Aurora Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits


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.

Today, our staff collaborated to highlight the biggest takeaways and highlights from Saturday’s showcase, and we’re publishing them within this Quick Hits piece. Over the next couple of days we’ll be diving deeper into all of the data we collected rolling out even more coverage from the event.

For now, take a look at the Quick Hits from Saturday.

QUICK HITS

CLASS OF 2022

+ LHP Gavin Sitarz (St. Charles East, 2022) is an athletic southpaw at 5-foot-11, 170-pounds and commands the mound with some moxy and presence. His fastball sat 84-86 mph with an above average curveball showing feel on a 1/7 plane with sharp action.

+ C/INF Lorenzo Rios (Joliet Catholic, 2022) is an impressive looking 6-foot-1, 195-pounds and was arguably the best 2022 hitter in attendance. A left-handed hitter, Rios has above average bat strength and speed and created consistent hard contact throughout his round. He’s an in rhythm hitter that showed no problems finding the barrel with consistency and authority. Defensively, Rios showed equally as well behind the plate as he did on the infield while his arm was among the events best in both spots; 79 mph from the crouch and 85 mph from across the infield.  

+ A.J. Gaca (St. Charles East, 2022) is a well-rounded catcher with a strong lower half, standing at 5-foot-11, 210 pounds. He creates easy right-handed bat speed and maintains excellent balance with his strong lower half. He flashed pull side pop and one of the best Blast bat speed metrics of the day, measured at a 83.7 mph max, 76.2 on average. His game doesn’t stop with the bat either, as he posted several pop times under 2.10. Gaca stays on top of the baseball, getting true flight and carry on his throws.

+ 1B Javy Garcia (Harlem, 2022) is a physical right-handed hitting first baseman who boasts aggressive bat strength. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he was the only player to average over 300 feet of ball flight for his round of BP with a max exit velocity of 99.8 mph. 

+ RHP/OF Jake Kohanzo (Barrington, 2022) put up the second highest max fastball velocity of the day, topping at 87.3 mph per TrackMan – as well as the top outfield velocity of the day, measured at 89. He has a short, loose arm action that hides the baseball, making the fastball play even better, with feel and slight arm-side action. Kohanzo also showed well with the bat, displaying above-average bat speed and hard-hit contact. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound two-way prospect continues to be a follow junior in the state, ahead of an important spring and summer.

+ Listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, RHP Joshua Novak (Benet Academy, 2022) has some upside inside his physical, athletic frame. His fastball sits 83-84 mph and showed flashes of a late-breaking curveball, at 70-72 mph.

+ Christian Battista (Oswego East, 2022) is a physically built, 5-foot-10, 185-pound catcher who showed off one of the more impressive arms during our defensive session, recording multiple pop times in the 2.10-2.25 with consistent accuracy to the bag. He takes his strength to the plate as well from the right side, working in a gap-to-gap approach with bat strength.

+ INF Connor Corrigan (Yorkville, 2022) is a smooth defender who plays low to the ground with sure hands and a playable arm across the diamond, coupled with an easy, repeatable swing that covers the whole plate and repeats middle-of-the-field line-drive contact.

+ C/INF Owen Anderson (Geneva, 2022) put together one of the more impressive rounds of catcher defense at the showcase. Anderson, listed at 6-foot, 180 pounds, is flexible and athletic behind the plate. He’s efficient, quick, and light on his feet while coming out of the crouch and his arm plays loose and easy, topping at 74 mph through the infield with multiple pop times registered in the sub-2.10 range. Follow defensive catcher in the 2022 class.

CLASS OF 2023 & 2024

+ The highest ceiling of the day and arguably the top round of BP goes to left-handed-hitting INF Adam Schilz (Warren). Schilz is a high upside frame at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds with wiry strength that is bound to fill out. His hands and levers create explosive bat speed and a different sound off the bat. Schilz averaged 94.92 mph off the bat during BP with a max distance of 377 feet. A gap to gap bat with above average pop that profiles in the middle of an order at the next level. Defensively, it remains to be seen where he will end up on the infield but if his frame continues to fill out his bat can certainly handle a third base profile. 

+ An all-around athlete, OF Nicholas Gottfried (Jacobs, 2023) stood out statistically in multiple categories on Saturday. He posted one of the day’s best 60 times (7.12), and the second highest velocity from the outfield (86 mph), while showing loose, aggressive swings with present bat speed from both sides of the plate.

+ INF/RHP Christian Graves (Marengo, 2023) filled it up across the board. As a strong, broad 6-foot-2, 200-pound two-way player, Graves’ physicality plays well in all facets. Graves notched the top fastball of the day at 87.5 mph, sitting 86-87 throughout. It's a quick, physical arm that works uptempo and he’s convicted with his entire arsenal. Offensively, his strength plays really well, working off short path with easy, twitchy bat strength. His batted-ball profile is the recipe for high-end exit velocity in BP. Graves averaged 95.3 mph off the bat, recording one of the event’s best and most efficient hard-hit rates.

