Class of 2016 Open Showcase: Pitching Analysis



By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

The Class of 2016 Open Showcase took place on Wednesday, July 23rd at Plunkett Park in Elgin, IL.  This year’s showcase featured several talented, uncommitted players in Illinois’ 2016 class on the mound.  Plainfield North's Justin Yeager and Bolingbrook's Jacob Nagel each took home top honors at their respective fielding positions, and neither disappointed on the mound, showing legitimate two-way potential with fastballs that crept into the mid 80's.  Both project to throw harder based on their frames and athleticism.  A pair of left-handers impressed with their pitchability in VIT's Alex Dorethy and Morris' Matt Walker.  South Elgin's Tyler Hankins shows the ability to throw strikes from the left side from a 6-foot-8 frame.

Let's take a look at the Top Pitching Prospects from this year's Class of 2016 Open Showcase.

Top Pitching Prospects

1. Justin Yeager, OF/RHP, Plainfield North, 2016
6-foot-3, 170-pound lanky and athletic left-handed hitting outfielder/right-handed pitcher currently ranked No. 51 in Illinois’ 2016 class after impressing as the top two way talent in attendance at this year’s Class of 2016 Open Showcase.  Yeager hits from an open setup, hands load back smoothly, stride is short with a slight toe turn for torque, bat path is slightly uphill with extension creating line drives from gap-to-gap with 84 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, impressed with the top outfield velocity of the event at 88 mph from a long, loose, high ¾ arm slot.  Aggressively attacks the baseball with quick, fluid footwork, and soft hands on the transfer.  Ran a 7.20 60 and 4.58 from home to first.  On the mound fastball sat 83-85 mph with late, arm side run for strikes.  12/6 curveball sat at 71-72 mph.  Did not throw a changeup, and utilized a glide step from the stretch.  Yeager has legitimate two-way potential at the next level, and is a prospect to follow over the next two years.

2. Jacob Nagel, RHP/1B, Bolingbrook, 2016
6-foot-4, 190-pound right-handed hitting first baseman/right-handed pitcher with lanky, athletic, projectable frame.  Hits from a tall, open setup, hands load back smoothly, utilizes a short stride, barrell whips through the zone producing uphill bat path spraying line drives from gap-to-gap producing 89 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, has a plus frame for first base, throwing 78 mph across the diamond from short, over the top arm action with accuracy.  Ran a 7.44 60.  On the mound, utilizes long, loose, high ¾ arm slot with a slight stab in the back of arm swing that doesn’t affect his ability to get back out front.  Easy effort, slow tempo, tall-and-fall type delivery produces 83-85 mph fastballs from the windup, 81-83 mph from the stretch.  Slows arm on 69-71 mph breaking ball with 12/6 shape that was also thrown for strikes.  Gets underneath 69-70 mph changeup at times.  Nagel is a significant follow over the next two years, especially if his velocity takes a jump into the mid to upper 80’s.

3. Alex Dorethy, OF/LHP, VIT, 2016
6-foot-1, 187-pound left-handed hitting outfielder/left-handed pitcher impressed with legitimate two-way ability.  Hits from a tall, balanced setup, hands load back smoothly, creating good separation, with plus lift especially with power to his pull side.  Produced 87 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Threw 79 mph from the outfield from long, loose, high ¾ arm slot with average hands, playing through the baseball aggressively when fielding.  On the mound, utilizes same arm slot throwing strikes with 79-82 mph fastball.  69-71 mph slurve has sweeping action and was thrown for strikes.  74-75 mph changeup displayed arm side run.  Also threw a 68-71 mph knuckleball.

4. Matt Walker, LHP, Morris, 2016
6-foot-2, 175-pound athletic left-handed pitcher utilizes a tall-and-fall delivery, with a short, loose, high ¾ arm slot producing 79-82 mph fastballs with sink.  Shoulders are closed at balance point, stride direction is slightly across his body, and lands closed at foot strike hiding the baseball and creating a crossfire effect.  65-68 mph breaking ball was better when it had slurve/slider shape.  70-72 mph changeup exhibited arm side run, and both secondary pitches were better out of the stretch.  Mechanically out of the stretch, does not stay as tall on his backside, utilizing a pre-set crouch.  Walker saw some time on the mound as a sophomore for Morris’ varsity during the IHSA playoffs, and should be a high follow prospect over the next two years.

