Top Prospect - Chicago: Pitcher Analysis


By Illinois Staff

On June 16, the PBR Illinois hosted one of its summer staples in the Top Prospect - Chicago showcase. Annually one of the biggest events on the summer slate, this year’s Chicago-area showcase was similarly loaded with talent, as you’ll soon see for yourself. Today, we’re publishing the scouting reports written by our staff on each of the position players who participated at this event, and we’ve ranked the top-10 pitchers below.

In case you missed any of our previous coverage of this showcase, you can view our Quick Hits and Statistical Analysis at the aforementioned hyperlinks. We started positional analysis on Monday with the event’s position players, and we’re concluding it today by ranking the showcase’s top pitching prospects.

Read up on the scouting reports published on each of the pitchers who took the mound at this uncommitted 2021 event, one that has since produced several commitments.

TOP PITCHING PROSPECTS

1. Nick Walczak, Maine South (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-4, 185-pounds. Lean frame with length, projectable.
Delivery: Subtle side rocker to medium balance point, stays online and lands square, shoulders closed, in rhythm tall and fall delivery with low effort.
Arm Action: RH. Lively arm, loose and clean, well above average arm speed, high 3/4 slot, above average extension out front.
FB: T88, 87-88 mph. Lively arm side run, jumps through the zone at times.
SL: 69-72 mph. Breaking ball suited for lateral slider action, slot drops creating 11/5-10/4 shape. 2252 average rpm.
CH: 77-79 mph. Arm side run, thrown with deceptive fastball arm speed, showed feel for the zone, well above average secondary offering. 

2. Ryan Weaver, Cary-Grove (IL), 2021; Illinois State commit
Positional Profile: LHP A big riser in the state's 2021 class this summer.
Body: 6-1, 182-pounds. Lean athletic frame and build.
Delivery: Simple, low effort repeatable delivery, quiet, slightly high front side, short stride, lands closed, balanced finish.
Arm Action: LH. High 3/4 slot, quick reach on back side to tight window, loose arm action.
FB: T87, 85-86 mph. Showed control with ability to work the bottom of the zone, arm side run, average 2309 rpm.
CB: 67-69 mph. 1/7 shape, thrown consistently for strikes, 2269 average spin rate.
CH: 68-70 mph. Sinking action with some fade, low spin. 

3. D.J. Morand, Loyola Academy (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-2, 195-pounds. Athletic frame, proportional build.
Delivery: Sweeping leg lift, leads to tall balance point with high front side, works on line and lands square.
Arm Action: RH. Long arm action, works out of over the top window.
FB: T91, 88-89 mph. Mostly straight, four seam type, hard finish through the zone at times, tendency to pull his misses.
CB: 71-73 mph. 12/6 shape, occasional deceleration, above average strike percentage.
CH: 73-76 mph. Slight fade action, flashed heavy sink. 

4. Michael Rivera, Warren (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: SS/RHP
Body: 6-1, 175-pounds. Athletic, upside frame.
Delivery: Methodical, athletic, tall and fall delivery. Repeats, works on-line and lands front toe slightly open.
Arm Action: RH. Compact, quick arm action, plays from a high 3/4 slot.
FB: T88, 86-88 mph. Lively out of the hand, four-seam finish through the zone.  Median induced vertical break of 16.7 inches.
SL: 73-77 mph. Thrown aggressively, around it at times, 10/4 shape.
CH: 76-78 mph. Maintains arm speed, mostly straight action. 

5. Will Morris, Plainfield South (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-5, 180-pounds. Large frame with length.
Delivery: Uptempo delivery with effort, lands square, works slightly across body.
Arm Action: RH. Loose arm action, works out of 3/4 slot, creates angle.
FB: T86, 85-86 mph. Rides through the zone, four seam finish with occasional life at the end.
CB: 65-67 mph. 11/5 shape, 2167 average rpm. 
CH: 73-76 mph. Best controllable secondary offering, arm side sink/fade. 

