Team Illinois: Takeaways
August 1, 2023
From Wednesday, July 26th, through Saturday, July 29th, the Prep Baseball Report Future Games will take place at the LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, Georgia. This event will feature select uncommitted 2025 and 2026 prospects from our 40-plus state coverage area and Canada.
For more information about the event, click HERE.
On Wednesday, Team Illinois participated in a pro-style workout, collecting unrivaled data with the help of our tech partners, such as athletic testing, batted ball data, and position velocities. To see all of the stat leaders from the event, click HERE.
Following Wednesday’s workout, Team Illinois played three simulated games over the next three days, finishing the week 2-1, and tying Team Ohio for the best record in the pool. Team Illinois defeated Pennysylvania in the opener 13-7, fell to Ohio 4-3 in game two, and wrapped up the event with a 9-6 win over Team Midwest on Saturday morning.
Now, at the conclusion of this year’s Future Games, we’ve taken the time to compile our notes and summarize the week in totality within these takeaways. Below, broken down by position, you’ll learn more about the members of Team Illinois and their performances throughout the week.
+ A left-handed hitting backstop, C Zach Bava (Naperville North, 2025) came away from the Future Games with an arrow-up next to his name after a highly competitive showing. Bava consistently got off fast, intentful hacks from the left side and consistently generated some of the deepest batted ball contact for Team Illinois, starting during the event’s workout portion. There, Bava swatted the furthest ball amongst Team Illinois’ position players (377 feet) and his average batted distance (312 feet) was one of the higher marks, too. In game, Bava drove several balls with authority to the pull-side and, while looking mostly for fastballs, was on the barrel on spin as well. He finished the week 5-for-9 with a double, two RBIs, and four runs scored. His best showing came in the opening-act against Pennsylvania, where he went a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base. Bava played with arguably the highest motor on Team Illinois, he ran a 4.35 out the box on a routine groundout to shortstop, and is a highly competitive, grinder-like prospect to know from the event.
+ C/RHP Quinn Schambow (Libertyville, 2025) proved to be one of the top prospects and performers on Team Illinois from the Future Games, impressing on both sides of the ball. Positionally, Schambow is a premier defender behind the dish with one of the strongest arms in the state, regardless of class. He led the entire Future Games in peak throwing velocity at Wednesday’s workout (84 mph) and popped a 1.86 on his quickest bullet, which was also among the event’s leaders. His arm translated to the gameplay portion effortlessly, as Schambow back picked a runner at first base and gunned a would-be base stealer at second in the same inning against Team Midwest in game three. At the plate, Schambow finished 5-for-6 with three hits in game one, two total doubles, and he drew four walks, too. After all that, Schambow toed the rubber on the final day and was electric, punching out a pair with an upper-80s fastball, touching 90 mph, while spinning a true swing-and-miss mid-70s slider that reached upwards of 2600 RPM. Schambow was an all-around winner from the event that should garner plenty of interest in the coming weeks.
+ INF Gavin Triezenberg (Brother Rice, 2025) seemingly had a calm, collected presence to him throughout the Future Games. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound infielder continued to show well with his glove, taking a crisp and clean round of infield defense on the workout day, and flashing advanced actions throughout the week. Innate feel for the game, plays with advanced body control and an internal clock on the infield and makes throwing from all platforms look easy. Smooth double play transition and highly-accurate arm. Offensively, was consistently on-time and talking quality at-bats throughout the week. Minimal chase and looking to attack fastballs. Singled twice, drew a walk, plated a run, and scored twice.
+ CIF AJ Putty (Huntley, 2025) is a real power threat from the right side that doesn’t lack size or strength, bringing a 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame to the plate each time he stepped into the batter’s box. His week started out on a high note following Wednesday’s workout, where Putty hit eight of his 10 batted balls over 95 mph in BP with a 96.5 mph max. His furthest ball was a deep shot into the left-center gap that traveled 373 feet, per TrackMan. He reached base a number of times throughout the week via a walk and quality, deep at-bats. Just missed a ball to straight away center field in his final at-bat.
