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Underclass Showcase: Quick Hits


By: Illinois Scouting Staff

On Sunday, Oct. 17, the PBR Illinois staff returned to The MAX Sports Complex to host the fall’s Underclass Showcase. This annual event serves as an opportunity for prospects in the state’s 2024-25 classes to display their talents in front of our scouting staff prior to the start of the off-season. There were nearly 60 prospects who made the trip to The MAX on Sunday to participate in a pro-style workout in front of our evaluators.

For a complete look of which prospects were in attendance, and more details on the day, click here.

Now, at the event’s conclusion, our scouting staff has collaborated with a few notes from the day’s standouts inside this Quick Hits piece. Below you’ll find which players' performances caught the attention of our scouts and a brief nugget on them.

QUICK HITS

ARMS

+ LHP Joe Olson (St. Laurence) is a young arm to keep close tabs on in the 2025 class. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound, strong-bodied left-hander impressed during his bullpen at his first-ever PBR event. Olson has a compact, clean arm action that plays out of a high ¾ slot with minimal effort throughout. The fastball plays clean out of the hand with occasional jump through the zone, spinning at a max rate of 2,128 rpm. Olson also landed his 68-70 mph slider for strikes and showed a changeup that played mostly to his arm side. Consider the St. Laurence lefty to be a talented pitcher to follow inside this 2025 class.

(10/17/2021)


+ Here’s another arm to emerge as a follow in the 2025 class: RHP/1B Xander Metke (Nazareth Academy). Metke has a 6-foot-2, 195-pound, strong, big-bodied frame and he showed well both on the mound and at the plate. From the bump, Metke controls his strong frame well, repeating his delivery and moving down the mound with fluidity. The arm plays loose, quick and clean from a ¾ slot and he peppered the bottom of the strike zone with his fastball that sat 76-77 mph, touching 78, with an average spin rate of 2,065 rpm – and there’s much more velocity on the way. Metke also showed off above-average feel at the bottom of the zone with his curveball and changeup, both of which have a chance to be legitimate out-pitches down the road. He’s a big-bodied, projectable arm in the 2025 class. Additionally, Metke also stood out with his easy, loose, level right-handed swing. Metke’s swing has rhythm, fluidity, he uses a leg-kick timing trigger and worked gap-to-gap throughout his round, and his top exit velocity was measured at 89 mph during BP.

+ RHP Keegan Waters (Morris) was one of the top 2024 arms on the day. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed arm has a prototypical pitcher's frame; tall, long-limbed with some strength in the lower half and plenty more physical development to tap into down the road. He works with a tall-and-fall delivery, short clean arm circle, and he sat 81-82 mph throughout his bullpen, and his fastball spun at a max rate of 2,075 rpm. Waters featured a four-pitch mix, and he filled up the zone with his fastball and he spun his 62-64 mph curveball well, combining to create a follow profile in the 2024 class.

+ LHP Aden McManaway (Altamont) is another intriguing arm in the 2024 class who made the trip up from central Illinois. McManaway has an athletic, wide-shouldered, 6-foot-1, 173-pound frame and he featured a three-pitch mix from an over-the-top slot and also dropped down to a true side-arm slot and showed off a fastball/slider mix. Even with the multiple slots, McManaway pounded the zone with his fastball (topped at 80 mph). His sweeping slider from his side-arm slot looks like an extremely tough pitch for a left-handed hitter to handle. The pitch starts in the left-handed batter’s box and finishes at the bottom of the zone for a strike. The arm is clean and quick with present athleticism throughout his delivery. Athletic, left-handed arm to follow moving forward. 

POSITION PLAYERS

+ OF Chris Daugherty (Brother Rice, 2024) has an athletic, proportional build and he used it to clock a 6.99 in the 60 at the start of his day. Daugherty went on to produce one of the top rounds of BP, displaying a strong, polished, and loose swing consistently. He uses a leg kick stride to sync up his timing on repeat, and it allowed him to square up baseballs one after the other, averaging one of the day’s highest average exit velocities (85.1 mph). His bat path is level, with good extension, and he uses a gap-to-gap approach to pepper line-drives to all sides of the field, and he demonstrated above-average bat strength from the right side, with an 89.8 mph max exit speed. On defense, Daugherty has a loose, strong, and accurate arm and his throws home from the outfield were consistently on-line, coming out of a high ¾ slot, topping 82 mph. His footwork is athletic, and it allowed him to play through the baseball effortlessly, creating a well-rounded prospect profile to monitor early next year.

