St. Louis Open: Quick Hits

By Ryan Cooper and Drew Locascio
Illinois Staff

On Wednesday, June 16th, PBR Illinois and PBR Missouri combined to run the St. Louis Open at GCS Ballpark, home of the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, IL. On top of the 50 or so St. Louis Open participants, 13 2025s and 2026s converged as well for a Junior Future Games Trials event.

Today we take an early look at some of the noteworthy performances and prospects from the day.


+ Arguably the most impressive performance of the day goes to the 6-foot-4, 210-pound, RHP Drew Pestka (Cartersville, IL). Pestka is a power arm with a firm fastball that he worked down in the zone, topping out at 91.5 mph. His secondary pitches include an above-average splitter that has sink and tumble and a curveball in the mid-70’s that he landed for strikes at times. Impressive showing for the uncommitted 2022 power arm at his first-ever PBR event.

+ 2022 Catcher Clayton Chandler (North County, MO) showed off some of the top bat strength from the event, topping at 97.56 mph off the bat during BP with his furthest batted ball travelling 349 feet. The 6-foot, 215-pound, right-handed hitter, also ran a 7.25, topped at 79 mph from the crouch and registered a low pop time of 2.03.

+ Another 2022 to pay attention to was 5-foot-11, 190-pound, RHP/3B Dylan Bates (Fort Zumwalt West, MO), who topped out at 85 mph. Bates threw an intentful, aggressive bullpen with a quick arm and the ability to spin two distinct breaking balls. Both his slider (max 2334 rpm) and curveball (max 2412 RPM) averaged 2290 rpm or better with above-average feel for his age. 

+ RHP/MIF Sam Cardwell (Desmet, MO) is an upside arm who should be a high-follow in Missouri. Cardwell has a long, loose-bodied 6-foot-2, 157-pound, frame and loose, quick arm with seemingly much more velocity in the tank. At the event, Cardwell sat 83-85 mph with an above-average three-pitch mix. 

+ SS/RHP Evan Davis (Waterloo, IL) emerged as a 2023 to follow moving forward. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound, compact, strong, right-handed hitter took one of the top BP rounds of the day, repeating hard, loud contact into the pull-side gap. Davis has a simple, strong swing with natural lift and knack for the barrel. He also showed natural abilities on the infield and a strong arm on the mound. Davis sat 84-85 mph on the mound and landed his 69-70 mph curveball for strikes.

+ OF/LHP Daniel Darin (Gibault Catholic, IL) was another 2023 with an impressive two-way showing. Darin, a left/left prospect, was consistently on the barrel in his round of BP with a max exit velocity of 93 mph and fluid outfield actions to go along with his 86 mph arm. That same arm strength plays well on the mound, where he pounded the zone with a four-pitch mix, while his fastball sat at 82-84 mph with an average of 14.4 inches of induced vertical break and 10.6 inches of horizontal movement. 

+ 2023 catcher Donald Timon (Mascoutah, IL) was one of the top defensive catchers in attendance. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound, backstop has quick, athletic feet and an advanced glove-to-hand exchange. Timon registered a low pop time of 2.00 with a top velocity of 72 mph from the crouch (has been up to 74 mph in the past).

+ There were a number of young prospects who made statements throughout the day, one of them being 2025 RHP/OF John Hilpert (Belleville West, IL). Hilpert has a well-proportioned 5-foot-7, 138-pound frame. Hilpert ran his fastball up to 79 mph and spun a curveball with a max spin rate of 2229 rpm, well-above average for his age.  

+ Regardless of class, 2025 right-handed hitter, Bryce Daniel (Howell, MO) was one of the top bats in attendance. The 5-foot-8, 140-pound incoming freshman has an upright, open setup and loose, athletic hands that create above average barrel-whip and bat speed through the zone. Daniel has a polished approach, staying within himself while driving the ball to all fields with sneaky jump off the barrel. Follow 2025 prospect moving forward.

CLICK HERE for the St. Louis Open roster and stats.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the St. Louis Open over the coming weeks.