Underclass Invitational: 2015 Pitcher Analysis

By Steve Nielsen and Sean Duncan

The Illinois Underclass Invitational unveiled several elite arms in the Class of 2015, as well as putting a new left-handed pitcher on the map, Jake Hurst. Illinois’ 2015 class is extremely talented, and more and more names keep adding to the list.

Here’s how the Class of 2015 pitchers shook out at the Underclass Invitational on Jan. 20 at The Max:

Top Class of 2015 Pitchers

1. Jake Hurst, Peoria Notre Dame HS, LHP, Class of 2015
Projects to be one of the premier left-handed prospects in the Midwest; certainly should be one of the most coveted prospects in Illinois. Physically advanced 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame. Athletic, strong lower half, barrel chest. Arm works effortlessly from high-3/4 slot. Long and loose on the backside. Fastball sat at 85-86 mph. Comes out easy with late, heavy life. More velocity to come. Curveball also has potential to be plus pitch; 67-69 mph, with sharp, late two-plane action. Commands curveball for strikes with excellent arm action. Changeup is work in progress, in the 77-78 range. Smooth, in-line delivery; stays tall, repeats well with athletic finish. Earned top prospect honors at loaded Illinois Underclass Invitational on Jan. 20, 2013.  Has potential to be an elite national prospect.

2. Jeremy Orbik, Homewood-Flossmoor HS, RHP, Class of 2015
Top-level prospect in Illinois’ 2015 class; has potential to be high-level national prospect. Projectable 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-hander with long, lean frame. Arm works extremely fast with excellent hand acceleration and extension. Fastball topped at 87 mph, sitting 86, with late arm-side life. Works from high-3/4 slot with long, loose arm action. Throws three pitches with conviction. Curveball showed potential to be plus pitch at the next level, registering 71-72 mph with sharp, late two-plane break. Showed ability to throw curveball for strikes. Changeup ranged between 74-76 mph with little action.  As he continues to fill into his frame, Orbik should continue to add velocity in the coming years.

3. Mike Kogut, Nazareth Academy HS, RHP, Class of 2015
One of the most promising right-handed prospects in Illinois’ loaded 2015 class. Big-bodied 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame; has baby-face with plenty of room to mature. Works downhill well, stays tall on backside. Over-the-top arm slot; fastball topped at 87 mph with late, heavy life, especially when gets extension. Smooth in-line delivery with long, loose arm action. Ball comes out of hand easily. Changeup shows promise of being out-pitch as well. Throws changeup for strikes, in 79-80 mph range, with heavy sink. 71-73 mph curveball lacks depth.

4. Steven Skolarz, Lincoln-Way West HS, RHP, Class of 2015
Wide-shouldered 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander with advanced feel for three pitches. Around the plate with everything, all with movement. Athletic, repeatable delivery with long, loose arm action from high 3/4 slot. Fastball sat at 84 mph with late arm-side life. Both curveball and changeup have potential to be go-to out-pitches. 68-69 mph changeup showed late arm-side run thrown with excellent arm action. Curveball showed consistent sharp 11/5 break, in the 64-68 range, and throws it with confidence and conviction. Skolarz looks to be a high-level pitching prospect in Illinois’ loaded 2015 class.

5. Mack Rosman, Fremd HS, RHP/OF, Class of 2015
Athletic body, shows strength, 6-foot, 190-pound two-way player. Projects well on the mound, delivery shows rhythm, arm works quickly, high ¾ arm slot, delivery shows some effort, athletic finish. Fastball shows hard life, shows control, sits 86 mph. Curveball sits 74-75 mph, inconsistent action, mostly 11/5 tilt, flashes slurve action, thrown aggressively, has feel. Changeup is best secondary pitch, out pitch type action, aggressive arm speed, arm side run, shows command, 76-77 mph. Offensively hits from balanced setup, short stride, shows bat speed, 82 mph exit velocity, flashes pull side power, fluid rhythm. Defensively, loose arm action, quick arm, quick release, arm shows carry.

