Updated Illinois Class of 2016 Rankings: Top Ten Shakeup



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The PBR Illinois scouting staff recently released the updated Class of 2016 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.

It’s important to note that the depth of Illinois’ 2016 class makes ranking the top ten players extremely difficult. Talk to seven different professional scouts, and any one of the top seven prospects from Cooper Johnson to Sam Ferri could potentially become high round MLB Draft picks. Thus, we nitpick a bit at some of these higher end prospects, more so than any others within our updated Overall Top 225.

Carmel’s Cooper Johnson rises to No. 1 overall in the Illinois rankings thanks to a strong winter showing, both at the Preseason All-State Showcase, and at several private workouts. He also receives a boost thanks to his talent at such a premium position. Johnson has always been an elite catch-and-throw prospect, perhaps the best in the Midwest. In fact, his current catch-and-throw skills would fit  However, he’s added muscle to his 6-foot, 200-pound frame, and retooled his approach at the plate. The Ole Miss commit is quickly becoming a high follow prospect for professional scouts, and should see significant attention from the scouting community over the next year and a half.

Joliet Catholic’s Drake Fellows has continued to impress this winter with power stuff from a projectable 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame. Throwing bullpens while competing in basketball season, he’s consistently showed 88-90 mph fastball velocity, so it will be interesting to see him come out this spring for the Hilltoppers when he’s ramping it up in midseason form. Besides the power repertoire, Fellows impresses with advanced command of three pitches, highlighted by a power 78-82 mph slider, perhaps the best and most consistent secondary offering of any prospect in Illinois.

Lake Forest’s switch-hitting two-way talent Cal Coughlin put on a show at the Preseason All-State Showcase, throwing 91-93 mph with an 83-85 mph slider in a bullpen setting. Coughlin also showed raw power from both sides of the plate, with 98 mph exit velocity from the right side. Though his future position may be uncertain

Jacobs RHP Brenden Heiss has flashed low-to-mid 90’s fastball velocity over the summer and early reports have his fastball touching 96 mph during preseason workouts.

Rochester’s Tyler Fitzgerald, the top middle infield prospect in the state of Illinois, rounds out the top five. Notre Dame’s Sam Ferri enters the top ten at No. 7 thanks to an impressive showing at the Preseason All-State Showcase, where he sat at 90 mph on the mound, while also posting an event-low pop time of 1.84 seconds.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Overall Prospects in Illinois’ 2016 Class:

2016 Top 10 Overall Prospects in Illinois

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


Click Here to view the Illinois Class of 2016 Rankings - extended to 250 prospects

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