Prep Baseball Report

Underclass Invitational: Quick Hits

By Drew Locascio and Adam Panayotovich
Illinois Scouting Staff

The Underclass Invitational is one of Illinois’ most highly anticipated events on the PBR Illinois showcase calendar. The invitation-only event for the state’s top 2021 and 2022 prospects was held on Feb. 17, at The MAX in McCook, Ill. Over 115 of Illinois’ best freshman and sophomores represented themselves at the sold-out event last weekend.

As expected, this was an absolutely loaded event that yielded to us a brand new crop of underclass talent to follow as they continue maturing and developing at the high school level. Specifically, there were a fair share of explosive PBR-event debutants, a robust core of backstops, as well as a handful of high-follow southpaws who made their presence felt.

Keep on reading below for our staff’s rapid analysis regarding the Underclass Invitational. We’ll share additional analysis tomorrow with a more statistical focus, too, with complete position-by-position analysis and complementary video slated to be posted in the coming weeks.



+ RHP Lazaro Marquez (Homeschool) made quite the impression at his first ever event. The 6-foot, 180-pound, barrel-chested right-handed pitcher emerged as one of the hardest throwing sophomores in the state. Marquez features an extremely fast arm out front and ran his fastball up to 91 mph. The secondary lacks control at this point but both are thrown with conviction and have action when around the zone.


+ OF/1B George Korompilas (Glenbrook South), who started on varsity as a freshman last year, confirmed he is a physical left-handed bat to follow in the 2021 class. Korompilas flashes strong, quick hands at the plate and pull-side power potential.

+ Another physical 2021 outfielder to follow is Gavin Baldwin from Nashville HS in Southern Illinois. Baldwin has an advanced 6-foot-3, 215-pound, frame and swings an aggressive right-handed bat. Baldwin has power potential in his swing and registered a 98 mph exit velocity from a tee.

+ A trio of 2022 right-handed arms who opened some eyes at their first PBR events were Abram Wills(Coal City), Owen Murphy (Riverside-Brookfield) and Nicholas Kolze (Romeoville). Wills threw one of the more polished bullpens on the day and ran his fastball up to 86 mph. Murphy has a simple and athletic delivery with little waisted motions, an advanced feel for three, while topping his fastball at 85 mph. Kolze, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound, strong right-handed pitcher has easy life to his fastball that was up to 86 mph and showed feel for a three-pitch mix.


+ A trio of uncommitted middle infielders who impressed with their all-around game were Gallien Coupet (Homewood-Flossmoor, 2021), Shane Baumgarten (Wheaton Academy, 2021) and 2022 Christian Holmes (De La Salle). Coupet, a 6.76 runner in the 60, has a loose right-handed swing, made a lot of hard contact and is an actiony infield defender. Baumgarten continues to impress everytime we see him and ran a personal best, 6.87 60 on Sunday. Baumgarten, a right-handed hitter, has easy bat speed, backspins the baseball and has advanced defensive actions and a quick transfer.

+ Holmes was arguably the top 2022 infield prospect in attendance. Holmes, is a natural infield defender who plays well on the move, has soft hands and can throw from multiple arm angles. At the plate, the right-handed hitter, has a highly-repeatable swing, stays through the zone and consistently worked gap-to-gap.


+ If you are looking for some impressive arms outside of the Chicagoland area, there are plenty of them to go around. The depth and high-end talent has been on full display this winter and especially this past Sunday. A number of the Bloomington/Normal area arms were mentioned above as breakout prospects making their PBR debuts. The arms mentioned below have been on the radar now for awhile but their stuff and stock continues to tick up.

+ RHP Ben Hess (Charleston, 2021) continues to show out at each and every PBR event he attends. The fastball velocity continues to rise (88 mph) along with his feel for both secondary offerings. Hess has live actions for his advanced 6-foot-4, 195-pound build and pair that with an electric arm action, he will be one of the tougher at-bats for any hitter in the state.


Cylis Cox (Staunton, 2021) may have had the best repertoire in attendance. Cox uses his uber athletic frame to repeat his easy delivery showing feel for a three pitch mix in the zone. He pushed his fastball up to 85 mph with a power curve and changeup with fastball deception.

+ This is now the second time we’ve seen MacCallan Conklin (Normal University, 2021) at a PBR event and the RHP has the actions and athleticism pitching coaches dream on. He has all around feel on the mound, stays connected through his delivery with smooth rhythm throughout. Conklin sat his fastball in the mid 80’s, while showing a sharp, swing and miss curve and a changeup that mimicked well of his fastball.