6. Bryan Hudson, Alton HS, LHP, Class of 2015
Lanky, long-limbed 6-foot-5, 175-pound left-hander with projectable frame and plenty of room to fill out. For size, has smooth, repeatable delivery. High 3/4 slot with long arm action. Arm works free and easily. Fastball sat at 78-79 mph with slight run. Commanded fastball for strikes. Breaking ball is more of a sweeping slurve, thrown at 68-69 mph. Slows arm action on 66-68 mph changeup. With his frame and arm action, Hudson should see his velocity climb in the coming years.

7. Dominic Pilas, Mt. Carmel HS, MIF/RHP, Class of 2015
Small, strong body, some physicality, 5-foot-9, 165-pound switch hitting two-way player. On the mound showed explosiveness in delivery, drop and drive tendencies, high ¾ arm slot, loose arm action, arm quickness, above average arm speed, some rhythm, throws with conviction. Fastball has run, 84-85 mph touching 86 mph in windup, 83-84 mph from stretch. Curveball varied in action, mainly 11/5 tilt, flashed 12/6, showed curveball command, aggressive arm speed, 70-72 mph. Changeup showed arm side run, similar arm speed to fastball, 71-73 mph. Defensively showed loose arm, strong arm with carry and accuracy, 77 mph. Hits from both sides of the plate, more athleticism from right side, right side natural side, more pop from right side, left side lacks looseness, stiff feel from left side, hits off of front foot from left side.

8. Cory Wright, St. Charles North HS, 1B/LHP, Class of 2015
Athletic body type, 6-foot-1, 170-pound left handed two-way player. Excellent defensive actions around the bag, soft hands, footwork is quick and fluid, good awareness around bag, athletic arm action, athletic release, excellent body control. Hits from left side, slightly open stance, short stride, smooth load, finds the barrel regularly, shows bat speed, excellent rhythm, short bat path. On the mound delivery is slightly up tempo, regular effort, direction is in line, athletic finish. Arm works quickly, high ¾ arm slot, loose and lively arm. Fastball shows late run, occasional sink, 80-82 mph. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, some sharp action, flashed plus depth at 69 mph. Changeup shows feel, thrown with command, shows arm side run, fastball arm speed, 71-73 mph.

9. Will Corn, Hiawatha HS, OF/RHP, Class of 2015
Strong 6-foot, 200-pound two-way player who possesses power tools across the board. Offensively, has potential to be an elite left-handed power bat. When squares up the baseball, the ball explodes off his bat with backspin carry. Registered 91 mph exit velocity off tee. Hits from an open, tall setup with inconsistent bat path and swing mechanics. Showed impressive bat speed through hitting zone and has aggressive overall approach. From the outfield, registered an event-best 87 mph throws at the Illinois Underclass Invitational. Throws were on line with carry. Ran a 7.9 60. On the mound, right-hander topped at 86 mph from high 3/4 slot with effort. Curveball (73-76) and changeup (74-76) lacked consistency.

10. Jamary McKinney, Simeon HS, C/RHP/1B, Class of 2015
Physical, athletically built 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect. Has strong legs and barrel chest. Showed impressively athletic feet with quick transfer being the plate. Throws were on-line with carry, with top pop times of 2.00, 2.02 and 2.07. Clocked at 76 mph from the crouch. Needs to improve receiving skills. Has an aggressive approach at the plate. Generates bat speed and barrel whip through zone from aggressive lower half. Showed some pull side power potential when mechanics are aligned. On the mound, fastball sat at 81-83 mph, topping at 84, with little movement. Secondary stuff is work in progress. Located changeup in 63-64 mph range.

11. Reid Birlingmair, Normal West HS, MIF/RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic frame, shows strength, 5-foot-11, 165-pound two way player. Hits from left side, left handed pull pop, explosive bat speed, 93 mph exit velocity, rotational swing, lacks repeatability, hard contact. Defensively shows strong arm (83 mph), long arm action, over the top slot, arm shows accuracy, athletic actions, average infield hands, could project as power hitting corner outfielder. On the mound shows arm speed, over the top arm action, quick arm, delivery shows effort, drop and drive style. Fastball sits 82-84 mph, touches 85 mph, shows control, some heaviness. Curveball works on 11/5 plane 64-67 mph, consistently down, near fastball arm speed. Changeup is straight, occasional arm side run, 67-70 mph.

