Prep Baseball Report

PBR Top Prospect Showcase pitching results

The Prep Baseball Report Top Prospect Showcase on June 16 at The Max featured an abundance of high-end arms, certainly the best collection of pitchers we’ve had in the six years of this event. More than 90 college coaches and pro scouts were on hand to see 21 of the 53 pitchers top out at 85 mph or better, including nine who were 87-plus.

A look at the top Class of 2012 and 2011 pitchers at the Top Prospect Showcase:

1.  Matt Schultz, RHP, Oswego East HS
Physically strong, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Schultz has returned from injury with a vengeance. Schultz was the most impressive overall prospect at the event, as he topped out an impressive 93 mph, and every fastball registered 90-plus. Schultz operates from a ¾ arm slot and his fastball exhibited hard, late sink.  Schultz also impressed with a 76-78 slider and a 78-mph changeup. Unquestionably, Schultz is one of the class’s premier power arms.


2.  Steven Heilenbach, RHP, Lyons Township HS
Heilenbach is an athletically built 6-foot-3, 175-pound right-hander with a free and easy arm action from a ¾ arm slot. Heilenbach commands three pitches, down in the zone, and all for strikes. His easy 87-88 mph fastball features arm-side sink. His 75 mph curveball can be a swing-and-miss pitch, but his 77-78 mph changeup looks to be a legitimate out-pitch at the next level, as he works it down in the zone with heavy sink. Heilenbach’s ability to command three impressive pitches makes him a top-level recruit in the 2012 class.

3.  Alex Young, LHP/OF, Carmel Catholic HS
The athletic 6-foot-3, 180-pound Young was impressive all-around, but no doubt he should be one of the heaviest recruited left-handed pitching prospects in the state. Young missed most of the season with an injury, but at the event he opened eyes with his 85-87 mph fastball with arm-side sink. Young also impressed with his changeup, 79-82 mph,  that displayed late fade. Young’s 74-75 mph curveball also displayed excellent action. Young, who ran a 7.02 60, showed off his arm strength from the outfield (86 mph) and took an excellent round of BP.

4.  Nick Bates, RHP, Sandburg HS, Class of 2011
Bates is an athletically built 5-foot-11, 190-pound Class of 2011 right-hander who somehow is still unsigned. Bates’ fastball sat at 87-88 mph with little effort and had hard arm-side action. Bates, who was up to 91 a week before the event, pounded the zone with three pitches, including a 72-73 mph curveball and a 78-80 mph changeup.

5.  Michael Lutz, RHP, Lake Zurich HS
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander has an exceptionally clean arm action, operating from a high-3/4 slot. Lutz commands the strike zone with three pitches, including an effortless 87-88 mph fastball. Lutz’s 79-80 changeup appears to be a plus pitch, as it had late fade and identical arm action. With his free and easy arm action, Lutz should see his velocity climb as he physically develops. No doubt he is a premier prospect in the Class of 2012.

6.  Mitchell Holtz, OF/RHP, Aurora Christian HS
The physical 6-foot-1, 215-pound Holtz is one of the state’s premier two-way talents. Tools-wise, he is the most impressive outfield prospect in the class; but at the event, he proved that he certainly has a future on the mound as well.  Holtz, who works out of the stretch, showcased an 87-88 mph fastball from a high-3/4 arm slot. All three pitches he throws have heavy late action; his 77-78 mph slider certainly will be an effective one at the next level. As a position player, Holtz is a top-level athlete, as he ran a 6.88 60. He also showed arm strength from the outfield (86 mph) while demonstrating an aggressive and explosive approach at the plate with big power potential.

7.  Jordan Ruckman, LHP, Herscher HS
Ruckman is an extremely projectable, athletic 6-foot-4, 185-pound left-hander whose fastball sat at 84-86 mph. He operates from a high-3/4 arm slot and has a short arm action on the backside. Ruckman, who hides the ball well, also flashed a developing curveball and a changeup. With his athletic frame and arm quickness, Ruckman should continue to see his velocity climb in the coming year.


8.  Jack Landwehr, RHP/3B, Prospect HS
The 6-foot, 195-pound Landwehr is one of the state’s best two-way talents. In the spring, Landwehr earned PBR first-team All-State honors after going 14-2. Landwehr commands three pitches for strikes, all with good movement. His fastball registered at 84-86 mph, and he has been as high as 89 during the spring. His fastball has heavy sink and run, as does his 74-75 mph changeup, which looks to be a good swing-and-miss pitch. Landwehr’s 70-74 mph curveball is also a solid pitch, as he keeps it down in the zone and commands it for strikes. As a position player, Landwehr is a top-level defensive third baseman. He demonstrated plus hands and concise lateral movements while throwing strikes across the infield. At the plate, he has a balanced setup and a quick path to the baseball. Landwehr barreled balls to all fields with good backspin carry.


