Prep Baseball Report

Top Tier South: Takeaways

By Illinois Scouting Staff

On Tuesday, June 6th, the PBR Illinois staff traveled to Triton College to host the Top Tier Scout Day, where 150+ players from the Top Tier program participated in a pro-style workout in front of our staff.

To see a full list of players that attended, click HERE. For all the statistics collected at this event, click HERE.

Today we’ll dive deeper into a few of the players who popped to our scouts on the day of this event. We broke down the event into individual takeaway stories from each Top Tier affiliate. Below you’ll learn more about a handful of names to know from the Top Tier South team. 


SS/RHP Jimmy Anderson (Joliet West, 2024), a recent Heartland CC commit has shown well a number of times this summer and it started at this event. The 6-foot, 180-pound, broad-shouldered, athletic, two-way prospect started off his workout by running a 7.00 in the 60-yard dash. At the plate he has a smooth, easy, controlled right-handed swing with quick, strong hands that were highlighted by posting the highest max hand speed of the day 27.4 mph and an average hand speed of 25.2 mph, also an event high. Defensively, he continues to stand out at shortstop where he plays with loose, confident, easy actions and plays with body control when ranging around the infield. After topping at 83 mph on the infield he hopped on the mound and showed plenty of intrigue there as well. On the mound he showed a lively fastball that he commanded to the glove side at 84-86 mph. He also showed two polished offspeed offerings including a mid-70s changeup and 69-70 mph curveball.

Jimmy Anderson

MIF Jackson Smith (Providence Catholic, 2024), a recent Bradley commit, is a 6-foot, 175-pound, lean athletic, left-handed hitting middle infielder who has been on the rise in 2023. During BP he was on the barrel consistently, controlling the barrel and lining balls to all fields while registering a 93.3 mph max exit velocity. Defensively, he stood out with his athletic ability up the middle, where he showed to be sure-handed and rangy to both sides. Also showcased a loose and whippy arm that can play from multiple slots, topping at 83 mph. Smith rounded out his day with a 6.92 60 (tied for 5th best at the event). 

Jackson Smith

RHP/1B Merek Klicker (Morris, 2025) showed well on the mound in this look. Klicker had a clean and fluid operation on the mound with feel to spin the baseball. His fastball ran up to 82.9 mph with a max spin rate of 2505 rpm (3rd-best at event). Klicker also spun his curveball at a high-rate (2465 rpm) and landed it for strikes, and flashed a developing changeup. 

1B Jake Troyner (Joliet Catholic, 2024) is coming off a state championship this spring where he was one of the leading producers for the Hilltopper offense. Troyner showed no signs of slowing down at the Scout Day, putting together a sound round of batting practice from the left side. At 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, has long, strong levers and works out of a narrow, open setup. Troyner stays on balance throughout and works with minimal effort while showing feel for the barrel, a gap-to-gap approach and a max exit velocity of 92.5 mph. 

OF Gavin Powels (Downers Grove South, 2025) is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound strong and sturdy outfielder who put together an all-around solid showing. Powels, a right-handed hitter, set multiple event-highs during BP with a max exit velocity of 103.5 mph, and a max distance of 380 feet. In the field, Powels attacked the baseball in the outfield, playing with clean actions, a quick arm and topped at 82 mph. 

C Owen Young (Joliet West, 2024) is a recent Lewis commit who stands at a compact, strong 5-foot-9, 200-pounds. The right-handed hitter has strong hands and a compact swing that works flat through the zone while using the whole field and flashing jump off the barrel; registered a 91.6 mph exit velocity. Defensively, he is a quality receiver that presents a low target with quiet hands and a receptive glove with the ability to present pitches and get underneath the pitch at the bottom of the zone. 

1B Jackson Petsche (Oswego East, 2024) is an uncommitted 6-foot-1, 205-pound left-handed hitter of note. Petsche creates natural lift and leverage to the pull-side of the diamond, staying on plane while registering a max exit velocity of 95.7.

OF Ian Hazelip (Lincoln-Way West, 2025) is a right-handed hitting outfielder who ran a 6.97, one of the better times of the event, and worked uphill through the zone while staying on the barrel; T92.7 mph exit velocity during BP. 

Zakary Henrich (New Prairie, 2025), who hails from Indiana, was another outfielder who ran well at the event, a 6.84 laser-timed. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound right-handed hitter, looked natural in the outfield playing with easy actions, clean footwork and a loose, clean arm that topped at 89 mph, an event high. He also peaked at 90 mph off the bat during BP.

CLICK HERE for a link to the event page.