12. Daniel Budziak, St. Rita HS, LHP/OF, Class of 2015
Small frame, 5-foot-10, 155-pound left handed two-way player. Showed well on the mound, delivery was smooth, tall and fall approach, easy effort, excellent balance throughout. Arm works from high ¾ arm slot, long arm action, average arm speed. Fastball sits 79-81 mph, fastball flashed cut action, also showed command. Curveball showed 11/5 shape, plus depth, thrown for strikes, 65-69 mph, fastball similar arm speed. Changeup sits 71-74 mph. Offensively hits from narrow stance, smooth load, short stride. Defensively displays long over the top arm action from outfield, arm show accuracy (78 mph).

13. Michael Lorenzi, Mount Carmel HS, LHP/1B, Class of 2015
Wide 6-foot, 225-pound two-way player who projects more on the mound. Fastball sat at 80-81 mph thrown from high 3/4 slot for strikes. Uses short arm action and drop and drive delivery. Changeup is solid pitch, throws it for strikes at 68-69 mph with sink down in the zone. Curveball inconsistent, but flashed a few with 12/6 break in 65-67 range. Has strong lower half and, if works on athleticism in delivery, has potential to add velocity in future.

14. Matt Ryan, St. Rita HS, LHP/OF, Class of 2015
Lanky, athletic build 5-foot-10, 150-pounds. Has projection on the mound, arm works cleanly, high ¾ arm slot, loose arm action, some quickness. Delivery exhibits smooth rhythm, excellent balance throughout, shoulders stay closed, on line direction, athletic finish, very repeatable delivery. Fastball sits 77-79 mph, slight running action, shows control. Breaking ball shows slurve action, 11/5 shape, some aggression in arm action, 66-69 mph. Changeup has arm side run, similar arm speed to fastball, 70-72 mph.

15. Jack Rettig, Mahomet-Seymour HS, LHP/OF, Class of 2015
Lanky, athletic frame, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two way player, good projection. Delivery shows easy effort, rhythm is smooth, long loose arm action, high ¾ arm slot, moderate arm speed, excellent overall feel. Fastball has command, 76-78 mph, slight run. Breaking ball shows slurve action, gradual break, thrown for strikes, 66-68 mph. Changeup shows command, 70-71 mph, arm side action, thrown with similar arm speed to fastball. Offensively hits from the right side, quiet approach, balance setup, no stride, good bat speed, short level path, line drive approach, shows rhythm.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Austin Blazevic, Plainfield Central HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Solidly built 6-foot-1, 178-pound two-way prospect. Left-handed hitting corner infielder showed balanced line-drive approach. Mechanically sound with swing looseness. Has inconsistent swing path, at times coiling front side. Ball jumps off bat when square. Showed solid arm strength at third base (80 mph); footwork needs refinement. Ran a 7.85 60. On mound, has short backside arm action from high ¾ slot. Throws fastball for strikes, in the 79-80 mph range. Curveball is best pitch. Throws it with conviction, in the 70-71 range, with some sharp 11/5 break. Also showed feel and command for changeup (72-73 mph), with some sink.

Sean Burnette, St. Laurence HS, OF/RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic build, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two way player. Excellent outfield prowess, advanced defensive actions, plays through the ball well, uses crow hop, transfers cleanly. Arm works well, high ¾ arm slot, arm shows accuracy, 78 mph arm strength. Hits out of open stance, smooth load, short stride, quiet approach, shows bat speed, 80 mph exit velocity, swing shows extension through baseball, power potential. On the mound delivery has rhythm, high ¾ arm slot. Fastball sits 77-79, slight run, shows control. Curveball works 11/5 plane at 66-68 mph. Changeup stayed down, 68-72 mph, similar arm speed to fastball.

