Prep Baseball Report

Week 1 Games

By Illinois Scouting Staff

The Illinois Scout Blog provides insider information and scouting notes from the PBR Scouting Staff during the season. This running blog will feature information on underclass prospects, unsigned seniors, draft prospects, and anything else that is notable. We will provide a wide range of information, including player evaluations, velocities, pop times, home to first times, and more. Simply put, the Illinois Scout Blog is loaded with information …


By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Edwardsville, Normal West and Kaneland got together on Saturday, April 17th and each team played two games on the day. Below are notes on each team from the three games that took place.


Hayden Moore, OF, Edwardsville, 2021
Missouri State commit, currently ranked No. 28 in Illinois. Highly-athletic, switch-hitter who is the leadoff hitter and catalyst for the Tigers offense. Handles the bat well from both sides of the plate. Saw a lot of action in the left-handed batter’s box over the two games. Loose, athletic swing, consistently on time and on the barrel. Works gap-to-gap with sneaky pull-side power. High-level baserunner. His 6.74 60 time plays on the field. Quick out of the box, ran a 4.26 down the line in his first at-bat of the day. Ultra-aggressive approach on the bases. Looks to steal as soon as he gets on base and always looking to take the extra base. Profiles in center field at the next level. Routinely gets good jumps and reads on balls. Made it look easy tracking down a ball hit deep to center field. One of the top athletes and outfielders in the state. Finished the day 2-for-7 with a double, two runs scored, RBI and stolen base.

Hayden Moore

Caeleb Copeland, OF, Edwardsville, 2023
Uncommitted sophomore, emerged over the course of the day as a follow left-handed hitter in the 2023 class. Finished game two of the day 2-for-3 with a home run, triple, four RBIs and a run scored. Starts in an open relaxed setup, fluid rhythm and quiet overall approach. Stays within himself, controls the barrel and features easy bat strength, especially for his age. Lined his triple into the left-center field gap and turned on his home run which ended up leaving the yard to right-center field. Copeland also went 1-for-1 with two RBIs and a run scored in game one of the day. Look for the sophomore to continue to bolster an already impressive lineup for Edwardsville.

Caeleb Copeland

Grant Huebner, OF/C, Edwardsville, 2022
Uncommitted, currently ranked No. 49 in Illinois. Was a part of Team Illinois at the 2020 Future Games. 5-foot-11, 165-pound, wiry, athletic, right-handed hitting versatile, athletic prospect. Impressed all over the field throughout the two games. Offensively, the right-handed hitter, has quick twitchy hands and stays flat through the zone. Has the ability to backspin the baseball to the pull-side of the diamond and gets advanced jump off the barrel when he syncs up his swing. Hit a line-drive, backspin missile that left the yard in a hurry for a home run to left-center field. Finished the day 3-for-7 with a home run, two doubles, two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Looks natural in the outfield but also has the athleticism to move behind the plate and catch. Currently not a refined receiver and blocker but impacts the game with his bounce and strong arm behind the plate. Consistently looks to throw behind runners, ultra-confident in his arm which plays true and with carry. High-follow uncommitted 2022 prospect.

Grant Huebner

Spencer Stearns, 3B, Edwardsville, 2022
Uncommitted. 6-foot-2, 200-pound, athletic build with well-proportioned strength throughout. Hits in the three-hole for Edwardsville and started at third base. Upside right-handed hitter with present pull-side power. Loose wristed, creates whip in the barrel, leverages the baseball to the pull-side of the diamond and the ball comes off his bat differently. Drove a home run to left-center field for a home run in game two of the day. Finished the day 3-for-6, home run, double, five RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Follow right-handed bat in the Illinois’ 2022 class.

Spencer Stearns

Alec Marchetto, RHP, Edwardsville, 2024
Uncommitted freshman came out of the bullpen in the final game of the day for Edwardsville. Physically advanced, 6-foot, 190-pound frame with a strong lower half. Simple delivery, slight drop-and-drive action, stays on-line down the mound and lands square. Long arm action, comes out of a high ¾ slot with looseness at foot strike. Fastball works mostly straight, slight arm-side-action, controlled the zone at times, sat 80-81 mph, touched 82. Mixed in a sweeping breaking ball at 66-67 mph. Scattered two hits and no earned runs in his 1.1 innings pitched. Freshman to follow moving forward.

