Super 60: Illinois Recap


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

On Sunday, 10 of Illinois’ top prospects participated in the 18th annual PBR Super 60 pro showcase in front of over 100 scouts, both from the Major League and collegiate scouting communities.

In the aftermath of one of the PBR calendar’s most prestigious annual events, the PBR Illinois staff wanted to provide some instant analysis on the state’s 10 attendees. We’ve broken down each Illinois prospect below and provided their measured statistics from Sunday's showcase.

Keep checking back over the next couple of days and weeks for input from our national team.

POSITION PLAYER RECAP

NAME SCHOOL POS 60-DASH POS. VELO EXIT VELO
Connor Hincks Benet SS 6.95 85 96
Tre Hondras Homewood-Flossmoor CF/2B
86 INF/87 OF 95
Isaiah Jackson Champaign Central OF 6.87 95 93
Christian Knapczyk Joliet Catholic SS 6.88 89 91
Jack Payton Brother Rice C/OF 6.83 86 C/93 OF 94
Drake Westcott Edwardsville 1B 7.12 79 96


Six position players represented Illinois at this year’s event. Two of them; C/OF
Jack Payton (Brother Rice; Louisville) and OF/INF Tre Hondras (Homewood-Flossmoor; Michigan), worked out at two positions, while RHP/OF Isaiah Jackson (Champaign Central; uncommitted) was the lone two-way participant. 

Payton is a chiseled, 5-foot-11, 185-pounds and continues to see his game ascend in the right direction. Payton set personal best’s all across the board on Sunday. Payton’s arm has turned into one of his best assets; recording a top velocity of 86 mph from the crouch and 93 mph from the outfield. At the plate, Payton creates bat speed and leverage to the pull-side of the field from an extremely simple, strong base with minimal wasted movement throughout his swing. 

Hondras is a 6-foot, 180-pound, right-handed hitter who creates easy bat speed, stays short to the ball and flat through the zone. When Hondras stays on top of the baseball he has the ability to backspin line-drives to all fields with authority. Defensively, Hondras plays with an edge and bounce to his game that may fit best in center field but given his athletic actions and sure-hands he could just as easily profile as an offensive second baseman. 

Jackson continued to showcase his immense tool-set on Sunday. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound, high-waisted, projectable, two-way prospect, ran a 6.87 60, was 93 mph off a tee and was 95 mph from the outfield (second-best at the event). With that said, Jackson’s calling card may very well be on the mound. Jackson has electric arm speed, showed an improved three-pitch repertoire and his fastball sat 90-93 mph with much more in the tank. Jackson, still uncommitted, is sure to draw plenty of pro interest this spring. 

The other three prospects from Illinois; SS Connor Hincks (Benet; Virginia), SS Christian Knapczyk (Joliet Catholic), 1B Drake Westcott (Edwardsville; Louisville) were all left-handed hitting infielders. 

Hincks has fluidity and smoothness to all aspects of his game and has seen his footspeed and bat speed continue to improve as he has added quality strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. Hincks consistently drove balls to both gaps during his round of bp and showed the glove work, body control and accurate arm that should keep him on the left-side of the diamond at the next level. 

When it comes to Knapczyk, what more can we say, that has not been said already. Leading up to the event Knapczyk was listed as a potential Super 60 Breakout Candidate thanks to his dynamic game and high-level of athleticism. Knapczyk showed it once again, bouncing around the infield with an extra hop in his step, making it look easy on the move and showing plenty of arm strength (89 mph) to stick at shortstop. At the plate, he has twitchy hands, a knack for the barrel and creates surprising thump off the bat given his frame. 

Westcott has done nothing but prove he is one of the top left-handed bats in the midwest since he anchored the middle of the Edwardsville lineup as a freshman. Westcott stands in the box with supreme confidence, rhythm and comfort while consistently finishing on balance. Westcott has loose, strong hands, natural lift in his swing and routinely barreled baseballs to the pull side gap.


PITCHER RECAP

NAME SCHOOL POS TOP FB FB RANGE CH SL  CB 
Jack Crowder Plainfield East RHP 90 89-90 79-81 76-78
Josh Dima Belleville East LHP 92 90-91 79-82
73-77
Ben Hernandez De La Salle RHP 95 94-95 85-87 84-89 78-80
Isaiah Jackson Champaign Central RHP 93 90-93 76-77   69-71
Ben Wiegman Carmel Catholic RHP 94 92-94 86087   83-85

 

All-in-all, five arms represented the state of Illinois at the Super 60. We already touched on Isaiah Jackson’s impressive performance above. When looking for a clear winner from the event you have to start with RHP Ben Hernandez (De La Salle; UIC). Hernandez, the No. 2 ranked player in the state, put in work over the off-season, chiseling up his frame and his stuff reaped the rewards. Hernandez came out of the gate with his first four fastballs sitting at 95 mph, all while looking like he was just playing a game of catch. He followed up by showcasing arguably the top changeup of the day; diving off the table at the bottom of the zone with advanced feel. Hernandez also added a new pitch to his repertoire (slider/cutter), adding plenty of intrigue for pro scouts moving forward. Hernandez seems to improve his draft stock everytime he takes the mound.

Ben Wiegman (Carmel Catholic; Louisville) was another right-hander who clearly put in work over the off-season and improved his stock with his performance. Wiegman, is a hulking 6-foot-4, 230-pounds and sat mostly 93-94 mph in his bullpen with an ultra-aggressive breaking ball that sat 83-85 mph, flashing late, hard bite at times. The change up was inconsistent but is thrown with the proper intent. His ability to show feel for a third pitch moving forward will only help improve his stock. 

6-foot-4, 225-pounds, RHP Jack Crowder (Plainfield East; Illinois) is another imposing figure on the mound with a strong arm. Crowder, who has been up to 94 mph in the past, threw a high-volume of strikes with his fastball that sat at 89-90 mph. Crowder mixed in an upper-70’s slider and late fading changeup.

LHP Josh Dima (Belleville East; Illinois State) was one of the more under-the-radar names at the event and will be one to follow moving forward. Dima has an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame with plenty of room for continued physical development and a live arm with much more in the tank. Dima’s fastball jumped out of his hand at 90-91 mph, touching 92 with relative ease. Dima currently lacks some polish but the live arm and potential for an above-average three-pitch mix give him one of the higher ceilings in the class. 

 

+ CLICK HERE for a complete roster from the event.

+ CLICK HERE for a statistical breakdown from the event.

+ Stay tuned over the coming days for more national content from the Super 60.

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