Garrett Davis, Geneva HS, LHP/OF, Class of 2015
6-foot, 160-pound two way player. On the mound arm works cleanly from the left side, high ¾ arm slot, tall and fall delivery. Fastball sits 70-72 mph, minimal action. Curveball has gradual 11/5 action at 60-63 mph. Changeup (66-68 mph) flashed occasional sink, arm decelerates. Defensively shows accurate arm (74 mph), over the top outfield arm, average outfield actions. Offensively hits from open stance, solid setup, short stride, excellent balance, active lower half, short path, easy swing.

Grant Farmer, Illinois Lutheran HS, RHP/3B, Class of 2015
Lanky frame, 6-foot-1, 175-pound two way player. Delivery shows some rhythm, tall and fall approach, long arm action, high back swing, high ¾ arm action, moderate arm speed. Fastball shows run and sink to arm side, shows control, sits 76-78 mph, Changeup has deception, thrown with command, excellent arm side action, 69-71 mph, above average feel for the pitch. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, gradual break, 64-66 mph. Offensively uses short stride, minimal load, some collapse in back side, level bat path, bat speed present, 86 mph exit velocity.

Dakota Head, Benton HS, SS/RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame. Showed advanced middle infield actions. Takes concise routes to baseball; plays through the ball, and hands and feet work together well. Soft, easy hands and showed ability to throw ball at different angles. Accurate throws clocked at 70 mph. Defensive athleticism doesn’t reflect 7.65 60 time. Offensively, hits from open setup, using short stride and balanced lower half. Bat stays flat through hitting zone. Weak top hand inhibits power potential. On the mound, showed repeatable, smooth mechanics with rhythm and tempo. Fastball sat at 77-79 mph from high 3/4 slot. Slows arm action on both curveball (59-62 mph) and changeup (65-67 mph).

Joe Kenney, Mahomet-Seymour HS, SS/RHP, Class of 2015
Strong frame, 5-foot-10, 170-pound two-way player. Projects better positionally, athletic infield actions, long arm action, strong arm (82 mph), arm shows carry and accuracy. Hits from balanced setup, smooth load, slight leg lift trigger, lower half works well, short path, line drive hitter, flashes hard contact.

Esteban Martinez, St. Rita HS, INF/RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic 6-foot, 170-pound switch hitting two-way player. Defensively shows excellent arm strength (82 mph), hands work quickly, shows some effort defensively, good body control. Offensively hit from both sides, shows bat speed from both sides, right handed shows more pop, more explosiveness right handed, pull side approach left handed. On the mound delivery shows effort, high ¾ arm slot, quick arm action, up tempo delivery. Fastball sat 80-81 mph, showed run, minimal control. Curveball showed minimal action (70-72 mph). Changeup had cut action, lacks feel, 71-72 mph.

Mitchell Matuszewski, Lincoln-Way East HS, 1B/RHP, Class of 2015
Projectable 6-foot-5, 192-pound two-way player. Projects more as a position player. Moves well for size; ran a 7.2 60. Offensively, showed pull power potential from right side. Utilizes lower half well with extension after contact. Ball jumped off bat with some carry and loft. Registered 89 mph exit speed off tee. Big target at first base. Footwork/glovework need refinement. On mound, fastball topped at 79 mph, sitting 77-78, with some effort. Threw 68-70 mph changeup for strikes with slight arm-side run.

Adrian Morris, Yorkville HS, LHP/OF, Class of 2015
Average frame, 5-foot-10, 185-pound left handed two way player. Hits from balanced setup, short stride, good balance throughout, lacks top hand, high helicopter finish, makes hard contact, 82 mph exit velocity. On the mound uses high ¾ arm slot, long arm action, delivery shows some effort, drop and drive style, shows some rhythm. Fastball lacks action, sits 76-77, touches 78. Curveball works on 11/5 plane, gradual break, curveball lacks finish, 58-61 mph. Changeup sits 64 mph, arm action flashes deceleration.