Alec Marchetto


Nick Barlow, RHP, Normal West, 2021
Unsigned Senior. 5-foot-10, 200-pound, right-handed pitcher with a durable lower half. Smooth, clean, directional delivery, highly-repeatable and works with minimal effort. Clean, uninterrupted arm action, plays out of a high ¾ slot. Started on the mound for Normal West in game two of the day. Controls the game, pitches with a plan and will mix looks and timing with runners on base. Fastball comes out of the hand clean and easy, works mostly straight, gets late action to the arm side at times, sat 82-83 mph, touching 84 mph. Steady three-pitch mix throughout with his slider being a featured offering. Above-average spin, works off a 10/4 plane, feel and 2400+ rpm at times, sat 71-73 mph. Also showed a changeup with fade action at 76 mph. Starter profile at the next level. 

Eli Hensley, SS, Normal West, 2022
Uncommitted; currently ranked No. 79 in the Illinois’ 2022 class. 5-foot-8, 165-pound, left-handed hitting middle infielder. Offensively, profiles at the top of the order. Stays within himself, advanced feel for the barrel and hand/eye. Short compact swing, stays on-plane and uses the whole field. Line-drive approach, hits the ball where it is pitched and was consistently on time. Quiet takes and understands the strike zone. Went 2-for-2 with a triple to left-center field and two runs scored in game two of the day. Defensively, steady infield defender, actions and hands to stick up the middle of the diamond. Plays low to the ground, sure-handed and ability to throw from multiple angles. Follow 2022 left-handed hitting infielder.

Eli Hensley

Joe Jefferson, 3B/C, Normal West, 2022
Uncommitted, currently ranked No. 207 in the Illinois’ 2022 class. 5-foot-11, 180-pounds, athletic frame. Started at third base in the first game and behind the plate in the second. Showed equally as well at both spots. Smooth, fluid infield actions, plays easy with steady hands and clean release. Arm plays accurate across the diamond and strong enough to handle the left-side of the diamond. Behind the plate, presents pitches well; quiet and subtle actions, soft hands. Clean and efficient out of the crouch. 2.11 pop time in between innings. Offensively, right-handed hitter, athletic hands, consistently on time with pull-side tendencies. Length through the zone with occasional lift and leverage. Follow 2022 upside prospect.

Nick Haslett, INF/OF, Normal West, 2023
Uncommitted sophomore; started and played right-field in game two of the day for Normal West. 6-foot-3, 180-pound, highly-projectable, high-waisted frame. Calm and relaxed in the box, early load and easy swing. Simple swing, quick hands, uphill path and minimal wasted movement. Swing occasionally can get in and out of the zone quick. Finished the game 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Nick Haslett (4/17/21)

Jesse Courtney, RHP/3B, Normal West, 2023
Illinois State commit; currently ranked No. 22 in the Illinois’ 2023 class. 6-foot-2, 200-pound, strong-bodied, two-way prospect. Started game one on the mound and took a no decision going five innings, scattering four hits, one earned run while striking out eight and walking one. Clean and easy arm with seemingly much more in the tank. Commanded the zone with the fastball, especially in the early goings; works mostly straight, creates angle at times, occasional cut to the glove side, sat 83-85 mph early on. Mixed in a 66-67 mph curveball with 11/5 shape that he looks to land for strikes. Was also one of the more impressive bats on the day. Hits in the middle of the lineup. Fast bat and present bat strength. Bat is loud at contact and ball jumps off the barrel. Power bat type of profile with pull-side tendencies. Finished game one 2-for-3 with an RBI double, single and scored a run. Impressive two-way talent in the 2023 class. 

Jesse Courtney 


Brady Popovich, RHP/UTIL, Kaneland, 2021
Trinity International commit. 5-foot-10, 155-pound, two-way prospect. Started on the mound in game one of the day and hit in the five-hole in both games. Popovich got the win going six innings, scattering six hits while striking out seven and only walking two. Competitive approach on the mound and attacked hitters with a fastball/breaking ball combination. Fastball sat at 80-81 mph in the early goings and topped at 82 in the second. Breaking ball worked off a 10/4 plane, feel for the zone, occasional late biting action at 69-70 mph. 

