the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a
detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District
of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will
list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best
tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2
players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.
Illinois State-by-State List
2011 Illinois Overview
Year for Talent in State, Despite Ideal Conditions
been an historically warm and sunny spring in the upper Midwest,
prompting veteran area scouts to shed their normal multiple layers of
clothing—and even complain, at times, about getting too much sun
over the past two months. The beneficiary of the mild spring weather,
all grumbling from scouts aside, has been the top baseball talent in
the area. Most players have gotten rare extra looks from scouts, not
to mention ideal conditions to compete under.
However it has been a slow year for Illinois, although not as weak as
2011 when only one player, New Trier High outfielder Charles Tilson
(Cardinals/2nd round), was picked in the top eight rounds. Fast-rising Carmel
Catholic High lefthander Alex Young is the only player in the state
currently projected to go within the first five rounds, although
Niles West High infielder Kevin Ross could also slip into that range.
Several other Illinois high-school players have warranted attention
in the top 10-12 rounds, but don’t figure to be drafted that high
because of injury or signabilty reasons.
At the college level, Southern Illinois red-shirt junior
first baseman Chris Serritella has predictably enjoyed a big season
at the plate after missing 2011 with a broken bone in his wrist, and
will likely be the first Illinois collegian off the board, possibly
as early as the fifth to sixth rounds. Hard-throwing Illinois
reliever Matt Milroy is also a probable selection in the top 10
it is unlikely that Illinois will have a representative in the NCAA
Division I baseball tournament as only two of the state’s 11 D-I
teams, Illinois State (No. 59) and Illinois (No. 88) rank inside the
top 120 in the national RPI rankings. Illinois (28-25) failed to make
the six-team Big Ten Conference tournament, while Illinois State
(31-17) could advance by winning the Missouri Valley Conference
tournament as a No. 4 seed, as could sixth-seeded Southern Illinois
(28-27) and seventh-seeded Bradley (26-25).
most positive developments this spring in Illinois have probably come
at the junior-college level. Wabash Valley righthander Conor Fisk (14-2, 2.71) and
John A. Logan lefthander Derek Thompson (8-1, 1.50), have taken a big step forward this spring, and have generated solid interest from scouts as potential top 10 picks.
in a nutshell:
Alex Young, power bats.
Athletes, college prospects.
(1-to-5 scale): 2.
HIGH SCHOOL TEAM:
Mount Carmel HS.
ON THE RISE: Alex Young, lhp, Carmel Catholic HS, Hawthorn Woods.
There are very few high-school prospects around the country that have
gone from light area-scout follow to serious national cross-checker
material on the strength of a couple of early-season starts, but the
6-foot-3, 190-pound Young has accomplished that this spring. He made
the transition from an upper-80s thrower to low-90s pitcher with
three quality offerings during the off-season and may now rank as the
top high-school lefthander in the entire Midwest, ranging from the
Canadian border to the Gulf. The unusually mild Illinois winter and
spring weather has given Young plenty of plenty of opportunity for
scouts to catch up with him, whereas that might have been a problem
in some years.
CARD: Blake Hickman, c/rhp, Simeon Academy, Chicago. Hickman
had a very high scouting profile entering his senior year, with trips
to Perfect Game’s National Showcase last June and the Area Code
Games last August to his credit, along with a couple of trips to
World Wood Bat Association championship events. His very athletic
6-foot-4, 200-pound build is an obvious attention getter, as are his
above-average raw power and arm strength. Hickman’s spring season took an
unfortunate turn when he was hit in the throat by a wild pitch while
catching, and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he
underwent an emergency tracheotomy. He missed only 11 games, though,
and blasted a huge home run in one of his first games back to signal
his return. Hickman has committed to Iowa, where he might get an
opportunity to show off his considerable arm on the mound.
OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, Illinois Connection:
Scott Firth, rhp, Clemson University (Attended high school in
Corey Ray, of, Simeon Academy, Chicago.
Sam Coonrod, rhp, Southern Illinois University.
Danny Goodwin, c, Central HS, Peoria (1971, White Sox/1st round, 1st pick).
Benson, c, Joliet Catholic HS (Twins/2nd round).
Smolinski, 3b, Boylan Catholic HS, Rockford (Nationals/2nd round).
Odorizzi, rhp, Highland HS (Brewers/1st round, 32nd pick).
Kehrer, lhp, Eastern Illinois University (Angels/1st round, 48th pick).
Foltyniewicz, rhp, Minooka Community (Astros/1st round/19th pick).
Tilson, of, New Trier HS, Winnetka (Cardinals/2nd round).
College Players Drafted/Signed:
School Players Drafted/Signed:
Hickman, c/rhp, Simeon Academy, Chicago.
Kevin Ross, 3b, Niles West HS, Skokie.
Chris Serritella, 1b, Southern Illinois University.
Tyler Palmer, of, Oakton CC.
Jason Goldstein, c, Highland Park HS.
Matt Milroy, rhp, University of Illinois.
Alex Young, lhp, Carmel Catholic HS, Hawthorn Woods.
Joe Bircher, lhp, Bradley University.
PROSPECTS, GROUPS ONE and TWO
GROUP ONE (Projected
ELITE-Round Draft / Rounds 1-3)
1. ALEX YOUNG, lhp,
Carmel Catholic HS, Hawthorn Woods
Young was barely on the
prospect radar at the beginning of the 2012 season, but has clearly
emerged as the top prospect in the state, and is a potential
top-three-round draft pick. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound southpaw has
improved both his overall stuff and command significantly from his
junior year, and scouts have proclaimed how he could have the whole
package of tools and skills one day, if he develops his velocity even
further. His fastball topped out at 92 mph this spring, but often
graded out as his third best pitch behind his curve and changeup. As
a three-sport athlete, Young has a well-balanced and easy delivery
that he repeats well, and he projects above-average command. While
Young doesn’t have the same power arm of fellow upper-Midwest
pitchers Mitchell Brown (Minnesota) and Alec Rash (Iowa), both
righthanders, his overall package from the left side could put him
right in the same draft area as those two, should scouts get
indications that he is willing to pass on his scholarship to Texas
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