Prep Baseball Report

Then & Now: Ryan Cermak, Illinois State

David Seifert
Director of College Scouting

THEN OCTOBER 20, 2016: Six-foot, 160-pound, athletically built right-handed pitcher with a live arm. Drop and drive, slow-paced delivery, stays on-line, lands square with effort throughout. Arm works long and quick out of a high ¾ slot. Fastball was mostly straight, sat 79-81 mph, touched 83. Changeup is currently best secondary offering; advanced feel for the zone, pounded the bottom quadrant, fade and sink action at times, 64-67 mph. Curveball, varying, arm speed, depth and sharpness; when thrown aggressively flashed sharp spin and depth 11/5 shape, ranged between 59-66 mph.


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NOW APRIL 6, 2022:
 Built like an outside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, the center fielder also runs like one. With sixty yard times in the 6.4s, this Redbird can fly. It is also game useful speed that plays on the bases (5-for-5 SBs) and in center where he covers gap-to-gap with remarkable closing speed for plus range. A former infielder who moved full-time to the big field early last spring, Cermak has also seen action on the bump for the ‘Birds this season where he has been clocked up to 96 mph. However, the outfield is where he projects at the next level with raw tools that include a 70-grade arm, 55/60 defense and 60 range. With a current season slash of ..398/.509/.860 and climbing the right-handed hitter is off to a remarkable draft year. He also shows some of the top bat speed in the country that produces elite-level exit velocities. With an average EV of 92.0 mph (ML average is around 88 mph) and a maximum EV of 112.3 Cermak can do damage to the baseball. He’s in a similar category to The Bat Whistler Dylan Crews. At this point Cermak’s main vulnerability is his approach which affects his strikeout rate. Too often he will chase out of the zone, especially with with two strikes. There is also some funk and stiffness to his swing. Cermak’s season K rate of 18% is now in the desired range and it's a big improvement from past seasons (25.1% in 2021 and 35.2% in 48 at-bats as a freshman in 2020). He’s made progress since our look noted in the College Crosscheck Fall Notebook from this past October and if it all continues to come together for his swing decisions, Cermak will elevate his status to a level indicative of a five-tool, middle of the diamond impact talent. For now his No. 178 rank (7th-8th round) in our preseason Top 250 has elevated to third round territory.

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