5. Tyler Hankins, LHP, South Elgin, 2016
6-foot-8, 195-pound lanky left-handed pitcher, extremely long levers, but repeats delivery for size.  Threw 79-81 mph from short, loose, ¾ arm slot.  Utilizes tall and fall, uptempo delivery, rushing at times, shoulders stays level throughout, lands slightly closed on front foot.  61-63 mph curveball showed 11/5 shape, dropping arm angle at times.  71-73 mph changeup showed cutting action.  Hankins is an interesting prospect due to his extreme height, left-handedness, and ability to throw strikes.  He’s a prospect to follow closely the next two years.

6. Jacob Miller, RHP, Plainfield North, 2016
6-foot-1, 180-pound right-handed pitcher impressed with the top peak fastball velocity at this year’s Class of 2016 Open Showcase at 87mph.  Fastball sat 84-86 mph from short, quick, over the top arm action. Hands break high, with some choppiness in delivery due to toe flick/kick at balance point.  Stride is shorter for size, but fastball is thrown aggressively.  62-64 mph breaking ball shows occasional 12/6 shape but lacks consistency.  69-72 mph changeup was straight.  Mechanically, Miller lacks refinement, but his frame and fastball velocity can’t be ignored.  It’ll be interesting to follow his progress over the next two years.

7. Kolton Rominski, RHP/SS, Marian Central Catholic, 2016
5-foot-10, 170-pound right-handed hitting RHP/SS impressed both in the field and on the mound.  On the mound showed feel for three pitches from a short, quick, high ¾ arm slot with regular effort, some rhythm, level shoulders, and stride direction staying in line with home plate.  Threw 81-82 mph fastball with slight run for strikes consistently.  Also threw 12/6 curveball for strikes at 68-70 mph.  68-70 mph changeup with fade was thrown for strikes as well.  73-74 mph cutter had above average slider tilt at times.  Defensively, threw 81 mph across the diamond from short, showcasing average hands and accuracy while playing through the baseball.  Hits from a balanced, crouched setup with a toe turn stride producing long bat path with extension and 78 mph exit velocity.  Ran 4.72 seconds from home to first.

8. Ryan Hartmann, RHP/MIF, Andrew, 2016
6-foot, 165-pound RHP/MIF impressed on the mound with feel for three pitches and 82-83 mph fastball velocity.  Works from a long, ¾ arm action with a slight wrap in back, but still gets out front.  Fastball was thrown for strikes with occasional arm side run.  Shoulders stay level through delivery, lower half stays in line with home plate, with toe down at balance point.  Slowed arm on 68-72 mph breaking ball with 11/5 shape, but also thrown for strikes.  Changeup showed good action with aggressive arm speed at 75-77 missing down in the zone.  Offensively, hits from an open stance with a short stride, and smooth load back, hitting several line drives and pull tendencies in batting practice with 82 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 83 mph across the infield from same arm action, with noticeable sink on throws.  Ran a 7.53 60, and 4.94 from home to first.

9. Cameron Zunkel, SS/RHP, Willowbrook, 2016
6-foot-1, 160-pound left-handed hitting SS/RHP hits from a close setup, dropping hands to load, with short stride, short, level bat path, and opposite field tendencies with 74 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 79 mph across the diamond from long, high ¾ arm slot with fluid footwork, average hands, and clean exchanges.  Ran a 7.32 60, and 4.57 from home to first.  Impressed more on the mound with a three pitch feel of 81-83 mph fastball with arm side run, 67-72 mph curveball with 11/5 shape, and 71-73 mph changeup with fade thrown for strikes.  Arm action is long and loose, shoulders stay level and closed off at balance point then throughout delivery, lower half stays in line towards home plate, while front foot lands slightly closed at foot strike.  

10. Tyler Garrity, LHP/1B, Plainfield North, 2016
6-foot-2, 190-pound athletically built right-handed hitting first baseman/left-handed pitcher hit from an athletic, open stance, very little load in hands, stride is short, lifts foot up and down, creating uphill bat path with extension.  Hit several line drives from gap-to-gap during batting practice with 84 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Threw 74 mph across the diamond from first base, from long high ¾ arm slot with some accuracy.  Showcased fluid footwork and clean exchanges fielding the baseball.  On the mound utilizes tall and fall delivery from same arm slot, though he turns the baseball early in his arm swing creating pendulum swing-type arm action.  Shoulders work uphill, stride direction stays in line with home plate.  Threw fastball 78-80 mph with occasional cutting action and above average arm speed.  Slows arm on 64-66 mph slurvy breaking ball.  Changeup was best secondary pitch at 67-68 mph.

