Aurora Preseason ID: Top Overall Prospects

By: Illinois Scouting Staff

The first Preseason ID of the year, the Aurora Preseason ID, was held on Saturday, February 4th at the Aurora Sports Dome. The open event featured 70 prospects from across the state of Illinois from all high school grad classes. 

Today, we are breaking down who our scouting staff deemed as the 'Top Overall Prospects', and that can be found, below.

Before we get into the top 10, lets look at the top three prospects from the event.

3B James Love (Joliet West, 2024) comes in as our top prospect from the event, carrying over his momentum from an impressive Illinois State Games last August. Love seemed on a mission in the batters box showing off more bat speed and explosiveness off the barrel than we have seen in the past. Love took the loudest, most consistent round of BP on the day, spraying hard contact to both gaps. Love led the event with a T99.9 exit velocity, average of 94.9 mph, while launching the furthest batted ball of the day at ‘392 which was 23 feet further than the next best. He also showed his usual smooth actions on the infield with improved arm strength, topping at 88 mph across the diamond.

The No. 2 prospect on the day is LHP/OF Johnny O'Brien (Fremd, 2026), who emerged as a two-way freshman with upside to all parts of his game. The 6-foot, 165-pound, left/left prospect, who also plays quarterback is a fluid, easy mover with long, loose-levers and polish on the mound. O’Brien has an easy, fluid delivery, threw a high-volume of strikes and ran his fastball into the low-80s with -14.1 inches of horizontal movement. He separated himself with his secondary offerings, showing a well above-average curveball that has a chance to be a plus offering down the road. He landed the high-spinning (2422 average rpm) 67-68 curveball for strikes throughout with the ability to manipulate it and create more sweep for back-foot action to a right-handed hitter. His 72-74 mph changeup is also an above-average offering for his age and gives him a starter profile moving forward. On top of that, he impressed just as much as a position player, running a 7.38 60 while showing off all kinds of fluidity and rhythm in the left-handed batters box to pair with quality actions in the outfield and a strong arm (T83 mph)

Rounding out our top three prospects is RHP Carter Schaffner (Yorkville, 2025), who popped up as a live-armed sophomore to follow closely moving forward. Schaffner has a loose, quick, projectable arm, paired with a 6-foot-4, 170-pound, projectable, wide-shouldered frame that has plenty of room for continued physical development. The fastball, which topped at 88.6 mph (led the event) jumps out of the hand with late carry and life through the zone. He flashed a developing 68-72 mph curveball with 2197 average rpm and a 74-78 mph changeup that flashed above-average horizontal movement and sink.

Continue reading below for the complete top 10 list. 

Top Overall Prospects 

James Love 3B / Joliet West, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: 3B/SS
Body: 6-1, 195-pounds. Strong, athletic frame.
Hit: RHH. Open setup with high hands, short stride with rhythm. Athletic, direct path, short to the ball with feel for the barrel, slight uphill path geared to drive the ball to his pull side.
Power: 100 max exit velocity, averaged 94.9 mph. 392’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 88 mph. Quick arm with intent, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Smooth actions, fluid footwork, steady clean defender, moves well side-to-side.
Run: 7.17 runner in the 60. 

Johnny OBrien OF / Fremd, IL / 2026

Positional Profile: LHP
Body: 6-0, 165-pounds. High waisted with long levers, upside frame.
Delivery: Lanky, stretch only, athletic repeatable delivery, moves well, drop/drive delivery, works on-line.
Arm Action: LH. Loose, clean, quick arm action, projectable arm action, high 3/4 slot.
FB: T83, 79-82 mph. Lively fastball with feel, late run action to arm side. T1773, 1639 average rpm.
CB: 67-68 mph. Highly-advanced pitch for his age. Thrown with conviction and feel, 1/7 plane, tight spin and depth. T2521, 2423 average rpm.
CH: 72-74 mph. Same arm action as fastball, late fade action, feel for pitch. T1866, 1770 average rpm.

Positional Profile: OF
Hit: LHH. Upright setup, smooth load and long stride. Fluid, athletic swing, short path, stays on-plane and through the zone. Whole field approach. Highly projectable swing.
Power: 83 max exit velocity, averaged 78.2 mph. 300’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 83 mph. Long/loose arm into a high 3/4 slot, plays with some carry.
Defense: Plays through the ball with intent, steady hands, athletic mover.
Run: 7.38 runner in the 60. 

Carter Schaffner RHP / Yorkville, IL / 2025

Positional Profile: RHP/1B
Body: 6-4, 170-pounds. Projectable, high waisted frame.
Delivery: High leg lift with coil, clean, repeatable actions, drop and drive delivery on-line with plate.
Arm Action: RH. Long, loose, clean arm action, 3/4 slot.
FB: T89, 85-88 mph. Easy out of the hand with life, mostly straight with feel. T2332, 2266 average rpm.
CB: 68-72 mph. Tight spin, horizontal action, throws for strikes. T2339, 2197 average rpm.
CH: 74-78 mph. Arm-side run, feel for pitch. T1816, 1692 average rpm.

