Prep Baseball Report

Updated Illinois Class of 2015 Rankings: Top 10 Shakeup

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Late last week the PBR Illinois scouting staff quietly released the updated 2015 Illinois rankings. Today, we’ll take a look at the shuffling that occurred within the Top 10, and tomorrow we’ll focus on prospects new to the rankings and those who rose in our 'Revelations and Risers' article. We’ve scouted extensively this winter, both at our own events, private workouts, and travel program college camps. The following rankings update reflects that work and will also be our final update before the start of the 2015 spring high school season.

Westmont’s Charlie Donovan has reestablished himself as the No. 1 player in the state thanks to a strong winter, both at the PBR Super 60 Pro Showcase, and several other individual pro workouts. Donovan oozes athleticism; this winter I’ve personally witnessed him run a 6.54 60 (he ran 6.57 at the Super 60), vertical jump 37 inches, throw 92 mph across the infield from shortstop, and produce 90 mph exit velocity.

The numbers are off the charts, but they don’t tell the whole story about the slick fielding middle infielder. If Donovan, who stands at 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, were 6-foot-2 with the same measurables, he’d most likely be widely regarded as a sure-fire first round draft pick. Height requirements are for rides at Six Flags Great America, not for predicting future big leaguers, and Donovan has all the tools to realize that dream someday, whether it be out of high school or college. The University of Michigan prospect came out this winter with a renewed sense of energy, and has looked comfortable under the spotlight.

Defensively, Donovan glides from side-to-side easily, making tough plays routine. His arm strength is obviously a plus, and he did do a better job of this winter of not overthrowing the baseball, developing a feel for making routine plays with accuracy without having to let it fly. He also impressed in the batter’s box, adding a little rhythm to his hands during his load that was not present before as he tended to hit from a more static positon. His recent performances make him an early favorite to be one of the first Illinois prospects off the board in the June 2015 MLB draft.

Lincoln-Way North’s Kyle Ostrowski comes in at No. 2, and is one of the top left-handed prospects in the Midwest. Ostrowski, who starred on the gridiron this fall for the Phoenix as well, showed the same stuff at the Super 60 that we saw last spring, easily sitting in the 88-91 mph range with improved depth and velocity on his 72-73 mph curveball. Focusing on one sport in college at Purdue or at the professional level should see him add weight and velocity naturally, thanks to his projectable 6-foot-3 frame and loose arm action.

Joliet Catholic’s Nick Dalesandro is perhaps the top two-way talent in the Midwest, and can do pretty much anything on a baseball field. The professional future is most likely behind the plate, where Dalesandro did nothing to disappoint firing 1.87-1.98 pop times at the Super 60. I’ve witnessed Dalesandro throw 86 mph from the crouch this winter, and record pop times as low as 1.78, which are equally impressive in that they play in games as well. If he doesn’t hear his name called early in this June’s draft, he’ll form an enviable battery with Ostrowski at Purdue. Look for him to focus his efforts behind the plate early this spring so that professional scouts can get a good look. Don’t be surprised to see him toe the mound later in the season, where he has proved to be the top big-game pitcher in Illinois, making two appearances in state title games in his three year high school career.

Alton’s Bryan Hudson remains at No. 4 in our rankings, thanks to strong performances in the fall and in Jupiter. Hudson has been absent from the winter showcase/workout circuit as he focuses on his high school basketball season.

Ostrowski’s Lincoln-Way North teammate Liam Jenkins slides up to No. 5 in the rankings thanks to his dominant performance at the Super 60, where he pounded the zone with 91-93 mph fastballs. Jenkins and Ostrowski form perhaps the best 1-2 punch of any staff in the state of Illinois, with Joliet Catholic’s Dalesandro-Fellows combination, and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jeremy Orbik-Malcolm Grady combination receiving equal consideration.

Metamora’s Ethan Skender remains at No. 6 in the rankings, and is arguably the top hitter in the state of Illinois. Skender did nothing to disappoint at the Super 60, taking one of the best rounds of batting practice at the event.

Wheeling’s Brenden Spillane might be in consideration for the top overall spot in the 2015 class had he not had Tommy John surgery this summer. Spillane was cleared to hit a few weeks back and did not look rusty whatsoever. He’s progressing along in his throwing program and will play this spring. He’s invoked comparisons to Hunter Pence body wise (without the awkwardness) and Jayson Werth. He’s an absolute monster at 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, with the frame to carry 240-250 pounds one day. If Spillane shows he’s returned to full health this spring, it’s not a stretch to believe he could be one of the top draft picks in Illinois come June.

Glenbrook South’s Fitz Stadler recently looked smooth in one of his first pens of the preseason. He impresses with his ability to repeat his delivery despite being 6-foot-8. The Arizona State commit will be followed closely by Midwest Area professional scouts this spring after impressing at last fall’s Area Code Games.

New to the top ten, and one of the biggest risers in the rankings is Whitney Young C/OF David Craan. Craan put on a show at the Super 60, to the delight of several professional organizations in attendance, and was no doubt the biggest sleeper at the event. After his dominating performance at last June’s PBR Top Prospect Showcase we weren’t surprised, but Craan raised the stakes running an event best 6.53 60 at the Super 60, threw 90 mph from the outfield, and reeled off pop times from 1.87-1.95, tied for the best overall mark of the event with Dalesandro. He rises from No. 22 cracking the Top 10 and number nine. Craan is a top level student, committed to Illinois, and should see professional interest this spring thanks to his athleticism and tools.

Homewood-Floossmoor’s Jeremy Orbik rounds out the top ten, and did nothing to disappoint at the Super 60, drawing comparisons to current Cincinnati Reds right-hander Mike Leake due to his feel for spinning the baseball and commanding four pitches. Orbik’s repertoire is ready to compete at the college level right now, and added weight to his skinny frame could add more power to his arsenal.

Updated Illinois Top Ten

1 Charlie Donovan IL Westmont 2015 SS Michigan
2 Kyle Ostrowski IL Lincoln-Way North 2015 LHP Purdue
3 Nick Dalesandro IL Joliet Catholic Academy 2015 C Purdue
4 Bryan Hudson IL Alton 2015 LHP Missouri
5 Liam Jenkins IL Lincoln-Way North 2015 RHP Arizona State
6 Ethan Skender IL Metamora 2015 SS Kansas State
7 Brenden Spillane IL Wheeling 2015 OF Illinois
8 Fitz Stadler IL Glenbrook South 2015 RHP Arizona State
9 David Craan IL Whitney Young 2015 C Illinois
10 Jeremy Orbik IL Homewood-Flossmoor 2015 RHP Kentucky

Click Here to view the complete Illinois Class of 2015 rankings.

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