6. Anthony Sorrentino, Lyons Township (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-0, 190-pounds.
Delivery: High front side delivery, slight drop and drive type with effort, creates some deception with slight cross body delivery.
Arm Action: RH. Over the top slot, slight reach on back side.
FB: T88, 86-88 mph. True four seam action, played with ride through the zone.
CB: 69-74 mph. 12/6 shape, ability to land for strikes, 2184 average rpm.
CH: 78-82 mph. Straight change, repeats, consistently in the strike zone.

7. Drew Martin, Mt. Pulaski (IL), 2021; Heartland CC commit
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-1, 190-pounds. Broad shouldered, lean lanky frame.
Delivery: Tall and fall delivery, low effort, lands square and in rhythm, gets over front side with slight recoil finish.
Arm Action: RH. Loose, lively arm, over the top slot.
FB: T86, 85-86 mph. Four seam fastball, plays straight with occasional ride through the zone, averaging 2266 rpm and 0:15 tilt.
CB: 69-71 mph. 12/6 action, showed  depth when in the strike zone.
SL: 70-74 mph. Played as best breaking ball on this day, more spin than CB, lateral action, 10/4 shape.
CH: 74-77 mph. Flashed arm side run, showed ability to play in the strike zone.

8. Benjamin Benoit, Hampshire (IL), 2021; Lake Land JC commit
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-5, 185-pounds. Large, long levered frame.
Delivery: Deceptive delivery, changes tempo, slow to lift and accelerates through landing. Lands square, follows through the finish.
Arm Action: RH. Long loose arm action, 3/4 slot. Gets above average extension on fastball.
FB: T84, 83-84 mph. Plays with arm side action and occasional sink.
CB: 70-73 mph. Plays from lower slot, backup action, averaging 2306 rpm.
SL: 73-78 mph. Short 10/4 shape, showed ability to land for strikes. Average spin of 2135 rpm. 

9. Noah Klein, Loyola Academy (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-1, 195-pounds. Athletic build with strength.
Delivery: Drop and rive type delivery, gets into tall tucked balance position, drives down the hill into squared landing, quiet front side.
Arm Action: RH. Arm plays out of over the top slot, short tight window, stays connected and keep similar window on all pitches.
FB: T84, 83-84 mph. Showed arm side run, favoring arm side of the plate.
CB: 63-68 mph. Best secondary pitch, showing sharp 12/6 action at times, 2178 average rpm. Separator pitch.
CH: 71-73 mph. Near fastball arm speed, mostly fade action.  

10. Bradin Baucum, Altamont (IL), 2021; Lake Land JC commit
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-1, 175-pounds.
Delivery: Down tempo delivery, methodical and ability to repeat, low effort, maintains balance.
Arm Action: RH. Clean loose arm action, works out of high 3/4 slot.
FB: T87, 84-85 mph. Played with slight arm side action and elevated.
CB: 69-72 mph. Short action, tight spin, consistently repeated location to bottom glove side of zone.
CH: 73-76 mph. Arm side run, showed feel with ability to repeat.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Keagan Bobbitt, Lincoln-Way West (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: LHP
Body: 6-5, 186-pounds. Long slender frame, projectable build.
Delivery: Tall and fall delivery, high leg lift into squared landing, works over front side. Gets extension down the hill with average extension at 6'4" and average fastball release height at 6'1".
Arm Action: LH. Arm action is long and works in clean circular path, over the top slot.
FB: T84, 81-83 mph. Slight arm side, run, showed ability to control, average spin of 2100 rpm.
CB: 63-66 mph. 1/7 shape, played with depth, -12.4 induced vertical movement. 2105 average rpm. Showed ability to land for strikes, above average strike percentage.
CH: 69-70 mph. Straight change, slight sink off of fastball action. 

Marty Boyle, St. Ignatius  (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: LHP
Body: 6-0, 175-pounds.
Delivery: Tilt and topple delivery, lands to flexed front side, directional.
Arm Action: LH. Loose arm action, works out of high 3/4 slot.
FB: T83, 81-82 mph. Mostly four seam backspin, plays elevated.
CB: 59-63 mph. 1/7 shape, repeated location to bottom of the zone.
CH: 70-72 mph. Above average feel for the zone, cut action at times. 

