Prep Baseball Report

Updated Illinois Class of 2024 Rankings

By: Drew Locascio & Diego Solares
Illinois Scouting Staff

After a productive winter circuit and an abundance of scout notes from the entire IHSA season, we're updating our state's 2024 rankings for the first time since last October. 

The state’s 2024 class has a few high-end national names at the top, and plenty of uncommitted names littered throughout eager to burst onto the scene on this upcoming summer circuit. We have expanded the rankings from 35-75 and continue to try to keep the list small and extremely selective. There are a number of quality prospects that have impacted varsity teams across the state that just missed the cut but will be sure to find their names on the list in updates to come.

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


A top three prospect in the state’s 2024 class since our initial release, INF/QB1 Cole Crafton (Lincoln-Way West; Louisville) vaults to the top spot for the first time in this update. Crafton is a high-end athlete, starring on the football field and certainly translating his talents to the diamond when spring rolls around. He’s been on a tear thus far for No. 8 Lincoln-Way West this spring, earning our ‘Player of the Week’ honors while pacing one of the state’s top teams. Perhaps the biggest development with Crafton is the amount of strength he’s added over the past few months, now standing at a more physically built 6-foot-3, 205-pounds. That has added more thump to his left-handed stroke, as he’s routinely hit for extra-bases throughout the IHSA season and launched six home runs, too. Crafton appears to just be scratching the surface of what he’s capable of on the baseball field and he’s certainly trending upward to start 2022.

Cole Crafton

RHP Ryan Sloan (York; Wake Forest) climbs up three ticks after a highly impressive performance at the Preseason All-State which has carried over into the spring, slotting into the second spot on our updated rankings. Sloan boasts prototypical size and strength for a starter, standing at a physical 6-foot-4, 205-pounds. He was arguably the top prospect in attendance at the All-State: Underclass amongst a loaded crop of prospects, with our scouts having this to say about him on that day:

“There was one clear stand-out of the day on the mound: Wake Forest recruit RHP Ryan Sloan (York, 2024). He’s a high upside arm with an already dominant fastball that topped at 91.7 mph with advanced arm-side action, averaging over 15 inches of horizontal movement. He paired it with an equally impressive sweeping slider that averaged almost 12 inches of action in the opposite direction. Toss in a sinking changeup, and Sloan has a plus three-pitch repertoire for his age that profiles as a high-level starter at the next level.”

Ryan Sloan

Staying put at third overall is C/INF Collin Mowry (Lincoln-Way Central; Louisville), who looked the part of a true impact right-handed bat at the next level throughout last year and our early looks this spring. Mowry’s physicality for his age and knack for hard contact stand out. He’s a versatile defender that looks equally as talented on the left side of the infield as he does behind the plate. The bat should continue to impact the top of an order for years to come.

Collin Mowry

Keeping the fourth spot, RHP Luke Oblen (DePaul College Prep; Louisville) has displayed some of the strongest raw arm strength in the class to our staff throughout his high school career, which earned him a spot in the state’s top five during our initial release. Oblen exploded at the Underclass Showcase in 2020, touching 89 mph with his fastball back when he was in eighth grade. He followed that up by touching 91 mph at Creekside during the 15U National Championship, pitching in the mid-to-high-80s from a relatively low-effort operation. Oblen has the makings of a starter at the next level with an advanced arsenal across the board.

Luke Oblen

A fresh face rounds out the top five, climbing up an equal amount of spots in this recent update: RHP Malachi Paplanus (Huntley). The 6-foot-1, 200-pound uncommitted sophomore started his year out strong at the Preseason All-State in February, pumping his fastball up to 89 mph while spinning a 2,600+ RPM curveball with swing-and-miss upside. Paplanus has parlayed that early momentum into success with the Red Raiders this spring, catching our scouts attention in a key matchup against rival Jacobs. A quick nugget on him from that game, found below:

“Uncommitted, currently ranked No. 10 in the Illinois 2024 class. Strong looking build, broad shoulders standing 6-foot-1, 200-pounds. The right-hander’s arm works loose throughout his arm circle into a ¾ slot, playing quick to release. Down the mound, Paplanus works with a repeatable delivery down the mound; reaching balance point and using a drop/drive lower-half to drive down the mound, remaining in-line with a square landing foot. His fastball cruised at 86-88 mph, showing life out of the hand and some run to his arm-side. He went to a slider most often for his change of pace offering; playing off a 10/4 plane with sharp action and feel, 77-79 mph with depth. He also featured a late fading changeup at 78-80 mph, thrown with confidence and feel for the zone.”