+ A right-handed bat that showed juice in spurts throughout the week: INF Nathan O’Donnell (Providence Catholic, 2025). The 6-foot-1, 190-pound O’Donnell took one of the more impressive BP rounds for Team Illinois, blasting balls on repeat into the right-center gap from an intentful right-handed swing. His furthest ball traveled 367 feet, per TrackMan, while his firmest jumped off his barrel at 97.7 mph, averaging 89.3 mph per batted ball. Aside from his BP at the workout, O’Donnell repeated his efforts before Team Illinois’ second game, hitting six straight balls off the left-center wall in pre-game batting practice, and he also barreled a loud double that way in his first at-bat of the event against Pennsylvania. Also, a follow on the mound, O’Donnell, got one inning in Game two of the event where he flashed his three-pitch repertoire and remains an arm to follow in the class. Name to know in the 2025 class following the Future Games.
+ MIF Karlos Otero (Romeoville, 2025) swiftly moved around the infield turf, showcasing advanced up-the-middle actions defensively throughout the Future Games. Otero defends with plenty of rhythm and confidence, and he should have no issue sticking on the infield in the long run. He has the athleticism to do so as well, running a 6.79 60 while reaching 20.6 mph at peak speed. Offensively, Otero swings a short, simple, and easy right-handed barrel that works on top of the baseball, high bat-to-ball oriented swing, and he put together competitive at-bats consistently as the week rolled on.
+ INF Brady Green (Oak Park-River Forest) is another high-motor player with physicality to know on Team Illinois. Green, who’s built at a strong, compact 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, squared up one of the hardest balls in BP (97.1 mph) of all Team Illinois’ players during Wednesday’s workout. His best showing offensively was against Pennsylvania in game one, where he doubled down the left field line and scored a run, while also posting a 4.37 down the line on a groundout. We’ve long known Green as a quality defender too and this week was no different, as he moved around the infield fluidly with steady glovework to pair.
+ Arguably the biggest winner from the Team Illinois’ position player group was 3B/OF CJ Deckinga (Minooka, 2025), who turned plenty of heads throughout the weekend. Standing at a long, lanky, and highly projectable 6-foot-3, 180-pounds, Deckinga was all over the barrel in BP during Wednesday’s workout, showcasing an athletic swing with present bat speed and plenty to project on from the right side. His 94.8 mph max exit velocity, 89.9 mph average exit velocity, and 342 ft. peak batted distance are all presently impressive numbers that are surely to tick upward as he continues to physically mature. Deckinga wasted no time showcasing his offensive skill-set in gameplay, homering in the first game for Team Illinois and picking up a few more hits in game two, including a double he rocketed to the opposite field. He took a number of quality swings throughout the Future Games and looks every bit the part of a future middle-of-the-order bat at the next level. Further enhancing his overall value, Deckinga looks capable of sticking at third base, moving well for his size at the hot corner with steady hands and a quick, accurate arm to release. Deckinga may have one of the highest ceilings in the entire Illinois’ 2025 class and he did nothing but solidify himself as a high-end prospect heading into his junior year.
+ OF/1B Trey Meyers (New Trier, 2025) owns one of the more physically impressive skill-sets on Team Illinois with elite athleticism to pair. At 6-foot-6, 210-pounds, Meyers ran a 6.58 60, which was one of the fastest times of the entire Future Games, reaching a peak run speed of 21.1 mph in the process. Meyers wore out the right-center gap in BP, going the other way with comfort and consistency with a peak exit velocity of 95 mph and max distance of 346 feet, per TrackMan. He drew two walks in game one, barreled a single to left field with authority in game two, and ran a 4.38 down the line on a routine groundout to third in game three. Given his size and athleticism, Meyers is another high ceiling name-to-know on this Team Illinois’ roster.
