Underclass Trials: Pitching Analysis

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Prep Baseball Report Underclass Trials held on Tuesday, June 12th at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium featured several top 2016 and 2017 pitching prospects.  York High School’s Cole Miller took home the top honors impressing with his large frame and easy left-handed delivery, producing velocity up to 85 mph with more in the tank.  Miller recently transferred to York from Timothy Christian over the summer.  Batavia’s Glenn Albanese was the best 2017 prospect in attendance, and a close second behind Miller.  Albanese has great size for a 2017 and projects to throw even harder down the road.

Here’s a look at the top pitching prospects at the Underclass Trials.

Top Pitching Prospects

1.Cole Miller, York, LHP, 2016
6-foot-4, 200-pound LHP currently ranked No. 37 in Illinois’ class of 2016 was the top pitching prospect at this year’s Underclass Trials.  Currently uncommitted.  Impressed with easy, quick high ¾ arm action from smooth delivery producing 83-85 mph fastballs with late cut boring in on right-handed hitters.  Shoulders work uphill as he really loads lower half and gets a good hip bump going towards home plate.  Struggles to command fastball at times due to back foot heel slipping towards home plate on the mound, throwing off his direction towards home plate, causing him to land closed on his front foot, limiting his extension and feel out front.  Locking back foot in on the mound should fix the problem, and help him repeat his delivery more consistently.  Showed improved feel of 70-72 mph curveball with occasional 12/6 action that backed up at times.  Also threw 70-75 mph changeup with good arm speed but erratic command.  Miller’s frame and clean arm action make it easy to see him operating in the upper 80’s or low 90’s in the next couple years. 

2. Glenn Albanese, Batavia, RHP, 2017
6-foot-4, 206-pound lanky, athletic RHP impressed as one of the top arms at the Underclass Trials, and easily was the top 2017 prospect in attendance.  Worked at 83-85 mph with slight run on fastball from a short, high ¾ arm action, pounding the bottom half of the zone for strikes.  Mechanically stayed online towards home plate with tall and fall delivery, front foot gets outside back knee at balance point.  Shoulders slope downward at foot strike, could get more out of front glove hand.  69-71 mph curveball showed 11/5 action, but backed up at times.  Flashed plus 78-80 mph power changeup from fastball arm action with arm side run and sink, easily his best secondary offering.  Albanese is a high follow prospect with a great frame and future.

3. Dalton Parker, St. Joseph-Ogden, RHP/3B 2016
6-foot-3, 195-pound physical RHP/3B impressed as one of the top two-way talents at the Underclass Trials.  Hit from a slightly open , balanced setup with a smooth load and short, level bat path producing line-drives from gap-to-gap and 77 mph exit velocity.  At third base, showed soft hands playing through the baseball with impressive arm strength across the diamond.  On the mound, Parker worked at 81-84 mph with heavy finish from a short, quick, over-the-top arm action.  Threw a 68-70 mph curveball with 11/5 shape and short, late downward action.  Straight change was thrown for strikes at 68-70 mph.  Parker has a smooth tall-and-fall delivery, but lost some velocity with his fastball by failing to load his lower half out of the stretch.  He will be very interesting to watch over the next two years with his bat and on the mound.

4. Mitchell Merges, Geneva, LHP, 2016
6-foot-3, 175-pound LHP impressed with feel for three pitches and wide shouldered, athletic frame.  Threw 79-80 mph fastball from a long, clean, high ¾ arm action missing up and to his arm side at times.  Simple, repeatable mechanics with good rhythm to delivery staying online towards home plate with lower half land on front foot slightly close.  Slowed arm on 63-66 mph curveball with occasional sharp, downward action.  75-76 mph changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed with slight fade.  Merges frame and current velocity for a young LHP make him a high, projectable follow over the next two years.

5. Joshua Heckman, Plainfield North, RHP/3B, 2016
6-foot-2, 185-pound physically advanced RHP/3B with  wide shoulders and thick lower half.  Impressed at the plate hitting from an open stance with a smooth load and leg kick, leading to uphill bat path producing line-drives from gap-to-gap with some power to his pull side.  Produced 88 mph exit velocity, the second highest reading at the Underclass Trials.  Feet were heavy at third base, but showed strong accurate arm throwing 78 mph across the infield.  On the mound threw 79-82 mph from a long over-the-top arm action with a slight stab in back that did not affect his ability to throw strikes.  Also threw an 11/5 59-64 mph curveball, varying his arm speed at times.  69-71 mph changeup showed some arm side run with good fastball arm action.  Heckman also ran a 7.63 60-yard dash and is a high follow over the next two years both at a corner infield position and on the mound.