Malachi Paplanus

RHP Ryan Anderson (Minooka) represented Team Illinois at the PBR Future Games this past summer as an underclassmen and recently committed to Arizona, staying still at sixth overall on our updated board. Anderson is one of the state’s most projectable arms, standing at 6-foot-6, 188-pounds. He’s an athletic downhill mover with an ease to his delivery and three pitches to pair.

“Recent Arizona commit. Currently ranked No. 6 in the Illinois 2024 class. Long-limbed, 6-foot-6, 188-pound frame, projectable with room to fill out. Started on the mound and impressed over his five innings of work; surrendering just four hits and no runs while striking out seven to only one walk. The right-hander’s arm works with a short circle out of the glove, playing to release from a high ¾ slot. Down the mound, Anderson uses a tall/fall style delivery, remaining in-line to the plate throughout and landing square, repeating consistently despite his big frame. His fastall sat in the 82-85 mph range, playing with sink and filling up the zone. He went to a sharp slider most often to pair off his fastball, playing at 70-74 mph with sweep off a 10/4 plane and sharp action, thrown for strikes and to put hitters away. His final offering was a fading changeup at 77 mph, thrown with similar fastball arm-speed. High-level 2024 arm with upside.”

Ryan Anderson

One of the class’s top athletes, OF Dennis Butler III (Simeon; Louisville) holds onto the seventh slot on this board. Butler’s been a familiar face to our scouts for some time now, as he starred for Team Illinois at the 2019 Junior Future Games as an eighth grader and grew off that momentum, committing to Louisville relatively recently. Butler attended the Lockport Preseason ID this winter and continued to impress our evaluators:

“...continues to look like one of the more athletic outfielders in the 2024 class. The 5-foot-7, 165-pound athlete changes the game on the field with his speed (6.75 laser-timed 60) and his left-handed swing profiles at the top of an order moving forward. Butler stays compact and inside the baseball and creates impressive bat strength for his age and size. Butler consistently lined backspin line-drives into the left-center field gap during his round of BP. The dynamic sophomore is also a natural in the outfield, covering a lot of ground with a quick first step and precise routes.”

Dennis Butler III

Another member of that aforementioned 2019 Illinois’ Junior Future Games squad was LHP John Hughes (Nazareth Academy; North Carolina), who’s the top-ranked southpaw in this 2024 group at No. 8 overall. Hughes stands at a sturdy 6-foot, 190-pounds and saw an uptick in velocity early this spring at an in-person viewing, while also pounding the zone with his entire arsenal. Our scout notes from that look:

“North Carolina commit. Strong, sturdy 6-foot, 190-pound frame. Ranked eighth in the Illinois sophomore class and No. 378 nationally for his age. Was the final arm out of the bullpen for Nazareth Academy. Simple and repeatable delivery with slight drop/drive downhill patterns, front side stays closed, maintains direction to target and finishes square. Repeated at a high level, quick worker. Short clean arm action, high ¾ slot. Fastball played at 85-86 mph, touching 87 mph multiple times in his first inning of work. Threw both a curveball and slider; the former thrown at 71-72 mph with more gradual action off a 1/7 plane and a higher aptitude to land for strikes, while the latter played at 74-75 mph with more lateral tilt. Turned to a 76-77 mph changeup against left-handed hitters that was thrown at arm speed and slot that played in the lower half of the zone.” 

