Preseason All-State: Quick Hits


By Steve Nielsen & Drew Locascio
Illinois Staff

On March 20, the PBR Illinois team hosted its annual Preseason All-State showcase, bringing together a collection of the state’s best juniors in one place, Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports Dome in Lockport, Ill.

Given that this event features some of the state’s best talent within its 2022 class, we limited this Quick Hits piece to the player’s who substantially improved their prospect stock or turned heads at Saturday’s showcase. More players will earn shout-outs throughout the rest of the week inside our Statistical Analysis, TrackMan Files, and Blast Motion Board stories, but for now, here are the main highlights coming out of the weekend.

UNCOMMITTED QUICK HITS

POSITION PLAYERS

Lucas Pajeau OF / Lockport, IL / 2022

A strong overall performance has him coming away from the event as one of the biggest uncommitted winners. Pajeau showed a repeatable, polished, easy right-handed swing, consistently finding the barrel and lining balls into both gaps. Pajeau recorded an average exit velocity of 90.36 mph off the bat during BP with the furthest struck ball of the day at 376 feet, even more impressive given his 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame. Not to be outdone Pajeau showed off some of the best outfield actions of the day and was 95 mph from the outfield. High-follow uncommitted 2022 outfielder.

Matthew Tarr C / RHP / West Aurora, IL / 2022

One of the top two-way performances on the day came from C/RHP Matthew Tarr. Tarr, listed at 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, started his day on the mound sitting 87-90 mph, T91 with a hard biting, downer curveball at 76-78 mph and an average spin rate of 2568 rpm. Tarr then proceeded to top at 84 mph from the crouch with his low pop time hovering around the 2.00 mark. Tarr then proceeded to take one of the loudest BP rounds of the day showing present pull-side power and feel to hit. Tarr registered the third highest average exit velocity of the day at 94.48 mph off the bat with the second furthest batted ball of the day at 374 feet. High-follow two-way prospect.

Kyle Schupmann SS / 3B / Luther Prep, WI / 2022

Schupmann lives in the Chicago suburbs and attends Luther Prep, a charter school in Wisconsin. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound, athletic, strong, right-handed hitting, left-side of the infield prospect took one of the louder rounds of BP, something we have become accustomed to. Schupmann swings with controlled intent, advanced bat speed and present pull-side power with more to come down the road. Schupmann has natural feel to elevate the baseball and registered a max exit velocity of 98.67 mph with a max distance of 342 feet. Defensively, his bat is potent enough to handle a third base or shortstop profile. Schupmann defends with natural, smooth infield actions, sure-hands and a strong arm that topped at 92 mph across.

PITCHERS

Alex Alberico RHP / Providence Catholic , IL / 2022

Alberico is a mature, strong bodied 6-foot, 201-pounds with an equally strong arm. He was able to sit at 90-91 mph with a high IVB fastball and well above average feel for the zone. Pounding with three pitches, Alberico threw one of the better pens of the day.


Michael Kelly LHP / Mt. Carmel, IL / 2022

Kelly was one of the top left-handed arms in attendance. The 6-foot, 180-pound southpaw, also an accomplished wrestler, has a clean, easy arm and was filling up the zone with a fastball that sat 88-89 mph, topping 2,533 rpm. Kelly also showed feel for three-pitches with his 79-81 mph changeup showing feel for the zone and his curveball spinning with a max spin rate of 2,318 rpm.


Nathan Chapman RHP / Jacobs, IL / 2022

Chapman saved his strongest showing to date for the Preseason All-State. Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-handed pitcher was one of the top prospects at the recent McHenry Preseason I.D. and took it to another level on Saturday. Chapman touched 89 mph (up three mph from January), sat 86-89 and showed off a hard-biting 78-79 mph curveball, thrown with aggression and feel. Chapman filled up the strike zone throughout and showed two present above-average offerings.

 


Christopher Bieniek RHP / Notre Dame College Prep, IL / 2022

Bieniek is an intriguing upside RHP with a live, loose arm. At 6-foot-2, 194-pounds he works with a long, loose, upside arm action working 86-89 mph topping at 90 mph, and an above average curveball at 70-74 mph.


Adam Guazzo RHP / Huntley, IL / 2022

Guazzo looked remarkably polished, with feel for four pitches. He worked the bottom of the zone with a running fastball and and a deceptive changeup with fading action. Of both his breaking balls, the curveball looks slightly ahead, but both were able to land for strikes.


Evan Jones OF / RHP / Normal University, IL / 2022

Jones is a big-armed athlete who threw it 92 mph from the outfield, but translates best on the mound where he sat 89-90 mph with a 75-76 mph curveball with above-average action and depth. Jones looks to only be scratching the surface of his potential on the mound given his overall athleticism. 

 


Luka Radicevich RHP / INF / Joliet Catholic, IL / 2022

Radicevich is another quick, athletic arm who made 90 mph look easy. Working uptempo with a short, loose arm action, he spins an above-average slider as well, revving between 2,400 and 2,500-plus rpm.

 


Elias Hachem RHP / Mount Carmel, IL / 2022

Elias Hachem showed his ability to pound the bottom of the zone with a big fastball sitting 87-89 mph along with feel for a sinking change and slurve-type breaking ball. His fastball spins at an above-average rate, averaging over 2,200 rpm on Saturday, while carrying through the zone at an average of 19.6 inches of induced vertical break. He's another one of the top uncommitted arms in the state, built at an imposing 6-foot-7, 230 pounds.


