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Updated Illinois Class of 2023 Rankings


By Diego Solares and Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Staff

After a productive off-season circuit and an abundance of scout notes thus far into the IHSA season, we're updating our state's 2023 rankings for the first time since last December.

This Illinois' 2023 group is shaping up to be a historic one, with an abundance of national talent at the top and plenty of high follow prospects scattered throughout the board.

You'll find a quick overlook of the top of our brand new rankings, below.

THE TOP 10

Firmly etched at the top of this updated board is the top-ranked right-handed arm in the entire country for the 2023 class: RHP Zander Mueth (Belleville East; Mississippi commit). At 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, Mueth checks an array of boxes from a professional prospect standpoint and is quickly cementing himself as an early draft pick next July. He’s been the first name on these rankings since our first release back in May of 2021 and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. We recently saw Mueth at the Metro East Kickoff Classic, with our scouts having this to say about him: 

“Ole Miss commit. The No. 1 ranked arm in the state, No. 11 nationally. 6-foot-5, 190-pound, loose-bodied, long-levered frame with plenty of room for continued physical development. Features some of the most explosive, high-end stuff in the country. Despite getting elite movement on all offerings, filled up the zone at an 81% clip. Poured in a first-pitch strike to 9 of the 10 batters he faced. Fastball was jumping out of the hand with explosive run and ride through the zone at 94-95 mph, touching a few 96’s. Gets elite arm-side-run and life to his fastball. Slider tunnels off the fastball, flashing devastating, wipeout potential, thrown with intent and advanced horizontal movement and sweeping action across the zone; sat 79-80 mph. Fluid, athletic mover down the mound. Delivery works with rhythm, lands square and on balance, finishes athletically. Long, uninterrupted, ultra-loose and whippy arm action from a low ¾ slot with extremely low effort throughout. Went three innings allowing one hit, no runs, no walks and struck out six. Eye-opening first start of the season for the 2023 MLB Draft prospect.”

Zander Mueth (3.17.22)

Few in the country rival what OF Dillon Head (Homewood-Flossmoor; Michigan) can do from an athletic standpoint on a baseball field. He’s a game-changing type of athlete, utilizing his speed to gain an extra edge in multiple ways. Head is always working at full intent out of the box and we’ve seen him utilize his speed to turn routine ground balls on the infield into base hits. He’s certainly a threat to swipe a bag or two each time he gets on, profiling as a legitimate offensive table-setter atop a lineup at the next level. Perhaps the most impactful aspect of his game is on defense, where Head currently profiles as an elite asset in center field that hunts down baseballs and covers grass with ease. He’s an all-around star in this special 2023 group and climbs up to second overall after a strong start to the IHSA season. 

Joining this class a few weeks ago is COF/CIF George Wolkow (Downers Grove North; South Carolina). Previously the top prospect in the Illinois’ 2024 class and No. 3 nationally, Wolkow’s reclassification makes an abundantly talented junior group even stronger. He’s a unique case in multiple ways, especially because it’s not often we see a 6-foot-7, 220-pound high schooler roaming around the diamond. Still, his ability to control those lengthy levers at this age and his pure stature combined together equate to an extremely high ceiling for the left-handed slugger. Wolkow’s been tested throughout his amateur career - he played up two age groups on the travel circuit last summer - and the Gamecocks’ commit should garner plenty of draft buzz from now until next July. 

After an impressive showing at the Kickoff Classic, RHP Parker Detmers (Louisville) checks in at fourth overall on our updated board. The youngest brother of former first-round pick and current Los Angeles Angels’ starting pitcher Reid Detmers, Parker looks every bit the part of a high-end prospect in the Midwest’s 2023 draft cycle. Here’s what our Illinois Scouting Director, Drew Locascio, had to say about his eye-opening performance earlier this spring: 