6. Alec Powell, Rockford Christian, RHP/OF, 2016
6-foot, 155-pound two-way talent impressed on the mound and in the outfield with arm strength.  On the hill fastball sat 81-84 mph with erratic command, but late life when in the zone.  Threw both curveball and slider.  Slider showed better with late break from 74-75 mph touching 78 once.  Pitched exclusively out of the stretch from a high ¾ arm action with toe pointed up at balance point.  Showed some rhythm with delivery, but rushed at times.  Also threw 81 mph from the outfield from an aggressive crow hop.  Hit from a balanced setup coiling front foot/hip to load lower half producing exit velocity up to 78 mph.

7. Jacob Curry, Pontiac, 3B/RHP, 2016
5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed hitting 3B/RHP impressed with legitimate two-way ability.  On the mound sat 80-81 mph touching 83 from long high-3/4 arm action with some effort.  Threw 68-70 mph curveball and 75-78 mph slider.  71-74 mph changeup was thrown with fastball arm speed with arm side run.  Offensively hits from a balanced setup with minimal stride and a smooth load with explosive bat speed producing line drives from gap-to-gap with 80 mph exit velocity.  Also showed solid defensive actions at third base with above average arm strength.

8. Jacob Polo, Huntley, RHP, 2016
6-foot-3, 175-pound lanky RHP threw 78-81 mph from a short, high ¾ arm action with good downward angle.  63-66 mph curveball showed occasional 12/6 shape.  69-71 mph straight changeup showed some sink, but was erratic with command.  Polo could make a significant jump over the next couple years with added strength to his projectable frame.

9. Konnor Ash, Plainfield South, RHP/3B, 2017
5-foot-8, 150 pound two-way talent impressed more on the mound with feel  for three pitches from smooth mechanics and arm action with extension out front.  Fastball ranged from 76-79 with arm side run from loose and quick ¾ arm action.  Curveball and slider both thrown for strikes in 67-69 mph range with varying shape.  Changeup thrown with conviction at 75-76 mph with sink.  Offensively, hits from an athletic, open stance with short stride and fluid rhythm producing line drives from gap-to-gap.

10. Blake Begner, Peoria Heights, LHP/OF, 2017
5-foot-7, 130-pound two-way talent impressed with arm strength on the mound and in the outfield.  Hits from a balanced setup with a smooth load, leading to a level bat path with good extension.  Begner has a fluid rhythm to his swing, but currently lacks strength/power.  Threw 80 mph from the outfield with a long, loose arm action.  On the mound impressed with a 77-79 mph fastball, 63-65 mph curveball with 11-5 shape thrown near arm speed with occasional depth.  68-70 mph changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed with some sink and arm side run.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Anthony Ackerly, Lake Park, LHP/1B, 2016
6-foot-2, 195-pound athletic looking LHP/1B hit from a tall, wide setup with a short stride and hands held high, dropping hands down and back looking to pull.  Level, line-drive swing path produced 80 mph exit velocity.  Defensively at first base showed average hands with feel around the bag.  On the mound threw 74-76 mph  with slight cut on his fastball from a loose ¾ arm action.  Stayed online towards home plate with lower half, with level shoulders and a smooth tall-and-fall type delivery.  Slowed arm on 61-62 mph curveball with 11/5 shape.  Also threw a 66-69 mph changeup and 59-61 mph knuckle ball.

Matt Collins, Carmel Catholic, SS/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 160-pound lean two-way player impressed more on the mound with downhill plan from an over-the-top arm action.  Repeats delivery with slow tempo and short stride staying on top of the baseball pounding fastball in lower half of the strike zone.  Fastball sat 78-79 mph with some sink.  Curveball showed some 12/6 action, but lacked power varying between 63-69 mph.  Changeup was thrown consistently down in the zone, not for strikes, at 69-71 mph.  Offensively, Collins hits from an athletic open stance with a long stride, and level gap-to-gap line-drive swing producing 78 mph exit velocity.  Defensively showed average hands, and good carry on throws across the diamond at 74 mph.

Jake Deak, Huntley, RHP/OF, 2016
5-foot-8, 145-pound two-way player hit from an open stance with a short stride and long uphill path in his opposite field approach.  Threw 75 mph from the outfield and 72-73 off the mound touching 74 from a long ¾ arm action with regular effort.  Dropped arm angle on 59-66 mph breaking pitch and also threw a 66-68 mph split change.  Ran 7.65 in the 60 and produced 60 mph exit velocity.

