Prep Baseball Report

Updated 2016 Overall Rankings: IL Risers and Additions

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Yesterday the PBR scouting staff revealed our latest overall Class of 2016 prospects. The landscape of the updated overall Class of 2016 player rankings have changed dramatically, chiefly because the landscape of the Prep Baseball Report state-specific coverage area has expanded since the last update.

It is important to note that the PBR overall rankings only reflect the states that we intimately know from our boots-on-the-ground scouting staff. States that we are not currently in – and even new states that we are in, but don’t have a proper handle on all the prospects – are not included in the overall rankings.

The updated and expanded Top 350 Class of 2016 rankings now includes Tennessee, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Ontario, in addition to our long-established states. Florida prospects are not yet included in the PBR overall rankings.

Many Illinois prospects dropped in the rankings, not a reflection on their performances, but more due to the addition of the new states and the highly ranked players from those states. However, Illinois still had prospects who have shone on the national stage and have increased their ranking.

Several Illinois prospects rose in the rankings due to impressive play on the field during several fall events. Highlighted yesterday, Rochester’s Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville commit) and Quincy Notre Dame’s Joey Polak (South Carolina commit) are highly touted national prospects who both rose in the rankings. Fitzgerald climbs from No. 23 to No. 14 thanks to performing well at shortstop and showing off an impressive array of physical tools. Polak rises from No. 28 to No. 16 thanks to the top power tool not only in the Midwest, but quite possibly the entire country.

Michigan commit Christian Bullock is one of the biggest risers going from unranked in our national coverage area to No. 94 overall. Bullock was highlighted repeatedly in our October coverage of the Class of 2016 showcase. Click Here to read all about his performance as the Top Overall Prospect from the event.

Let’s take a look at detailed scouting reports on the biggest risers and new additions to the overall rankings.

Risers and New Additions

94. Christian Bullock, OF/1B/LHP, Morgan Park, 2016
6-foot, 170-pound lanky and athletic left-handed hitting outfielder, first baseman, and left-handed pitcher, committed to Michigan impressed as the top overall player at the Class of 2016 Showcase. Hits from a tall, open setup, hands load smoothly, utilizes a leg kick stride, lower half is aggressive with hips, explosive bat speed, level bat path gets extension, slightly uphill at times, showed off gap-to-gap power, particularly to the opposite field gap with several line drives, overswings at times, 84 mph exit velocity off the tee. Defensively, threw 79 mph from long, loose, high ¾ arm slot with carry. Arm action is clean and smooth, projects to have at least an average arm as he gets stronger. Impressed attacking the baseball, soft hands, quick footwork, clean and quick exchanges fielding. At first base, could be a premium defender as well, turns double play quickly, hands work clean scooping baseball. On the mound fastball sat 76-79 mph with slight run. 11/5 breaking ball has slurvy action at 65-67 mph. Cuts changeup at 67-69 mph. Delivery is clean, flies open a bit, lands slightly open, athleticism evident. Bullock also ran the top 60-time of the event at 6.75 seconds.

144. Jack Suwinski, LHP/OF, Taft HS, IL
Suwinski impressed both on the mound and at the plate with his left-handed swing last month. Suwinski has showed low-to-mid 80’s velocity on the mound, but his high-level bat most likely makes him a primary outfielder. He tripled off an 89 mph fastball and also homered for the Chicago Scouts Association at the World Wood Bat Championship. He recently rose from No. 43 to No. 21 in the Illinois state rankings for the class of 2016 and makes his first appearance in the overall rankings at No. 144.

163. Zack Martin, RHP, Plainfield North, 2016
Recent Notre Dame commit Zack Martin makes his debut in the overall rankings at No. 163. Martin has an extra-large frame with projection, long limbs, 6-foot-5, 205-pound right handed pitcher. Delivery lacks repetition, long gangly body all knees and elbows, closed landing, works from high ¾ slot. Fastball is mostly straight 84-87 mph, touched 88 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, 67-69, softer action. Average control of both pitches, as delivery gains repeatability he should see a higher strike rate. Martin is your typical projectable right handed pitcher showing advanced present arm strength for his age, pitchability is currently a question mark but not of major concern going forward. Delivery has solid foundation, looks to be still getting a feel for his body at 6-foot-5, 205-pounds. High ceiling prospect.

181. Max Franklin, RHP, St. Rita, 2016
Franklin, like Martin, is another long projectable right-handed pitcher making his debut in the overall rankings. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder has long limbs that work quickly and athletically. Delivery shows some effort, up down and out path to foot strike, slightly rotational, can gain separation. Arm action is quick, over the top slot, two-piece action, stabs on backswing. Fastball has finish through the zone, flashed arm side run and sink, hard and heavy feel when on top of the baseball, 85-87 mph, touched 88. Hard curveball for his age at 75-76 mph, 12/6 shape, showed depth, possible swing and miss pitch with advanced action. Flashed a straight changeup at 76-78 mph. Franklin has advanced arm speed and projects to have plus fastball velocity down the road. High follow prospect in the 2016 class.

