Prep Baseball Report

Top Prospect - Chicago: Quick Hits

By Illinois Staff

On Tuesday, June 16, the PBR Illinois team hosted its annual Top Prospect - Chicago event at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, a platform for some of the state’s top incoming senior talent. Each of the attending prospects is uncommitted as they enter what will be a critical summer for their recruitment. Today, we’re highlighting the prospects who hit the summer circuit running inside of our Quick Hits post. Tomorrow, Thursday, we’ll take the time to spotlight the top performers inside of each measured category in our Statistical Analysis.

Keep on reading below for notes underscoring some of the top performers at this important annual event.



  • Glenbrook South’s Cole Luckey has quickly become one of the summer’s biggest revelations. Luckey had already been a highly followed prospect by our staff, ranked inside the state’s top-150 after a strong showing this winter, but Luckey has quickly taken his game to an even higher level this summer with a pair of outstanding performances, at both Top Prospect events in St. Louis and Chicago. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed-hitting outfielder ran a 6.63 and a 6.64, respectively, in the 60-yard dash at his last two events and arguably took one of the best BP rounds at both showcases. On Tuesday, he barreled a 100 mph line-drive off the bat according to TrackMan and was amongst the top in several BLAST metrics.
  • The event’s three catchers Benji Ries (Stevenson), Daniel Contreras (Rockford Boylan) and Noah Jouras (Lyons Township) made up arguably the top position player group on the day, and all three of the backstops should be on college coaches' radars moving forward.
    • Ries is a 6-foot, 185-pound broad-shouldered, right-handed hitter who put together one of the top BP rounds on the day. Ries swings with intent, and is consistently on the barrel while creating advanced bat speed – measured at 78.3 mph, according to BLAST. 
    • Contreras has a physical 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame and excels with his catch-and-throw abilities behind the plate. He is quiet, flexible, and offers an inviting target to pitch to, with soft hands, helping him stick pitches in and around the zone. From the right-handed batter’s box, Contreras has a short, strong swing and backspins the baseball to both gaps.
    • Jouras continues to improve his all-around game. The 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitter started his day running a 6.81 and followed up with a consistent, repeatable round of BP. Jouras, lets the ball travel, while creating bat speed with minimal effort, utilizing his strong lower half in his swing.
  • 1B Maxwell Thompson (Warren) fits the mold of a physical right-handed bat that could sit in the middle of an order. Thompson recorded the top average BLAST bat speed of the day at 80 mph. Thompson has strong, twitchy hands which helps create advanced bat speed with relative ease, all while controlling the barrel and staying within himself. Thompson worked gap-to-gap in his round and made a lot of loud contact.
  • Two middle infielders who stuck out with their overall performances on the day were Rance Bryant (Schlarman) and Tristan Samuelian (Burlington Central). Both have athletic hands and create whip in their swing from the right-side of the plate. Bryant posted the top rotational acceleration, averaging 26.8 G’s, and a top peak hand speed at 25.4 mph, both according to BLAST. Defensively, the two showed natural infield actions with soft, confident hands and enough arm strength to stick on the left side. 
  • INF Quinton Schwartz (Jacobs) has himself trending upwards after Tuesday’s event. Schwartz projects well as a 6-foot-1, 175-pound, high-waisted right-handed hitter. He also has chiseled his 60-yard dash time down from 7.08 this past winter to a 6.72 mark, laser-timed. Offensively, he works on top of the baseball with whippy quick hands, and backspins the baseball to both gaps.


  • Arguably one of the biggest winners on the pitching side of the day was RHP Nick Walczak (Maine South). Walczak showed a 2-3 mph velocity jump since the winter and he looks like he’s only scratching the surface. He is a lanky 6-foot-4, 185-pounds with a whippy arm action that helped him record one of the livelier fastballs of the day. He sat 86-87 mph, touching 88, with an average spin rate of 2283 and average induced vertical and horizontal movement of 13.9 and 7.2 inches, respectively.
  • RHP Brady Wells (Libertyville) showed off one of the top spinning fastballs for his velocity. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he’s a strong-bodied right-hander who worked 82-84 mph, touching 85, with a straight riding fastball that averaged a 2319 spin rate. If that number continues to climb along with his fastball velocity he could have the potential to produce a premium swing-and-miss four-seamer. Wells showed a similar aptitude for spinning his breaking ball, working in the 2300 RPM range.
  • 6-foot-5, 180-pound RHP Will Morris (Plainfield South) is another upside arm who showcased a high-spinning fastball. Morris topped out at 86.4 mph and had a median spin rate of 2336 RPM on his fastball.
  • RHP D.J. Morand (Loyola, 2021) put up the top fastball velocity of the day at 90.7 mph. Morand is an athletic build at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and uses a long arm action to get on top while pitching at a downhill angle. 
  • RHP Anthony Sorrentino (Lyons Township) creates a tough look for a hitter thanks to his high front side, deceptive delivery. On top of that, Sorrentino ran his fastball up to 87.8 mph, per TrackMan, with a median induced vertical break of 20.26 inches.
  • Cary-Grove’s Ryan Weaver was one of the first arms to toe the rubber on Tuesday afternoon. He strung together a polished pen, including a slight 2-3 mph velocity increase on his fastball since we last saw him at our Preseason All-State event four months ago. Weaver sat an easy 84-85 mph, touching 86, with an average induced vertical break of 16.6 inches and horizontal movement of -11.3 inches. Weaver worked around the zone with all three of his pitches and showed advanced feel for his changeup. He continues to be a high-follow uncommitted southpaw in Illinois’ 2021 class.