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High School  | General  | 2/27/2024

Ohio Valley Dream Team & Top Tools

David Rawnsley     

The Ohio Valley Region produced a pair of 2023 PG All-American pitchers in Ryan Sloan and Brayden Krenzel and it wouldn’t be surprising if there weren’t a couple more this coming summer, as pitching is definitely the strength of the Region.  Junior right handers Blake Illitch (Brother Rice HS, Mich.) and Blane Metz (Floyd Central HS, Ind.) were two 2025 pitchers who didn’t make the All-Region team who would fall into this category.

Michigan also produced a pair of 2023 PG All-Americans in shortstop Caleb Bonemer and center fielder Dante Nori.  Both have a chance to become Day One drafts next July with strong springs and both are Top 10 players in the PG 2024 national class rankings.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (Mich.) impressive run as the top team in the Ohio Valley Region, and indeed as one of the top teams in the country, appears to be over as they failed to gain a Top 50 spot in the PG Pre-Season High School Rankings.  Moeller (Ohio) HS, with an extremely strong group of underclassman, is the top ranked team at 10th nationally.  Northville HS, at 37th, and Brother Rice HS, at 50th, give Michigan a pair of Top 50 teams, while Trinity HS is the top team from Kentucky and checks in at 48th nationally. 

C – Collin Mowry  (Sr., Lincoln-Way Central HS, Ill.)

A two-sport standout as a running back and hard-hitting catcher, Mowry had a strong summer and even better fall to vault to the 94th overall ranking in the 2024 class.  The right-handed hitter was the Most Valuable Player of the WWBA Kernels Foundation Tournament in September, hitting .385-2-8 and came back three weeks later to hit .500-2-8 for the Cangelosi Sparks in Jupiter.  He is signed with Louisville.\

1B – Brenson Watters (Sr., Rochester Adams HS, Mich.)

A 6-foot-3, 215-pound left-handed hitter, Watters dominated the 2023 PG summer circuit, hitting .494-2-28 with 15 steals in 29 games over six tournaments, all six of which he was named All-Tournament.  Also a football standout who has the athletic ability to play in the outfield, Watters is signed with Notre Dame.

MIF – Tyler Bell  (Sr., Lincoln-Way East HS, Ill.)

Bell is one of the top switch-hitters in the high school ranks, with power from both sides of the plate.  The smooth fielding shortstop hit .446-9-46 as a junior at Lincolnway East High School and is ranked 74th in the Perfect Game 2024 class rankings.  Bell is signed with Kentucky.

MIF – Caleb Bonemer (Sr., Okemos HS, Mich.)

Bonemer was a well-known prospect before he exploded at the 2023 PG National Showcase but his performance at Chase Field was one of the best in the long history of that event.  Along with running a 6.35 sixty and showing smooth and natural shortstop actions, Bonemer blasted two home runs in one game and squared up some other balls at 100+ exit velos.  That was coming off a high school season where he hit .541-8-35 with 15 steals.  He is ranked fourth nationally in the PG 2024 class rankings.

3B – Jaden Fauske (Jr., Nazareth Academy, Ill.)

Fauske, who committed to Louisville before he played his first high school game, is a strong 6-foot-1, 195-pound left-handed hitter who has played all over the field defensively.  He hit .487 with 15 doubles and 38 RBI as a sophomore at Nazareth Academy while also going .4-0, 0.42 on the mound with an upper 80’s fastball.  Fauske has hit .379 with 57 RBI in 56 games the past two years on the PG tournament circuit as well.  He doubles as a wide receiver/safety on Nazareth’s state championship football team.

OF – Jayce Lee (Sr., St. Joseph HS, Ind.)

Lee is a very athletic 6-foot-3, 185-pound athlete who excels both in baseball and on the basketball court, where he averaged 15 points/game as a senior.  A right-handed hitter whose power is his best overall tool, Lee hit .398-9-39 as a junior at St. Joseph HS while also stealing 21 bases, then added a pair of home runs and 17 RBI in 17 games of PG tournament play last summer.  A Notre Dame signee, Lee is ranked 254th in the PG class of 2024 rankings.

OF – Dante Nori (Sr., Northville HS, Mich.)

Nori is a dynamic athlete with a sculpted 5-foot-11, 190-pound build and elite level speed, which plays even faster than the 6.15 sixty he ran at the PG National Showcase.  His barrel to ball skills are as impressive as his speed, as the left-handed hitter posted a 22:3 walk to strikeout ratio in 30 PG tournament games in 2023 while hitting .431.  A Perfect Game All-American and the ninth ranked player in the 2024 class nationally, Nori is signed with Mississippi State.

OF – Brandon Logan (Jr., R. Nelson Snider HS, Ind.)

Logan is one of the best pure athletes in the 2025 class nationally as a strong 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed hitter with blazing 6.34 speed in the sixty.  Not surprisingly, he continues the string of multi-sport athletes in the Ohio Valley Region as a three-star safety on the football field who has been offered in that sport by many Big 10 schools.  Logan hit .473-2-23 in 28 games as a sophomore at Snider HS to go with 29 walks and 16 stolen bases, then hit .410 with 13 steals in 15 games on the PG summer circuit.  He is a Vanderbilt commit for baseball.

RHP  Brayden Krenzel (Sr., Dublin Jerome HS, Ohio)

Krenzel is a very athletic right-hander with a three-pitch mix that includes a 90-94 mph fastball that gets outstanding life from a mid-3/4’s arm slot, a hard slider and a mid-80’s change up that might be his best pitch.  His athleticism and easy delivery make him a strike thrower with a plus command potential.  A Perfect Game All-American, Krenzel is signed with Tennessee.  His father, Craig, led Ohio State to the National Championship in 2002 and played one year as a quarterback in the NFL for the Bears.

