Prep Baseball Report

Illinois 2026 Rankings: Newcomers

By: Drew Locascio, Gavin Smith & Peter Hamot
Illinois Scouting Staff

We made our final rankings update of the year with the class of 2026, and we want to shed some light on some of the prospects that made their rankings debut. For a look at the complete 2026 rankings, click HERE.

Yesterday, our staff officially updated our 2026 board, highlighting several of the state’s top prospects within our release. You can find that by clicking HERE.

One player worth noting that saw a drastic rise in the update is RHP/OF Tyler Townsend (Sycamore), now sitting at No. 31 in Illinois. Townsend is an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pound two-way prospect to know; sporting a fastball up to 87 mph, physical right-handed bat and premium BLAST metrics. 

Below, you can find every prospect that made their debut in yesterday’s rankings update.


Maxx Grieme C / 3B / Taylorville , IL / 2026

From 10/4/23: Athletic build with strength at 5-foot-10, 170-pounds. Played up an age level this weekend, competed and looked the part. Really impressed our staff with his actions behind the dish, athletic and agile mover with quality receiving traits, also showed a strong arm on throws down to second, throwing runners out. At the plate, a right-handed hitter, has a simple, fluid load with a short bat path that stays through the zone. Created a lot of hard contact showing the ability to barrel the baseball against older competition. A name-to-know moving forward in Illinois’ 2026 class.” 

Luke Blackwell RHP / 3B / Valmeyer, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “Putting together perhaps the most intriguing look during bullpens was RHP Luke Blackwell (Valmeyer, 2026). Blackwell stands in at an athletic 6-foot-3, 190-pounds with a short, compact arm action that works out of a tight window with some deception. Blackwell’s fastball played at 84-85 mph, topping at 86.1 mph, which was one of the day’s hardest marks, and he consistently threw it for strikes, too. Playing off of his fastball, Blackwell landed a slider with subtle sweep for strikes at 74-76 mph and he also threw a changeup at 75-76 mph that played with arm-side run.”

Owen Rog OF / LHP / DePaul College Prep, IL / 2026

From 9/23/23: “ a skinny and athletic top-of-the-order L/L centerfielder to know in the 2026 class. Rog is a long-levered 6-foot-3, 160-pounds with plenty of room to fill out the frame. A high-motor ballplayer that reached base six times in two games we saw of him. At the plate, Rog displayed high bat-to-ball skills with a short, direct swing that produced line drives. Rog was also impressive defensively, showing the ability to cover ground from gap-to-gap making tough plays look routine.”

James Tatroe C / 3B / Prairie Ridge, IL / 2026

From 9/23/23: “...came away one of the biggest winners from the Underclass division over the weekend. The right-handed hitter stood out immediately with his quick and direct hands at the plate, turning on inside fastballs consistently while staying on the barrel. Some bat-strength, especially to his pull-side, recording a double to LF on Sunday. Aggressive base-runner with good reads on balls in the dirt, always looking to take the extra base. Advanced receiving behind the plate, strong yet soft hands work to present pitches in and around the zone. Active and willing blocker, moves well to both sides into blocking position and deadens the ball out front. Clean catch/throw, recording a 2.13 pop-time between innings.”

Rocco Szambelan LHP / OF / Joliet Catholic, IL / 2026

From 9/23/23: “...was dominant in his outing on Sunday, presenting our staff with a quality look coming back from a lengthy injury. Szambelan, at a wiry 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, is mature on the mound and featured a competitive edge. He heavily utilized a fastball, ranging from 81-84 mph in his outing. It was there where he threw it both for strikes and generated swings and misses. While the offspeed arsenal continues to develop for the young prospect, the tools and projectability are present. Szambelan looks to continue to build on this start in the offseason and eventually into the spring of 2024.”  