HIGH-LEVEL SHORTSTOPS

+ Three uncommitted shortstops who continue to show they are some of the top infield defenders in the state are Easton Harris (Washington), Patrick Graham (Naperville North) and Casey Hintz (St. Viator). All three show the tools to stick at shortstop, with quick, athletic feet, advanced range, sure-hands and the ability to play on the move with athleticism and body control; all three were also 90+ mph across the diamond. Hintz also started his day on the mound where he ran his fastball up to 90 mph, pairing it with a sharp slider that sat 76-79 mph with a max spin rate of 2620 rpm.


SLEEPER ARMS

+ RHP Carter Prochaska (Plainfield Central), a 6-foot-2, 170-pound, high-waisted, wide-shouldered, right-hander, featured one of the higher floors of the uncommitted arms in attendance. Still raw and figuring out his full arsenal, Prochaska seemed to be playing light catch during his bullpen, pounding the zone with his fastball that sat an effortless 86-87 mph. Prochaska’s slider is thrown at 69-71 mph with more conviction than his curveball, with his changeup showing feel for the bottom of the zone at 77-79 mph. High-upside 2022 right-handed pitcher.

Dylan Warda (Brother Rice) is an easy-armed southpaw continuing to show pitchability with little effort. His fastball plays straight and heavy at times flashing some cut action too. 

+ RHP Jase Daley (Glenwood) was one of the more pleasant surprises of the day, reaching a new top fastball velocity of 92 mph on the Stalker radar gun, up seven ticks since his last PBR outing in October.

+ RHP C.J. Byrdak (Lockport) has long been known for his competitive nature on the mound, four-pitch arsenal, and his ability to throw any pitch in any count. Byrdak continued to show similar stuff on Saturday expect with increased velocity, sitting 82-85 mph. Byrdak paired his fastball with one of the better breaking balls of the day but it was his curveball that was the separator. Byrdak throws his curveball with advanced confidence and feel, consistently landing it for a strike with late/tight action and depth; 71-74 mph with a max spin rate of 2,654 rpm.

COMMITTED STANDOUTS

A number of the committed players that currently sit at the top of the class, only continued to solidify their place at the top, thanks to their strong showings on Saturday. 

+ The Nos. 4- and 9-ranked prospects in the state's 2022 class, Owen Murphy (Riverside-Brookfield; Notre Dame commit) and RHP Ethan Patera (Downers Grove South; Louisville), put together arguably the two most impressive bullpens on the day. Murphy is a highly athletic kid who also showed as one of the smoothest infield defenders of the day as well, to better underscore his elite-level athleticism. Murphy’s bullpen was about as easy as it gets controlling four distinct pitches that include a cutter, curveball and changeup giving him easily the best starter's profile at the next level.

At a hulking 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Patera has a big arm to say the least. His arm action looks cleaner and more connected, resulting in the best velocity we’ve seen out of the big right-hander, sitting 92-94 mph, which led the event.

+ Another committed arm worth noting was Illinois commit RHP Jake Swartz (Normal University). Swartz has continued to see his frame lengthen out, now standing 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, while attacking the zone with a quick arm and fastball that sat 89-90 mph throughout his ‘pen. Swartz's best secondary on the day looked to be a sharp curveball thrown with aggression at 78-80 mph and at an average spin rate of 2,324 rpm.

+ The No. 7 and 14 ranked players in the state's 2022 class, infielders Logan Wagner (Homeschool; Louisville) and Estevan Moreno (Montini Catholic; Notre Dame) had two of the more complete performances when it comes to committed position players towards the top of the class. Wagner, a switch-hitter, was all over the barrel from both sides of the plate. His left-handed swing is particularly impressive; stays through the zone a long time and drove balls to both gaps with authority. Wagner recorded a max exit velocity of 99.98 mph with a max distance of 369 feet, and showed athletic infield actions with a top infield velocity of 94 mph. Moreno stays flat through the zone and creates easy pull-side power with backspin and carry. Moreno also showed off confident hands and was 87 mph across the diamond.

+ Creighton commit, SS Jack Scheri (LaSalle-Peru), continues to impress everytime we see him. Scheri has some of the best bat-to-ball skills in the state and took arguably the most consistent round of BP on the day. The compact, strong, 5-foot-11, 195-pound right-handed hitter has an extremely repeatable swing, advanced bat speed, stays through the zone a long time and barreled up everything thrown his way with his max exit velocity coming in at 98.71 mph. Scheri also ran one of the top 60’s we have seen from a 2022; 6.48 laser-timed 60...and was 91 mph across the diamond.   

+ Two of the top committed defensive infielders in attendance were Israel Delgado (Sandburg; Missouri) and Shai Robinson (Homewood-Flossmoor; Illinois State). Both have confident, easy actions, top-level hand and advanced feel for the position. 

A few other impressive performances worth noting from committed prospects:

+ C/INF Jayden Lobliner (St. Charles North; Kansas State):

+ C Charlie Marisca (Grayslake Central; Missouri):

+ OF Brendan Summerhill (Whitney Young; Kentucky):

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