RHP Cameron Sullivan (Sr., Mount Vernon HS, Ind.)

Sullivan had an outstanding fall to put himself squarely on scout’s radars entering the spring.  He threw five one-hit innings at the WWBA World Championships in Jupiter, working in the 92-95 mph range with a power slider and was up to 97 mph at other events.  The Notre Dame signee went 6-0, 1.55 with 78 strikeouts in 40 innings as a junior at Mount Vernon HS. 

RHP Ryan Sloan (Sr., York Community HS, Ill.)

A Perfect Game All-American, Sloan is the highest ranked pitcher in the Ohio Valley Region, checking at 33rd in the 2024 PG class rankings, and may rank higher in the mind of scouts as a possible Day 1 draft. The strong bodied 6-foot-4, 220-pound Sloan is strike thrower with three potential plus pitches in a 93-96 mph fastball, a slider and a quality change up.  He is signed with Wake Forest if he doesn’t turn professional.

LHP Jack Bauer (Jr., Lincoln-Way East HS, Ill.)

Bauer pairs with shortstop Tyler Bell to give Lincoln-Way East HS two members of the Ohio Valley All-Region team.  The 6-foot-3, 175-pound Bauer exploded during the summer and fall, ramping his fastball up to 95 mph to go with a full four-pitch mix that includes a low 80’s slider with 2700+ rpm spin rates.  He is committed to Virginia.

RHP Zion Theophilus (Jr., Moeller HS, Ohio)   

Theophilus is a strong-bodied young right-hander who is one of the more polished and accomplished pitchers in the 2025 class, with a national ranking at 31st in the latest PG class rankings.  He went 7-0, 1.36 in 51 innings as a sophomore at Moeller HS, with only 13 walks versus 61 strikeouts.  Theophilus works in the 90-93 mph with his fastball and touches 95 mph to go with a power slider and a change up.  He is committed to Louisiana State.

UT – Luke Pappano (Jr., Moeller HS, Ohio)

Pappano missed the 2023 season after TJ surgery but prior to that was one of the top two-way players in the 2025 class as a left-handed pitcher and center fielder and a 2021 PG Select Festival standout.  His highest ceiling is probably as a center fielder at this point but he was throwing 86 mph with a swing and miss curveball as a freshman.

Ohio Valley Region Top Tools

Best Hitter for Average: Dante Nori (Sr., Northville HS, Mich.)

Nori’s combination top of the line speed, outstanding barrel to ball skills and his being a left-handed hitter all point to his being a high average/high on-base hitter at any level.

Best Hitter for Power: Caleb Bonemer (Sr., Okemos HS, Mich.)

There is no lack of power in the Ohio Valley Region but Bonemer’s performance at the PG National will be remembered for some time.  Bonemer’s elite speed and middle infield athleticism are definite plus present tools but it will be his power that defines him at the highest levels.

Best Runner: Dante Nori (Sr., Northville HS, Mich.)

Nori has the best game speed of any player in the country and it really plays up on the bases, where Nori busts hard out of the box and is fearless and aggressive on the bases. 

Best Defensive Catcher: Taylor Belza (Jr., St. Ignatius HS, Ohio)

Belza is a strong-armed catcher with good lower half athleticism, who also has the advantage of being a left-handed power hitter at the plate.  He’s the fourth ranked catcher nationally in the 2025 class and checks in at 87th nationally.  Belza is committed to Auburn.

Best Defensive Infielder: Ethan Bass (So., Glenbrook South HS, Ill.)

Eight of the top twelve players in the national 2026 class rankings and Bass, who is the 12th ranked player, may be the best defender of the eight.  He stands out for his energy and flair defensively in addition to his high level tools.

Best Defensive Outfielder: Brandon Logan (Jr., R. Nelson Snider HS, Ind.)

Being a potential Division One level safety on the football field combined with 6.3 speed is a great combination to have as a fly chaser on defense in centerfield.

Best Defensive Arm: Tyler Bell (Sr., Lincoln-Way East HS, Ill.)

While Bell’s switch-hitting ability is his best tool, his throwing arm is plenty good enough to keep him on the left-side of the infield.

Best Fastball: Ryan Sloan (Sr., York Community HS, Ill.)

Sullivan might throw a tick harder at times than Sloan and Bauer might surpass them both with time, but Sloan’s combination of consistent mid-90’s velocity, life and command of his fastball give this category to the All-American.

Best Off-Speed Stuff: Brayden Krenzel (Sr., Dublin Jerome HS, Ohio)

It’s very easy to argue that Krenzel’s fastball is his third most quality pitch, although the movement he gets on his fastball is a strong plus.  He can pitch in any sequence that wants to with his command and overall arsenal.

Best Pitchability: Zion Theophilus (Jr., Moeller HS, Ohio) 

Theophilus is so advanced in his strike throwing ability, especially with his slider, that it is easy to forget that he has two more seasons to go for the powerhouse Moeller team.

Best Multi-Sport Athlete: Brandon Logan (Jr., R. Nelson Snider HS, Ind.)

It seems like half the position players on the Ohio Valley All-Region team are standouts in football or basketball in addition to baseball but Logan seems to have the highest ceiling in his “second” sport of all of them.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see him explode as a baseball prospect this spring and summer, either.