+ OF Ben Toft (New Trier, 2025) is a high level athlete with a motor that is capable of impacting the game positively in multiple ways. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Toft ran a 6.77 60 and reached a peak run speed of 20.6 mph at Wednesday’s workout. His speed was on display over three games, where Toft ran a 4.22 on a groundout, beat out an infield single with a 4.11 down the line, and was 4.59 on a turn after singling to left field. He took one of the louder rounds of BP for Team Illinois, averaging 90.1 mph per batted ball with a 96.4 mph peak exit velocity. Toft’s ability to impact the baseball at a high rate, get it in the air consistently (90%) and drive the ball with authority both at peak (351 ft.) and average (287 ft.) are all noticeable. Offensively, Toft picked up a hit in all three contests, finishing the week 3-for-7 with a double, two runs scored, and he also walked. His glove is worth highlighting too as Toft has the makings of a future high-end center fielder given his comfort and athleticism on the outfield grass.
+ OF/LHP Joey Arend (St. Charles East, 2025) offers upside and projection on a lean 6-foot, 160-pound frame. A left/left athlete, Arend ran a 6.97 60 with a 1.67 10-yard split at Wednesday’s workout, reaching a peak speed of 19.6 mph on our lasers. He sprayed line drives to all fields in BP from a fluid, athletic, left-handed stroke and singled to right field in his first at-bat of the event. Arend reached base twice in game three, stole a base, scored a run, and was 4.43 down the line on an infield grounder. He hopped on the mound late in game one, pitching at 83-85 mph with his fastball from a fast, athletic arm, spun a low-70s slider with sweep, and faded a changeup at 77 mph.
+ OF Wyatt Wawro (Downers Grove South, 2025) was another major winner for Team Illinois at the Future Games. On the workout day, Wawro ran a 6.95 60, reached a peak run speed of 20 mph, and generated noticeable bat speed (76.3 mph) in BP. Wawro is a highly competitive and hitterish top-of-the-order left-handed bat that started his event off on a high note, earning ‘Player of the Game’ honors in game one after swatting a three-run home run and driving in four runs total. He followed that up by ambushing the first pitch of game two down the right field line for a leadoff double and stealing third moments afterwards. Wawro constantly found himself on base, drawing three walks and getting hit by a pitch twice, too. He’s a scrappy, gamer-type that seems to always be on the barrel with sneaky gap-to-gap power.
+ OF Liam Arsich (Lincoln-Way Central, 2025) is a premier athlete with a lean, lanky 6-foot-3, 160-pound frame who is just scratching the surface of his future self. Arsich ran the fastest 60 time on Team Illinois (6.57) and also had the highest max run speed (21.4 mph). His speed was on full display throughout the week, as Arsich was 4.40 down the line on a groundball to second base and posted a 4.43 on a routine flyball to center field. He swiped a bag both in game one and game two, scoring a run as well. Offensively, Arsich flashes twitch and works to stay connected with his long-levers. He showed a knack for line drive, gap-to-gap contact, and is comfortable using the whole field. His most impressive showing came in game three, where Arsich went 2-for-4 with a loud double into the left-center gap, brought a run home, and he showed off his noticeable arm strength from the outfield (90 mph) by throwing a runner out at home to end an inning. Arsich is another high-end name to follow from this event.
+ Southern Illinois had a strong showing at the Future Games, with three arms from the region emerging as major winners:
- RHP Drew Winslow (Triad, 2025) caught the attention of many when he took the rubber, standing at 6-foot-6, 195-pounds. Working consistently from a lower arm slot, Winslow touched 91 mph in his first frame, and pitched in the upper-80s across a two-inning stint. He generated natural arm-side run on the pitch and grabbed several uncomfortable swings from right-handed hitters as a result. Off his fastball, Winslow flashed developing sweep on a slider at 72-74 mph and he mixed in a firm 82-84 mph changeup, too. Also a star on the basketball court for Triad, Winslow is trending upward at the right time and looks the part of a high-follow arm in the Illinois’ 2025 class.
