Prep Baseball Report

2021 Big Ten Recruiting Classes

Nathan Rode and Shooter Hunt

Big TenPrep Baseball Report is conducting its annual review of recruiting classes, in which Nathan Rode and Shooter Hunt evaluate the current senior talent committed to programs in each of the Power Five conferences, as well as notable mid-majors—or as we like to call them, Power Majors—and the draft risk each of those classes carry. Numbers in the charts below denote where players are ranked in the 2021 Overall Rankings.



494 Ryan Moerman SS Lockport IL

IllinoisOVERVIEW: The Illini have one top 500 prospect in Moerman, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound middle infielder. He has added strength to his frame recently and turned himself into one of the top bats in Illinois. He’s confident in the box and tracks pitches well, staying short and direct to the ball to make consistent hard contact. He’s also tough, as evidenced by his appearance at the Midwest ProCase, when he took a pitch to the head and lobbied to stay in the game. That toughness will play well in Champaign, and Moerman will have a chance to force his way into the lineup in one way or another from day one. Outside the top 500, OF Jared Comia (Hanover Central HS, IN) has a simple, repeatable swing and above-average raw power. C Camden Janik (Wauconda HS, IL) has a strong arm behind the plate and strong swing metrics that go with his ability to consistently find the barrel. RHP Gavin Schmitt (Plainfield East HS, IL) filled the zone with an 88-90 fastball with low spin rates at the Midwest ProCase and committed to Illinois shortly after that appearance. RHP Calvin Shepherd (Lawrence North HS, IN) has a solid three-pitch mix and projectable frame.

DRAFT RISK: Low. Illinois landed a top 25 newcomer class in 2018, with that group now being second-year sophomores. The 2021 class has a chance to provide some impact as well and as it stands right now, the Illini can breathe easy heading into July’s draft.


25 Colson Montgomery SS Southridge IN
93 Ben Hess RHP Charleston IL
105 Luke Hayden RHP Edgewood IN
149 TJ White OF Dorman SC
313 Ryan Gilbert OF Kenston OH
405 Carter Mathison OF Homestead IN

IndianaOVERVIEW: Montgomery is an excellent athlete, also excelling in basketball and could be a Division I hoops recruit if he weren’t so good at baseball. That athleticism bodes well for his chances to stick on the left side of the infield, but his left-handed bat is the carrying tool. He has easy raw power that will only increase as he adds strength to his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. Hess has the frame you look for in a starting pitcher, standing at a presently strong, but still projectable 6-foot-4, 205 pounds. He had a strong start to the summer, highlighted by his showing at the Midwest ProCase, where he was up to 92, spun a plus slider and showed feel for an average changeup. He later shut down with an injury, but is expected to be fully healthy for the spring. Hayden stands at a compact and strong 6 feet, 190 pounds and runs fastballs up to 95 while mixing in a sharp slider. Both pitches have high spin rates, leading to his ability to get swings and misses. He’s a competitor on the mound, refusing to give in to hitters, and could play an immediate role on a strong Hoosier staff given his ability to get swings and misses. White can strike fear into opposing pitchers with his physical, 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame and prodigious power from both sides of the plate. Gilbert was previously a pitcher, but switched to being a full-time position player after sustaining an arm injury. The Hoosiers took notice of the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder this year and picked up the right-handed hitter with juice. Mathison has a strong frame that translates to left-handed pop at the plate where he swings a heavy barrel with lag through the zone. A strong fall at the plate allowed Mathison to make a jump, and the Hoosiers’ staff is likely hoping he continues that upward trajectory. 

DRAFT RISK: High. Montgomery would be a huge get, but he had a strong showing on the big stage this summer and fall, making it unlikely he makes it to campus. Hayden has premium stuff, but his 6-foot frame and right-handedness makes it more likely the Hoosiers see him in the fall. Hess and White are the keys. A return to his summer form would put Hess in the top three rounds. A jump would obviously push him up boards. White’s power and feel for hit is hard to look past. The emphasis for clubs to find power-bats, and with White doing so from both sides of the plate, might make it difficult for him to reach campus, especially with the state of South Carolina scheduled to have a full spring season. If Indiana only loses Montgomery, that would be a huge win.

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