John Hughes

Rising up 14 spots, and into the top-10 for the first time in his high school career, INF Nate Harris (Yorkville) started the year off on a high note at the Preseason All-State this winter. Harris, who’s built at an extremely physical 6-foot-4, 200-pounds, burst onto the scene last summer after bludgeoning several baseballs at PBR At The Rock Tournaments, displaying some of the loudest sheer strength in the class. His tools were on full display at the Preseason All-State, emerging that event as one of the day’s biggest winners, with our scouts having this to say about his performance:

“...looks to have the makings to be considered one of the top Illinois Class of 2024 prospects moving forward. Harris’ advanced 6-foot-4, 200-pound, wide-shouldered, athletic frame immediately stands out as does the fact that he ran a clean and easy 6.84 laser-timed 60. On top of that, he showed a clean, physical right-handed swing with all kinds of feel and power attached to it. Harris routinely launched balls with authority into both gaps while staying within himself and on balance. Harris recorded an average exit velocity of 90.1 mph to go along with a max batted distance of 346 feet. Defensively, he has loose, athletic actions, sure hands, and a big arm that topped at 92 mph across the diamond. Harris has emerged as one of the top uncommitted position players in the class.”

Nate Harris

Concluding the top of this list, and actually climbing one spot into the top-10, is INF/RHP Charlie Vercruysse (Normal University; Notre Dame). Vercruysse is an intriguing two-way prospect with an athletic right-handed stroke, sound actions on the infield, and a loose arm on the mound that was up to 86 mph last fall in front of our scouts. 

Charlie Vercruysee


Landing just outside the top-10 is uncommitted INF Kenny Perez (De La Salle), who’s on the rise after impressing at the Preseason All-State and translating that success to gameplay this spring. Perez cracked the initial release of these rankings by squeaking into one of the board’s final slots, now rising 19 spots to 11th overall. A quick nugget on Perez from Drew Locascio, the Illinois Scouting Director:

“Uncommitted. 5-foot-10, 160-pound, well-proportioned, right-handed hitting infielder, currently ranked No. 30 in the Illinois’ 2024 class. Hit in the four-hole and started at third base. Looks to be one of the top uncommitted position players in the 2024 class. Defensively, has all the actions and tools to be a high-level defender moving forward. Plays with ease, confidence and light, active feet. Hands play soft, works from the ground up and ranges with body control. Made a slow roller, run through play down the third base line look extremely easy and routine. Arm plays quick, loose and accurate across the diamond. Offensively, hits with fluid rhythm and confidence. Loose, athletic swing, gets extension through contact and can drive the ball to all fields with authority. Homered over the right-field fence in his first at-bat. Flew out to center field with authority in his next two at-bats. High-follow 2024 uncommitted infielder.”

Kenny Perez

Debuting in the rankings at No. 12 after numerous noteworthy showings that range from last fall’s Chicagoland Open to this year’s Preseason All-State is INF Tyler Bell (Lincoln-Way East; Pittsburgh). Bell boasts an extremely projectable 6-foot, 170-pound frame and he’s a switch-hitter with feel from both sides of the plate, too. His defensive capabilities caught our scouts attention at The MAX this February:

“ another impressive infielder with the tools to stay on the left side of the diamond for the long haul. The 6-foot, 170-pound Bell ran a 7.13, was 88 mph across the infield, and he made the infield defensive portion of the event look easy with clean and efficient actions and minimal effort. He looks equally as potent from both sides of the plate with an easy, loose swing with some strength through contact. Impressive 2024 infielder.”

Tyler Bell

INF/RHP Cooper Malamazian (Nazareth Academy; Indiana) rises a handful of spots, slotting at 13th on this updated board. Malamazian has long been an upside follow in the class, first popping onto our radar at the Junior Future Games back in 2019 and steadily improving throughout the years, culminating in a commitment to Indiana last October. He turned in a productive spring for the Roadrunners, earning all-conference honors as a sophomore and catching our staff’s attention when we saw him:

“Indiana commit, currently ranked No. 17 in Illinois’ 2024 class. Projectable, athletic build with a high waist, listed at 5-foot-11, 150-pounds but looks to have added on some muscle since our last look. Started at shortstop and hit in the three-hole for No. 6 Nazareth on Saturday. Right-handed hitter utilizes a fluid/quiet load, moving with a lift-and-place type stride, highly repeatable. His hands work quietly into footstrike and then move quickly through the zone with a level path, clear line-drive approach up the middle, remaining loose and athletic throughout the swing process. He took impressive reps before the game in IO; flashing soft hands that work out in front of his body, playing through with fluid feet into a clean/quick transfer. His arm plays from a clean ¾ slot, short out of the glove with clear arm-strength across the diamond, also playing on the move from multiple slots.”

