Prep Baseball Report

Illinois Fall Winners: Pitchers

By: Gavin Smith
Area Scout

This fall, the PBR Illinois staff hosted multiple events at The MAX and Triton College. We greatly expanded our player base as a result, and this year's fall showcase calendar provided our staff an ample opportunity to deepen our knowledge on all of the state's current high school classes (2024-2027).

Now, with the off-season fully underway, our staff broke down some of the biggest winners from our fall events, starting with the postion players, found HERE.

Today, we will break down some of the biggest winners on the mound.

Learn more on the 10+ names that impressed our staff this fall.

Note: Prospects are listed by class and in no particular order.


Brady Phillips LHP / Carterville, IL / 2024

From 9/26/23: ...offers an intriguing look on the mound. Though Phillips’ fastball doesn’t have overpowering velocity, playing in the low-80s, he creates natural rise on the pitch, allowing it to play up from its velocity band. He naturally backspins the baseball from a lower release height on average and his fastball grabbed plenty of in-zone whiffs, most of them at the top of the zone. Phillips also landed a low-70s slider for strikes and flashed natural fade on a 73-74 mph changeup.”  


Zakery Sumser RHP / Naperville North, IL / 2024

From 10/1/23:
Positional Profile: RHP
Body: 5-11, 150-pounds. Athletic.
Delivery: Athletic, easy delivery, works in-line.
Arm Action: RH. Short, quick arm action from a high 3/4 arm slot.
FB: T84, 83-84 mph. Clean and easy out of the hand, has arm-side action, flashes feel for the zone. T2174, 2090 average rpm.
SL: 77-78 mph. 10/4 shape, late winkle. T2342, 2322 average rpm.
CH: 76-78 mph. Downer action that plays at the bottom of the zone. T1681, 1565 average rpm.

Luca Fiore LHP / OF / Nazareth, IL / 2024

From 10/1/23: “...continues to show above-average stuff and spin on the mound. The top uncommitted left-handed pitcher in the state sat comfortably in the mid-80s with all kinds of horizontal movement and an average of 2108 rpm. Fiore separates himself thanks to his low-70s breaking ball that spins at an average of 2405 rpm with feel and sweeping, horizontal action. Fiore rounded out his above-average three-pitch mix with a changeup thrown with arm speed, fade and sink action and feel at the bottom of the zone.”


Max Woodward RHP / 3B / Kaneland, IL / 2024

From 10/1/23: “ a 6-foot-1, 160-pound, long, athletically-built, right-handed pitcher that seems to be scratching the surface of his ceiling. Woodward has a loose arm, four-pitch mix and ran his fastball up to 83.7 mph. He spun his low-70s breaking ball up to 2568 rpm with late, sharp break. His changeup also showed late action and a cutter at 75-79 m,ph with an average of 2305 rpm and sharp horizontal break.”



Cameron Appenzeller LHP / OF / Chatham-Glenwood, IL / 2025

From 9/26/23: Appenzeller checks so many boxes, starting with a long, lean-limbed 6-foot-5, 165-pound frame. He’s an ultra easy mover that exerts little-to-no-effort as he works downhill, producing presently impressive stuff with plenty more to come down the road. In this look, Appenzeller ran his fastball up to 88 mph, pitching at 84-87 mph, from as loose and clean of an operation you’ll find in the state. He showed feel for a 73-76 mph breaking ball that flashed sweep from the same arm angle as his fastball, and it’s a pitch that should continue to rack up swings and misses at a high rate as he starts to throw it with more velocity. A natural pronator, Appenzeller did throw a firm, naturally fading changeup at 79-80 mph with the action to be an effective pitch at the next level, though he used it sparingly. Just starting to scratch his ceiling on the mound, Appenzeller has the potential to be the next big arm out of Chatham, a high school program that has produced countless upper-tier arms over the last few decades.”


Nathan Matoush LHP / Hillsboro, IL / 2025

From 9/26/23: “...who showed well at Creekside earlier this summer and pounded the zone over his two innings of work at this event. The strong, physically built 6-foot-2, 195-pound southpaw pitched at 84-86, touching 87 mph, with his fastball, and it played up too, working from a tighter, deceptive arm window. Matoush spun a 68-72 mph breaking ball for strikes and he turned over a firm 77-81 mph changeup, too.”

Brandon Menser RHP / 3B / Sesser Valier , IL / 2025

From 9/26/23: “We’d heard plenty of positive things about Menser heading into the event and the 6-foot-4, 165-pound southeastern Illinois’ native rose even higher than our expectations. A quick-twitch athlete with loose, athletic levers, Menser pumped the day’s firmest fastball, touching 90 mph in his first inning of work and pitching in the upper-80s throughout, averaging 19 inches of vertical carry, too. It’s a fast arm with explosive arm speed that has the potential to really run it up there from a velocity standpoint, especially as he gains more comfort moving down the mound and adds more strength to his frame. Off his heater, Menser showed arguably the day’s best breaking ball; a power mid-to-upper-70s pitch with straight downer bite thrown with conviction and intent behind it, spinning at more than 2500 RPM. Presently, there’s plenty to like with Menser, and the upside itself is incredibly intriguing, too. He’s a high-end name-to-know arm in the state’s current junior group.”

Ryan Frano LHP / OF / Glenbard East , IL / 2025

From 10/8/23: “...made for a quality two-way look during Sunday’s showcase, especially on the mound. At the plate, the 6-foot, 185-pound left-handed hitter averaged an exit velocity of 82 mph and topped at 89.4 mph on his hardest hit ball of the day. He would then tease his arm strength during the outfield defense portion of the event as he led all outfielders with an 85 mph outfield velocity. Later on, Frano walked up on the mound where his upside is even more apparent. The southpaw is a simple and repeatable mover on the bump, pairing it with a loose and whippy arm that ran fastballs up to 83 mph, while sitting in the low-80s with over 15” of vertical break on average. He also showed feel for two different breaking ball offerings; the first being a traditional curveball that played with 2/8 action and depth. His slider was equally impressive, as it sat in the low-70s, and featured more horizontal action that the aforementioned curveball. He rounded out his repertoire with a changeup with subtle fade that was thrown at arm speed.” 

Will Burke RHP / 3B / Plainfield North , IL / 2025

From 10/8/23: “...features all kinds of projectability inside of his long 6-foot-4, 170-pound frame and he came away a winner following Sunday. On the mound, Burke is a simple mover and pairs it with a short, quick arm. As for his offerings, Burke’s fastball sat in the 83-85 mph range throughout his ‘pen, and featured just over 10” of horizontal movement on average, too. As for his offspeeds, Burke showed feel to spin a pair of breaking balls; starting with his curveball, it averaged just over 2,200 RPM and played with late 11/5 action. His slider, which was thrown in the same velocity range, featured big horizontal break and was able to locate it well to his glove side.” 

Patrick Kennedy C / RHP / Champaign Central, IL / 2025

From 10/8/23: “...pumped the day’s second hardest fastball, touching 84 mph on his hardest bullet while pitching in the low-80s throughout. Each fastball Kennedy threw in his ‘pen was a strike and he notably worked up in the zone, creating some true four-seam backspin at times. Kennedy also spun a low-70s curveball and showed a 74-76 mph changeup that he threw at fastball arm speed with subtle fade.”


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.”

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

From 10/15/23: “ 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.”

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.”

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 cleanly, 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 characteristics.”