Prep Baseball Report

Joliet Preseason ID: Takeaways

Illinois Scouting Staff

On Feb. 25th, the Prep Baseball Illinois staff hosted the Joliet Preseason ID at the Rhino Sports Academy in Shorewood, Ill. Over 80 players participated in a pro-style workout, gathering unrivaled access to data through our state-of-the-art tech partners, as well as in-depth scouting analysis from our Prep Baseball Illinois staff.

In this article we take a look at some of the top initial takeaways from the event. There will be plenty more content to come from the event but for now take a look at some initial thoughts on some prospects who stood out.


+ OF/INF Derrick Holmes (Brother Rice, 2025) put together arguably his top performance we have seen to-date at the event. Holmes, a high-follow uncommitted junior, impressed in all areas on the day starting with a polished, intentful round of BP. Holmes was on the barrel throughout, making loud contact to the big part of the diamond. Holmes averaged 86.6 mph off the bat, T93.1 and launched his furthest batted ball 343’. He also worked out on the infield and outfield, showing much improved arm strength, topping at 94 mph from the outfield while showing athletic actions and soft hands. A name to follow this spring and beyond.

+ OF Rocco Szambelan (Joliet Catholic, 2026) was one of the top arms at the Preseason All-State: Underclass and followed up that performance with a strong showing as a position player the next day in Joliet. Listed at 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, the right-handed hitter has added quality strength throughout his frame and took an impactful round of BP while also topping at 90 mph from the outfield. At the plate, he has strong forearms, creates bat speed and stays on-plane (average 85; best of the event) and on the barrel with above-average rotational acceleration at an average of 18.2 g. He is an overall impressive athlete, who ran a 6.96, and has fully emerged as a high-follow uncommitted sophomore to follow moving forward.

+ OF Gavin Bailey (Mahomet-Seymour) is an upside left-handed bat that caught our eye while making his showcase debut. Bailey has a well-proportioned, 6-foot-1, 170-pound build with more physicality coming. He took athletic, fast swings throughout while staying on the barrel and using the whole field. His 73 mph average bat speed tied for sixth-best of the event. Ran a 7.26 laser-timed 60.

+ C Mason Palermo (Oswego East, 2025) has shown well this winter and nothing changed at this most recent event. Palermo is an athletic catcher who ran a 7.13 60, registered a low pop time of 1.94 and took one of the better, louder rounds of BP on the day. His top swing left the bat at 95.5 mph and traveled 371 feet which led the event by over 20 feet. He is poised for a big spring for Oswego East and is one to watch closely moving forward.

+ C Nick Sichel (New Trier) emerged as a 2026 bat to know coming out of the event. Sichel has a 5-foot-10, 187-pound frame with a strong lower half. At the plate, he stays with loose, strong hands and stays through the zone a long time. His intent and controlled aggression increased throughout the round leading to some of his best swings resulting in a lot of hard up the middle, lifted contact. Behind the plate he topped at 76 mph and registered a low pop time of 2.09.

+ OF Evan Bradford (Mount Carmel, 2026) stands out with his 6-foot-4, 157-pound, high-waisted, long-levered frame. At the plate, he controls his levers well and stays short to the ball; impressive for his age and size. His hands worked loose and he repeated hard up the middle contact in his round. Peaked at 89 mph during BP with 22.2 mph average hand speed.

+ Liam Darre (Batavia) and Santino Vicencio II (Oswego East) were a pair of right-handed bats that stood out at the event. Both have impactful swings for their ages, above-average exit velocities and should be names to track moving forward. 

+ INF Mason Garcia (Plainfield East) was a 2026 infielder who stood out as one of the top infield defenders on the day. The 7.23 runner played with bounce at times and moved around athletically up-the-middle with soft hands and clean arm that played up to 82 mph. At the plate, the right-handed hitter swings with intent with a whole field, lifted approach.

+ C Zach Pomatto (Joliet Catholic, 2025) has all kinds of physicality in his 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame and it is evident in the box. He has strong hands with an average of 72 mph bat speed and made hard, loud, lifted contact throughout his round. He peaked at 91.9 mph off the bat and his furthest batted ball traveled 340'. He also was one of the top defensive catchers, topping at 81 mph from the crouch with a low pop time of 1.96. Should be a key part of the Hilltopper lineup this spring. 