Paul Dobravec, Naperville North, 1B/RHP, 2016
6-foot-2, 185-pound 1B/RHP impressed with balanced swing and smooth, quick hands through the zone producing 80 mph exit velocity.  Hits from a tall balanced stance; swing is mostly with upper half, as he doesn’t stride or use legs much, but still showed the ability to hit line-drives from gap-to-gap.  Threw low 3/4 to sidearm from the mound, from a crouched, bent over posture.  72-74 mph fastball was erratic missing to his arm side.  Also threw a 62-64 mph curveball, and a 64 mph changeup.  Ran a 7.67 60-yard dash and 4.75 seconds from home to first.

Tristan Egan, Argo, 3B/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 180-pound 3B/RHP ran an 8.00 60-yard dash.  Hit from an open stance dropping his hands down and back producing an uphill swing plane hitting a majority of balls to the opposite field and producing 77 mph exit velocity.  Threw from the mound with a long, low ¾ arm action, and tall and fall delivery producing 71-74 mph fastball velocity and consistent strikes.  Also threw 65-65 mph curveball for strikes that backed up at times.

Sean Gallagher, Marian Catholic, 1B/RHP, 2016
6-foot-1, 195-pound large framed 1B/RHP impressed at the plate and on the mound.  Hit from a tall, open stance with short stride and fluid rhythm.  Showed some power to pull side with exit velocity up to 80 mph.  Defensively, threw from a loose ¾ arm action with accuracy across the diamond and in turning the double play.  On the mound threw strikes with 74-78 mph fastball, and 63-67 mph curveball from high ¾, long arm action with a slight wrap in back.  Mechanically, shoulders stayed level and online towards the target, lower half operated with medium-height leg kick and regular effort.  65-66 mph changeup was erratic missing down in the zone showing some run to his arm side.

Eric Grunst, Willowbrook, LHP, 2017
6-foot-2, 230-pound large framed LHP threw strikes with 73-74 mph fastball from long, high ¾ arm action.  Shoulders slope uphill in delivery and strides short toward home plate.  61 mph curveball showed occasional 2/8 shape but was erratic in the zone, also threw 66 mph changeup.

Tom Hilke, Joliet Catholic Academy, LHP, 2016
5-foot-11, 160-pound LHP showed the ability to throw strikes with 71-73 mph fastball from a high-3/4 arm slot with regular effort from a tall and fall delivery.  Curveball showed 11/5 shape at 59-61 mph.  67-70 mph changeup showed some downward action, but was consistently thrown down in the dirt. 

Brant Hlavin, Glenbrook South, RHP, 2016
6-foot-3, 200-pound physically advanced RHP threw 72-73 mph from a long over-the-top arm action.  Simple, repeatable delivery staying online towards home plate.  Slowed arm on 64 mph curveball, and 65 mph straight change.  Also threw a 63-66 mph knuckle ball with some tumbling action.

Hunter Keim, Rock Island, SS/RHP, 2017
5-foot-11, 145-pound lanky SS/RHP showed a long loose arm in the field and on the mound producing 76-77 mph fastballs with some slight run, but inconsistent in the strike zone.  Threw slightly across his body, limiting his ability to repeat his delivery.  Also flashed a 66-68 mph curveball and a 72-74 mph changeup.  Hit from a square setup with uphill bat path producing line drives with some extension/power to his pull side.

Vito Lamorgese, Oswego East, LHP/1B, 2017
5-foot-9, 190-pound physically mature left-handed thrower, right-handed hitter hit from a balanced setup with a leg kick and stiff level bat path producing 73 mph exit velocity.  Ran an 8.29 60-yard dash and 5.58 seconds from home to first.  On the mound, short, high ¾ arm action produced 67-70 mph fastballs, 58-60 mph sliders, and a 64-65 mph changeup.

Clayton Lieb, Pearl City, 1B/RHP, 2016
6-foot-3, 215-pound physically impressive 1B/RHP.  Hits from a wide stance with backwards toe-tap load.  Swing plane gets slightly uphill looking mostly to pull, producing 78 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, plays through the baseball with average hands throwing 76 mph across the diamond.  On the mound threw 73-76 mph fastballs with gradual cut.  He could throw harder as he learns to stay behind the baseball.  Threw 69-71 mph slider with similar shape to fastball.  Also threw 60-65 mph curveball and 60 mph changeup.  Ran a 7.87 60-yard dash.