+ Marist, which will be representing Illinois at the prestigious NHSI event this spring, featured two of the better catchers on the day, 2022 Nate Voss and 2021 Jonny Crowel. Voss, arguably the top catcher on the day, emerged as one of the top catchers we have seen in the 2022 class. Voss has a big arm from behind the plate, registered sub-2.0 pop times and has loose hands, easy bat speed and fluid rhythm at the plate. Crowel, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound, right-handed hitter has a simple swing with a level path and athletic feet with a strong arm from behind the plate.


+ A versatile 2022 C/INF to watch is Jayden Comia (Sandburg). Comia has highly-athletic feet and feel for both positions. At the plate, he has a simple right-handed stroke that stays short to the ball and uses the entire field.

Sebastian Cabeza (Kaneland), Ty Batusich (Joliet West), Emmanuel Scott (St. Ignatius), Brian Rapanan (Warren) and Mason Roehr (Granite City; Missouri State commit) all solidified themselves once again as some of the best 2021 backstops in the state.

+ Catcher Tyler Pecson (Palatine) was emerged as an athletic 2021 catcher to follow moving forward. Pecson ran a 6.77 60, has a hitterish look in the box with a fast bat and advanced approach.


Grant Holderfield (Oak Park-River Forest, 2021) is yet another athletic-framed LHP with easy effort in his delivery. Holderfield dropped in perhaps the best breaking balls throughout the day and sat his fastball at 83 mph.

+ Two imposing-framed southpaws Adam Dowler (Oswego East, 2021) and Eric Orloff (Glenbrook North, 2021) showed well for themselves on the mound. Dowler, standing a bit taller at 6-foot-3, saw his velo jump four ticks to 87 mph since we’ve last saw him in July of last year. His arm plays clean and showed feel for a power change. Orloff creates deception hiding the ball through his delivery, while also showing feel for a changeup. Orloff sat his heater in the low 80’s topping 84 mph.

Daniel Flores (East Leyden, 2021) has an uptempo style with an aggressive arm action. Standing at at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, Flores sat his fastball in the low 80’s, topping 84 mph with arm speed on all offerings.

2021 ARMS

+ The trio of 2021 RHPs Tom Egan (Mount Carmel), Cole Collander (Oswego East) and Adam Brouwer(Chicago Christian) all have overall upside in their abilities on the mound. Egan has clearly been working on his ‘stuff’ jumping his fastball velo five notches to 87 mph over 5 months time. Collander has a short and quick arm action with a fastball that touched 85 mph. Brouwer earned his invite impressing us at the Illiana Preseason ID. A highly-repeatable delivery, Brouwer has a loose easy arm action with feel for an above average changeup.


+ INF Nathan Buchan (Plainfield Central), OF Ryan Orput (Hinsdale Central) and OF Cameron Hill (Kenwood) had some of the more physically impressive frames on the day and plenty of tools to catch the eye. Buchan, listed at 6-foot-2, 204-pounds, registered a 102 mph exit velocity and drove balls with authority during his round of BP.

Orput is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound, left-handed hitter who ran a 6.74 60, has quick twitch in his swing and was 96 mph from a tee.

Hill, now listed at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, continues to grow and add strength to his long, projectable frame. Hill has an upside right-handed bat with loose, strong hands and registered an exit velocity of 97 mph.


+ 2022 Alex Stanwich (Lincoln-Way East) is an all-around hybrid athlete that continues to improve his frame and skills. The chiseled-framed two-way player had perhaps the most impressive statistical performance of the day; 7.09 60-yard dash, 88 OF velo, 102 exit velo, and a fastball that topped 87 mph.

+ OF Zamaurion Hatcher (Kenwood, 2021) has one of the sweetest left-handed swings in the 2021 class. He stays smooth through contact and flashed quick twitch in his hands, though we will look to see that translate to game play come this spring. Hatcher also has the present tools and actions to man centerfield moving forward.

+ 3B Vytas Valincius (St. Laurence), the No. 1 player in the 2021 class and a South Carolina commit, registered a baffling 107 mph exit velocity. The physically-imposing Valincius took an impressive round of BP, routinely squaring up baseballs and flashed big power to all fields.


+ Outfielders Nicky Giamarusti (Notre Dame) and William Pauling (Homewood-Flossmoor) were the top two runners on the day, a 6.46 and 6.54, respectively. Giamarusti has strength in his swing and Pauling attacks the baseball in the outfield and his throws topped at 85 mph.