Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Signing Day: More Division I Signees

By: Pete Hamot
Area Scout, Staff Writer

On Nov. 8, thousands of high school baseball players across the country signed their National Letters of Intent to lock in their official commitments to their respective schools, with hundreds of these signings hailing from Illinois.

Over the last few weeks, we have spent some time highlighting the names from Illinois that signed their NLI to play baseball at the Division I level. We’ve already broken down a handful of these conferences, and you can find those, below:

BIG 10
BIG 12
Missouri Valley
Ohio Valley

Today, we'll be looking at the remaining players from around the state that signed to play baseball at the Division I level. 

Appalachian State 

Luke Oblen RHP / 2B / DePaul College Prep, IL / 2024

From 3/2/23: "Recently back on the market after a decommitment from Louisville, RHP Luke Oblen (De Paul College Prep, 2024) featured a four pitch mix with an 88-90 mph fastball that topped at 91 mph, working mostly down in the zone. Oblen showed a slider, cutter and changeup, his slider showed to be his best compliment to his fastball spinning in the 2400 range at 75-79 mph."

Arkansas State 

David Barker RHP / RHP / O'Fallon, IL / 2024

From 3/16/23: "6-foot-3, 170-pound long, lanky, highly projectable athlete with whippy levers. Entered the high school season with plenty of momentum after a stellar winter circuit. Toed the rubber for O’Fallon, hurling four scoreless frames in a start. Simple side-step starts delivery, front hip coils inward and starts working down the slope from balance point, drop/drive pattern that stays closed to footstrike. Finishes onto a firm lead leg, maintains direction to target. Fluid mover downhill, repeated consistently through cold and rainy conditions. Short arm draw from the glove, loose and clean ¾ slot. Held 85-87 mph with his fastball, worked east-to-west with consistent strikes to the glove side. Flashed tight spin on a 72-74 mph slider, late horizontal action on occasion, used sparingly. An upside uncommitted junior arm that’s primed for a big spring as the ace of this O’Fallon staff."

Michael Barker RHP / RHP / O'Fallon, IL / 2024

From 4/21/23: "Uncommitted. Lanky 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame with long, protectable limbs. Entered the game in the fourth for the Panthers and hurled three key relief innings en route to a win. Quick tempo and pace throughout, simple tall/fall type delivery, stays connected with the rubber to front foot strike, closes off slightly at landing. Fluid mover, noticeable upside on the hill. Short continuous arm path, finishes from an over-the-top slot. Fastball touched 87 mph early, settled into the mid-80s as his outing went on. Most effective down in the zone and on the glove side corner, comfortable working that side of the plate with consistency. Changed pace with a 68-70 mph curveball with depth and gradual downer spin to it, landing it for strikes. Flashed a changeup to left-handed hitters at 76-77 mph with some sink. An upside arm that’s still on the market."


Frankie Bilecki LHP / 1B / Marist, IL / 2024

From 8/8/23: " one of the top uncommitted arms in the state that’s been trending up all summer, leaving behind strong impressions on our staff at The Rock and Creekside. At 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, Bilecki is an intentful mover downhill with a power fastball, peaking at 88.6 mph, while pitching at 85-87 mph throughout. Off that, Bilecki spun a tight slider with late break that grabbed uncomfortable, off-balance swings in the mid-to-upper-70s. He punched out four batters over two innings of work at this event and is a high follow uncommitted southpaw headed into the fall."


Bryce Loeger RHP / OF / Conant, IL / 2024

From 6/27/23: "...measuring in at 6-foot-1, 207-pounds, Loeger looked the part as one of the top uncommitted arms in the class. Showcasing a four-pitch mix, Loeger impressed with his upper 80’s fastball (T2242 rpm) that topped out at 88.6 mph (event high) with armside run that played at the bottom of the zone. Loeger showed two different breaking balls with a 12/6 shaped curveball (T2445 rpm) landing for strikes and being the best of the breaking balls. His slider (T2605 rpm) had 10/4 shape and played well to the glove side. He rounded out his repertoire with a changeup (T1475 rpm) that had feel for the zone with fade to the armside, a potential out-pitch moving forward. Also, a high-level swimmer, Loeger is one of the top two-sport athletes in the class." 