9.  Robert Nunn, RHP, Marian Catholic HS
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound right-hander is another projectable talent, one who possesses tremendous upside. Operating from a 3/4-quarter arm slot, Nunn’s fastball sat at 85-87 mph with good movement. He pounded the zone with three pitches; his 75-76 mph changeup and 68-70 mph curveball also were impressive pitches. In all, Nunn is a strike-thrower who commands three pitches, and with his size, look for him to continue to add velocity.

  1. 10.              Ridge Ackerman, RHP, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS
    At 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, Ackerman is an athletically built right-hander who topped out at 88 mph. Ackerman’s arm works fast, which leads us to believe that his velocity will continue to climb as he tightens up his mechanics. Ackerman uses his size well, working on a downhill plane. Ackerman also showed a 74-75 mph changeup and a 69 mph sweeping curveball.

  2. 11.              Jake Rubin, LHP, Highland Park HS
    Rubin is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander with wide shoulders and a strong base. Working from a high-3/4 arm slot, Rubin located his 84-85 mph fastball down in the zone for strikes. He stays tall and works downhill well. His 70-73 mph changeup demonstrated some fade, and he also threw a developing 68 mph curveball. With his size and clean arm action, Rubin is one of the more promising left-handed prospects in the class.

  3. 12.              Nick Hedge, LHP, New Trier HS
    The athletically built 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hedge operates from a high-3/4 arm slot with a fastball that registered in the 85-86 mph range. Hedge has a clean arm action and works downhill well. Hedge’s arm works fluidly and should continue to increase velocity in the coming years. He also threw a 67-71 mph curveball and a 71-72 mph changeup.

  4. 13.              Caleb Leach, LHP, Pontiac HS
    Leach is a 6-foot, 215-pound left-hander who impressed with an 85-86 mph fastball with some late life. Leach’s arm works cleanly and quickly, and his fastball had good arm-side run and some sink. Leach also showed a 73-75 mph changeup with nice arm action, and a developing 68 mph curveball.

  5. 14.              Peter Resnick, RHP, Glenbrook North HS
    Resnick is a long and wiry 6-foot-3, 170-pound right-hander who works from a low-3/4 arm slot. Everything Resnick throws has excellent movement, including a fastball that sat at 83-85 mph with late sink. His 73-75 mph changeup also looks to be an outpitch, as it too had good sinking action down in the zone. Resnick also throws a tight 70-71 mph slider. All three pitches he throws for strikes. With his quick arm, low-3/4 slot and impressive movement, Resnick will certainly get a lot of outs.

  6. 15.              Trevor Swaney, RHP/OF/3B, Wheaton Academy HS
    The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Swaney impressed with his two-way abilities. On the mound, he commanded three pitches for strikes, including a fastball that sat at 85-86 mph, and topped at 87. Swaney demonstrated excellent pitchability and rhythm on the mound. His 70-73 mph curveball has 12/6 shape and showed good bite and depth. He also threw a firm 78-80 mph changeup that demonstrated some sink. At the plate, Swaney has a quick and compact swing with good balance throughout. He showed gap-to-gap power. Defensively, he demonstrated solid arm strength from both the outfield (82 mph) and third base.

  7. 16.              Michael Yacko, RHP/3B, Brother Rice HS
    Yacko is a solidly built 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander who throws a heavy 85-86 mph fastball with late sink. He has a quick arm and comes from a ¾ arm slot, and he creates excellent movement down in the zone. His 77-78 mph slider, however, appears to be a legitimate outpitch. His slider has tight, late action and can be a very good swing-and-miss pitch. Offensively, he has an aggressive approach and solid hitting mechanics. He also showed solid arm strength at third base (82 mph).

  8. 17.              Ryan Olson, LHP, Newman Catholic HS
    The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Olson was one of the biggest revelations at the Top Prospect Showcase. Unknown prior to the event, Olson proved to be one of the better left-handed prospects in the class. Coming from a high-3/4 slot, Olson’s arm works fluidly. His easy fastball topped at 85 mph, sitting at 83-84. Olson also flashed a 68-70 mph changeup and a 65 mph curve. With refinement of his secondary stuff, Olson has the potential to be a highly recruited left-handed prospect.