10. Joey Strem, RHP, Willowbrook, 2016
6-foot-3, 210-pound right-handed pitcher with a strong lower half and wide shoulders.  Arm action is long, high ¾ with above average arm speed.  Utilizes uptempo, drop and drive delivery, moving forward quickly out of the wind up, with a short leg lift during load.  Shoulders stay level throughout delivery, opens up lower half early in delivery, but lands slightly across his body.  Fastball sat 82-83 mph.  Slows arm on 67-69 mph changeup with fading action.  Also threw a 73-74 mph splitter.

Best of the Rest (Listed Alphabetically)

Jake Beaton, RHP/OF, Lockport, 2016
6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed hitting pitcher/outfielder hit from an open stance, utilizing a leg kick, raises hands to load, producing line drives up the middle with 74 mph exit velocity.  Threw 77 mph from the outfield from short, over the top/to high ¾ arm action with some accuracy.  On the mound fastball sat 73-76 mph from same arm slot, tall and fall delivery, easy effort, lower half stays in line with home plate, lands slightly closed.  Slows arm on 59-61 mph curveball with 12/6 shape that he throws for strikes.  62-65 mph changeup was thrown down consistently.  Ran a 7.39 60, 4.78 seconds from home to first.

Nicholas Bedtka, LHP/1B/OF, Plainfield North, 2016
5-foot-9, 150-pound left-handed hitting LHP/1B/OF impressed defensively at first with average hands and short, loose, ¾ slingling arm action.  On the mound threw 75-78 mph from short, quick, high ¾ arm slot with a solid feel for three pitches.  His 67-68 mph curveball showed slurvy, sweeping action and was thrown for strikes.  68-70 mph changeup was thrown for strikes with occasional arm side run.  Also threw a 70-71 mph slider that had shorter break, and was better from the stretch.  Hits from a wide setup with a short leg kick and level bat path producing line drives from gap-to-gap with 78 mph exit velocity.  Ran a 7.85 60.

Luke Bertolani, MIF/RHP, Lincoln-Way North, 2016
5-foot-9, 150-pound right-handed hitting MIF/RHP threw 77-80 mph, touching 81 from long, high ¾ arm slot with a wrap in back.  63-66 mph breaking ball lacked shape.  70 mph changeup produced some arm side run.  Also threw a 60-62 mph knuckle ball.  Impressed more in the middle infield than the outfield with short, loose, high ¾ arm slot throwing 75 mph across the diamond with accuracy.  Plays through the baseball with soft hands and fluid footwork.  Threw 81 mph from the outfield.  Hits from a tall, open setup with a long bat path producing line drives to the opposite field with 78 mph exit velocity.  Ran a 7.13 60 and 4.50 from home to first.

Andrew Farbak, RHP, Lincoln-Way Central, 2016
6-foot-2, 200-pound strong, wide-shouldered right-handed pitcher sat 81-82 mph with his fastball from long, over the top arm action.  Breaks hands high and early over rubber. Delivery shows regular effort, stride direction stays in line with home plate, lands slightly closed.  Also threw 62-67 mph curveball with 11/5 shape and gradual break for strikes.  74-75 mph change was thrown aggressively and displayed arm side run.

Zach Frey, C/RHP, Normal University, 2016
5-foot-10, 150-pound catcher/right-handed pitcher impressed with arm strength both on the mound and behind the plate.  Threw 79-82 mph off the mound with some sink from short, over the top arm slot with a drop and drive delivery.  Showed some rhythm in delivery with level shoulders, and lower half staying in line with home plate.  64-68 mph breaking ball showed 12/6 shape gradual break for strikes.  71-72 mph changeup missed to his arm side.  Behind the plate, threw 79 mph from the crouch with pop times ranging between 2.07-2.16.  Hits from a wide, balanced setup, with a short stride and slightly uphill bat path looking to pull with 85 mph exit velocity.  Also ran a 7.14 60 yard dash, 4.44 seconds from home to first.

