Top Prospect - Chicago: Quick Hits


By Kevin Coe and Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Staff

On Tuesday June 22nd the PBR Illinois staff held an invitation only Top Prospect - Chicago event at Ozinga Field in Crestwood, IL.  The event featured 40 players from the class of 2022.  Today we take an early look at some of the talent that stood out. 

POSITION PLAYERS

+ OF Evan Baptiste (Barrington, 2022) is a quick twitch athlete, his athleticism showed up in all facets of the workout.  He ran an event best, laser-timed 60, coming in at 6.56.  He also threw 88 mph from the outfield while showing athletic, quick footwork and soft hands. The right-handed hitter also took a quality round of BP. Baptiste showed a loose, compact swing and gap-to-gap approach; consistently made hard line-drive contact to all fields, while registering a max exit velocity of 95 mph.

+ C Jackson Bessette (South Elgin, 2022) had a strong all-around day.  From behind the plate he consistently delivered pop times ranging 1.97- 2.09 and recorded an event-best catcher velocity of 81 mph from the crouch. Bessette also ran a 6.84 laser-timed 60 (second-best of the event) and took a noteworthy round of BP. The right-handed hitter has a short, strong swing and is direct to contact with the barrel.  He has a line drive gap to gap approach and registered an max exit velocity of 96 mph.

+ INF Trent Koehler (Lincoln Community, 2022) stood out amongst the rest of the field when it came to his infield defense. The highly-athletic shortstop started his day by running a 6.85 60 and his foot speed carried over to defense. Koehler plays light and fast on his feet, covering a lot of ground and playing with advanced body control on the move. He is a natural defender with a plus arm at 93 mph, which plays accurately and with a quick glove-to-hand exchange. Koehler’s round of defense was one of the more impressive takeaways from the day. Offensively he used a loose, uphill swing to deliver gap to gap line drives.  He registered a max exit velocity of 91mph.

+ INF Owen Ross (Yorkville, 2022) showed raw, elite tools and twitchy athleticism on the day.  Defensively, he moves well for his 6-foot-3, 200-pound, long, athletic frame. He plays light on his feet with soft hands and tied for an event-best velocity across the infield at 93 mph. Ross also showed a high-ceiling right-handed bat that recorded a top exit velocity during BP of 98 mph off the bat. Ross has a loose, whippy swing with present bat speed. Ross swings with a purpose and aggression, looking to drive baseballs with authority. High-ceiling, toolsy prospect with more strength to come in the frame. 

+ OF Jermaine Young (St. Patrick, 2022), a 6-foot-3, 230-pound, wide-shouldered, physical, right-handed hitter, put together arguably the most impressive round of bp on the day. His advanced strength translates to the box where he routinely hammered baseballs that registered 95+ mph off the bat, his best swing registering 101 mph off the bat. Young, who features some of the best bat strength in the class, creates easy jump to the pull-side of the diamond and his short/flat path generates impressive backspin and carry. 

+ C Harry Fandre (Hinsdale Central, 2022) was one of the top left-handed bats in attendance. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound, broad-chested catcher, showed off present bat speed, an uphill swing, knack for the barrel and consistently drove balls with authority into the pull-side gap. Fandre recorded an average exit speed of 93.81 mph off the bat, best of the event, and a max distance of 372'.

PITCHERS

10 of the 13 arms in attendance ran their fastball up to 84 mph, or harder, with a number of them emerging as follows for the rest of the summer.

+ RHP Christopher Bieniek (Notre Dame College Prep, 2022), listed at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, registered the hardest fastball on the day, coming in at 88 mph.  Bieniek has a long, quick arm action that plays out of a high ¾ slot. His four-seam fastball plays straight with hard/heavy action and occasional cut at 82-86 mph, touching 88 (2423 rpm).  He also showed off a curveball with a max spin rate of 2468 rpm, sitting 67-72 mph.

+ RHP/OF Jake Kohanzo (Barrington, 2022), showed bat strength at the plate and a strong arm on the mound. The physical, 6-foot-2, 200-pound, right-hander ran his fastball up to 87 mph, sitting 85-87 with a max spin rate of 2350 rpm. Kohanzo’s fastball seems to play up do to his quick arm and it seems to come out of a short, high ¾ window. 

+ RHP Cole Shamhart (Oak Park-River Forest, 2022) put together arguably the most polished ‘pen of the day. The 6-foot-2, 155-pound, lean, square-shouldered, upside right-hander worked with easy effort and spotted up his three-pitch mix throughout his bullpen session. Shamhart has a clean, compact arm that plays out of a high ¾ slot and works the corners of the plate with his 82-83, T84 mph fastball. Shamhart showed above-average feel for his low-70’s curveball and 75-77 mph changeup, working the bottom of the zone while seemingly playing a game of catch. Highly-intriguing look at the uncommitted 2022 arm.

+ One of the loosest arms on the day belonged to RHP/SS Kyle Kaempf (McHenry, 2022), who say 84-87 mph (T2399 rpm) in his bullpen. The 6-foot-1, 155-pound, wiry right-hander seems to have much more in the tank while also showing off a 73-76 mph curveball (2306 max rpm), thrown with aggression and late sweeping action. 

There were a number of other quality arms worth mentioning that we will touch on in the coming weeks. 

CLICK HERE for a complete roster from the day.

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