235. Matt Bottcher, SS, Romeoville, 2016
The 5-foot-8, 160-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder impressed this fall with his top of the order, table setting ability and arm strength in the middle of the diamond. Bottcher recently committed to Illinois-Chicago. He’s shows low-to-mid 80’s arm strength across the diamond, and impressed with a 3-for-3 day at the plate during the Kernels Invitational. The following is from an April scouting report: Left-handed hitter has a tall, slightly open stance, with short stride.  Hits off his back side, showed relaxed approach, walking once, getting hit by a pitch, and grounding out to the pitcher.  Ran 4.36 to first on fielder’s choice back to the mound.

248. Brent Headrick, LHP, Reed-Custer, 2016
Reed-Custer’s Brent Headrick makes his overall rankings debut at No. 248. The following report is from a fall outing in Iowa at the Kernels Invitational: 6-foot-5, 180-pound left-handed pitcher looks to be a high-level recruit in the 2016 class, and has seen a velocity jump since May. Sat 77-79 during the high school season and on Saturday fastball sat 83-85 mph early on, settled in 81-84 mph with cutting action in on the hands of right-handed hitters. Induced weak contact and broke several bats strictly on fastball. Did not flash a breaking ball (throws a slider), working exclusively off fastball and 75-77 mph changeup with arm side run. Lanky frame and short, ¾ arm action provides a tough angle on hitters. Allowed five hits in 5.2 innings, with six strikeouts and no walks.

 277. Dalton Parker, RHP, St. Joseph Ogden, 2016
St. Joe-Ogden’s Dalton Parker makes his overall rankings debut at No. 277 thank to an impressive performance at a PBR Pitcher’s Showcase and Analysis in October. Here’s the report from the event:
6-foot-3, 200-pound pound physical and projectable right-handed pitcher currently ranked No. 54 in Illinois’ 2016 class possesses ideal workhorse pitcher’s frame. Works from a short, high ¾ arm slot, clean arm action, easy effort, tall and fall type delivery, improved direction and momentum from windup with step back instead of step to the side to begin windup. Shoulders slightly uphill throughout delivery, lands square and athletic with lower half stride direction in line with home plate. Improved power to breaking ball anywhere from 68-76 mph, later break at higher velocity with 11/5 shape. Threw strikes at the bottom of the zone with 73-75 mph change from windup with plus feel and sink. From stretch changeup was 70-72 mph.

306. Jacob Gilmore, LHP, Bloomington, 2016
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-hander make his debut at No. 306 in the overall rankings. Gilmore impressed spinning five scoreless innings of three hit baseball with three walks and five strikeouts at the Kernels Invitational this fall. Gilmore looked even better in live action than when we saw him back in August at the Central Illinois Open. His fastball sat 82-84 mph touching 85, while his 67-68 mph curveball was more consistent as well, garnering several swings and misses with its 12/6 shape and late bite. Also flashed a 76 mph changeup. Gilmore’s projecatable frame and clean, loose, high ¾ arm action for a young lefty who shows command of three pitches is turning him into a high level prospect in the class of 2016.

308. Andrew Millas, C, Belleville East, 2016
6-foot-1, 165-pound left-handed hitting catcher, lean build with length, projectable frame makes his overall rankings debut at No. 308. Athletic catcher with strong arm. Showed advanced arm strength, arm carries, online and accurate. Pop times ranged 2.07-2.10 in game. Excellent receiver, controls the game well. Showed the ability to block and recover well. Well above average runner for a catcher, highly athletic, stole multiple bases in game. Millas stood out as one of the top defensive catchers at the Labor Day Challenge amongst some of the top ranked catchers in the Midwest.

313. Brandon Petersen, LHP, Waubonsie Valley, 2016
6-foot-2, 220-pound physical, wide shouldered, strong lower half left-handed pitcher currently ranked No. 46 in Illinois’ 2016 class makes his overall rankings debut at No. 313. Impressed at the Class of 2016 showcase in October where he was named the No. 3 overall prospect. Works from a short, quick, loose, high ¾ arm slot, toe up at balance point, closes off shoulders to load over rubber, foot stays under knee, compact delivery, lands slightly closed, throws slightly across his body, but creates deception hiding the baseball. Fastball sat 83-84 mph for strikes with heavy action. Curveball thrown hard with 1/7 shape with depth at 71-72 mph from the wind, 67-69 mph from the stretch. Also threw strikes with 76-79 mph changeup with late cutting action. Keeps ball down in the zone and has a feel for three pitches.

338. Tyler McAlister, RHP, Waterloo, 2016
McAlister boasts a plus, projectable frame at 6-foot-4, 175-pounds and makes his rankings debut at No. 338.  His fastball sat 83-85 mph over his two outings at the Future Games, but what’s really intriguing is the hard 75-76 mph slider he breaks off, which could bode well for a velocity spike in his future.  He also hit in game two, going 1-for-3 with a line drive single past the shortstop on a hanging breaking ball.  He promptly stole second base, showing off his athleticism.

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