Prep Baseball Report

Updated Class of 2016 Overall Rankings: Illinois Prospects

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

This week saw major changes to the Class of 2016 rankings, both in Illinois and in the overall rankings. On Wednesday we discussed recent changed in Illinois’ Top 10, which you can read about HERE.

Today, we’ll take a look at where some of Illinois’ best 2016 prospects fit in the overall rankings.

The New No. 1 ranked player in Illinois, Cooper Johnson, is ranked No. 5 in the overall rankings, and most impressive is that Illinois boasts six prospects in the overall Top 25, and nine prospects within the Top 100.

We noted how difficult it was to put the top prospects in Illinois in order (as every prospect within the Illinois top five has a legitimate argument to be the No. 1 player in the state), on a national level it is no different. However, what is a no doubter is Kansas RHP Riley Pint. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder has stuff reminiscent of a young Josh Beckett: 92-95 mph fastball, touching 97, and late breaking power curveball anywhere from 81-87. If that wasn’t enough to dominate high school hitters, Pint also has a 78-79 mph changeup that flashes plus at times. If you haven’t seen his scouting video, thanks to Kansas Scouting Director Sean McCann, you are missing out.

Illinois’ closest power arm is Vanderbilt-bound Drake Fellows, ranked No. 11. Like, Pint, Fellows is a lanky and projectable right-hander, capable of touching 94 mph with his fastball. Fellows has impressed in early preseason bullpens, with not only control, but command of three pitches, and his changeup is quickly becoming a legitimate out pitch as well, scary considering his 80-82 mph slider has long been considered one of the top secondary offerings in Illinois.

Speaking of power stuff, Lake Forest’s Cal Coughlin displayed a 91-93 mph heater, paired with an 83-85 plus slider at Illinios’ Preseason All-State showcase. Coughlin’s two-way talent as a switch-hitting third baseman with power could eventually see his power pitching repertoire fitting in at the back of the bullpen when he arrives on campus at TCU.

Since we are staying on the topic of power arms, Jacobs’ RHP Brenden Heiss sat in the low 90’s this summer at the Future Games, and reportedly has touched 96 mph this winter in bullpens. An Arkansas commit, Heiss ranks at No. 15.

Rounding out our Top 25 with Illinois prospects at No. 18 is Rochester’s Tyler Fitzgerald, while Quincy Notre Dame’s Joey Polak check in at No. 24. Fitzgerald is the No. 2 overall shortstop in our coverage area, and Polak boasts power potential on par with Indiana catcher T.J. Collett (ranked No. 6 overall).

Enough talking about it, Click Here to take a look at where the Illinois prospects fit in the Class of 2016 Overall Rankings.

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