St. Louis Open: Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

For the second fall in a row, the PBR staff headed to GCS Credit Union Ballpark for an event. The St. Louis Open took place on Saturday, October 12th. The open event featured close to 50 prospects from 2020-2024 high school graduates. 

Today, we begin the analysis with an early look at some of the initial takeaways from the St. Louis area event.   


+ It is safe to say that the top overall prospect from the event was 2020 LHP/OF Josh Dima (Belleville West, IL). The Illinois State commit, is a left/left prospect with a chance to impact the Redbirds as a two-way player. Dima’s arm strength jumped off the page as he was an easy 93 mph from the outfield and it played just as live and easy on the mound, touching 90 mph multiple times. The ball jumps out of Dima’s hand and he also showed a swing-and-miss changeup and a curveball that had late, downer action at times. 

+ A pair of uncommitted 2021s from Missouri that emerged as high-follows are 1B/LHP Landen Johnson (Westminster) and OF Jake Markert (Fort Zumwalt South). Johnson, a left/left, two-way prospect, possessed an advanced 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame and upside as a position player and pitcher. Johnson has loose hands at the plate and consistently showed off power potential to the pull-side. On the mound, he has a quick, live arm, fastball up to 85 mph and had a feel for spin. Markert, a right-handed bat, took one of the more complete rounds of BP on the day. Markert has advanced feel for the barrel, stays short to the ball and worked the middle of the field. Defensively, he moves with fluidity in the outfield, plays through the baseball and the ball comes out of his hand clean and true (topped at 86 mph from the outfield).

+ Another uncommitted southpaw who made a name for himself was LHP Chase Newby (Steeleville, 2022). The Southern Illinois product has a strong, 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame, clean arm and threw a high-volume of strikes with his fastball that sat 82-84 mph with finish through the zone. The offspeed flashed above-average action but was not consistently in the zone.

+ One of the top bats in attendance, INF Ben Kennedy, was a 2022 from Evansville Central (IN). Kennedy is a lean, athletic, 6-foot, 155-pound, right-handed hitter who swings with intent and purpose. Kennedy has loose, quick hands, fast bat, stays level through the zone and made a lot of hard contact. Kennedy is also a sure-handed defender with a loose arm that topped at 84 mph across the diamond. Follow right-handed hitter from Southwest Indiana. 

+ A pair of 2021s from Pittsfield (IL); Cade Tomhave and Peyton Apps impressed with their right-handed bats. Tomhave has strong hands, stays flat through the zone and when everything syncs up the ball jumps off the barrel. Apps, has a 6-foot-2, 180-pound, strong, high-waisted frame and one of the more projectable bats on the day. Apps has a confident look in the box, loose, athletic hands and worked gap-to-gap.

+ A couple of other Illinois 2021s who swung upside right-handed bats were INF Connor Hennemann (Pawnee) and Ben Stedman (Belleville West). Henneman flashed, loose hands, easy bat strength and sprayed balls deep into both gaps. Stedman has twitch in his swing, a line-drive approach and stays short and flat through the zone. 

+ Missouri State commit, OF/INF Hayden Moore (Edwardsville) continues to prove he is one of the top players in the 2021 class in Illinois. Moore is versatile, athletic and handles the bat from both sides of the plate. 

+ A 2024 that will be fun to watch in the coming years should be C Seth Impson (Springfield Southeast). Impson has advanced feel behind the plate, soft hands and clean actions. Offensively, he has an upside right-handed bat with an efficient bat path. 

There are a number of other names worth mentioning that you will hear from in an upcoming statistical analysis and our positional breakdown in a few weeks.