+ C Brandon Stinson (Kenwood, 2025) was another backstop who put together a strong all-around day. Stinson has an athletic, 6-foot-1, 176-pound frame and level swing that was consistently on time and on the barrel throughout BP.  He creates backspun, line-drive contact and was second-best at the event with an average of 21.1 g of rotational acceleration. His arm also played up to 76 mph from the crouch and his pop times ranged from 1.94-2.09.


+ RHP Bo Anselmi (Hersey, 2025) popped up as yet another talented arm that Hersey HS will have at its disposal this spring. Anselmi has a 6-foot, 212-pound frame with a strong lower half and above-average stuff. His fastball played with some carry through the zone and averaged 2407 rpm. He flashed a slider and curveball to go along with his four-pitch arsenal with his slider showing quality action and tight, short depth at 73-74 mph, T2514 rpm. Impressive PBR debut for the uncommitted junior.

+ RHP Nolan Hooper (Yorkville Christian, 2025) was another 2025 arm to note from the event. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound, wiry, long-levered right-hander showed lively stuff during his bullpen. He is still looking to harness his fastball control but it climbed to 88.2 mph with 15.8 average inches of induced vertical break and his curveball looks to be a go-to secondary offering. Playing at 74-76 mph, he landed it for strikes 100% of the time while working off a 12/6 plane and above average spin; average 2409 rpm. He rounded out his four pitch mix with a slider and changeup. Upside arm to keep tabs on.

+ RHP Matthew Fox (Lockport) is another 2025 who earned a mention from the event. The wiry 6-foot, 160-pound right-hander has a long arm that works loose, sat 82-83 mph with control of the zone and showed feel for a three-pitch mix. 

+ RHP Kyle Christensen (Joliet Catholic, 2026) is yet another arm making his way through the Hilltopper hallways. Christensen is listed at 6-foot-2, 185-pounds with broad-shoulders and athletic overall build. He has made big strides since his bullpen at this event last winter where he topped at 75 mph with fastball. This time around his fastball played at 82-85, T86 and his slider looked to be his best secondary offering playing at 75-76 mph (2412 average rpm) with tight spin, 10/4 shape and late bite at times.

+ LHP Dylan Ignacek (Barrington, 2026) didn't wow with his velocity on the day but he is a clean mover with a polished repertoire. He has a clean, long arm, fastball that topped at 79 mph with two above-average offspeed offerings. Pitchability left-hander who ould not be a surprise to his velocity jump in the near future.


RHP/3B Jackson Schlott (Plainfield North, 2026) stood out with his right-handed bat and then followed it up with an equally impressive bullpen. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound, physical sophomore has strong, easy swing with loose hands and big power potential. He peaked at 95.2 mph off the bat and his furthest batted ball traveled 346’. On the mound, he is still harnessing his repertoire but he sat 84-85 mph, T86 with a hard, downer type breaking ball at 76 mph with 2268 average rpm. Two-way follow moving forward.

+ RHP/1B Cameron Barnes (Oak Park-River Forest, 2026) was another 2026 who made his presence felt with his right-handed bat as well as his ability on the mound. Barnes has a 6-foot-2, 215-pound, long, strong build and showed an above-average three-pitch mix on the mound. His fastball climbed to 84.7 mph but it was his secondary that really separated Barnes. His 72-73 mph curveball played with depth and 12/6 downer shape with feel. He also kills spin (792 rpm average) on a splitter at 75 mph that played with late action. Offensively, he swung with controlled aggression, stayed on played and was consistently on the barrel back up the middle of the diamond. 

+ INF/RHP Ryan Sobun (Joliet West, 2025) was towards the top of multiple statistical categories on the day; 7.18 60, 88 mph infield velocity, 96 mph max exit velocity and topped at 85.1 mph on the mound.

CLICK HERE for a look at the roster and stats from the Joliet Preseason ID.