Shawn Ligocki, St. Charles East, MIF/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound athletic RHP/SS impressed with strike throwing ability on the mound.  Threw fastball 75-78 mph with slight run to arm side, curveball from 68-70, and slider at 70 mph with tighter spin than curveball.  69-71 mph straight changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed.  Ran a 7.46 60-yard dash, and 4.83 seconds from home to first.  Hits from a wide crouched setup with a level line drive swing that produced line drives to all fields and 77 mph exit velocity.

Reed McCool, Providence Catholic, RHP, 2016
6-foot, 155-pound right-handed pitcher impressed with loose high ¾ arm action and three pitch feel.  Fastball sat 76-79 mph and showed some arm side run.  Curveball varied in shape with occasional 12/6 action in the 66-68 mph range.  Slowed down arm on 70-72 mph changeup.  Simple repeatable mechanics with easy effort from tall and fall type delivery.

Loen Nelson, Jacobs, SS/RHP, 2016
6-foot, 150-pound lanky and projectable SS/RHP impressed with 76-mph arm strength across the diamond in infield drills.  On the mound fastball sat 69-71 mph touching 73, and command was hindered out of the windup due to extreme turn with back to home plate.  Threw more strikes out of the stretch when he simplified mechanics.  Curveball ranged 60-61 mph and slowed arm on 62-63 mph straight change.  Hit from an open athletic setup with slight leg kick/step over producing a level line drive stroke to the opposite field.  Also ran a 7.60 second 60-yard dash, and 4.89 seconds to first.

Parker Nolan, Schaumburg, RHP, 2016
6-foot-4, 180-pound lanky RHP with long limbs and room for projection.  Pitched from a full windup delivering 76-79 mph fastballs with slight run to his arm side from long  ¾ arm clean arm action.  Slowed arm on 66-67 curveball with gradual 11/5, sweepy action.  Showed feel for a 68-71 mph changeup with fade, which he consistently threw for strikes.  Nolan looks extremely young and projects to throw harder based on frame and his relatively clean delivery.

Jackson Piatek, Oswego East, RHP, 2017
5-foot-10, 145-pound lanky right-handed pitcher.  Short, high ¾ arm action produced fastball ranging from 73-75 mph with slight run consistently for strikes.  Shoulders stay level in balanced delivery that stays online towards home plate with lower half landing square.  Threw sweeping curveballs and sliders between 67-69 mph with not much differentiation between pitches, though he did slightly drop his arm slot on the slider.  Changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed at 69-71.

Hunter Simon, Seneca, RHP/3B, 2017
5-foot-10, 155-pound two-way player impressed more on the mound than in the infield.  Threw 79-80 mph from a long high ¾ arm action with some stiffness.  Threw 65-68 mph sweeping breaking ball and a 68-71 mph changeup with cutter-like action.  Ran a 7.25 60-yard dash and recoiled at times after contact when hitting producing exit velocity up to 84 mph.

Brad Van Asdlen, Minooka, RHP/SS, 2016
6-foot-1, 170-pound athletic and lanky RHP/SS that impressed more on the mound than in the field.  Threw 76-78 mph fastball from a stiff ¾ long arm action with occasional run and good downward angle from tall and fall delivery.  Showed some rhythm in delivery, staying level with shoulders throughout, and online towards home plate with stride direction.  59-63 mph curve showed 11/5 shape and threw for strikes better from the stretch.  65-67 mph split showed plus action and sink.  Offensively hit from a balanced setup with a long swing plane producing 73 mph exit velocity.

Dean Vernon, Batavia, RHP, 2016
6-foot-2, 165-pound lanky RHP with room for projection.  Threw 75-76 mph fastballs from a high ¾ arm action with a slight stab in back, and some stiffness with lower half at balance point from a tall and fall delivery.  Threw a sweepy  67-70 mph curveball with gradual break, and a 69-71 mph changeup thrown near fastball arm speed.

JJ Zywiciel, Plainfield East, MIF/RHP, 2017
6-foot, 140-pound lanky MIF/RHP threw fastball 74-75-mph off the mound.  Slowed arm action on 57-59 mph curveball and on 59-61 mph changeup.  Hits from a square stance with jittery hands with a double load prep pitch producing exit velocity up to 65 mph.  Threw 66 mph across the infield and ran a 7.75 60-yard dash.

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