Aurora Preseason I.D.: Outfielder Analysis


By Illinois Staff

On Feb. 27, the PBR Illinois team hosted the second annual Aurora Preseason I.D. at the Aurora Sports Dome in Aurora, Ill. The event featured nearly 100 players from high school graduates in classes 2022-25, from across the Chicagoland area.

Previously, our staff collaborated to highlight the biggest takeaways and highlights from this showcase, and published them within our Quick Hits piece. We also shared the event's traditional leaderboards, published inside this Statistical Analysis. Later on, with the help of the state-of-the-art technology we had on-site, we dove a little deeper into the data to see what we could find within our TrackMan Files and Blast Motion Board stories.

We began to publish our position-by-position analysis on Friday with the event’s catchers, and we’re onto the outfielders today.

Nicholas Gottfried (Jacobs, 2023) was the top outfield prospect in attendance. Gottfried is an athletic 5-foot-9, 160-pound switch-hitter who can handle the bat from both sides of the plate. Gottfried has a loose, quick swing and looks to elevate the baseball to both gaps. Defensively, he showed off natural outfield actions while playing through the baseball in rhythm. The sophomore backed up his performance at the Aurora Preseason I.D. with another strong showing at the recent Underclass Invitational and has emerged as an outfielder to follow in the Illinois’ 2023 class.

Nicholas Gottfried (2/27/21)

Another outfielder worth noting is RHP/OF Jake Kohanzo (Barrington, 2022). Kohanzo, more known for his prowess on the mound, showed off an above-average combination of tools as an outfielder. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound, wide-shouldered right-handed hitter registered a max exit velocity of 98.4 mph, and a 363-foot max distance off the bat during BP, and was 89 mph from the outfield, and he ran a 7.21 in the 60.

RHP/OF Ethan Storm (Sycamore, 2022) was another prospect who has upside on the mound and also intrigued as an outfielder. Storm has a 6-foot-3, 187-pound athletic frame with well-proportioned strength and upside to all parts of his game. 

Read on below for reports on all the outfielders from the day, listed alphabetically.

Top Outfield Prospects (Listed Alphabetically)

Luke Bafia, Benet (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: OF/SS
Body: 6-0, 160-pounds. Lanky, high-waisted frame that projects.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands start back, smooth load, short stride to front footstrike.  Quick hands, stays short to the baseball, consistent line drive contact, works in rhythm.
Power: 88.87 max exit velocity, averaged 81.98 mph. 313’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 77 mph. OF - 81 mph. Short compact arm stroke, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Took reps as an outfielder and infielder. Comfortably strides to the baseball in rhythm on the outfield, soft hands play out front of body, clean and quick hand transfer, short trigger release that plays through the baseball. Plays with some pre-pitch bounce on the infield, fields low to the ground, glove plays out front of body, clean funnels to release. 
Run: 7.12 runner in the 60. 

Anthony Biancalana, Addison Trail (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: LHP/OF
Body: 5-10, 160-pounds. Athletic, muscle-bound frame.
Hit: LHH. Athletic setup with some bend in the knees, bat starts rested on back shoulder, subtle hand load, strides to close.  Simple and easy swing, short path, barrel stays level through the zone. Consistently found the barrel for line drives, confident working to the opposite field.
Power: 91.73 max exit velocity, averaged 85.75 mph. 309’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 84 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot. Throws flashed carry to the target.
Defense: Attacks the baseball, long hand transfer, crow hops to release.
Run: 7.04 runner in the 60. 

Charlie Breen, Lyons township (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF
Body: 5-9, 140-pounds. Thin, wiry frame.
Hit: RHH. Open stance, hands start low and coil in rhythm, leg lift trigger, controlled through contact.  Short and uphill bat path, hands work out front, pull-side approach, flashed some juice off the barrel.
Power: 91 max exit velocity, averaged 81.91 mph. 347’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 84 mph. Short and loose arm stroke, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Quick first step, active feet that work in a steady rhythm, soft hands, quick hand transfer to release.
Run: 6.98 runner in the 60. 

Josh Efflandt, Wauconda (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-10, 145-pounds. Lean, lanky frame; upside levers.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, front toe starts pointed inward, slight bat wrap at load, short stride.  Long and uphill bat path, hits out front.
Power: 76.46 max exit velocity, averaged 68.14 mph. 258’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. OF - 77 mph. Short and loose arm action works from an over-the-top angle. Accurate throws to the bag from the crouch, comes out clean.
Defense: Worked out behind the plate and in the outfield. Starts upright from the crouch, tall posture at gather, soft hands receive the baseball in rhythm. Quick feet from the crouch, loose clean exchange with a quick trigger release. Plays around the baseball on the outfield in a tempo'd rhythm.
Run: 7.86 runner in the 60. 