Jack Bruington, Plainfield South (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: LHP/1B
Body: 6-0, 220-pounds. Physical, thick build.
Delivery: Smooth, controlled, tall and fall delivery, works with rhythm and balance throughout.
Arm Action: LH. Short arm action, high 3/4 window.
FB: T81, 78-79 mph. Works mostly straight, downhill tilt at times, controlled the zone.
CB: 67-69 mph. Works 1/7, depth and shape, feel for the zone.
CH: 71-73 mph. Maintains arm speed, fade action. 

George Evangelopoulos, Stagg (IL), 2021; Milwaukee School of Engin. commit
Positional Profile: LHP
Body: 6-0, 178-pounds.
Delivery: Sweeping high leg lift, slight coil at the top, swings into squared landing.
Arm Action: LH. Short arm swing, plays loose out of over the top slot.
FB: T82, 80-82 mph. Mostly straight with slight arm side action.
CB: 72-75 mph. 1/7 shape, showed ability to drop for strikes.
CH: 75-78 mph. Slight sinking action, showed occasional cut, played at bottom of the zone.

Nathan Gargano, Bartlett (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: LHP
Body: 6-3, 185-pounds.
Delivery: Side rocker step slides into post leg position, lands square with closed toe, on line.
Arm Action: LH. Long arm action, high 3/4 slot.
FB: T82, 81-82 mph. Showed slight arm side run.
CB: 68-70 mph. Above average feel for curveball, slight depth.
SL: 72-74 mph. Best breaking ball, averaged 2141 rpm, lateral action, 2/8 shape.

Eric Lee, St. Charles North (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-2, 165-pounds. Slender build, gangly frame.
Delivery: Stretch only delivery, long levers and deception, creates angles.
Arm Action: RH. Long arm action, plays loose out of a 3/4 slot.
FB: T82, 81-81 mph. Sinking action, showed run to arm side, above average control.
CB: 72-72 mph. Lateral action, 2073 average rpm.
SL: 72-74 mph. 2049 average rpm with 12:00 average tilt.
CH: 72-74 mph. Fading change with hard sink at times. 

Conner Lutes, Libertyville (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-4, 200-pounds. Large, hulking build.
Delivery: In rhythm tempo, high leg lift into squared heel-toe landing.
Arm Action: RH. Over the top slot, arm plays clean with slightly shorter path, easy release out front, well above average extension.
FB: T85, 83-84 mph. Mostly straight, four seam type, showed ability to work down.
CB: 65-66 mph. Best secondary offering, played with depth, 12/6 shape.
SL: 70-71 mph. Able to land for strikes, less depth than CB, shorter action.
CH: 74-76 mph. Plays with feel, slight arm side run.

Andrew Nichols, Olympia (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-1, 190-pounds.
Delivery: Tall and fall delivery with tempo, ability to repeat and stay balanced.
Arm Action: RH. Short loose arm action, over the top slot.
FB: T85, 82-84 mph. Straight fastball, backspin four seam action, showed finish through the zone.
CB: 64-68 mph. 12/6 shape, depth with sharp action at times.
SL: 65-70 mph. 2096 average spin rate, some lateral action.
CH: 72-75 mph. Straight change with slight arm side action, showed feel for the strike zone. 

Mason Telford, Streator (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 5-10, 170-pounds. Strong body build.
Delivery: Drop and drive type delivery, methodical into balance point and explodes into release.
Arm Action: RH. Clean arm action, over the top slot, short loose action.
FB: T86, 85-86 mph. Straight four seam fastball with backspin, averaging 2131 rpm. Repeated top of the zone arm side location.
CB: 72-74 mph. 11/5 shape, ability to land for strikes.
CH: 73-75 mph. Straight change, cut at times, consistently played bottom of the zone, above average feel. 

Brady Wells, Libertyville (IL), 2021
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-3, 210-pounds. Large frame.
Delivery: Tilt and topple delivery with regular effort, closed toe landing, short stride.
Arm Action: RH. Short arm action, works out of over the top slot.
FB: T85, 83-84 mph. Straight four seam type fastball, occasional ride and finish through the zone.
SL: 68-72 mph. 2300 average rpm, 11/5 shape, up and arm side tendency.
CH: 78-81 mph. Straight change, tends to play at the bottom of the zone, on top and kept down.

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