Prep Baseball Report

Updated Class of 2015 Rankings

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

With the completion of the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter on Monday, the fall season has officially ended and the Prep Baseball Report scouting staff has reevaluated Illinois’ Class of 2015 rankings.

CLICK HERE to read all the reports from Executive Director Sean Duncan and National Supervisor Nathan Rode from Jupiter.

Competition for the top spot could have been solved with a coin flip, as several prospects are worthy, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Joliet Catholic’s Nick Dalesandro returns to the top spot in the rankings, thanks to his impressive two-way ability. Dalesandro’s professional future most likely lies behind the plate, due to his catch-and-throw skills that may be unrivaled across the country. The lanky right-hander also intrigues scouts with a fastball that sat at 90 mph in Jupiter, a hard cutter/slider in the 81-83 mph range, and a penchant for raising his game on big stages such as the summer state championship, where he reached back for 92 mph on his final pitch in a complete game effort.

Despite a tough summer that saw his velocity drop, Lincoln-Way North’s Kyle Ostrowski returned to his spring season form both at the Kernels Invitational and in Jupiter. The lefthander touched 90 mph this past weekend from a smooth delivery, equally impressive in that he’s starred on the gridiron all fall at wide receiver as well. A return to the 89-92 mph stuff he showed in the spring could see Ostrowski off the board early in next June's amatuer draft.

Westmont’s Charlie Donovan continues to impress with outstanding tools that belie his unassuming frame. Donovan turned it on late in Jupiter with several stolen bases, two singles against the Mid-Atlantic Rookies and a triple in a previous game.

Alton’s Bryan Hudson burst onto the national scouting scene in Jupiter, showcasing the same 86-89 mph velocity we saw at the Labor Day Challenge, coupled with a nasty 75-78 mph slider. Pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays scout team, Hudson drew a contingent of scouts and the 6-foot-7 lefthander could end up being one of the top prep players drafted from Illinois. Hudson’s performance in Jupiter likely makes him the top uncommitted prep pitcher in the country.

The biggest jump into the top 10 features Metamora’s Ethan Skender. The best player all fall on a loaded Reds Midwest Scout Team, Skender continues to perform on the big stage. On Friday in Jupiter, Skender delivered a three-run walk-off homer to lift the Reds 4-1 over Palm Beach Select. Skender may not possess the elite tools professional scouts look for, but the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is in the argument for the best overall baseball player in Illinois.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jeremy Orbik returns to the top 10 at No. 8 and has intrigued with his advanced approach to pitching. Orbik is able to manipulate the baseball, cutting and sinking it from his loose, high ¾ arm slot. Most impressive is his mid-to-upper 70s breaking ball that shows the ability to change planes. The lanky righthander’s velocity sat consistently in the upper 80’s all fall, and a slight jump in the spring could elevate his prospect status.

Newly Ranked Prospects

The rankings have extended from 250 to 275 players thanks to the abundance of prospects in the 2015 class. 26 players are new to the rankings as several events, including October’s Unsigned Senior Showcase, have helped the PBR Scouting Staff identify overlooked talent within the state.

Lane Tech’s Jack Bergren, a 6-foot-4 left-handed pitcher committed to Cincinnati, debuts at No. 47. Hersey HS catcher Nick Zouras (Illinois State commit) has advanced catch-and-throw skills and enters the rankings at No. 76. Several prospects from the Unsigned Senior Showcase also make their debuts: LHP David Llorens (Grayslake Central) at No. 95, switch-hitting third baseman Esteban Martinez at No. 127, and right-handers Nic Laio (Downers Grove North) and George Swedie (Lisle) at No.’s 137 and 147.

Biggest Risers

Skender is the biggest riser in the top 10 from No. 23 all the way to No. 6. O”Fallon’s Chris Holba impressed both at the Labor Day Challenge and in Jupiter, jumping from No.24 to No. 13. Holba may possesses one of the top sliders in the class of 2015. Holba sat 87-89 mph from a ¾ slot across his body, topping at 91 mph.

Orbik’s Homewood-Flossmoor teammate, Malcom Grady impressed all fall pitching for the Reds, earning Most Valuable Pitcher honors at the Kernels Invitational and jumps from No. 37 to No. 16. The Wabash Valley JC commit sat 87-90 mph in the fall, up from 84-86 mph at June’s Top Prospect Showcase. Grady and Orbik give the Vikings an impressive 1-2 punch, rivaled only by Joliet Catholic’s Dalesandro/Drake Fellows combination, and Lincoln-Way North’s Ostrowski/Liam Jenkins duo.

Althof's Austin Keen impressed in July at the Metro East Open, and the quick armed righty rises from No. 127 to No. 62 thanks to improved velocity in Jupiter. Keen sat 86-89 mph, and he also flashes an above average slider from his 3/4 arm slot.

St. Charles North's Sam Hubbe was named the Top Overall Prospect at October’s Unsigned Senior Showcase, with an 85-87 mph fastball from a 6-foot-3 projectable frame. Hubbe rises from No. 216 to No. 92, and remains one of the top uncommitted right-handed pitchers in the state.

Top Ten Illinois Prospects

Rank Name State School Class Pos Commitment
1 Nick Dalesandro IL Joliet Catholic Academy 2015 C Purdue
2 Kyle Ostrowski IL Lincoln-Way North 2015 LHP Purdue
3 Charlie Donovan IL Westmont 2015 SS Michigan
4 Bryan Hudson IL Alton 2015 LHP
5 Fitz Stadler IL Glenbrook South 2015 RHP Arizona State
6 Ethan Skender IL Metamora 2015 SS Kansas State
7 Liam Jenkins IL Lincoln-Way North 2015 RHP Arizona State
8 Jeremy Orbik IL Homewood-Flossmoor 2015 RHP Kentucky
9 Cole Daily IL Sacred Heart Griffin 2015 SS Notre Dame
10 Shane Ritter IL Plainfield South 2015 RHP Iowa

to view the complete Class of 2015 rankings.

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