MLB Draft Recap: Illinois


By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

The 2021 MLB Draft was held, for the first time, in mid-July which allowed for pro organizations to gain some extra intel on the players they were adding to their draft boards. This year, just like every year, the state of Illinois was well-represented, and we’re going to spend some time today dissecting those draft picks and their future destinations.

McCade Brown RHP / Normal West, IL / 2018

Round 3, Pick 79, Colorado Rockies

With the No. 79 pick, the Colorado Rockies selected Brown from Indiana, who originally graduated from Normal West HS in 2018. The former Wildcat is the 10th player selected from Normal West since 2002 and the fourth since 2011 to be drafted within the top seven rounds of the draft. In his third spring with the Hoosiers, Brown’s workload substantially jumped, and he pitched well enough to be named to the Second Team All-Big Ten, as well as the Academic All-Big Ten.

(7/10/20)

Drew Gray LHP / IMG Academy, FL / 2021

Round 3, Pick 93, Chicago Cubs

We’ll include Gray here, as he spent a chunk of his time as a prep player at Belleville East before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. He really began to see his prospect stock rise during his time in Illinois, and it peaked in Florida, where he showed some of the most impressive prep pitch data in the class, albeit in a smaller 18-inning sample size this past spring. The live-armed lefty is headed back to Illinois, after the Cubs used their third round pick on Gray.

Dylan Dodd LHP / Danville, IL / 2016

Round 3, Pick 96, Atlanta Braves

The Danville product is a 2016 grad who landed at SEMO and spent this past season affirming his best skills as a strike-throwing lefty with three or four pitches who could one day become a back-end type starter, or a useful bullpen arm for the Braves, selected in the third round. He’s added some velocity in the past year or two, and it’s allowed him to go from effective college starter to pro prospect.

Brooks Gosswein LHP / Barrington, IL / 2017

Round 4, Pick 124, Chicago White Sox

Gosswein graduated from Barrington in 2017, and his power arm continued to progress at Bradley, where he reached the mid- to upper-90s throughout his time there. That kind of velocity will garner pro attention, even if it’s not yet harnessed. Gosswein will look to control the fastball more in pro ball, under the White Sox’s guidance, after being drafted by the home state team in the fourth round.

(5/2/16)

Hayden Juenger RHP / O'Fallon, IL / 2018

Round 6, Pick 182, Toronto Blue Jays

Juenger is an O’Fallon grad – class of 2018 – and was successful in a relief role for Missouri State. This past season, Juenger earned six saves and K’d 31 batters in 21 innings, and his closer-type stuff in college attracted pro attention. It was the Blue Jays that drafted Juenger in this draft, with their sixth round pick.

(3/14/18)

Riley MartinLHP / Salem, IL / 2016

Round 6, Pick 184, Chicago Cubs

In 2020, Martin had begun to unlock authentic swing-and-miss stuff at Division-II Quincy, and by this past spring, Martin earned the honor of being named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. The Salem, Ill., native earned the award by striking out a staggering 152 batters in 78.2 innings, and he’s been spending the summer earning his Master’s in Business Administration in the meantime. The Chicago Cubs signed the Quincy senior southpaw last week, officially.

Brett Harris 3B / Hersey, IL / 2016

Round 7, Pick 218, Oakland Athletics

An Arlington Heights native, Harris turned into a hitting machine in college, after red-shirting at Houston and transferring to Central Arizona. From CAC, he made his way to Gonzaga, where he thrived in his first spring on campus, and that momentum carried over into his 2020 and 2021 seasons. This past spring, he hit .355 with six homers and 17 doubles, which intrigued the Athletics enough to select him with their seventh round pick.

Ryan Sublette RHP / Lemont, IL / 2017

Round 7, Pick 222, Los Angeles Dodgers

Lemont’s Sublette was one of the state’s top prospects within its 2017 class. He eventually found the most success at Texas Tech in the bullpen, and he began to show that in 2020 before flaunting it in 2021. He struck out 62 batters in 42.1 innings as a multi-inning relief man this spring, and it was his highly effective mid-90s fastball that generated the Dodgers’ attention in round seven.

Andrew Peters RHP / Morris, IL / 2017

Round 10, Pick 291, Los Angeles Angels

Peters found success at each of his stops following his graduation from Morris in 2017, beginning with Maryville. There, Peters broke the program’s single-season strikeout record and then decided to transfer to JUCO powerhouse John A. Logan back in Illinois. An injury prevented him from earning much action, though his loose, quick arm was still enticing enough for him to earn offers to prominent programs, and he ultimately committed to South Carolina where he’s spent his past two springs. He was up to 95 mph for our staff in March, with a high spin fastball and power curveball that generated 45 Ks in 32.1 innings. The Angels selected Peters with their 10th round pick.

(9/15/18)

Donovan McIntyre OF / Marian Catholic, IL / 2021

Round 11, Pick 326, San Francisco Giants

The Marian Catholic senior outfielder had been generating some under-the-radar draft buzz this spring, and it culminated in an 11th round selection by the San Francisco Giants. McIntyre is an advanced athlete fresh off a very productive senior season for the Spartans, as he hit .430 and stole 36 bases, and he recorded 14 extra-base hits, including three homers. His elite athleticism and foot speed help him fit an up-the-middle defensive profile and it allured pro scouts enough to produce draft looks.

