Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 18 New Trier

By Josh Schoenberg
Illinois Staff

The Illinois high school baseball season kicks off on March 13, opening day for regular season action under IHSA regulations. Over the next two weeks, leading up to opening day, we’ll be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2023 spring season, touching on programs spanning all state classifications, counting down through the official PBR Illinois Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Perennially, we’ve submitted a Preseason Questionnaire to high school head coaches across the entire state. Their responses have been flooding in and we’re using the detailed insight they’ve provided in our team-by-team preseason analysis.

 Our 2023 preseason coverage continues today.

Team: New Trier
Preseason Rank: No. 18
2022 Record: 17-18
Conference: Central Suburban South
IHSA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Mike Napoleon


Brenden Stressler OF New Trier 2023 Saint Louis
Graham Mastros 3B New Trier 2023 Saint Louis
Henry Wolfe C New Trier 2023 Elon
Dylan Mayer LHP/OF New Trier 2023 Manhattan College
Charlie Hahn RHP New Trier 2023 University of Chicago
James Novakovic SS New Trier 2024 Purdue
Aidan Nolan OF New Trier 2024 -
Jackson McCarey OF New Trier 2024 -
Justin Wood RHP New Trier 2024 -
Beau McBride LHP New Trier 2024 -
Max Kaplan LHP New Trier 2024 -
Trey Meyers 1B New Trier 2025 -


+ INF Alex Mendes (DePauw)
+ 1B/C Louis Florida (DePauw)


+ CIF Trey Meyers (2025) is in the mix to become the Trevians’ starting first baseman in 2023. The sophomore is listed at 6-foot-6, 195 pounds, and he moves exceptionally well for a player his age with the present levers he possesses. Meyers was in attendance at our Preseason All-State event at the end of February where he ran a 6.83 60, recorded a top speed of 20.2 mph; both were two of the best marks of the event. He demonstrated unique athleticism for a corner infielder his size, and it plays in the right-handed batter’s box too, where he measured above-average hand and bat speed metrics.

+ Fellow sophomore Ben Toft, a left/left outfielder, is another sophomore to know in the hallways at New Trier. The path is unclear for Toft as New Trier has plenty of competition in the outfield but he is a talented left/left prospect who could impact the varsity club at some capacity this spring. We last saw Toft in the fall where he showed sub-7.00 speed and athleticism in both the left-handed box and in the outfield. Regardless of his overall role, he’s certainly a Trevian to monitor in the coming years, if not in 2023.

Ben Toft (10/16/22)


+ LHP/DH Dylan Mayer (2023; Manhattan commit) is in line to play a pivotal role this spring for the Trevians, both on the mound and at the dish. The two-way athlete swings a physical right-handed bat and offers an uncomfortable look as a southpaw on the bump. Mayer caught the attention of our staff after a loud showing in Rantoul last August:

“[Mayer] was one of the biggest winners from the Illinois State Games. Physically built at 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, Mayer turned heads with a loud round of BP on the workout day, averaging 96.3 mph off the barrel and 321 feet per batted ball. He hit a ball that traveled 393 feet at 102.5 mph, something that we haven’t seen done much since TrackMan was integrated into our events. Mayer’s inherent strength showed in his first game, where he squared a loud lineout to center field and doubled off the right field fence. He later hopped on the mound, pitching in the low-80s, topping at 85 mph with hard angle and tilt while spinning an upper-60s breaking ball at 2,504 RPM.” 

Dylan Mayer (8/9/22)

In the time since our last look at Mayer, we’ve heard reports that he has seen an uptick in velocity and his fastball now sits in the mid-80s, and maybe even a little higher. With his size and added strength, Mayer is poised for a big spring on both sides of the baseball, and we’ll see what kind of role he carves out for himself on the mound.


Head coach Mike Napoleon enters the season with 938 wins, just 12 wins shy of tying the IHSA all-time record, currently held by Dave Swisegood (950), who coached the Plymouth and Southeastern programs from 1956 until his final season in 2015. Napoleon’s legendary quest for 951 will undoubtedly be one of the biggest storyline’s throughout the state this spring, and he has the roster to make it back to state for the first time since 2017, vying for his first championship since 2009 in the process.

While Mayer, the ‘X-Factor’ mentioned in the section above, can certainly become more than just a depth arm for the Trevians in 2023, New Trier has the luxury of considering their pitching staff a strength, even if juniors make up the majority of the starters penciled in.

Three uncommitted ‘24s headline this rotation headed into Opening Day: RHP Justin Wood, LHP Beau McBride, and LHP Max Kaplan. Wood has plenty of projection in his long and lean 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame. His stock has been trending upwards for the past year and with some varsity experience under his belt, Wood is a quality candidate to consider a breakout player in the state this spring. In our previous looks, the big righty has run his fastball up to 85 mph with late life. He mixes in a true 12/6 breaking ball with confidence as well as a sinking changeup to miss barrels.

