Illinois Lightning Scout Day: Takeaways


By: Illinois Scouting Staff

On Wednesday, June 29, the PBR Illinois Staff hosted the Illinois Lightning Scout Day at Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills, IL. The event featured just under 60 players and gave our staff an in-depth look at a number of intriguing prospects from within the Illinois Lightning organization.

Take a look at the players that stood out to our scouting staff, found below. 

POSITION Players

+ One of the top BP rounds of the day belonged to 2025 1B Charlie Arvanitis (Hersey). The 6-foot-3, 160-pound, long-levered, upside, left-handed hitter, has an easy, fluid swing that stays in the zone a long time with above-average hand speed; averaged 22.7 mph. Arvanitis was on the barrel throughout, repeating hard line-drive, pull-side contact. 

+ C/3B Parker Greenfield (Grayslake Central, 2023) had a strong all-around day, working out on the infield and behind the plate, while taking one of the better BP rounds on the day. Greenfield, looks ready to hit in the box, with a crouched setup and quiet pre-pitch actions. He has twitchy, athletic hands that create whip through the zone and some jump off the barrel. Greenfield’s furthest batted ball traveled 344 feet off the bat. Defensively, he comes out of the crouch online and athletic, topping at 75 mph with a 2.13 low pop time. He also showed easy, clean actions on the infield, topping at 77 mph.

+ INF Cayden Hart is a left-handed hitting 2023 to follow out of Lakes Community. Hart looks like a hitter in the box, with an athletic setup and fluid pre-pitch actions. He has loose, quick hands and direct swing with pull-side tendencies. Defensively, plays the ball out front on the infield with steady, sure-hands and his arm topped at 79 mph. 7.20 runner in the 60. 

+ OF/INF Riley Lam (Grayslake North, 2024) is a 5-foot-11, 150-pound, right-handed hitting outfielder who ran a 7.09 60 and took a noteworthy round of BP. Lam has strong, quick hands, present bat speed and natural lift through the zone. 

+ 6-foot-1, 200-pound, catcher Jacob Hall (Warren, 2023) took a polished round of BP. Simple, quiet swing that stays direct to the zone, on the barrel and sprayed line-drives to all fields. Behind the plate he showed a quick glove-to-hand release and pop times ranging from 2.00-2.07, topping at 74 mph. 

+ OF/LHP Kaiden Herman (Grayslake North, 2023) has a simple left-handed swing with minimal wasted movement and the ability to handle the barrel and spray opposite field line-drives throughout his round. Quick feet and quality routes in the outfield and also a fluid mover on the mound.

+ OF Gabe Sanchez (De La Salle, 2023) ran a 7.08 60, showed clean outfield actions, a flat right-handed swing that was on the barrel and worked the middle of the field throughout his round.

+ One of the loudest rounds of BP came off the bat of OF Theo Schmidt (Libertyville, 2023). The 6-foot-3, 250-pound, imposing right-handed hitter has advanced raw bat strength and the ball jumps off the barrel, consistently with upper-90’s, low 100 exit velocities, topping at 102 mph. He also ran a 7.47 60.

+ Left-handed hitting INF Zach Johnson (Wauconda, 2024) plays with quick, active feet on the infield, getting around the baseball and playing through with pace. Hands play steady and gains ground through release. Offensively, strong hands, uphill path and pull-side oriented contact; 7.31 runner in the 60.

TWO-WAY PROSPECTS

+ One of the best pens on the day came from RHP/UTIL Garrett Guenther (Grayslake Central, 2023). The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander’s arm works loose from an over-the-top slot, working with a tall/fall operation that remains in-line to the plate, moving with fluidity throughout. His fastball sat in the 82-83 mph range, topping out at 84 mph with sinking action and ASR. He showed two different breaking balls throughout his session; the first being a short 10/4 slider at 70-72 mph, and the second being a tight 11/5 curveball, 67-71 mph. Positionally, Guenther showed some of the better infield actions on the day. Plays with light, active feet, bouncy actions and sure-hands and clean, easy release with arm strength for the left side. At the plate he sets up upright and looks to elevate the baseball to the pull-side while flashing bat speed. 7.02 runner in the 60.