Braden Engel, Stillman Valley (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: OF/LHP
Body: 6-0, 150-pounds. Lean, lanky makeup.
Hit: LHH. Tall setup, vertical bat at start with a simple backward hand load, short stride to close.  Quiet in the box, short and simple left-handed stroke, level path to contact. Strong hand/eye coordination, loose line drive approach, hits in rhythm; projects offensively.
Power: 84.26 max exit velocity, averaged 78.45 mph. 278’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 window.
Defense: Attacks the baseball, clean transfer, crow hops to release.
Run: 7.40 runner in the 60. 

Brody Ferko, Yorkville (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/LHP
Body: 6-2, 160-pounds. Lanky, long-limbed frame; high waist.
Hit: LHH. Balanced setup, bat head wraps at load, quick toe-tap trigger into a short stride.  Short bat path, hands work out front.
Power: 90.8 max exit velocity, averaged 77.09 mph. 313’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 72 mph. Short arm action with some poke in the back, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Occasionally plays around the baseball, quick hand transfer, crow hops through release.
Run: 7.17 runner in the 60. 

Shea Gaffney, Glenbard North (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/SS
Body: 6-0, 185-pounds. Strong, athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, smooth and controlled hand load, short stride.  Fast hands with loose wrists, short bat path with an elevated attack angle, hard contact on the barrel.
Power: 92.43 max exit velocity, averaged 87.19 mph. 358’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 85 mph. Long and loose arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: Efficient outfield actions, fluid strides that cover ground, attacks with intent, soft hands, quick and clean transfer, plays through the baseball.
Run: 6.97 runner in the 60. Athletic gate. 

Nicholas Gottfried, Jacobs  (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: OF
Body: 5-9, 160-pounds. Athletic frame.
Hit: SH. Similar setup from both sides of the plate. Balanced in the box, smooth hand load with a slight bat wrap, short stride, rotates well onto a strong lead leg block.  Loose hands and wrists, long bat path, level barrel through the zone, consistent line drive approach.
Power: 90.79 max exit velocity, averaged 82.01 mph. 325’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 86 mph. Long and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot. Throws played with carry to target.
Defense: Natural outfield actions. Quick first step to the baseball, lower half works around the baseball in rhythm, soft hands with a clean gather, quick transfer to release.
Run: 7.12 runner in the 60. 

Ryan Harris, Yorkville (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/RHP
Body: 6-2, 180-pounds. Athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, open stance, hands load in a smooth rhythm, strides to even with controlled balance throughout.  Simple swing, short path with a level barrel head through the zone, line drive feel to all fields. Controls the barrel well, consistently on time, fluid rhythm throughout.
Power: 93.38 max exit velocity, averaged 87.95 mph. 332’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 79 mph. Short and loose arm action, finishes from a high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Athletic feet move well in rhythm, soft hands at gather, clean hand transfer with a quick trigger release, plays through the baseball.
Run: 7.44 runner in the 60. 

Jeremy Jaehnig, Huntley (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: OF/SS
Body: 5-10, 125-pounds. Thin, lanky build.
Hit: LHH. Balanced setup, open stance, smooth hand load as barrel wraps around head, quick toe-tap trigger.  Loose hands, short and simple stroke, level bat path, consistent line drive approach.
Power: 79.66 max exit velocity, averaged 75.55 mph. 271’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 77 mph. Long and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot with accurate throws to target.
Defense: Lower half fields in rhythm, soft hands at gather, clean hand transfer to release, plays through the baseball.
Run: 7.99 runner in the 60. 

Nathan Jonas, Jacobs (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: OF/1B
Body: 6-1, 170-pounds. Athletic, well-proportioned frame that projects.
Hit: RHH. Tall setup with some balance in the lower half, bat starts vertical and wraps at load, leg kick timing trigger, long stride.  Quick hands that whip through the zone, short and level bat path, line drive approach, consistently made hard contact.
Power: 94.82 max exit velocity, averaged 83.26 mph. 273’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 82 mph. Arm travels on a long arm path and finishes from an over-the-top angle.
Defense: Plays around the baseball, sees ball deep at times, long windup to release.
Run: 7.31 runner in the 60. 