  9. 18.              Justin Ruckman, RHP/INF, Herscher HS
    The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Ruckman has an extremely athletic and projectable frame, and shows considerable upside. On the mound, his fastball registered at 83-85 mph – and it appears there’s more in the tank. In the field, he showed athletic actions and good carry across the infield with his throws. Offensively, Ruckman has an open approach, and showcased barrel whip through the zone and some power potential.

  10. 19.              Chris Myjak, RHP, St. Viator HS
    At 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, Myjak is an imposing presence on the mound. Operating from a high-3/4 arm slot, he throws an extremely heavy 83-84 mph fastball, down in the zone, and with considerable sink. His 73-74 mph changeup also demonstrated sinking action, and was able to locate his 69-70 mph curveball.

  11. 20.              Josiah Carlson, RHP, Glenbrook South HS
    With long limbs and an athletic 6-foot-4, 165-pound frame, Carlson is a highly projectable right-hander who possesses tremendous upside. His arm works fast and freely, and he should see a significant velocity spike on his 81-83 mph fastball as he physically develops. Carlson also showed feel for his 72-73 mph changeup with some cut action.

  12. 21.              Jordan Chudacoff, RHP, New Trier HS, Class of 2011
    Chudacoff is a 6-foot, 190-pound unsigned Class of 2011 right-hander whose fastball sat at 84-85 mph. Chudacoff, who scored a 31 on the ACT, has a quick arm and works from a ¾ arm slot.  He also showed feel and command for 67 mph curveball and a 71 mph changeup. All three pitches Chudacoff threw for strikes.

  13. 22.              Ian Maxeiner, RHP, Marian Central Catholic HS
    At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Maxeiner is a projectable right-hander whose fastball sat in the 83-84 range. Maxeiner has an athletic frame, and his arm works fluidly – leading us to believe he will continue to add velocity in the coming years. Maxeiner commanded a 12/6 curveball that showed some late bite, in addition to a changeup. All three pitches he demonstrated feel and looseness.

  14. 23.              Wyatt Spector, LHP, Lake Zurich HS
    The long and rangy 6-foot-4, 170-pound Spector possesses considerable upside. His arm works fast and freely, coming from a ¾ arm slot. His fastball, which had sinking action, topped at 80 mph, while his changeup registered at 70-74. He also spotted his 69-70 mph curveball for strikes. With his body type, arm action and slot, Spector should see increased velocity in the coming years.

  15. 24.              Anthony Milazzo, LHP, Addison Trail HS, Class of 2011
    Milazzo is an athletically built 6-foot-4, 185-pound unsigned Class of 2011 left-hander. In addition to showing feel for three pitches, Milazzo is also a top-level student, scoring a 30 on the ACT. Coming from a over-the-top arm slot, Milazzo’s fastball registered at 81-83 mph. His changeup came in at 70 mph with some fade.

  16. 25.              Mark Chemello, RHP, Lincoln-Way East HS
    Chemello is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander who possesses tremendous feel and command of three pitches. Nothing Chemello throws sits still, including an 82-84 mph fastball that had late sink and run. He located his 69-mph curveball down in the zone, and his 74-76 mph changeup was also a strong pitch, also down in the zone with sink. Chemello, who works from a ¾ arm slot, impressed with his all-around pitchability.

25. Austin Zimmerman, RHP/3B, New Trier HS
The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Zimmerman has long limbs and a projectable, athletic frame. On the mound, Zimmerman’s 83-85 mph fastball had late life and some run. Zimmerman has a long arm action on the backside and showed a fast hand. His 71 mph changeup had some sink, while he showed feel for a 63-67 mph curveball.  Defensively, he showed good actions at third base, demonstrating soft hands and solid footwork.

Best of the Rest

Matt Brandys, RHP, Wheaton Academy HS
Brandys is a solidly built 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-hander with good feel for three pitches. Brandys works from a high-3/4 arm slot and demonstrated acceleration throughout his delivery. His fastball, in the 83-84 mph range, had some run and sink action. Brandys also threw a 73-74 mph splitter, and a 71-72 slider.

Patrick Bellinger, RHP, Schaumburg HS
Bellinger is an athletically built 6-foot-5, 185-pound right-hander whose fastball sat at 81-82 mph with some arm-side run. Bellinger, who scored a 28 on his ACT, works from a high-3/4 arm slot. His changeup registered in the 66-67 mph range, while his slider checked in at 71-72 mph.