+ INF/C/RHP Enzo Infelise (Providence Catholic, 2025) is another freshman with an advanced skill-set that’s continuously impressed our staff each time we’ve seen him. He turned in one of the day’s most eye-opening rounds of BP, elevating and attacking the baseball with a controlled intent. Infelise posted well above-average rates in peak batted distance (341 ft.) and average distance (289 ft.), including one of the day’s hardest hit balls (90.9 mph) and an impressive average exit velocity (86.1 mph), too. Defensively, behind the plate, he showed advanced actions with soft hands and quick exchanges to release. His arm played strong from the crouch and accurate to his target, topping at 74 mph with a low pop time of 2.00 seconds. He also showed instincts and rhythm on the infield with soft hands to pair. Later on in his day, Infelise jumped on the mound and sat at 78-79 mph with his fastball. He’s a multi-positional prospect with a potent right-handed bat to follow in the state’s 2025 class. 

+ SS Trey Schilling (Lincoln Community, 2024) has an athletic 5-foot-10, 165-pound build, and he brings with him an advanced skill set to the ballpark. Offensively, Schilling’s right-handed swing works with above-average hand speed that is short, level, and direct to the zone. Off the barrel, Schilling works gap-to-gap and handles the barrel well. His athleticism fits a middle-infield profile, with active feet that he uses to cover ground with fluidly. His arm action is short and quick, and the rhythm he defends with allows him to exchange the ball quickly and efficiently, unleashing carry throws across the infield, reaching an 84 mph high on Sunday.

+ Physically, INF David Cox (Nazareth Academy, 2024) stands out instantly, listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Inside the right-handed batter’s box, Cox swats line-drives to all fields, naturally translating to above-average exit speed marks (91.9 mph high). His swings is simple, which allows him to repeat it well; starting from a balanced setup that leads into a small leg kick stride, and his loose hands and forearms generate some extension through impact, though he finishes his swing while maintaining his balance well. On the infield, Cox profiles as a corner type, and he has the arm strength to hold his own at third base, measured at 81 mph at this event.

+ OF Luke Jurack (Hinsdale Central, 2024) is well-proportioned, athletic prospect who recorded one of the pound-for-pound best performances at the Underclass Showcase. Jurack passes every eye test: a strong, broad stature that fills out the jersey, sub-6.90 speed, with barrel accuracy from the right-handed batter’s box. Offensively, Jurack utilizes the entire field with a swing that he naturally repeats, demonstrating a knack for hitting. On defense, he continued to impress athletically, playing with a bounce from the outfield, ranging around smoothly. His all-around profile has made him one of the state’s top sophomores already, ranked inside the top-40. 

+ At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, the athleticism OF Luca Royer (Lake Forest, 2024) contains inside his projectable frame is what stands out most. Royer’s right-handed swing recorded one of the day’s top rounds of BP, as the big-bodied outfielder showcased a loose, short swing that found the barrel on repeat, producing steady line-drive contact to all fields. His max exit speed – a 93.3 mph liner – was measured as the event-high. Royer ran a 7.29 in the 60, a quality time for a player his age and size, and his speed allows him to move around the outfield capably, attached to an arm that reached an 81 mph high to home.

+ C Owen Young (Joliet West, 2024) used his sturdy strength to stand out on both sides of the ball on Sunday. Young creates easy bat speed that allows him to generate hard contact on the barrel with each swing from the righty batter’s box. Young stays balanced and level through the zone, and he produced a max exit speed of 89 mph, among the day’s highest. From behind the dish, Young showcased as one of the event’s best backstops. He showed above-average arm strength that played alongside his quick and efficient catch-and-release, with accuracy, resulting in one of the event’s lowest average pop times (ranging between 2.02-2.14).

+ OF/LHP Ben Toft (New Trier, 2025) is a 5-foot-10, 155-pound, left/left prospect with an athletic frame and easy actions on both sides of the ball. Toft has an advanced skill set for his age, gliding to a 7.14 time in the 60-yard dash with plenty of room to project on his speed to improve as he matures given his current athleticism. At the plate, Toft swung a loose left-handed bat that worked short and direct to the baseball. It’s a simple, easy all-around operation with gap-to-gap feel as he peppered line drives to all areas of the field. Defensively, Toft has athletic actions in the outfield with a quick, accurate arm that topped at 76 mph to his target. He carried that over to the mound where he sat 76-78 mph with his fastballs and was around the zone with a three-pitch mix.

+ INF Derek Ittner (Lake Park, 2024) uses a well-proportioned frame that works in a rhythm at the plate, and it allows him to sync up his timing repeatedly in the right-handed batter’s box. Ittner starts with a toe-tap stride and launches a loose, quick swing that works off a level plane, generating a line-drive batted-ball profile that works both gaps, mustering a max exit velocity of 88.3 mph. His 6.99 time in the 60-yard dash was among the day’s quickest.

+ 1B/RHP Keegan Luxem (Hersey, 2025) boasts a physically advanced frame for his age, standing at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds. Luxem was an intriguing multi-faceted performer, as he started his workout off by showcasing a loose, repeatable swing with natural lift through the baseball. Luxem toed the rubber later in the day and sat 77-78 mph with his fastball and it averaged 19.7 inches of vertical carry through the zone, too. 

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