Caleb Kendregan, Kankakee Trinity (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF
Body: 5-11, 180-pounds. Strong all-around frame, sturdy lower half.
Hit: RHH. Wide base, balanced lower half, hands drop at load, quick stride to even.  Long and uphill bat path, flashed gap-to-gap contact but favored pull-side.
Power: 89.88 max exit velocity, averaged 84.85 mph. 291’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 86 mph. Long arm path, finishes from a high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Average hands, clean transfer, plays through the baseball at release.
Run: 7.29 runner in the 60. 

Jake Kohanzo, Barrington (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/RHP
Body: 6-2, 195-pounds. Strong, physical frame.
Hit: RHH. Open stance, some balance in the lower half, hands load back in a steady rhythm, short stride.  Fast physical hands, long and level bat path, swings with intent. Pull-side approach, consistent juice off the barrel, fluid rhythm throughout.
Power: 98.35 max exit velocity, averaged 91.74 mph. 362’ max distance. Upside power profile with a physical right-handed stroke.
Arm: RH. OF - 89 mph. Long arm action, over-the-top slot. Throws played with carry; advanced arm strength for age.
Defense: Average hands, long transfer to release, plays through the baseball at times.
Run: 7.21 runner in the 60. 

Colin Lynch, South Elgin (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF
Body: 6-0, 175-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, bat starts rested over back shoulder, minimal load, short stride.   Short bat path, line drive approach with feel to work back up the middle.
Power: 84.65 max exit velocity, averaged 71.88 mph. 276’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 74 mph. Short arm stroke, over-the-top slot.
Defense: Plays with some pre-pitch bounce, feet attack with intent, glove hand works out front, long to release.
Run: 7.28 runner in the 60. 

Jayden Malone, Metea Valley High School (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: 1B/OF
Body: 5-9, 170-pounds. Thin frame that projects.
Hit: RHH. Athletic setup, balanced lower half, fluid pre-pitch hand rhythm, smooth load, quick leg lift trigger.  Quick hands with above-average hand speed; averaged 25.37 mph of hand speed, per Blast Motion. Short and simple stroke to the baseball, flashed some juice off the barrel.
Power: 90.17 max exit velocity, averaged 74.35 mph. 298’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 73 mph. OF - 73 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 slot; plays with some length on the backside in the outfield.
Defense: Took reps in the outfield and at first base. Glove hand works out front in the outfield, long transfer to release. Hands field out front at first base, secure hand transfer, some footwork feel on double play feeds.
Run: 7.62 runner in the 60. 

Francis Muraida, Reavis  (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-10, 160-pounds. Athletic, proportional frame that projects.
Hit: LHH. Stands tall in the box, open stance, active pre-pitch hand rhythm, bat coils at load, leg kick trigger.  Long and uphill bat path, extends through contact.
Power: 92.53 max exit velocity, averaged 81.48 mph. 321’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 74 mph. OF - 80 mph. Arm plays short behind the plate and finishes from an over-the-top angle. Travels on a longer path to release in the outfield.
Defense: Worked out as a catcher and outfielder. Loose athletic lower half, quick feet that gain ground out of the crouch, clean hand transfer, short trigger release. Active defender in the outfield, athletic feet that work around the baseball, steady hands, plays through at release.  
Run: 8.33 runner in the 60. 

Michael Sakalas, Romeoville (IL), 2023
Positional Profile: C/OF
Body: 5-10, 165-pounds. Thin, wiry frame.
Hit: RHH. Open setup, hands start slightly elevated and load back, short leg lift trigger to footstrike.  Long and uphill bat path, favored the opposite field.
Power: 75.82 max exit velocity, averaged 63.74 mph. 239’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 60 mph. OF - 65 mph. Short arm action, over-the-top slot.
Defense: Took reps behind the plate and in the outfield. Athletic stance from the crouch, some flexibility in the lower half, soft hands, feet work in line to target. Attacks the baseball in a stable rhythm, plays through release.
Run: 7.61 runner in the 60. 

Ty Schafer, Saint Viator (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: LHP/OF
Body: 5-9, 150-pounds. Athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, hands start back with minimal movement at load, quick leg lift trigger.  Simple swing without much added movement, long bat path, barrel head stays flat through the zone, pull-side approach.
Power: 82.57 max exit velocity, averaged 76.13 mph. 265’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 80 mph. Long and loose arm action, high 3/4 release.
Defense: Attacks the baseball in a fluid rhythm, works around on an angle at times, soft hands, clean exchange and plays through release.
Run: 7.48 runner in the 60. 