- Taking the mound twice at the Future Games, RHP Austin Musso (Mascoutah, 2025) hurled a pair of scoreless frames in total. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander lived inside the zone, something we’re used to seeing from him, and has a highly competitive, confident demeanor on the mound. Musso pitched at 86-88 mph with his fastball, touching 89 mph, and spun it at 2500+ RPM at peak, while working in both the upper and lower quadrants of the strike zone throughout. He also showed tight spin on a slider at 76-77 mph and was capable of landing it for strikes consistently. A strike-thrower who has gotten outs at a high rate each time we’ve seen him, Musso has established himself as a premier arm in the Illinois’ 2025 group.
- RHP Connor Blue (O’Fallon, 2025) was impressive in his lone inning of work, punching out a pair in Saturday’s outing. At 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, Blue’s fastball played in the upper-80s, touching 89 mph, from a fast ¾ slot. His aptitude to spin is his calling card and Blue ripped off several swing-and-miss mid-70s sliders with tight, late break that grabbed chase out of the zone, particularly to right-handed hitters. He also mixed in a low spin changeup (1500 RPM) at 74-75 mph to left-handed bats, showing a true three-pitch mix in his brief stint. Like his counterparts, Blue also came away from this event as a name-to-know arm in the state’s 2025 group.
+ RHP Peter Thompson (Loyola Academy, 2025) hurled two clean innings for Team Illinois on Friday afternoon against Ohio. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound right-hander showed noticeable arm speed out front, pitching at 85-88 mph with his fastball, and touching 89 mph. He spun two breaking balls; a 72-76 mph slider with more horizontal break and a bendy 69-70 mph curveball that had more depth to it. Thompson also mixed in a 76-78 mph changeup to left-handed hitters to round out a competitive four-pitch mix.
+ A lean, lanky 6-foot-2, 170-pound athlete, LHP Toby Peterson (Palatine, 2025) showed plenty of upside in two different outings at the Future Games. Peterson bumped his fastball up to 88 mph, pitching in the mid-80s, from a fast, athletic ¾ slot with natural sink at times. His primary secondary was a 78-79 mph slider that he threw with intent and conviction, generating natural sweep while spinning it around the zone. Peterson appears to just be scratching the surface of what his future entails on the mound.
+ RHP Caden Earing (Mundelein, 2025) is a fluid, athletic mover down the mound with arm speed to pair who threw well for Team Illinois in Thursday’s opener. At 5-foot-11, 165-pounds with present strength and room for more, Earring ran his fastball up to 89.6 mph in his lone inning of work, pitching in the upper-80s with carry at times. He spun a slider in the upper-70s, reaching as high as 2400 RPM, off his fastball, too.
Three more arms to follow from the event:
+ RHP Tucker King (Lyons Township, 2025) still holds one of the more intriguing ceilings on the hill in the state’s 2025 class. At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, King is a twitchy, loose-bodied athlete with present arm speed that gets down the mound with intent. King’s fastball peaked at 86 mph and he complimented it with a 72-76 mph slider and 78-79 mph changeup.
+ LHP Joshua Holst (Libertyville, 2025) really looks the part in a uniform, standing at a strong, well-proportioned 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. Holst, who toed the rubber for Team Illinois twice at the event, moves down the mound well for his stature. His fastball played in the low-to-mid-80s, touching 87 mph in his first outing, and he spotted a curveball/changeup mix around the zone to change paces.
+ RHP Keegan Luxem (Hersey, 2025) certainly stands out on the field, bringing a hulking 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame to the mound. Luxem’s fastball touched 87 mph, pitching in the low-to-mid-80s with a low-70s curveball to pair that spun at upwards of 2500 RPM.