Marcus Reiser, McHenry HS, RHP/OF, Class of 2015
5-foot-10, 150-pound two way player. Showed more promise on the mound. Works from a high ¾ arm slot with a long arm action, delivery shows effort, shoulders tend to work uphill, lacks direction, up tempo delivery. Fastball has slight run, shows control, 79-80 mph, touches 81 mph. Curveball shows 12/6 shape, above average depth, sits 64-67 mph, showed better action when 66-67 mph. Changeup thrown with fastball arm speed, flashes slight arm side run, 72-74 mph. Hits from a slightly open stance, narrow stance, short stride, improved balance and timing will lead to better contact.

John Riordan, St. Laurence HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Strong frame, athletic build, 5-foot-11, 175-pound two way player. Defensively shows strong arm, arm shows carry, hands work well defensively, good first step. Hits from slightly open stance, no stride, no load, solid balance throughout, stays flat through zone. On the mound delivery shows rhythm and direction, good tempo. Arm works cleanly, high ¾ arm slot. Fastball shows some late run, 79-80 mph. Curveball has 12/6 shape, shows bite and depth, near fastball arm speed, 65-67 mph. Changeup thrown with command, down in the zone, 74-76 mph, shows arm side action and sink.

Edgar Sanchez, Marmion HS, MIF/RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic build, lanky frame, long limbs, 6-foot, 165-pound two way player. Defensively shows soft hands, transfers cleanly, long strided defensively, 7.19 runner. Offensively, hits from open stance, good balance throughout, excellent bat speed, 88 mph exit velocity. On the mound arm works from high ¾ slot, moderate arm speed, delivery shows some rhythm, upright finish. Fastball shows slight run, shows control, 78-79 mph. Curveball lacks action, 67-70 mph. Changeup is best secondary, fastball similar arm speed, shows arm side run and sink, thrown for strikes (69-71 mph).

Ryan Scharf, St. Teresa HS, RHP, Class of 2015
Athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander with strong lower half. Works from over-the-top slot, with a long, loose backside arm action and high back elbow. Showed athleticism in delivery with good tempo and rhythm. Fastball sat at 79 mph, topping at 80, with some cut action. Throws fastball for strikes. Lacked command of secondary pitches. Curveball sat at 61 mph with loose spin, while changeup registered at 68-69.

Kyle Strepek, Plainfield North HS, LHP, Class of 2015
5-foot-10, 162-pound left handed pitcher. Delivery is up tempo, arm works long out of ¾ arm slot, shoulders stay closed, tends to work across his body, hard landing. Fastball sits 81-82 mph, erratic location, some late life. Curveball thrown with arm speed, flashes sweeping action, gradual break. Changeup sits 62-64 mph, decelerated arm action, lacks control.

Luke Styka, Andrean HS (IN), RHP/3B, Class of 2015
Strong wide shouldered frame, 5-foot-11, 175-pound two way player. Offensively hits from balanced setup, arm bar load, short stride, lower half works well, some stiffness, flashes pop. Defensively arm works long and over the top, stands up through release, footwork lacks athleticism. On the mound, works from over the top slot, moderate arm speed, delivery shows some rhythm, level shoulders, square landing, athletic finish. Fastball sits 74-77 mph, straight, consistently up. Curveball shows some 12/6 action, consistently down. Changeup at 64-65 mph, straight, decelerated arm action.

Jake Suca, Joliet West HS, 3B/RHP, Class of 2015
Lanky, athletic frame, 6-foot-1, 170-pound two-way player. Hits from balanced setup, uses leg kick trigger, solid balance throughout, stays through the ball well, flat path, gets extension. On the mound shows solid mechanics, good balance, tall and fall approach, ¾ arm action, arm works long and loosely. Fastball shows above average run to arm side, command of fastball, sit 76-77 mph. Breaking ball lacks identity, 64-65 mph, addition of slider would play well. Changeup shows sink, thrown for strikes, 63-64 mph.

Sam Zoibi, Lake Zurich HS, RHP/3B, Class of 2015
6-foot-1, 165-pound two way player. On the mound works from high ¾ arm slot, long arm action, arm shows stiffness, delivery exhibits effort, some rhythm. Fastball has run and sink to arm side, slight heavy feel, sits 74-76 mph. Curveball works 11/5 plane, 64-65 mph. Changeup has fading action, 67-68 mph.

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