Adam Swanson C / RHP / Ottawa Township, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “ a strong, athletic 5-foot-9, 183-pound backstop to monitor going forward. Swanson posted the second-highest vertical jump for the event at 33”, the second-fastest 60-yard dash for the event at 6.84 seconds, and also reached the third-highest run speed at peak (19.9 mph). Swanson had a strong showing with the bat as well, flashing above-average bat speed (avg. 75.9 mph) and the second quickest hands at the dish (avg. 24 mph), allowing for hard, lifted contact from the right side (93.3 mph max EV, avg. 85.3 mph). Swanson was quick and clean behind the dish with a max velocity of 80 mph from the crouch with a pop time range of 1.95-2.01.” 

Jack Gianikos RHP / 1B / Maine South, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “At 6-foot-3, 180-pounds RHP Jack Gianikos (Maine South, 2026) is another arm to know from this event. Gianikos’ fastball had some life out of the hand (T18.3” VB) sitting at 82-84 mph and he threw it for strikes (80%), too. (84.3 mph max), finding the strike zone 80% of the time. Gianikos showed two different breaking balls; a curveball at 65-69 mph that spun off an 11/5 plane, and a 69-70 mph slider with heavy horizontal action (19.8” HM). To round out his four-pitch mix, Gianikos threw a 74-78 mph changeup that flashed fade from a slightly lower arm window than his fastball.”

Samuel Chin LHP / OF / Timothy Christian, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “Chin had fluid actions all-around from the left side of the hill. Chin’s fastball came out of the hand clean, sitting 79-80 mph with arm-side run (avg. 14.5” HM), while his best offspeed pitch in this look was a short-horizontal slider that sat 71-73 mph with out-pitch upside.” 

James Feigleson SS / 2B / St. Charles East, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “There’s plenty of physical upside with INF James Feigleson (St. Charles East, 2026), who’s listed at a lean and highly projectable 6-foot-2, 160-pounds. Feigleson showed well on both sides of the ball, starting at the plate, where his athletic right-handed swing produced natural lifted contact to the pull-side with jump off the barrel. Feigleson’s feet play with rhythm on the infield, working around the baseball right at him and on the move. He’s confident in his glove with soft hands at gather that work quick and clean to release, and his arm played loose across the diamond, touching 84 mph.”

Jacob Conover UTILITY / RHP / Wheaton Warrenville South, IL / 2026

From 9/15/23: “...was another prospect who caught our eye from the Cangelosi North squad. Conover started on the mound and hit in the middle of the order. He has a clean, easy, polished delivery on the mound and ran his fastball into the low-80s. He also impressed with his fluid, left-handed swing that creates leverage to the pull-side with easy jump off the barrel. Name to know in the 2026 class.”

Carsen DeKeyrel LHP / OF / Rockridge , IL / 2026

From 8/27/23: “...made his PBR event debut at our last summer event on Sunday. The 6-foot, 135-pound prospect is a highly projectable arm with athleticism in his wiry build. Metrically his numbers didn’t jump off the charts, but the way his operation worked on the mound was intriguing. The southpaw is simple, yet athletic down the mound with little perceived effort. Dekeyrel’s fastball worked 76-79 mph with mostly straight actions. Both offspeed offerings are still being developed, but his changeup looks to be his best present offspeed. Sitting in the low-70s, the pitch had some fading actions to the armside. Dekeyrel’s wiry build and athletic actions show signs of a potential increase in velocity as he continues to physically mature.” 

Kyle Ziebell SS / 2B / Harvest Christian, IL / 2026

From 6/2/23: “Going 4-for-9 with two doubles, a stolen base, and three RBIs out of the leadoff spot for Citius on Friday, Ziebell established himself as a guy to watch moving forward this weekend. Displayed a calm presence in the box, looking to do damage each at-bat. From the right side, has a slightly upright stance with a high leg lift trigger. Whippy hands that allow him to manipulate the barrel through the zone. Level bat path that produces natural lift. On defense, he was smooth with the glove at the shortstop position. Also showed off his range and athleticism in centerfield later in the day. Someone to keep an eye on as the weekend progresses.”  