Eastern Kentucky

Savion Flowers OF / 1B / Kenwood Academy , IL / 2024

From 9/23/23: "...has been on the rise as of late, and this weekend was yet another quality look. Currently ranked No. 14 in the state, Flowers has some of the highest upside in Illinois. Listed at 6-foot-5, 200-pounds with lean strength and room to add on even more physicality. The left-handed hitter has an effortless stroke, using his levers well to create launch off the barrel with power to all fields. Long/athletic strides around the base-paths allow him to cover ground easily, also quick out of the box. Quality defender at first with soft hands and fluid footwork around the bag."


Ashton Seymore C / Latin School of Chicago, IL / 2024

The Georgetown commit stands out as a physical right-handed hitting backstop within the state's 2024 group. He has a loose, powerful stroke with extension out front, creating exit velocities in the mid-90s with ease. He's also a quality defender behind the plate with a clean catch/throw, producing sub-2.00 pop-times in front of our staff. 


Henry Rouch RHP / Evanston Township, IL / 2024

From 9/23/23: "...had a loud showing on Saturday evening. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound right-hander topped out at 90 mph, cruising in the 86-89 mph range throughout his three innings of work. He also went to a sweeping breaking ball in the 73-75 mph range with feel for the zone. Rouch recorded eight of his nine outs via the strikeout."


Nicholas Franklin C / 1B / Father McGivney, IL / 2024

From 5/12/23: "Physical 6-foot-2, 225-pound backstop with strength throughout, particularly in the lower half. Started behind the plate for Father McGivney in this look and hit in the seven spot. Looked the part defensively, comfortably handling a high-end arm with soft hands and down-to-up glovework, presenting the baseball properly. Offensively, drove two balls with authority to the deepest part of the park from a long, uphill bat path."

Maryland Eastern Shore

Andrew Crenshaw SS / 2B / Lindblom, IL / 2024

From 2/22/23: "...On the infield, Crenshaw showcased athletic footwork with a quick first step, playing through the ball with soft hands and a clean transfer. He ranges easily to both sides of his glove and has above-average speed (6.99 60-yard dash). His arm plays better than the radar gun reads (T75 mph), coming out of the hand with backspin and accuracy to his target. At the plate, the right-handed hitter utilizes a line-drive approach that works to the whole field."

Saint Louis 

Hank Gomric CF / LHP / Althoff Catholic, IL / 2024

From 3/14/23: "Saint Louis commit. 6-foot-5, 205-pound long, lanky, lean-limbed athlete. Started in center field in game one of this double-header, toed the rubber to start game two. Stands tall in the box with some knee bend, lead leg lifts slightly as hands drift back. Long left-handed swing with some leverage, barrel stays in the zone. Aggressive with intent to elevate. Flashed above-average raw power, driving two balls deep to center field that weren’t off the barrel. Moved around center field comfortably, showed an average arm pre-game. Worked exclusively from the stretch on the mound, simple leg lift into a tall/fall type delivery, upright posture throughout, maintained direction to target. Arm draws down and back from the glove, finishes from a ¾ slot with some deception and loose arm speed. Fastball sat 83-84, touching 85 mph a few times early on, playing mostly straight, flashing cut. Spun a curveball at 70-71 mph, depth and late downer spin on occasion from a 1/7 plane, landed for strikes. Also threw a more lateral slider in the same velocity band, developing feel. Struck out four batters over six innings of work."

South Carolina - Upstate

Max Kaplan LHP / LHP / New Trier, IL / 2024

From 8/8/23: "...showed impressive pitchability during his three innings on the mound. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound southpaw has been trending up this summer after a successful spring for the New Trier Trevians. Kaplan displayed a clean operation on the mound with a sequenced delivery. Filled up the zone with a fastball that worked in the low-80s, T83.3 mph with noticeable arm-side run. Often went to a low-70s changeup that played with fade to get swings and misses. Tallied five strikeouts during his outing. Works quickly with a competitive demeanor. Kaplan is an uncommitted follow in the state’s 2024 class that continues to trend up as the year continues."


