Then & Now: From the 2015 Illinois ProCase to MLB


David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

So far during the 2022 MLB season a pair of standouts from the 2015 Illinois ProCase have debuted in the Major Leagues. Mike Massey (Brother Rice HS/University of Illinois) was a 4th round pick in 2019, while Jack Suwinski (Taft HS) was a 15th rounder in 2016.

JACK SUWINSKI

THEN 2015 Illinois ProCase: One of the top uncommitted prospects in the Midwest, Suwinski is a high-level left-handed hitter with burgeoning power. At 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, Suwinski has proportional strength, and he clearly knows what he is doing in the box. He has a relaxed, open approach with lower-set hands. His mechanics are quiet and simple and shows excellent rhythm in his swing. He has a calm, confident demeanor in the box – he tracks pitches well and seldom chases anything out of the zone. He showed the ability to drive the ball to both power alleys during BP and has advanced barrel awareness. He maintains balance throughout his swing and has easy pop in his bat. Defensively, Suwinski is best suited for corner outfield, as he features a strong, accurate arm (89 mph) with natural outfield actions and instincts. He also ran a 7.08 60.

 

NOW Pittsburgh Pirates: A 15th round pick by the San Diego Padres (signed by Troy Hoerner) Suwinski was traded to Pittsburgh in July, 2021. For the Pirates, he delivered his first MLB hit on April 27 then dropped his first career Major League home run on May 9.  

 

Then on June 19 Suwinski became the first Rookie in MLB history with 3 home runs in one game. This record-setting performance also included a walk-off, game-winner!

 

MIKE MASSEY

THEN 2015 Illinois ProCase: Six-foot-1, 170-pound left-handed hitting middle infielder, loose and athletic. Plays the game with ease and confidence. Quality at bat guy, sees a lot of pitches, grinds out at bats. Natural and fluid swing. Short, level path, great approach. Showed pop to all parts of the field with an opposite field home run and a pull side triple. Good barrel control and plate discipline, projects near the top of any lineup. Smooth defender, confident hands, plays easy. Ranked No. 10 in IL, No. 130 overall. Committed to Illinois.

 

THEN University of Illinois: Loose bodied, athletic middle infielder who recently returned to playing defense after experiencing back issues the first seven weeks of this spring season. Likely due to his back injury and the inability to hit the weights, Massey looks thinner this spring than in the past. When fully healthy, Massey plays defense with ease. He's a plus defender with soft hands, smooth actions and good range in all directions. Also has an average arm and is quick on the DP pivot. At the dish, he has a loose, pure stroke with good rhythm. Starts his swing with a leg lift load. Has minimal separation as he keeps his hands tight to his back shoulder. A slight adjustment for more separation could result in more over the fence power in the future, where it currently projects to be below average. However, his power should continue to grow as he gets completely healthy and fills out. Massey has very good hand/eye and controls the barrel. Never looks over matched and always seems to have a plan up to bat. As a result, he's been very consistent at the plate generating hard contact; batted .330 as a freshman, .326 as a sophomore and is currently hitting .319 with more walks than strikeouts. Remarkably, his babip has a very small range over the past three seasons; .333, .344, .330. Despite being somewhat of a tweener with limited over the fence power (15 career HRs in 540 ABs) and little impact on the base paths (seven career SBs) Massey has consistently hit for average, controlled the strike zone and plays defense at a high level.

 

NOW Kansas City Royals: A 4th round pick by the Royals in 2019 (signed by Scott Melvin), Massey debuted on July 15 and recorded his first Major League hit the following day.

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