“Louisville commit. 6-foot-3, 205-pound, right-handed pitcher. Workhorse, wide-shouldered build; strong, thick lower half with athleticism throughout. Got the start in the first game of the season. Extremely impressive first look at the talented right-hander in 2022. Pitched the morning game in less than ideal conditions; low temps with high winds and you would have never been able to tell by looking at him go about his business on the mound. Composed, confident and competitive demeanor. Displayed some more emotion and fire than we have seen in the past. Detmers was masterful overall, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before a two-out home run broke it up. Detmers proceeded to save his three hardest fastballs and best breaking ball for the next hitter striking him out on four pitches to complete his outing; Fastballs at 90, 90, 91 and then he ripped off a 78 mph breaking ball with 2425 rpm. His fastball sat comfortably at 87-88 mph, touching 89 throughout much of his outing, working both sides of the plate and down in the zone. He also showed the ability to elevate the fastball with two strikes for swings-and-misses. His curveball was his go-to secondary offering throughout, showing above-average feel off an 11/5 plane. Has the feel and athleticism to manipulate the spin and shape when needed; dropping it in for strikes early in counts and tightening it up with more depth and late action for two-strikes chases. Ended with 13 strikeouts in his six inning win. Gave up one hit, two runs and walked one. The arm works clean and with fluidity out of a high ¾ window while the delivery is highly-repeatable, athletic and works with ease. High-floor, high-ceiling 2023 draft prospect with starter profile."

Parker Detmers (3.19.22)

Moving up a spot in this update is C Colin Barczi (Naperville Central; Vanderbilt). Barczi represented Team Illinois at the PBR Future Games this past summer before committing to Vanderbilt shortly afterwards and, for as long as we’ve known him, is one of the freakiest athletes in this class. At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Barczi has run as fast as a 6.69 in the 60-yard dash at our events - an absurd number for his size and stature. His hardest hit ball exploded off his barrel at 103.6 mph and his average exit velocity of 97.3 mph in BP at the Future Games was amongst the event’s best. Barczi’s ridiculous bat strength translates to the field, where he’s been a major reason why Naperville Central is off to an 8-0 start this spring by consistently blistering baseballs on a game-to-game basis. Few rival the off-the-charts tools and athleticism that Barczi has, giving him one of the highest ceilings of this bunch. 

Colin Barczi (4.11.22)

Few have performed in their amatuer careers like C/OF Ryan Bakes (Huntley; South Carolina) has in front of our staff. The Red Raiders’ slugger seemingly mashes each time we see him and his power/speed combination is especially impressive given his primary position is behind the plate. Bakes’ tools are loud - he’s a chiseled 5-foot-10, 187-pound athlete that’s a 6.70 runner in the 60 and has been up to 84 mph from the crouch at our events. He was arguably the top performer at the PBR ProCase Midwest last July while playing up an age level, squaring up baseballs at a 93.5 mph average with wood in BP and reaching a 97.4 mph high, and he homered during the gameplay portion of that event, too. 

Ryan Bakes (7.6.21)

Brother Rice took home the National High School Select tournament championship a few weeks ago and C/OF Zion Rose (Louisville) played a huge role in the Crusaders’ success, earning our Illinois’ Player of the Week award in the process. Hitting out of the leadoff spot for the state’s most dangerous offensive unit, Rose served as a catalyst for the Crusaders in LakePoint, finishing the week 13-for-17 with four doubles, nine runs scored, and three stolen bases. He came up clutch several times and proved why he’s one of the state’s top juniors, consistently performing at the plate when called upon. Rose now sits at seventh overall on these updated rankings. 

Zion Rose (3.24.22)

Plainfield East surprised many when they took home the 4A state championship last season and they certainly wouldn’t have been able to do so without LHP Brady Louck (Notre Dame). The 5-foot-10, 170-pound southpaw pitched the Tigers to a championship, dominating Brother Rice in the Super-Sectionals to punch his team a ticket to Joliet. Louck rode that momentum into the summer and performed on a national scale, earning positive reviews from our LakePoint staff and popping up with the Reds Scout Team this fall, too. We recently took in Louck’s start against Downers Grove South and had this to say about the state’s top junior southpaw: 