Rakim Ali C / OF / Morgan Park, IL / 2024


Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-11, 160-pounds. Lean, high-waisted, developing frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, quiet load and leg-kick timing trigger. Loose hands, uphill path, middle of the field, gap-to-gap approach with extension through contact at times.
Power: 88 max exit velocity, averaged 84.4 mph. 323’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 78 mph. Quick arm plays from a high 3/4 slot and flashed life out of the hand.
Defense: 2.08-2.20 pop times. Athletic behind the plate, works to keep pitches in the zone and present them. Soft hands and quick glove-to-hand release.
Run: 7.69 runner in the 60. 

Noah Bagby 1B / Bolingbrook, IL / 2024

The southpaw stands in at a physical 5-foot-10, 200-pounds with strength in his lower-half. He has an easy delivery, working down the mound with a controlled tempo and can work his fastball into the mid-80s, topping out around 87 mph. 


Jimmy Janicki C / 3B / Downers Grove North, IL / 2024

From 8/23/23: "...Janicki was far and away one of the top performers in the state over the last year, showing well on our showcase circuit as well as earning PBR First Team All-State honors in the spring after he hit .488 with 14 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 53 RBI and only striking out nine times all season. Janicki is a true gamer who can change the game in more ways than one. His aforementioned bat seemingly never slows down, and his defense is rivaled by few, if any behind the plate with an ultra-clean catch/throw and well above-average arm."

Western Kentucky

Kyle Hartmann C / SS / Sycamore, IL / 2024

From 8/8/23: "Hartmann, who committed to Western Kentucky shortly after the event, showed off one of the strongest arms from behind the plate of the entire event, peaking at 84 mph during the workout day while popping at 1.90-2.00. That level of arm strength translated to the gameplay portion of the event, as Hartmann showed carry and accuracy to the bag in between innings. His fast, athletic, and strong right-handed swing generated hard contact on average (89.1 mph) and at peak (95.6 mph) in BP, while also flashing in-game, including a rocketed ground-rule double on the event’s first day."

Wright State 

Malachi Paplanus RHP / Huntley, IL / 2024

Paplanus is an impressive right-hander in the state's 2024 class, representing Team Illinois at the Future Games two summers ago. He has above-average control over his arsenal which features a fastball up to 89 mph, a sharp mid-70s curveball and a fading changeup with deceptive arm-speed. 


Landon Mensik MIF / RHP / Lincoln-Way Central , IL / 2024

From 5/11/23: "Xavier commit. Currently ranked No. 26 in the state’s 2024 class. 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame with upside and a high waist, athletic look with room to add on strength. Smooth defender on the infield with soft hands, easy range to both sides with confidence in his glove and transfer. The right-handed hitter collected two hits on the day with a double and a run scored, showing off a fluid stroke with some whip in the barrel, appearing to be comfortable and confident in the box throughout his at-bats. High-follow 2024 prospect."

Wilson Kruse LHP / 1B / Oak Park-River Forest, IL / 2024

From 7/23/23: "Xavier commit. Currently ranked No. 133 in the state. 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame, long and lanky frame with plenty of room to fill out. Kruse creates a tough look for opposing hitters thanks to his low ¾ release. He worked a sinking fastball in the 79-83 mph range to pair off a low 70s curveball with 1/7 action."

Youngstown State

James Carlson / OF / Crystal Lake South, IL / 2024


Positional Profile: OF/OF
Body: 6-5, 167-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Wide stance, no stride. Upward bat path with some bat speed, worked pull-side with some authority at times. 65.7 mph bat speed with 16 Gs of rotational acceleration.
Power: 89 max exit velocity, averaged 69.4 mph. 311' max distance.
Arm: RH. OF-80 mph. Loose arm, 3/4 slot.
Defense: Two-hand gather, calculated approach, long levers, shuffle step on throws.
ATH: 6.78 runner in the 60. 1.67 and 3.82 in the 10 and 30 yard splits.
Vizual Edge: 71.27 Edge Score

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