Sebastian Cabeza, C, Kaneland, 2021
Black Hawk JC commit, currently ranked No. 89 in the Illinois’ 2021 class. 5-foot-10, 180-pound, compact, strong frame. Was all over the barrel in the two-game set, hitting out of the two-hole for Kaneland. Loose, athletic hands, creates whip, natural lift and bat speed in swing. Gets extension through contact and works gap-to-gap with authority. Finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run single down the left-field line in game one. Went 1-for-2 with a groundball single up the middle and a sharp line-out to third base. Defensively, has athletic, natural catcher actions behind the plate. Willing blocker, quiet receiver and clean actions out of the crouch. Arm plays loose and accurate. 

Sebastian Cabeza

Tyler Conklin, RHP/SS, Kaneland, 2021
Eastern Illinois commit; currently ranked No. 18 in the Illinois’ 2021 class. Got the start in game two of the day against No. 8 Edwardsville. One of the top pitchability right-handed arms in the class. Loose, quick arm action, plays out of a ¾ to low-¾ slot. Commands the fastball to both sides of the plate, advanced horizontal action, flattens out at times, sat 86-88 mph, T89 early. Settled in at 84-87 mph. Also, showed two different breaking balls with a sweeping slider being his preferred offering but also showed a big 12/6 curveball with depth. Trusts his slider and will go to it in any count; 74-75 mph with 2500+ rpm at times. Curveball played at 63-67 mph. 

Patrick Collins, INF, Kaneland, 2023
Big-bodied sophomore, started and hit in the eight-hole for Kaneland. Strong hands with present bat strength. Delivered a huge go-ahead, two-run triple to straight-away center field in game one of the day. Quiet setup, early loading action and short/direct path to the ball. Potential pull-side power down the road.

No. 2 Brother Rice vs No. 7 Marist 4/17/21

By Peter Hamot
Area Scout

Zion Rose, C, Brother Rice, 2023
Louisville commit, currently the No. 1 ranked player in the 2023 class. Muscular 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame. Strong lower body with superior strength in his forearms and hands. Short, compact swing with easy power, ball jumps off the bat. Advanced bat speed and works directly to the ball. Featured a leg kick that kept him in rhythm and on time. Defensively, continues to show advanced ability behind the plate; Frames and presents pitches in and around the zone, athletic/willing blocker. Above-average arm behind the plate for his age. Footwork is quick, athletic and efficient out of the crouch. High-level 2023 prospect.

Collin Amsden, RHP/1B, Marist HS, IL
Uncommitted, ranked No. 163 in the 2022 class. Strong, physical 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame. Compact, athletic delivery, starts with his front foot staggered towards first base out of the stretch; tall and fall delivery, stays in line with the plate.  Throws with a high ¾ to over-the-top arm slot. Featured a fastball that sat 82-85 with armside movement, located on the corners of the plate. Curveball looked to be his best secondary offering sitting at 70-71 with 11/5 shape and late break. Changeup was thrown from the same arm slot at 73-74; mostly straight action but located down in the zone with deceptive arm speed. Threw a complete game, allowing one earned run against No. 2 Brother Rice, one of the top offenses we have seen so far this season.

Sebastian Barrera, RHP, Brother Rice HS, IL
Webster University commit. 5-foot-8, 180-pound frame, strong lower body. Repeatable delivery, stays balanced and under control throughout, stride works on-line down the mound; uses his lower half well by getting a good load into his back leg. Barrera added roughly 6 mph to his fastball since the last time we saw him. His fastball sat 83-85, touching 86 with some arm side movement. Featured an effective curveball with 2/8 slurvy action at 69-74 mph. Changeup is thrown with the same arm speed and arm action as his fastball at 74-75 mph, with sink and feel for the bottom of the zone. Barrera threw 4.2 innings against No. 7 Marist, striking out 5 and allowing 1 earned run.