+ C/INF Tyler Vasey (Prairie Ridge, 2023) has some intriguing upside at the plate. A right-handed hitter, Vasey creates loose bat speed that is sequenced well, with advanced rotational acceleration numbers, per our Blast Motion sensor. His whippy bat speed creates line-drive, gap-to-gap contact, which is impressive for a player listed at a wiry 5-foot-10, 153 pounds – so there’s clearly more to come down the road.

+ 1B Cade Duffin’s (Oswego, 2023) round of batting practice earned a double take. His batted-ball profile, per TrackMan, slotted him amongst a premium group of hitters, as he averaged an exit speed in BP of 99.6 mph, with a 107.5 high on a ball struck on a direct line-drive into the left-center gap. He’s also clearly able to generate advanced bat speed, producing an average mark of 81.2 mph, according to our Blast sensor. Duffin’s built at a stout 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, featuring obvious inherent strength thus creating a substantial power profile. With that being said, Duffin ranges around first base well for his size and he ran a 7.79 at this event, though he recorded a 7.41 at an event earlier this winter.

+ Neuqua Valley C Mark Wagner (2023) is an intentful right-handed hitter who works the middle of the field with a purpose. Wagner takes that same intensity behind the plate where he shows athleticism and willingness to block and move while receiving bullpens.

+ C/INF Anthony Edge (Jacobs, 2023) is a strong, physical hitter with a compact build. He generates above-average bat speed with a well-timed sequence and uphill bat path that bodes well for a pull-side power approach. Defensively, he’s a vocal backstop and posted several pops under 2.10 with a true arm that played up with accuracy. His arm also played above-average across the diamond, topping at 85 mph.

+ LHP Daniel Krulak (Bartlett, 2023) has intriguing upside on the mound. As a 6-foot-2, 200-pound southpaw, Krulak generated the best slider spin of the event, topping at 2,463 rpm, to go with an 80-82 mph fastball that topped at 83.

+ 1B/RHP Jake Bostrand (Marmion, 2023) impressed with a repeatable stroke that is loose and fast, with feel for the barrel. He’s a well-balanced hitter that stays flat through contact and on plane.

+ Listed at 6-foot-3, 187 pounds, RHP/OF Ethan Storm (Sycamore, 2022) was another of the day’s intriguing two-way prospects. Storm impressed with a sharp curveball with feel and downer action at times on the mound while showing control of an 83-85 mph fastball that topped at 86. At the plate, the right-handed hitter swings with intent, looks to lift the baseball, and he made a lot of hard contact into the left-center field gap. TrackMan registered his hardest ball off the bat at 90.5 mph.

+ RHP Kaelan Natyshok (Coal City, 2023) is a right-handed arm to keep an eye on. Natyshok works exclusively from the stretch and sat 81-84 mph from a 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame. His curveball flashed above-average action on a downward plane, and he mixed in a slider as his third offering.

+ Another Jacobs stand-out, RHP/3B Kyler Kennen (2023) is listed at a lanky 6-foot-5 and he used his levers to his advantage on the mound, sitting 84 mph with a long loose arm action. At the plate, Kennen utilizes some loose-levered bat strength with natural lift.

+ One of the better breaking balls of the day came out of the hand of RHP Jeremy Jaehnig (Huntley, 2023), who showed well-above-average feel to spin a 2,400 rpm curveball featuring sharp action. He’s a thin athlete who presently sits in the upper-70s, with room to grow into velocity to more effectively complement his offspeed.

+ Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey (Oak Park-River Forest, 2023) is an athletic 5-foot-8, 152 pounds, and it showed best on the infield where he boasts smooth actions and soft hands that work through the baseball. As a left-handed hitter, he has a short compact stroke that works uphill to produce leveraged contact.

+ 1B Jack Fagerson (Plainfield North, 2023) swings a left-handed bat that caught our eye, He has a short, uphill stroke that drew some impressive contact with a 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame. He generates above-average bat speed and his top batted ball left the bat at 87-plus mph and travelled 314 feet. His size and quality of contact give him a ceiling to monitor moving forward.

+ From Providence Catholic, 1B Jude Allen (2023) repeated on-the-barrel contact as efficiently as anyone in attendance on Saturday. He averaged an exit speed of 90.8 mph, topping 95.1, with a max batted distance of 347 feet, one of the farthest estimated distances among 2023s in attendance.

+ 1B Ryan Groberski (Lockport, 2024) is a freshman who looked the part around the bag and showed loose bat speed at the plate with above-average hand-eye skills, making several hard contacts throughout the round while posting the highest max exit velocity for his class, a 91.2 mph best, according to TrackMan during batting practice.

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