Prep Baseball Report

Updated Illinois Class of 2016 Rankings

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

Two weeks ago the Prep Baseball Report scouting staff rolled out our updated Illinois Class of 2015 rankings. You can read about the shuffled top ten and new ranked prospects HERE.

PBR Executive Director Sean Duncan and National Supervisor Nathan Rode both made the trek to Jupiter Florida for the WWBA World Championships, which capped off a busy fall for the scouting staff and has allowed us to re-evaluate the Class of 2016 rankings.

With several showcases in August, in addition to tournaments and fall ball games, the new rankings extend from 150 to 175 players.

Joliet Catholic’s Drake Fellows (Vanderbilt commit) maintains his place at the top spot of the rankings (No. 4 overall in PBR’s coverage area), thanks to a solid fall where his fastball sat consistently in the 90-91 mph range, reportedly touching 94 mph at the WWBA Underclass World Championships. I saw Fellows in October, which you can read about HERE in the Fall Scouting Notebook, and came away impressed with both the command of his fastball, and his 79-82 mph late breaking slider.

Competition for the top spot was tough, as the top five all make a legitimate argument with some of the loudest tools in the Midwest. Carmel Mundelein’s Cooper Johnson (Mississippi commit) has unrivaled catch-and-throw skills in the 2016 class on a national level. His 1.79-1.90 pop-times have impressed both in games and in showcase settings. Johnson has continued to fill out his 6-foot, 185-pound frame, and will be an impressive physical prospect when all is said and done.

Jacobs High School’s Brenden Heiss rolls in at No. 3, and is currently the top uncommitted prospect in the entire PBR coverage area of 22 states. Heiss impressed back in August at the Future Games with command of easy low 90’s velocity, touching 95 mph. Heiss has been absent from the fall scene due to his football commitments.

Rochester’s Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville commit) impressed this fall with his speed on the base paths and pro-bodied shortstop frame. Fitzgerald ran a 6.89 60 back in July of 2013, and looks to have gotten even faster since then.

Quincy Notre Dame’s Joey Polak wraps up the top five and put on impressive displays of power at every stop this fall. Polak may be the top power hitting prospect in the country, and it is scary to think what his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame could look like when he’s done filling out. The right-handed hitter has natural lift to his swing, and shows light tower power from gap-to-gap. Defensively, he’s showed soft hands and enough actions to possibly stay at third base, but if he out grows the position he’d profile well at first base.

The second half of the top ten remains largely unchanged, with the exception of Brother Rice’s Mike Massey, who moves up from No. 16 into the top ten thanks to a strong fall. The left-handed hitting middle infielder and Illinois commit impressed at numerous events with his quality infield actions and short, compact, line drive stroke with up the middle tendencies.

CLICK HERE to see the updated Illinois Class of 2016 Rankings, extended to 175 prospects.

Over the next couple days we will highlight some of the biggest risers in our updated rankings, as well as prospects new to the rankings.

Rank Name State School Class Pos Commitment
1 Drake Fellows IL Joliet Catholic Academy 2016 RHP Vanderbilt
2 Cooper Johnson IL Carmel Catholic 2016 C Mississippi
3 Brenden Heiss IL Jacobs 2016 RHP
4 Tyler Fitzgerald IL Rochester 2016 SS Louisville
5 Joey Polak IL Quincy Notre Dame 2016 3B South Carolina
6 Cal Coughlin IL Lake Forest 2016 3B
7 Jordan McFarland IL Gibault 2016 3B Arkansas
8 Brad Littleton IL Coal City 2016 RHP Indiana
9 Jeremy Houston IL Mount Carmel 2016 SS Indiana
10 Mike Massey IL Brother Rice 2016 SS Illinois

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