“Notre Dame commit. 5-foot-10, 170-pound, left-handed pitcher. One of the top arms in the state and Midwest. Started on the mound and hit in the two-hole for Plainfield East. Competitive demeanor and look on the mound. Was pitching with a purpose throughout. Seemed like a playoff game type of mentality and look from Louck. Showcased his swing-and-miss stuff that we have become accustomed to seeing for some time now. Struck out nine in 3.1 innings pitched, scattering four hits, two runs and walked three. Arm works quick from a low ¾ slot. Slight deception in delivery, fastball seems to jump out of the hand and get on hitters in a hurry, sat 88-90 mph throughout. All kinds of arm-side-life and sink. Ability to control it to both sides of the plate. Not afraid to work to the glove side against right-handed hitters, especially with two strikes. Supreme confidence in his slurvy breaking ball. Thrown with arm speed and intent at 70-72 mph. Big sweeping action, sharp spin, has late bite, especially when he stays on top. Went to the breaking ball any time he wanted. Showed a changeup at 81 mph. Impressive showing for one of the top prospects in the state.”

Brady Louck (4.1.22)

LHP Tore Indomenico (St. Ignatius; Notre Dame) was one of the hottest names in the state in 2021 and parlayed it into an invite to the Future Games and a commitment to Notre Dame followed in the fall. The new No. 9 prospect in the state has a loose, quick arm and fills up the strike zone with a polished three-pitch mix. Indomenico sits comfortably in the upper-80’s with feel for both off-speed offerings, including an upper-70’s breaking ball that he gets all kinds of swing-and-miss on. Given Indomenico’s loose, quick arm there seems to be much more velocity to come to go along with his already high floor. 

Another early winner from the IHSA season, RHP Ryan Geraghty (Mundelein; Wichita State) owns one of the livelier arms in the state, regardless of class, and finds himself jumping into the top-10 in this recent update. Geraghty, like several others on this list, represented Team Illinois at the PBR Future Games this past summer and committed to Wichita State shortly afterwards. We had heard reports that Geraghty’s velocity was ticking up throughout the offseason and he confirmed just that when we saw him a few weeks ago against McHenry

“Wichita State commit. Durable 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame. Former PBR Future Games participant, ranked inside the top-20 in the Illinois’ junior class. Started at home against McHenry on a cold afternoon. Quiet tempo and rhythm on the mound, coils into the backside and shows the front hip before engaging downhill in a simple, controlled manner. Maintains direction to target, athletic finish. Easy, low-effort operation for the most part, did reach back for some at times. Loose arm path finishes out of a high ¾ slot. Fastball sat 89-93 mph, touched 94 mph; held velocity throughout his entire outing and was up to 93 mph in the fifth inning. Most effective down in the zone, induced several weak ground balls with some late sinking action to it. Slider appeared to be the separator in this look. Threw it with more confidence and conviction than we had seen in the past, turning to it often in two-strike counts as the game went on. Played at 76-80 mph with sharp, late swing-and-miss action off a 10/4 plane. Still developing a complete feel for the pitch, but the improvements made throughout the off-season are noteworthy. Did flash an above-average changeup with hard tumbling action in warmups, didn’t throw it in the game. Finished with five strikeouts through five no-hit innings, generating an abundance of weak contact throughout. Looks the part of an upper-tier pitching prospect in the Midwest that should garner some professional attention this summer and into next spring if the velocity boost remains."

Ryan Geraghty (4.1.22)

TRENDING UPWARD

+ Up 11 spots to No. 12 overall, RHP Adam Behrens (Warren Township) had an extremely productive winter at multiple stops in front of our staff, culminating in a commitment to Arizona State a few weeks ago. Behrens, who represented Team Illinois at the Future Games this past summer, has always been a high pitchability arm who’s stuff trended up this winter. At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, here’s a quick nugget on Behrens from one of our post-event analysis: 

“Announced his verbal commitment to Arizona State shortly following this event, right after tossing the day’s most polished ‘pen. Behrens sat 90-92 mph with little effort, with a fastball that spins at 2,223 rpm on average featuring hard arm-side action that projects to pummel the inner half of the right-handed strike zone. Behrens’ excellent feel and control over his offspeed, a curve-changeup combo, is his best attribute. His tight breaking ball bites through the zone with spin rates measured at 2,323 rpm on average, and his changeup is equally impressive, 77-80 mph, and it averaged the most horizontal movement of the day (19.1 inches). Ranked inside Illinois’ top-25, Behrens looks like he’ll receive consideration for a move up the board.”