+ One of the highest-ceilings of the event belonged to RHP/SS James Schott (Carmel Catholic, 2023). Schott stands at 6-foot-2, 165-pounds and boasts a lanky, projectable frame with room for added strength. He moves athletically down the mound, moving into a high leg-kick before dropping into his back knee over the runner, striding in-line down the mound and working with an up-tempo pace throughout. His arm plays loose and clean from a high ¾ slot, producing a fastball in the 81-83 mph range, topping out at 84 mph with life out of the hand. He was able to land his changeup consistently for strikes throughout his pen, fading to his arm-side and sitting in the 74-75 mph range. His final offering was a breaking ball that plays with sharp action off an 11/5 plane, 68-70 mph. He also ran a 6.77 60, topped at 84 mph and has a whippy swing with bat speed.

+ OF/RHP Will Bartels (Carmel Catholic, 2023) was one of the top two-way standouts on the day. 6-foot-1, 165-pounds, highly-athletic, upside frame and loose levers at the plate. Stays flat through the zone and is able to backspin line-drives to all fields. He also showed a long, quick arm action from the outfield, topping at 82 mph (has been 85 mph in the past). Moving over to the mound, the right-hander cruised with his fastball in the 79-82 mph range, topping out at 83 mph with some arm-side life. His slider played with sharp 10/4 action from a similar fastball release, 65-68 mph. His final offering was a straight changeup at 73-76 mph, thrown with intent and arm-speed. 

PITCHERS

+ An intriguing rising junior that showed well during the scout day was RHP Spencer Kennamann (Lakes Community, 2024). The 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander has projection in his lanky frame, showing plenty of room to add on strength in the coming years. Down the mound, Kennamann moves with a strong front hip, leading down the mound with a drop/drive lower-half and staying directional with the plate throughout. His fastball worked in the 80-83 mph range and set up two different breaking balls - first going to a slurvy slider with 10/4 shape, 71-73 mph. His second breaking ball was a curveball off an 11/5 plane at 62-63 mph. 

+ RHP Evan Larson (Warren Township, 2024) is a strong-bodied, 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander that showed one of the smoother operations on the day. With a controlled pace, he glides down the mound with a drop/drive lower-half, remaining in-line downhill before transitioning into a high ¾ slot. His fastball plays with ride through the zone at 76-80 mph (T2,318 RPM). He also displayed a breaking ball with gradual 11/5 shape at 67-68 mph and a fading changeup that sat 70-71 mph with feel down in the zone. 

+ As only a rising junior, LHP Danny Newman (Wauconda, 2024) showed impressive control over five pitches throughout his pen. The southpaw controls his body well, repeating with ease and striding slightly across his body. His fastball sat in the 73-76 mph range, sinking through the zone to his arm-side. He then went to a cutter at 70-72 mph that worked off a short 2/8 plane with horizontal cutting action, thrown for strikes. Moving on to his breaking balls, Newman showed to have feel for both a 1/7 curveball at 65-66 mph and 2/8 slider at 67-69 mph, landing both for strikes. His final offering was a fading changeup at 65-67 mph. 

+ RHP Nate Kos (Libertyville, 2025) boasts all sorts of projection in his 6-foot-1, 145-pound frame. His arm plays loose and clean out of the glove into a ¾ release, producing a running fastball at 73-76 mph. He showed feel for two quality off-speed offerings; the first being a sharp 11/5 breaking ball with short shape, 68-70 mph - the second being a fading changeup at 70-73 mph. 

+ Two intriguing arms from the scout day were RHP Connor Vanselow (Wauconda, 2024) and RHP Zach Threde (Wauconda, 2023). Vanselow came out firing with a fastball up to 80 mph, playing with some ride through the zone and setting up a sharp 11/5 breaking ball, 64-66 mph. Moving onto Threde, the right-hander showed feel for four different pitches throughout his pen. His fastball worked up to 77 mph and set up a sharp 11/5 curveball, fading changeup and short 10/4 cutter, pounding the zone with all four pitches. 

For a complete look at the event page, click HERE

Related Content