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Underclass Showcase: Quick Hits


By Drew Locascio & Steve Nielsen
Illinois Staff

On Oct. 20, the PBR Illinois team hosted its final showcase of 2019, the Underclass Showcase, at The MAX in McCook, Ill., that featured over 110 prospects primarily representing the 2022 and 2023 classes, but there were a handful of seventh- and eighth-graders in attendance, too. Today, we’ll be spending some time highlighting the best things we saw from Sunday in the form of our Quick Hits post.

Keep an eye out tomorrow for a Statistical Analysis, detailing the day’s top performers in each of the measured categories. Within the next few weeks, videos from this event will be posted into profiles and we will have scouting reports on each of the prospects in attendance. For now, here are the highlights from Sunday.

QUICK HITS

BEST OF THE BACKSTOPS

+ Tony Pluta (St. Viator, 2022) is a smaller-statured catcher but makes up for it with advanced actions behind the dish. He showed soft hands and a quick release that produced some of the best pop times of the day, at 2.04-2.12. Pluta showed equally well with the bat, finding barrels with a loose, athletic stroke.

+ Charlie Marisca (Grayslake Central, 2022) took the prize of top pop, with a 1.97 mark. He showed an ultra quick release and arm action that played up with carry and accuracy. Marisca posted the top catcher arm strength of the day as well, at 78 mph out of the crouch. 

+ Ryan Bakes (Huntley, 2023) rounds out the trio of receivers who really stood out behind the plate. The Huntley catcher carries a strong compact frame, perfect for handling the rigors behind the dish. His arm carries well and plays accurate posting a 2.01-2.14 pop time. His strength carries over to the batters box as well using a simple approach with above average bat strength. 

+ On the offensive side of the ball, C/3B Mark Wagner (Neuqua Valley, 2023) took some of the more aggressive hacks of the day. He attacks the baseball with conviction from the right-handed box with loose bat speed and got hard gap to gap contact in BP.

UNDERCLASS ARMS TO KNOW

+ RHP Ysen Useni (Crystal Lake South, 2022) is an imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, and backs it up with just as big of a fastball. Useni topped at 87 mph and sat 84-86 with feel and arm-side run. He showed repeatability and arm strength while pairing above-average feel for an 11/5 curveball and sinking changeup. 

+ 2023 Plainfield East LHP Brady Louck looks well on his way to following his brother’s footsteps (Ryan Louck, Plainfield East, 2018; Maryville University) on the mound. Brady is a 5-foot-10, 145-pound southpaw with a ton of feel and moxy for his age. His long arm action works easily out of a high ¾ slot and shows a running fastball at 78-80 mph. His feel for three pitches is advanced at his age, pairing a slurve-type breaking ball and fading changeup to round out his repertoire.

+ Another familiar last name comes in the form of RHP Cade Nowik (Lake Forest, 2022), the younger brother to Lake Forest senior and Illinois-Chicago commit Breck. Cade has a loose and athletic arm, much like his older brother’s, and repeats well in the zone at 81-82 mph. 

+ RHP Sebastian Gutierrez (Nazareth Academy, 2022) carries a different presence on the mound than most. He works with moxy and confidence and pounded the zone with three pitches using little effort out of a long, loose, high ¾ slot. His fastball works with sink up to 83 mph, mixed with a changeup that ran hard to his arm side, at 70-71 mph, with the makings to be a swing-and-miss offering.

+ One of the top 2023 arms in attendance was RHP Andrew Ressler (Huntley). Ressler has a 6-foot, 170-pound, athletic build with a loose arm that works from a ¾ slot with easy effort and advanced feel for his age. Ressler showed a lively fastball with finish through the zone and topped at 81 mph. Ressler mixed in a mid-60s curveball that, as he matures, could turn into a hard slider given his arm speed and slot. 

INFIELDER ROUND-UP

+ Physical, 5-foot-11, 180-pound, right-handed-hitting infielder Joshua Bell (St. Laurence, 2022) took one of the loudest rounds of BP on the day. Bell has a quiet, simple swing and creates advanced bat speed and leverage. Bell made consistent hard contact to the pull-side gap. 

+ Left-handed-hitting infielder David Wilhite (Stillman Valley, 2022) has a lean, upside frame and had a solid all-around day. Wilhite is an instinctive infield defender who plays low to the ground, is a natural at ranging to his left and right, and made a highlight reel play moving to his backhand. Offensively, Wilhite has a simple left-handed swing, controls the barrel and stays inside the baseball. 

+ Giovanni Pamias (Oak Park-River Forest, 2022) emerged as a middle infielder to follow moving forward. Defensively, he may profile best at second base but he has athletic, smooth actions and soft hands. Offensively, he has an athletic look in the box and has a simple, easy repeatable swing with upside.

+ Tyler and Brandon Pritchard are two 2022s from Lincoln-Way West to follow moving forward. Tyler is a left/left first baseman with a compact, barrel control swing. He routinely squared balls up to all fields, too. Defensively, Tyler plays with bounce and feel around the first base bag. Brandon, a right/right middle infielder, has a short, compact swing and is a steady defender with sure-hands and plays with body control. 

FOLLOW THESE OUTFIELDERS

+ The best 60 time of the day was turned in by Myles Supurgeci (Mount Carmel, 2022), who ran a 6.67 laser-timed. Spurgeci, a right-handed hitter, flashed twitch in his swing, attacks the baseball and plays fast in the outfield.

+ A trio of outfielders, Angelo Luna (St. Laurence), Josh Outlaw (Maine West) and Evan Baptise (Barrington) who emerged at the event as high-follow 2022s. Luna has a loose, athletic right-handed swing and sprayed balls to all fields in his round of BP. Luna, who ran a 7.04 60, also looks to be a high-level outfielder. Luna is natural in the outfield, plays through the baseball in rhythm and he has a strong, true arm that topped at 87 mph.

+ Outlaw is a 5-foot-11, 155-pound, athletically-built, left/left prospect with a fluid, projectable bat. Outlaw has loose hands, gets extension through the zone and made consistent hard contact to both gaps. Defensively, he is a fluid athlete, with easy actions and a loose arm that plays true and with carry. 

+ Baptiste is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound, wiry, right-handed hitter who is quiet and athletic in the box. Baptiste flashed bat speed, quick-twitch and lift in his swing. Defensively, he was one of the top defenders on the day. Baptiste plays fast and fluid with advanced defensive actions, soft hands, and a loose, upside arm that played live from the outfield. Baptiste also ran a 7.02 laser-timed 60. 

+ A young left-handed hitting outfielder to follow down the road will be 2024 Samuel Chapman (Woodstock). Chapman has a lean, wiry frame, loose swing, natural lift and the ball jumps off the barrel. Defensively, he has active, fluid feet and an athletic crow hop that is directional and gains ground. 

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