Jimmy Anderson SS / Joliet West, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 6-0, 180-pounds. High waisted, athletic frame with strength.
Delivery: Athletic delivery with ability to repeat, slight cross body.
Arm Action: RH. Short arm action, over the top slot.
FB: T86, 83-85 mph. Mostly straight, above average feel for age. T2247, 2135 average rpm.
CB: 70-72 mph. 11/5 shape, repeats, depth. T2155, 2123 average rpm.
CH: 76-78 mph. Straight change, slight sink action, showed above average feel. T1597, 1546 average rpm.

Positional Profile: SS
Hit: RHH. Slightly closed setup, knee knock trigger, repeatable forward move. Direct path, long through the zone, uphill path geared to drive the ball in the air to all fields.
Power: 95 max exit velocity, averaged 88.7 mph. 335’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 87 mph. Strong, quick arm, high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Fluid actions, smooth footwork, clean transfer, moves well laterally.
Run: 7.15 runner in the 60. 

Kyle Ziebell SS / Harvest Christian, IL / 2026

Positional Profile: SS/OF
Body: 5-10, 145-pounds. Lean, projectable frame with athleticism
Hit: RHH. Balanced, relaxed setup, fluid stride. Fluid, athletic swing, stays on-plane, on the barrel, feel to hit and projectable swing and path.
Power: 87 max exit velocity, averaged 79.3 mph. 259’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 74 mph. Loose arm, high 3/4 slot, plays with life.
Defense: Plays under control with a two-hand gather out front, athletic middle infield actions.
Run: 7.34 runner in the 60. 

Ryan Coon OF / Freeport, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: OF
Body: 5-9, 175-pounds. Proportional frame with strength
Hit: LHH. Balanced setup, slightly crouched, sturdy base. Aggressive swing, compact and strong. Lifted, pull-side approach, finishes on backside.
Power: 95 max exit velocity, averaged 82.3 mph. 350’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 83 mph. Short draw, high 3/4 slot, quick arm.
Defense: Plays through the ball with intent, breaks down feet before fielding the ball, has some feel.
Run: 6.87 runner in the 60. 

Brady Schallmoser OF / Downers Grove North, IL / 2025

Positional Profile: OF
Body: 6-0, 160-pounds. Athletic frame with room for added strength.
Hit: LHH. Balanced, athletic setup, fluid load and confident look in the box. Fluid, athletic swing, loose hands, stays on plane, uphill path, looks to lift the baseball. Highly projectable swing.
Power: 91 max exit velocity, averaged 85.1 mph. 337’ max distance.
Arm: LH. OF - 78 mph. Loose, quick arm, 3/4 slot with some life out of the hand.
Defense: Fluid actions, soft hands, plays through the ball.
Run: 7.58 runner in the 60. 

Kyle Binder C / Brimfield, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: C
Body: 5-10, 185-pounds. Strong, physical build.
Hit: RHH. Relaxed, balanced setup, smooth load and minimal stride. Strong hands, sits into the backside, compact, natural lift through the zone and worked both gaps.
Power: 93 max exit velocity, averaged 85.6 mph. 319’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 75 mph.  Short draw, high 3/4 slot, flashed accuracy to the second base bag.
Defense: 2.04-2.15 pop times. Clean transfer, sure-handed receiver.
Run: 7.42 runner in the 60. 

Joey Guiliano SS / Plainfield North, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 5-10, 155-pounds. Compact, proportional frame with room for growth.
Delivery: Tall, quick pace delivery, closed landing strike.
Arm Action: RH. Quick, short arm action from a 3/4 slot.
FB: T85, 83-84 mph. Plays mostly straight, around the zone. T2311, 2209 average rpm.
CB: 70-72 mph. Tight breaking, 11/5 shape, feel for the bottom of the zone. T2416, 2334 average rpm.

Positional Profile: SS/2B
Hit: RHH. Wide, slightly open setup, toe-tap stride. Loose, quick hands, short path, pull-side approach, occasional lift.
Power: 88 max exit velocity, averaged 82.5 mph. 332’ max distance.
Arm: RH. INF - 83 mph. Long, loose high 3/4 slot.
Defense: Moves with intent, light on his feet, maintains body control on the move, clean transfer.
Run: 7.15 runner in the 60. 

Jordan Gozum C / Bolingbrook, IL / 2024

Positional Profile: C/2B
Body: 5-7, 140-pounds. Athletic, with room for added strength.
Hit: RHH. Balanced setup, slight load and leg-kick trigger. Short path, looks to control the barrel, line-drive middle of the field approach.
Power: 81 max exit velocity, averaged 74.4 mph. 244’ max distance.
Arm: RH. C - 73 mph. INF - 77 mph. C: Over the top, carry to second. INF: High 3/4 slot.
Defense: 2.03-2.15 pop times. C: Quick/clean hands, quick feet, works in-line to second. INF: Quick feet, steady hands, clean transfer.
Run: 7.09 runner in the 60.

Related Content