively, quick feet, good range and soft hands. Strong arm, flashed carry, plenty strong enough to stick on the left-side of the infield. Offensively, left-handed hitter with quick hands and fluid rhythm throughout. Controls barrel; athletic setup, pre-pitch rhythm. Line-drive single to left field in his last at-bat; 4.62 home-to-first on the turn. Also, aggressive on the bases. Stole two bases and advanced on balls in the dirt.

Jeff Zack, RHP, Romeoville, 2017
New Mexico State

Jeffrey Zack4.14.16 - Tulane commit, ranked No. 41 in Illinois’ 2017 class. Large build, thicker lower half, solid and sturdy, 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-handed pitcher. First start of the season. Slightly higher front side delivery, some hip load, online and worked downhill, some effort, slower to the plate out of the stretch, arm occasionally lagged. Arm action is clean, full arm action, loose easy back side, some effort at release, high ¾ slot. Fastball is heavy with hard sinking action, gets on top and thrown with tilt, tough to elevate, worked well at the bottom of the zone when in the windup, touched 90 mph in the first, sat 87-88 mph early on, settled in at 84-86 mph the rest of the way, nine of first 15 outs were via the groundball predominantly off the fastball. Curveball sat 70-74 mph, some downer action, 11/5 plane, lacked feel, most effective when thrown ahead in two strike counts. Showed changeup in warmups, 75 mph, showed sink to arm side, would have liked to see it featured more in game action. Overall worked exclusively off of his fastball which proved to be his go to pitch, was able to pitch to groundball contact with the fastball, an effective complimentary pitch will only add to the value of his heavy fastball. Final line – 6IP, 2R, 3H, 4BB, 4K.

Drew Hunniford, OF, Providence Catholic, 2017
Saint Xavier

Drew Hunniford8.12.16 - 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed hitting outfielder. At the plate hits from an open stance with a deep load to backside. Leg kick stride with good balance. Pull hitter with fluid rhythm and a good approach at the plate. Showed strength thru contact with 88 mph exit velocity from a tee. 4.29 runner down the line. Defensively has a short arm action from an over the top slot. Accurate throws with carry, clocked at 83 mph from the outfield. Athletic actions, plays thru the baseball.


James Raffauf, RHP, Marian Central Catholic, 2017

James Raffauf8.9.16 - 6-foot-3, 170-pound, lanky, two-way prospect. Defensively, soft hands, fluid footwork, quick, clean exchange, athletic fielder. Flashed an a long, loose, accurate arm from a high ¾ slot; throws clocked at 75 mph across the infield. Offensively, right-handed hitter, line drive approach, long path,; exit velocity clocked at 85 mph. Balanced setup, short stride, maintains balance through contact. 7.66 runner in the laser timed 60. On the mound, flashed rhythm, delivery features some effort, slight crossfire, lands closed. Long arm from an over the top slot. Fastball, mostly straight, sat 79-82 mph. Curveball, 12/6 shape, maintained arm speed, 67-69 mph. Changeup, maintains near FB arm speed; 74-76 mph.

Nickolas Strysik, OF, Lockport, 2017
Central College (IA)

Nickolas Strysik8/9/16 - 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed hitting catcher with an athletic frame. At the plate hits from an open stance with a short leg lift stride back to even. Pull, power hitter with a level swing path and good balance. Showed strength thru contact with 89 mph exit velocity from a tee. Ran the 60 at 7.26. Hit a homerun to left field in game. Right-handed power is his best tool, bat plays in game, could project at first base at the next level. Defensively has a long arm action from an over the top slot, uphill throws. Popped 2.22-2.28 and threw 72 mph from the crouch.


Brandon Kendall, RHP, Bartlett, 2017

Brandon Kendall10.9.16 - 6-foot-4, 190-pound, physical, sturdy, right-handed pitcher. Simple, repeatable wind up, some rhythm and effort throughout, stays on-line and lands slightly closed. Short quick arm action from a high ¾ slot. Fastball, strikes, mostly straight, sinking action at times, sat 84-85 mph, touching 86. Curveball, feel, thrown for strikes, 11/5 shape, sharp action with depth and sat 67-69 mph. Changeup straight action, 74-75 mph.


Logan DeWulf, RHP, Huntley, 2017

Upper Iowa

Logan DeWulf9/18/16 - 6-foot, 160-pound right-handed pitcher. Tall and fall delivery works slightly across body, overstepped finish. Arm action showed looseness, slight plunge, high ¾ slot. Fastball is straight, slight run, 77-80 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 64-65 mph. Straight change, slight sinking action.




Michael Massaro, C, Providence Catholic, 2017
Hillsdale College

Mike Massaro8/12/16 - 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher, strong athletic build, sturdy catchers make up. Right-handed hitter, tall setup, smooth loading action, short stride, maintains excellent balance through contact. Quiet athletic setup, loose hands, flashes a pull side pop approach. 89 mph exit velocity from the tee. Went 3-for-3 in game play, barrel aware, stood out with the bat in game play. Defensively arm played short and over the top, carried to second, 77 mph out of the crouch. 1.93-2.04 pop times, easy athletic action out of the chute.

Ben Collazo, 3B, Lake View, 2017
Heartland CC

Ben Collazo2/14/16 - 6-foot-3, 170-pound two-way player, long lanky frame. Defensively showed advanced actions, plays through the baseball with soft hands. Arm is loose and easy, high ¾ slot, carries across the diamond, 84 mph. 7.14 runner in the 60. Right-handed hitter balanced stance, athletic setup, short stride, average balance. Mid-opposite field contact, short path, line drive type hitter, tends to stay on top of the baseball. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. On the mound delivery works online, squared landing. Arm plays short and quick, high ¾ slot. Fastball has slight arm side run, showed feel, 82-83 mph. Curveball plays more 12/6, 69-70 mph. Slider is similar, 70-72 mph. Changeup sinks, showed feel, 73-75 mph, has feel for the zone, able to throw for strikes.

Christopher Krennrich, LHP, Johnsburg, 2017
College of Lake County

Christopher Krennrich1.31.16 - 5-foot-10, 175-pound left-handed pitcher. Works from a ¾ arm angle with a long, quick arm action. Tall and fall delivery with a closed landing. Struggled with command, arm can drag and miss armside. Fastball flashed running action at 77-79 topping out at 80 mph.  Curveball showed sweeping action with short, tight break at 67-71 mph. Maintained armspeed on changeup with slight sinking action at 68-69 mph.



Jake Knoebel, 2B, Plainfield East, 2017
Webster University

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