Jacob Stewart, South Elgin (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/1B
Body: 6-1, 174-pounds. Well-proportioned frame that projects some.
Hit: LHH. Balanced setup, open stance, active pre-pitch hand rhythm, smooth bat coil at load, leg kick trigger into a strong lead leg block at footstrike.  Quick hands, flat bat path through the zone, works in a consistent rhythm.
Power: 90.39 max exit velocity, averaged 79.6 mph. 337’ max distance. Flashed some above-average raw power to the pull-side in BP.
Arm: LH. OF - 69 mph. Arm travels on a long arm path and finishes out of a high 3/4 release point.
Defense: Feet play to the baseball in a steady rhythm, secure hand transfer, length to release.
Run: 7.84 runner in the 60. 

Ethan Storm, Sycamore  (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/RHP
Body: 6-3, 187-pounds. Large, lanky frame with upside levers.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, active pre-pitch hand rhythm, bat coils at load, leg lift timing trigger.  Short and uphill bat path, barrel head works underneath the baseball, can elevate to the pull-side, worked in rhythm throughout.
Power: 90.48 max exit velocity, averaged 82.67 mph. 324’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 86 mph. Short compact arm stroke, loose arm speed. Over-the-top arm slot with accurate throws to target.
Defense: Crisp outfield actions, athletic feet that work around the baseball in a fluid rhythm, soft hands at gather, quick transfer, clean to release.
Run: 7.36 runner in the 60. 

Eric Swanson, Wheaton Warrenville South (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: OF/RHP
Body: 6-0, 170-pounds. Wiry athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Crouched setup, balanced lower half, bat starts rested on shoulder and loads backwards, toe-tap trigger.  Twitchy hands, short and uphill bat path, flashed hard contact off the barrel.
Power: 93.03 max exit velocity, averaged 80.08 mph. 331’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 84 mph. Short and loose arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Athletic feet with a quick first step, defends with intent and rhythm, plays through the baseball.
Run: 6.97 runner in the 60. 

Kenny White, Oswego  (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: OF/3B
Body: 5-10, 168-pounds. Athletic build.
Hit: LHH. Starts closed off from pitcher, balanced bend in the lower half, hands drop at load, quick toe-tap trigger.  Long and uphill bat path.
Power: 83.01 max exit velocity, averaged 67.5 mph. 263’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 65 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 release.
Defense: Glove hand plays even with lower half, long windup to release.
Run: 7.70 runner in the 60. 

Wyatt Wickiser, Coal City  (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: OF/1B
Body: 5-8, 130-pounds. Thin frame.
Hit: RHH. Tall stance, hands start high and load back, short stride.  Long and level bat path, line drive approach.
Power: 83.65 max exit velocity, averaged 75.56 mph. 270’ max distance.
Arm: RH. OF - 72 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Lower half works around the baseball, long transfer to release.
Run: 7.79 runner in the 60. 

Masen Wojack, Joliet Catholic Academy (IL), 2024
Positional Profile: 3B/OF
Body: 6-0, 180-pounds.
Hit: RHH. Closed stance, wide base, active pre-pitch actions, quick leg kick trigger.  Long bat path.
Power: 86.33 max exit velocity, averaged 74.44 mph. 228’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 66 mph. OF - 60 mph. Short arm action, high 3/4 arm slot.
Defense: Took reps on the outfield and infield. Glove plays deep in the outfield, packs to release. Feet attack on the infield, hands play under center of body, long to release.
Run: 8.69 runner in the 60. 

Michael Zedak, St. Laurence (IL), 2022
Positional Profile: 3B/C
Body: 5-10, 180-pounds. Thick/strong lower half.
Hit: RHH. Open stance, hands load back in a methodical rhythm, short stride, polished posture through contact.  Loose hands/wrists, long bat path with some uphill leverage, barrel head meets the baseball out front, pull-side approach.
Power: 97.58 max exit velocity, averaged 89.31 mph. 348’ max distance. Showed above-average juice off the barrel, one of the highest average exit speeds of this outfield group.
Arm: RH. INF - 72 mph. OF - 77 mph. Long arm action, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Worked out as an infielder and outfielder. Hands work out front and body fields low to the ground on the infield, steady transfer, some length to release. Works around the baseball in the outfield, two-hand gather, winds up to release.
Run: 7.33 runner in the 60. 

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