Johnny Ray RHP / Quincy Notre Dame, IL / 2017

Round 12, Pick 365, Chicago White Sox

Ray’s huge fastball grabbed scouts’ attention in his 2019 and 2020 seasons at Central Illinois JUCO powerhouse John A. Logan JC, though he still managed to make it to Texas Christian in 2020 where he earned the Friday night starter’s role in his first spring on campus. He looked effective in his first 21-plus innings as a Horned Frog, though the results weren’t quite the same in 2021, which pushed Ray down draft boards. The Quincy, Ill., native was still able to hear his name called by the White Sox in the 12th round, and he has the raw stuff to get big league outs.

(9/15/18)

Andrew Hoffmann RHP / Plainfield East, IL / 2018

Round 12, Pick 367, Atlanta Braves

Hoffmann is another state native who spent some time at John A. Logan JC before getting drafted from his most recent stop, Illinois-Champaign. There, Hoffmann showed as one of the Big Ten’s most effective pitchers, earning a spot on the conference’s all-third team roster at the end of the season. The Plainfield East alum roamed under the radar before breaking out in the Northwoods League in 2019, and continuing to pitch well at John A., before arriving at the top of the Illini’s rotation this past spring. The Braves have since signed Hoffmann, after selecting him in the 12th round.

(10/28/20)

Matt Svanson RHP / Lake Zurich, IL / 2017

Round 13, Pick 392, Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays spent their 13th round pick on this Lehigh senior and Hawthorn Woods, Ill., native. Svanson was arguably the Patriot League’s top pitcher in 2021, grooming an ERA of 2.30 in 21 starts, en route to first team and all-tournament team honors.

Bobby Seymour 1B / Mount Carmel, IL / 2017

Round 13, Pick 401, Tampa Bay Rays

Seymour was a touted prep prospect while at Mount Carmel, where he was also one of the state’s top-ranked players. He was – and remains – a prototypical left-handed-hitting power bat, and he went on to Wake Forest to slug a career 38 homers, eventually garnering career accolades such as the ACC Player of the Year (2019), D1Baseball Second Team All-American (2021), and a Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist (2019). The Rays called on Seymour with their 13th round pick.

(3/28/20)

Caden Monke LHP / Mount Olive, IL / 2018

Round 14, Pick 409, Kansas City Royals

Mt. Olive’s Monke saw 34 innings of action for Arkansas, in which he K’d 42 batters and allowed just 19 hits in relief. The Royals drafted, and have since signed, the Razorbacks’ former go-to reliever. As a prep player, Monke was a top-15-ranked member of Illinois 2017 class.

(7/11/17)

Nathan Lavender LHP / El Paso, IL / 2018

Round 14, Pick 412, New York Mets

The 2018 grad starred at El Paso Gridley and was among the top-ranked prospects in the state, at the time of his graduation. He impressed greatly at the 2018 Super 60 and he went on to earn instant playing time upon his arrival at Illinois, where he struck out 37 batters in 28.2 freshman innings. He K’d another 79 in 57 innings this past spring, against just 15 walks, and he later on became the Mets’ 14th round pick.

(9/10/19)

Caleb Durbin INF / Lake Forest, IL / 2018

Round 14, Pick 427, Atlanta Braves

When the Braves drafted Durbin in the 14th round, he became the first WashU player to be selected in the MLB Draft since 1997. Durbin hit .386 in his three seasons at the St. Louis-area Division-III program, and he was particularly good in 2021, when he hit .385 in 161 at-bats, striking out just twice all season (10 total in his career) with seven homers, 20 steals, and 47 RBIs in 40 games. The Lake Forest native has since signed his first pro contract as well.

Jonny Butler OF / Minooka, IL / 2017

Round 14, Pick 428, Oakland Athletics

The Minooka alum landed at Heartland CC out of high school and produced in his freshman year at the JUCO, ultimately landing a commitment to NC State where started 60 games as a sophomore. Butler continued on to star as an everyday player in the Wolfpack’s outfield, and he even earned several all-American honors this past season, and he was a first team all-ACC pick, too. Butler hit .376 in 2021, which led the conference, and he slugged .663 with the help of 14 homers. The Oakland A’s drafted Butler in the 14th round.

Glenn Albanese RHP / Batavia, IL / 2017

Round 15, Pick 441, Los Angeles Angels

Albanese ended his prep career as the No. 8-ranked player in the state, as a big, strong right-hander who wound up fulfilling his commitment to Louisville. Built like a tight end, Albanese starred on both the baseball and football fields at Batavia before reaching the Cardinals’ pitching staff. He saw his first-ever collegiate action in 2019, and injuries unfortunately prevented him from finding consistency during his time at Louisville. Though, when healthy, Albanese looked to possess an impact fastball-curve combo, and that’s what the Angels saw, too, as they used their 15th round pick on the former Batavia stand-out.

(2/5/17)

Colton Johnson LHP / Kewanee, IL / 2016

Round 16, Pick 488, Oakland Athletics

In his fifth spring inside the Redbirds’ pitching staff, Johnson showed improved starter traits that helped him earn a little more draft attention this spring. He struck out 86 in 86.2 innings with a 3.32 ERA, ballooned by one poor start. In his previous four seasons in Normal, Johnson flashed upside as a closer and spot starter, prior to his special senior season at Kewanee HS, where he struck out 149 batters in 73 innings.

(4/2/21)

Jimmy Burnette LHP / St. Laurence, IL / 2017

Round 18, Pick 542, Toronto Blue Jays

A 2017 grad from St. Laurence, Burnette went on to appear in 15 games at the University of Illinois before transferring to Saint Leo, where he struck out 53 batters in 45.1 innings. Burnette spent his summer playing in the inaugural MLB Draft League where he was utilizing a high-spin, sweeping slider and reached 93-94 mph highs with his fastball, enough to coax the Blue Jays to use their 18th round pick on the Chicago native.

(7/16/20)

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