Nick Blaha, LHP, Conant HS
At 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, Blaha is a wide-shouldered left-hander with a sturdy frame. Blaha works from a high-3/4 slot, and his fastball registered in the 81-82 range. His 71-72 mph changeup demonstrated some fade, and he also threw a developing 68-70 mph curveball.

Matt Brancato, 3B/RHP, Schaumburg HS
Brancato is a physical 6-foot-1, 210-pound two-way player. On the mound, Brancato works from a high-3/4 arm slot and demonstrated good rhythm throughout his delivery. His fastball topped at 81 mph, sitting in the 78-80 range. Defensively, Brancato impressed with his hands at third base, lateral movements and solid arm strength (78 mph). Offensively, Brancato has a strong lower half and demonstrated some power potential. He also ran a 7.27 60.

Scott Jerge, RHP/3B, Munster HS (IN)
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Jerge showed to be a solid two-way talent. On the mound, the right-hander showed an 83-84 mph fastball with some arm-side run. He also demonstrated feel for a 70-73 mph curveball, which had 11/5 shape. At the plate, Jerge has a closed approach and takes a direct path to the baseball, resulting in gap-to-gap line drives. Jerge also ran a 7.32 60.

Frank Kelly, LHP, Mount Carmel HS
Kelly is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left-hander who commands the strike zone with three pitches. Kelly works from a high-3/4 arm slot, and his fastball sat in the 79-81 range with some arm-side life. Kelly also showed feel for a 71 mph curveball and a 70 mph changeup, which exhibited occasional fade.

Michael Lynch, RHP, LaSalle-Peru HS
Lynch is a big-bodied 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander who showed solid feel for three pitches. Lynch works from a high-3/4 slot, and filled up the strike zone with his 81-82 mph fastball. Lynch’s 70 mph changeup had some arm-side sink, and he also threw a 66 mph curveball.

Jack Richmond, LHP, Loyola Academy HS
Richmond is a projectable 6-foot-4, 175-pound left-hander who threw three pitches for strikes. He pitches from a high-3/4 slot, and his arm works with little effort. His fastball topped at 81 mph, sitting in the 78-79 range. His 71 mph changeup looks to be a solid out-pitch, as it demonstrated some arm-side fade. Richmond’s curveball checked in at 64-65 mph.

Jon Savarise, LHP, Loyola Academy HS
Savarise is a 6-foot, 210-pound left-hander who operates from a long ¾ arm slot. His 77-78 mph fastball had some arm-side run, while his 69 mph changeup exhibited fade. A strike-thrower, Savarise also flashed a curveball with slurve action.

Greg Schultz, RHP/INF, Addison Trail HS
Schultz is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound two-way player who topped out at 84 mph with his fastball, sitting at 83. Schultz works from a high-3/4 arm slot and demonstrated some run on his fastball. His curveball ranged between 66-71 mph.  Schultz, who scored a 32 on the ACT, hits from the left side.

Rocky Saavedra, RHP/SS, Maine South HS
Saavedra is a 5-foot-9, 160-pound two-way talent who possesses a quick, strong arm. On the mound, his fastball registered at 83-84 mph. Saavedra also throws a tight 12/6 curveball with sharp, late action. Defensively, Saavedra showcased top-level hands and defensive actions. He has extremely quick hands and feet, in addition to a strong arm (84 across infield). Saavedra ran a 7.39 60.

Jake Stano, RHP/3B, Reavis HS
Stano is a solidly built 6-foot, 186-pound two-way player. On the mound, Stano’s fastball sat at 81-82 mph. Stano also threw a 70-72 mph changeup and a 66 mph curveball. At third base, Stano was 75 mph across the infield and hits with an open approach.

Josh Tonozzi, LHP/OF/1B, Putnam County HS
Tonozzi is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound two-way player. On the mound, the left-hander works from a high-3/4 arm slot and showed a fastball that topped at 77 mph. Tonozzi also showcased a curveball (65-67 mph) and a changeup (71 mph). In the outfield, Tonozzi moved fluidly and took solid routes to the baseball. At the plate, the left-handed hitter has an open approach is showed to be a line drive hitter. Tonozzi also ran a 7.49 60.

Matt Webber, LHP, Herscher HS
Webber is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound left-hander who works from a high-3/4 arm slot. His fastball registered in the 76-78 mph range, while his changeup came in at 70-71 mph. Webber also threw a 62-63 mph curveball.