Nehemiah Torres SS / 3B / Glenbrook North, IL / 2026

From 8/8/23: “...was one of the top 2026 infielders during the workout on the first day. Torres has long, loose limbs and moves around the diamond with ease while playing with soft hands, natural actions and smooth release.”

Luke Martin 3B / RHP / Mt. Pulalski, IL / 2026

From 7/18/23: “...took one of the top rounds of BP when it comes to 2026s in attendance. The physical 5-foot-8, 180-pound, right-handed hitter was on the barrel throughout (77%), taking intentful swings while looking to elevate the baseball throughout. Martin sent his hardest hit balls to the pull-side, producing a max exit velocity of 90.8 mph (84.5 mph avg.) with his farthest batted ball traveling 327’. From the infield he showed easy actions with soft hands and a clean release. Name to know in the 2026 class.”  

Anthony Nottage C / SS / Glenbrook South, IL / 2026

From 9/15/23: “ a 2026 that is on our radar moving forward. The athletic right-handed hitter has a confident, hitterish look in the box and flashed bat speed and an aggressive approach in the box. RIght-handed hitter to follow moving forward.”

Jacob Matise RHP / 3B / Mount Carmel, IL / 2026

From 2/20/23: “ listed at a lanky 6-foot, 156-pounds that showed room to add strength as he matures. On the mound, he showed a high leg lift with a drop and drive delivery. He had a long and clean arm out of a high 3/4 slot. The freshman’s fastball sat 81-82 mph and topped out at 82.2 mph, and it was mostly straight with life out of hand. His curveball flashed a 12/6 shape with a large break that worked in the bottom of the zone, and he recorded a max spin rate of 2,228. He showed a good feel for his changeup that had sink and fade actions and the ability to locate it in and around the zone. Matise began the day by running a 7.49 in the 60-yard dash. He also had a max EV of 85 mph.”

Anthony Chavez 1B / LHP / Mount Carmel, IL / 2026

From 8/8/23:

Positional Profile: 1B/LHP
Body: 6-3, 190-pounds.
Hit: LHH. Slightly crouched setup, upright with slight open stance, toe-tap stride. Controlled, fluid swing with slightly uphill swing with easy power to the pull-side, stays balanced. 67.9 mph bat speed with 27 G’s of rotational acceleration.
Power: 98 max exit velocity, averaged 91.7 mph. 310’ max distance.
Arm: LH. INF - 80 mph. Longer arm path, quick, 3/4 slot.
Defense: Two-hand gather out front, steady hands, controls ball to body, athletic actions.
Run: 7.48 runner in the 60.

Logan Wroughton SS / RHP / Mount Carmel, IL / 2026

From 6/6/23: “ an intriguing athlete to know moving forward. Started off his day by cruising to a 6.95 in the 60-yard dash. Athleticism clearly translates to the infield; fluid actions with easy range to both sides, plays on the move. Hands are soft and confident, receives the ball out front. Athletic arm that plays on the move, reaching up to 76 mph across the diamond. At the plate, the right-handed hitter has a fluid load that works into a simple, handsy swing, works to spray the ball to the whole field.”

Johnny Andretich OF / 1B / Plainfield North, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “ an athletic left/left prospect that showed well at the plate in Sunday’s look. Andretich worked on the barrel to the middle of the field, keeping a level barrel through the zone with strong hands to pair. Andretich also ran a 7.12 60 with quick, athletic feet from the outfield.”

Ian Kelly OF / Huntley, IL / 2026

From 10/15/23: “...Kelly, a 2022 Junior Future Games participant, measures in at an athletic 5-foot-10, 153-pounds. The L/R outfielder displayed strong, athletic hands during his bp round (avg. 23.1 mph) that worked the ball pull-side with some strength (92.5 mph max EV)”.