No.6 Huntley vs Neuqua Valley 4/15/21

By Peter Hamot
Area Scout

Tyler Castro, SS/2B, Huntley, 2021
McHenry County JC commit, currently ranked No. 166 in the Illinois 2021 class. 6-foot-1, 175 pound, long, athletic frame. Castro started at shortstop and hit in the two-hole for Huntley. Finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs scored, three stolen bases, including a game-tying single to right-field in the top of the seventh. Left handed hitter, quick hands and fluid rhythm at the plate. Quick first step out of the box, aggressive on the base paths, looking to take the extra base at all times. Quality jumps and dirt ball reads. Defensively, quick feet, easy range and plays through the baseball in rhythm. 2021 prospect with upside to his entire game.  

Eric Lin, RHP, Huntley, 2021
Triton JC commit. 6-foot, 175-pound projectable frame, right-handed pitcher. Lin, who came out of the bullpen, has put on nearly 10 mph to his fastball since August of 2020. Easy, fluid, repeatable delivery, with a high ¾ to slightly over the top arm slot. Creates angle, especially with his fastball; fastball sat 89-92, touching 93 mph with carry and jump through the zone. Threw one splitter at 78 mph with fastball arm speed and action. Featured a curveball at 72-75 mph, sharp break, tendency to miss up in the zone. Lin went 1.2 innings, striking out 4 against Neuqua Valley. Emerging power-armed right-hander to keep tabs on in the 2021 class.

Adam Guazzo, RHP, Huntley, 2022
Uncommitted. Has been on the rise throughout the winter and is currently ranked No. 59 in the Illinois’ 2022 class. Highly projectable 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. Started on the mound for Huntley. Clean, short ¾ arm action. Smooth delivery, loads/drops into his back leg while keeping his stride in line. Fastball sat 84-88 with late sink and arm-side-run. Slider showed to be his best secondary pitch on this day, thrown at 74-78 mph with sharp break and feel for the bottom of the zone. Curveball is also an above-average offering at 71-74 mph, with 11/5 shape, with similar feel as the slider and a distinctly different action. Changeup was thrown from the same arm slot as his fastball at 77-79, with good downward movement. True four-pitch repertoire which profiles as a starter at the next level. 

Malachi Paplanus, RHP, Huntley, 2024
Currently uncommitted. Highly-projectable, right-handed pitcher with a 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame. Paplanus looks to be one of the top arms in the Illinois 2024 class that we have seen to-date. Came out of the bullpen and only needed 10 pitches to strike out the side against Neuqua Valley in his one inning of work. Fluid, athletic delivery, stays strong and controlled over the rubber at balance point and strides on line down the mound. Clean arm action, high ¾ slot. Fastball sat 82-84 mph with late arm-side-life. Curveball was thrown at 70-73 mph with sharp action with feel for the zone. Changeup showed to be his best secondary offering, sat 74-75 mph with late sinking and arm-side action; used it to backdoor right-handed hitters on the outer half of the plate. High-level freshman to follow who is seeing action for No. 6 Huntley.

Grant Palmer, SS/2B, Neuqua Valley, 2021
Unsigned senior, ranked No. 276 in the Illinois 2021 class. Highly-athletic 6-foot, 185-pound frame featuring a strong lower half. Right-handed hitter, started at second base and led off for Neuqua. Palmer, a 6.85 runner in the 60, impressed throughout the day defensively. His speed plays on the infield, showing advanced range and the ability to keep balls in front hit to both sides. Smooth hands, quick and clean release. Ability to stick on the infield moving forward. Offensively, athletic, compact right-handed swing and maintains balance throughout. Finished 0-for-3 with a walk. Follow unsigned senior middle infielder.


 By Danny Jimenez
Area Scout

Sebastian Biggs, SS/2B Providence Catholic, 2021
Ave Maria commit, currently ranked No. 236 in the Illinois 2021 class. 6-foot-2, 165 pound, long-limbed, upside, right-handed hitting infielder. Started at second base and hit lead off for the Celtics. Finished the day 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Balanced and loose look in the batter’s box. Athletic setup, fluid pre-pitch rhythm, slight hand load, advanced approach uses the whole field and hands stay inside the ball. Drove a triple to dead center field and also singled to right field.