Matthew Garbacz, SS/RHP, Willowbrook, 2016
6-foot, 160-pound right-handed hitting SS/RHP hits from a balanced setup with a long stride, hands move back during load producing 78 mph exit velocity.  Defensively, threw 77 mph across the diamond with some accuracy from short, high ¾ arm slot.  Showcased soft hands and played through the baseball.  On the mound, arm action was longer than in the infield, fastball sat between 75-78 mph.  Shortens up arm action on 61-65 mph curveball, while 67-72 mph changeup displayed cutting action.  Ran a 7.09 60, and 4.50 from home to first.

Christian Gonzalez, MIF/RHP, Matea Valley, 2016
5-foot-9, 160-pound right-handed hitting MIF/RHP hit from a balanced setup with a long, toe-tap stride producing long, level swing with line drives mostly to his pull side and 78 mph exit velocity.  Threw 75 mph across the diamond from shortstop from a short, high ¾ arm slot, with accuracy and carry.  Showcased softhands, playing through the baseball and impressing on back hand balls.  Ran a 7.34 60 and 4.76 seconds from home to first.  On the mound threw 78-80 mph from short, high ¾ slot.  Threw strikes with fastball and 67-70 mph 12/6 curveball.  72-74 mph straight changeup showed occasional bottom.  Mechanically, showed some rhythm to delivery, with level shoulders, toe pointed down at balance point, with a square, in-line towards home plate landing.

Josh Hart, LHP, Lincoln-Way North, 2016
6-foot-3, 160-pound lanky left-handed pitcher works from a short, high ¾ arm slot, raises up at balance point, with some rhythm, level shoulders, and lower half staying in line with home plate.  Fastball sat 75-77 mph for strikes.  Landed slurvy 57-63 mph breaking ball for strikes with slowed arm action.  Also slowed arm slightly on 64-67 mph changeup.  Hart has a clean arm action and mechanics, so added strength over the next few years could see him climb into the 80’s with his fastball.

Daniel Heiden, RHP, St. Laurence, 2016
5-foot-11, 148-pound right-handed pitcher threw 75-78 mph from short, over the top arm slot coming right out of his ear.  Rhythm is choppy, slow to balance point then rushes towards the hitter, but fills up strike zone with fastball.  Shoulders stay level throughout delivery, lower half stays in line with home plate, lands slightly open.  61-63 mph curveball flashed 12/6 shape.  Missed arm side with 67-72 mph changeup.  Also threw 64 mph knuckleball.

Carter Johnson, LHP/1B, Timothy Christian, 2016
6-foot-1, 220-pound wide shouldered, large framed right-handed hitting, left-handed pitcher/first baseman hit from a wide, balanced setup, very little stride, hands load back, creating line drives from gap-to-gap during batting practice with above average bat speed producing 85 mph exit velocity off the tee.  Defensively, threw 75 mph across the diamond from short, high ¾ arm slot with accuracy.  Feet move well around the bag, showcases average hands fielding the baseball.  On the mound, short, high ¾ arm action comes right from ear.  77-79 mph fastball showed cutting action from tall and fall type delivery.  Showcases smooth rhythm throughout delivery, shoulders stay level, lower half stay in line with home plate.  69-70 mph slider showed better action than 64-68 mph curveball with 11/5 shape.  Also showed some feel for a 64-66 mph changeup with arm side run.

Mitchell Koran, RHP, Plainfield East, 2016
6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed pitcher works from a long, high ¾ arm slot, tall-and-fall delivery, shoulders stay level throughout, and stride direction stays in line with home plate.  Speeds up lower half out of the stretch, tucks foot and delivers quickly.  Fastball sat 75-79 mph.  Slowed arm on 64-67 mph curveball with 12/6 shape that he threw for strikes.  69-70 mph straight changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed.

Evan Liebau, OF/RHP, Jacobs, 2016
6-foot, 145-pound left-handed hitting outfielder/right-handed pitcher impressed more on the mound with fastball/changeup combination.  Works from a long, high ¾ arm action, stays over the rubber at balance point with toe down, throwing slightly across his body.  Fastball ranged between 78-80 mph with considerable arm side run.  Pairs fastball with a 72-73 mph changeup with good arm speed thrown for strikes that also displayed arm side run.  Slowed his arm on 67 mph curveball with 12/6 shape.  Fastball/changeup combination could make him a groundball machine.  Hits from a balanced setup, with a short toe-tap stride, showing average bat speed, and short, level bat path.  Showed clean actions fielding the baseball in the outfield, utilizing same arm action throwing 76 mph from the outfield.  Ran a 7.34 60 and 4.60 from home to first.