Cooper Malamazian

Debuting on this board at 14th overall after a highly impressive ‘pen at this winter’s Preseason All-State: RHP Luke Weber (Highland Park). The 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander popped onto our radar at The Rock in the fall and built off that throughout the off-season, improving his all-around arsenal. Weber’s fastball sat at 87-88 mph from a loose, clean path at The MAX in February and there’s seemingly more to come as he continues to physically mature. He showed advanced feel for a late fading changeup, throwing it with similar intent and slot to his fastball, and he occasionally landed a high-70s breaking ball for strikes, too. Weber has been throwing quality innings for Highland Park so far this spring.

Luke Weber

One of the state’s top uncommitted left-handed bats rises a spot in this update, now sitting at No. 21 overall: CIF Cash Campbell (Montini Catholic). Campbell’s physicality is evident in the box, boasting a strong, sturdy 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame from the left side. He regularly produced loud contact across two different events this winter and has translated that advanced raw power into gameplay this spring, crushing seven home runs for the Broncos. We recently ranked Campbell as one of the top prospects in attendance from the O’Hare Preseason ID, having this to say about him at that event:

“...gave our staff a quality up-to-date look at his skill set. Now built at a stronger and leaner 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Campbell’s left-handed stroke showed well in BP, as he displayed loose strong hands and natural lift through contact with a max exit velocity of 97.3 mph. He worked in rhythm on the infield as well with athletic feet and an accurate arm that delivered from a high ¾ slot. He’s long been an intriguing follow for us and we’re eager to see him continue to build off this performance throughout this year.”

Cash Campbell

INF Savion Flowers (Kenwood) has easily been one of the biggest winners on the circuit thus far into 2022, climbing up 12 spots to 22nd overall with room to rise up this board throughout his high school career. A left-handed hitter, Flowers boasts a highly projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame that could easily add 20-to-30 pounds of muscle as physical maturity continues. Flowers took one of the cleaner rounds of BP we saw all winter, repeating his swing with ease and working all over the barrel throughout. His arm ticked up from 82 mph to 88 since we last saw him in the fall, and he registered a max exit velocity of 97.2 mph, up from 92.4 in the fall. A nugget on him from our ‘IHSA Scout Blog’ from an early look this spring:

“Uncommitted, 6-foot-3, 185-pound, highly-athletic, high-waisted, projectable, left-handed hitting outfielder. Hit in the four-hole and played right field. Put together arguably the most impressive swing of the day, a no-doubt, line-drive, solo home run over the right-field fence. Looks the part in the box, balanced setup with quiet pre-pitch rhythm. Flat path, stays through the zone with leverage to the pull-side at times. Finished 1-for-4 with the solo home run. Ran a 4.47 and 4.51 down the line on groundouts later in the game. High-upside left-handed hitter in the 2024 class.”

Savion Flowers


1 Cole Crafton IL Lincoln-Way West
2024 INF
2 Ryan Sloan IL York
2024 RHP
Wake Forest
3 Collin Mowry IL Lincoln Way Central
2024 C/INF
4 Luke Oblen IL DePaul College Prep
2024 RHP Louisville
5 Malachi Paplanus IL Huntley
2024 RHP
6 Ryan Anderson IL Minooka
2024 RHP
7 Dennis Butler III IL Simeon
2024 OF
8 John Hughes IL Nazareth Academy
2024 LHP North Carolina
9 Nate Harris IL Yorkville
2024 INF

10 Charlie Vercruysse IL Normal University
2024 RHP Notre Dame