New Trier centerfielder Charlie Tilson and Downers Grove South pitcher Nick Burdi highlight this year’s class of major league baseball prospects from Illinois, but there are plenty of other high school and college players statewide who will be selected in this week’s draft.
“Outside of Charlie and Nick, it’s tough to tell who will go high,” one MLB scout said. “It’s tough to gauge where these guys are going. It only takes one of these teams to like the guy more than another, and he’s off the board.”
Here’s a look at the state’s top high school and college prospects, heading into the draft, which starts Monday night:
Charlie Tilson, New Trier HS, CF: Tilson, who has signed with Illinois, hit for a .406 average, scored 41 runs and stole 28 bases this season. He put himself on the national map at last summer’s Area Code Games. “Tilson is considered a five-tool player with a great chance to stick in center field and hit some,” ESPN MLB draft analyst Jason Churchill said. “He's not a big power bat, but despite his lack of size generates good bat speed. If he learns to create some loft in his swing, he could max out for average power (14-16 home runs). He runs well and plays hard and his arm strength is above average.” Projected: First-second round
Nick Burdi, Downers Grove South HS, RHP: Burdi, who has signed with Louisville, has a fastball that reaches the upper 90s and has a devastating breaking ball. He was one of the state’s top pitchers this season and helped Downers Grove South to the Neuqua Valley Sectional championship game. “What’s impressive about him is the power to the fastball and the breaking ball,” an MLB scout said. “I envision him as a back of a bullpen guy, a closer. Throw out a name like Goose Gossage. He’s loose. His fastball is heavy.” Projected: Second-third round
Willie Argo, Illinois, OF: Argo leads the Illini with 46 runs and 25 stolen bases. He has an OBP of .382. “He’s a speed guy,” a MLB scout said. Projected: Second day of draft
Adam Davis, Illinois, C: Davis is hitting .295 with 14 doubles, five home runs and 33 RBIs. He’s thrown out 17 of 32 runners. Projected: Second day
Jerad Grundy, Heartland CC (Johnsburg HS), LHP: Projected to be drafted on the second day.
Justin Hancock, Lincoln Trail CC, RHP: Projected to be drafted on the second day.
Joe Perricone, Hersey HS, RHP: Perricone is a Coastal Carolina recruit. “He’s a plus-athlete,” a MLB scout said. “He’s ranged anywhere from 81-91 with a pretty good breaking ball. He’s a very interesting guy in terms of his athleticism.” Projected: Second or third day
Jeff Schalk, Wheaton North HS, 1B: A UAB recruit, Schalk is a projected second or third day pick.
Sam Travis, Providence HS, 3B: Travis homered in Providence’s win over Downers Grove South in the Neuqua Valley sectional championship on Saturday. He’s hitting .504 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs. He is signed with Indiana. Projected: Second or third day
Nick Hibbing, Lakes, RHP: An Iowa recruit, Hibbing is a projected second or third day pick.
Dontrell Rush, Harlan, OF: A John A. Logan Junior College recruit, Rush is a projected second or third day pick.
Alex Hermeling, Glenbrook North, RHP: He has signed with Louisiana-Monroe and is a projected second or third day pick.
Ryan Court, Illinois State (Dundee-Crown HS), 3B: Court hit .323 with 15 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 35 RBIs for the Redbirds this season. Projected: Second or third day
Corey Maines, Illinois State, RHP: Maines was 9-4 with a 2.87 ERA, 110 strikeouts and 34 walks in 94 innings this season. Projected: Second or third day
Zach Borenstein, Eastern Illinois (Buffalo Grove HS), OF/3B: Borenstein hit .349 with 13 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 29 RBIs and 38 runs this season. Projected: Second or third day
Spencer Patton, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, RHP: Projected as a second or third day pick.
Jake Junis, Rock Falls, RHP: A North Carolina State recruit, Junis is projected as a second- or third-day pick.
Brandon Magallones, Providence HS, RHP: A Northwestern recruit, Magallones is a projected second- or third-day pick.
Tyler Farrell, Galesburg HS, RHP: Signed with Western Illinois, Farrell is a projected second- or third-day pick.
Garrett Schlect, Waterloo HS, OF: Signed with Middle Tennessee State, Schlect is a projected second- or third-day pick.
Jerad Eickhoff, Olney Central CC, RHP: A projected second- or third-day pick.
Chris Burgess, Black Hawk JC, RHP: A projected second- or third-day pick.