Max Maney, MIF/RHP, Boylan Catholic, 2016
5-foot-8, 160-pound undersized right-handed hitting middle infielder/right-handed pitcher impressed with quick, long, loose, high ¾ arm action on the mound with a 79-82 mph fastball.  Threw 70-72 mph changeup for strikes down in the zone.  12/6 curveball at 66-68 mph was up in the zone, while 65-67 mph slider from a lower arm angle was thrown for strikes more consistently.  Hit from a tall, open, setup with 77 mph exit velocity.  Showcased same athletic arm action in the middle infield infield with soft hands and quick footwork fielding the baseball.  Threw 78 mph across the diamond and ran a 7.16 60, and 4.89 seconds from home to first.

Danny Miller, LHP, Waubonsie Valley, 2016
6-foot, 180-pound left-handed pitcher sat 79-80 mph with fastball displaying slight run and deception from short, high ¾ arm action.  Breaks hands with elbow high, drop-and-drive type delivery, lower half stays in line with home plate, and displays rhythm throughout delivery.  slows arm on 64-66 mph breaking ball with 1/7 shape.  Also threw a 67-70 mph changeup with decelerated arm action.  Fastball gets on hitters quickly and appears faster due to short arm action.

Matt O’Sullivan, LHP, Kaneland, 2016
6-foot-2, 155-pound lanky and athletic left-handed pitcher works from a tall-and-fall delivery with a short, high ¾ arm action.  Utilizes a simple up, down, and out delivery, with very little load over the rubber, shoulders stay level throughout delivery, and stride direction stays in line with home plate.  Fastball sat 73-75 mph and was thrown for strikes.  Slowed arm on 56-58 mph curveball with 12/6 shape.  Also threw strikes with 62-63 mph changeup that he pushes at times.  Impressed with his strike throwing ability and three pitch feel.

Joey Preusser, LHP/1B/OF, Brother Rice, 2016
6-foot-1, 155-pound lanky left-handed hitting LHP/1B/OF hits from an open, crouched setup with a long stride, level bat path, and above average bat speed with 87 mph exit velocity.  Hit several line drives to his pull side.  Defensively, long, high ¾ arm action was up to 83 mph from the outfield, 79 from the infield with significant arm side run on his throws, which will benefit him on the mound.  On the mound, fastball sat between 77-80 mph with cutting action.  Throws from a high ¾ to over the top arm slot, tall and fall type delivery, head pulls slightly towards third base when raising up arm slot.  Clears out front glove side early, and lands open at foot strike.  Slows arm on 65-68 mph breaking ball with 11/5 shape.  Threw strikes with 70-72 mph changeup with arm side run, and consistently threw it down in the zone.

Matthew Robinson, LHP, Addison Trail, 2016
6-foot-2, 168-pound left-handed pitcher works from a long, high ¾ arm slot, high leg kick with toe up at balance point, throwing across his body and landing closed.  Fastball sat 68-71 mph. Breaking ball sat at 60-61 mph.  Changeup sat 66-67 mph.  Threw more strikes in the stretch with a simplified delivery.

Neal Stiegal, RHP, Marist, 2016
6-foot, 180-pound right-handed pitcher.  Pitches exclusively from the stretch, throwing 77-80 mph fastball from long, high ¾ arm slot for strikes.  Short leg lift, front knee doesn't load/get back over the rubber, slide steps, hands set high, shoulders stay level throughout delivery, lower half stride direction stays in line with home plate. Threw 61-65 mph breaking ball with 12/6 shape and gradual break.

Cameron Van Boekel, RHP/1B, Yorkville, 2016
6-foot-3, 170-pound right-handed pitcher/first baseman hit from an open stance with a short stride, minimal hand load, producing 80 mph exit velocity.  Defensively at first, showed feel around the bag, threw 74 mph across the infield from long, high ¾ arm slot, while also displaying soft hands fielding the baseball.  On the mound worked from a long, over-the-top arm slot, tall-and-fall type delivery, front side elevates with shoulders uphill, lands slightly open at times at foot strike.  Fastball ranged between 70-74 mph with cutter action and depth.  61-64 mph breaking ball showed 11/5 shape with gradual break landing for strikes.  Also through strikes with a 66-68 mph changeup with fade.

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