Justin Wood (5/11/22)

McBride is a physical 6-foot-3, 195-pound southpaw who has mid-80s velocity, topping out at 85.7 mph at our Preseason All State event last month, featuring some hard arm-side run. His arsenal also includes a short, tight slider in the low-70s, and a mid-70s changeup that moves arm-side as well, complementing the fastball deceptively.

Kaplan, the third arm on staff, is a steady lefty with plenty of movement on his own pitches. He showed polish and presence on the mound at our O’Hare Preseason ID in February, with a four-pitch mix that includes a slider, changeup, and sinker. He’s athletic and appears to project as a reliable strike-thrower underscoring a depth inside the rotation that few teams have. 

Max Kaplan (2/12/23)

Another junior, RHP Jack Wilson, can factor into this staff ahead of time. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior could factor out of the ‘pen for the Trevians to start the season. He has a high-spin pitch mix that profiles differently than the two left-handers on staff, which gives Coach Napoleon a different kind of look to lean in later in games. Wilson’s low-80s four-seamer and curve work well off each other, and he’s shown the ability to land the slider for strikes, too. Seniors RHP Thomas Hartman and RHP Charlie Hahn (University of Chicago) are two other arms to throw into this group of quality pitching options for New Trier, and their seniority will be a welcome presence.

While it might appear as if New Trier is light on the mound, given the lack of 2023s on staff, this can still be considered one of the Trevs’ strengths this spring, and yet there’s even more seniority that’s set to fill out the front of this lineup.

It’s going to be reassuring for Napoleon to lean on senior stalwart C Henry Wolfe (2023; Elon commit) to guide the junior arms from the mound. Currently slated within the state’s top-150 seniors, Wolfe is one of the more athletic backstops in the state who’s especially known for his defensive prowess, as both a receiver and as a threat to opposing baserunners. His arm is arguably his best and favorite tool and he likes to show it off in game, throwing behind runners and keeping them honest.

While Wolfe’s key contributions will most likely be on the defensive side of the ball, a pair of Saint Louis recruit and seniors, OF Brenden Stressler and 3B Graham Mastros, will occupy the heart of the lineup. The pair have been on varsity since their sophomore seasons and both will look to do the heavy lifting for the Trevians’ offense. The left-handed-hitting Stressler, is one of the more polished bats in the state and swings a heavy barrel with an advanced approach. Check out what our staff had to say after a look at the 2021 PBR Future Games alum last spring:

“[Stressler] is arguably one of, if not the best, pure left-handed hitters in the class. Advanced approach and polish at the plate. Sees the ball extremely deep into the zone, easy, quiet takes and minimal wasted effort. Flashes explosive hand speed, loose swing, stays inside the baseball and sprays hard line-drive, lifted contact to all parts of the field. Hit in the two-hole and finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Scorched one of his doubles off the very top of the left-field wall.”

Brenden Stressler (2/1/23)

Mastros, another future Biliken, is one of the more physical right-handed bats in the area. At 6-foot-3, 215-pounds In our past looks, he has repeated loud contact to all fields with his impressive bat speed. Both he and Stressler combine to make up one of the most potent run-producing duos in the area, at the very least.

Junior SS James Novakovic (2024; Purdue) is also one of the most talented members of his own class, and he’s set to join Mastros on the left side of the infield which then becomes one of the state’s best, in turn. The left-handed-hitting middle infielder has impressed our staff on several occasions:

“Novakovic has a calmness and polish to everything he does on the field starting with his presence in the left-handed batters box. [He] stays quiet and simple, routinely getting the barrel through the zone on time and making hard lifted contact to the pull-side gap while staying balanced throughout. Novakovic has active bouncy feet on the infield while playing through the baseball in rhythm with clean, soft hands and polished glove-to-hand release."

James Novakovic (6/8/22)

Other expected contributors include uncommitted junior outfielders Aidan Nolan and Jackson McCarey, and both are sub-7.00 runners who can cover ground on defense. Nolan recently showed well at our O’Hare Preseason ID, posting impressive hand speed at the plate, as well as a feel for the barrel. McCarey hosts an athletic frame at 6-foot, 190 pounds and helps fill out what’s becoming a deep and talented lineup, headlined by some proven producers.


New Trier has long been a powerhouse in the Chicagoland area and last year’s sub-.500 record is simply a rarity for one of the winningest programs in Illinois. The Trevians return seven position players and six pitchers, including four seniors who are slated within the state’s top-150 overall prospects. A deep rotation, while junior-led, is surrounded by a gifted ensemble of position players that should help give their inexperienced pitching staff plenty of breathing room, and the time to adjust to the varsity level by the time the season’s on the line.

Make sure to follow @PBRIllinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the 2022 season.

Find more information on the 2023 Trevians below:

+ Team Website
+ Team Schedule
+ Team Twitter