+ OF Brenden Stressler (New Trier; St. Louis commit) rises seven spots in this update, now occupying the 13th spot on our board. Stressler’s been on the upward trajectory for quite some time now, earning an invite to the Future Games after a strong summer showing and solidifying his status as an upper-tier prospect within this class while doing so. Stressler was one of the biggest winners from the Metro East Kickoff Classic with our scouts having this to say about him: 

“St. Louis commit. 6-foot-2, 190-pound, wide-shouldered build with well-proportioned strength. Has seen his stock steadily climb over the past year and there is no slowing down. Is arguably one of, if not the best, pure left-handed hitters in the class. Advanced approach and polish at the plate. Sees the ball extremely deep into the zone, easy, quiet takes and minimal wasted effort. Flashes explosive hand speed, loose swing, stays inside the baseball and sprays hard line-drive, lifted contact to all parts of the field. Hit in the two-hole and finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Scorched one of his doubles off the very top of the left-field wall. Poised for a big offensive spring for the Trevians.”

+ Few rival the intent and pure raw power that INF Jake Zitella (St. Charles East; Illinois commit) brings to the plate, who’s up seven spots to 14th overall in this update. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Illinois commit took one of the loudest BP rounds all winter at the Lockport Preseason ID, as he repeatedly blistered baseballs while showing elite bat speed throughout. Here’s a quick nugget on him from that event: 

“Zitella swung with controlled aggression throughout his entire BP round, displaying explosive bat speed and consistent loud contact to all fields. It’s clear that he wields one of the state’s most potent right-handed strokes as the Illinois commit recorded a max exit velocity of 103.9 mph and peak distance of 365 feet while averaging 94 mph off the bat, too. Zitella flashed sure-handed actions on the infield as well and the arm strength to pair, reaching an 87 mph high during his defensive workout. He definitely created some positive momentum heading into the IHSA season as a high follow right-handed hitter in the state’s current junior class.”

Jake Zitella (2.21.22)

+ Our Preseason All-State event on February 26th provided us with an up-to-date look at RHP Drew Zemaitis (Providence Catholic; Xavier), who cemented himself as a top-20 name in the junior class with his performance. Our scouts had this to say about Zemaitis after the event: 

“Showed an uptick in velocity at the Preseason All-State, sitting 90-91 mph with a hard 80-81 mph curveball. He’s a sturdy 6-foot-2, 195 pounds and he showed a starter’s profile with three above-average pitches, including a hard sinking changeup to go along with similar characteristics on his fastball. Zemaitis’ 90.6 mph high was among the day’s best, and it averaged a spin rate of 2,419 rpm which did top the event."

Drew Zemaitis (2.26.22)

UPDATED 2023 TOP 10 RANKINGS

RANK   NAME STATE SCHOOL CLASS POS COMMITMENT
1 Zander Mueth IL Belleville East 2023 RHP Mississippi
2 Dillon Head IL Homewood Flossmoor 2023 OF Michigan
3 George Wolkow IL Downers Grove North 2023 3B South Carolina
4 Parker Detmers IL Glenwood 2023 RHP Louisville
5 Colin Barczi IL Naperville Central 2023 C Vanderbilt
6 Zion Rose IL Brother Rice 2023 C Louisville
7 Ryan Bakes IL Huntley 2023 C South Carolina
8 Brady Louck IL Plainfield East 2023 LHP Notre Dame
9 Tore Indomenico IL St. Ignatius 2023 LHP Notre Dame
10 Ryan Geraghty IL Mundelein 2023 RHP Wichita State

 

*CLICK HERE for a look at the entire 2023 Illinois Rankings*

 

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