Baseball Recruiting Update: Two Nationally Ranked 2014 Commits from Illinois

Submitted by Raoul on March 8th, 2013 at 10:01 PM

The state of Illinois is proving to be very fertile recruiting ground for Erik Bakich and company. After landing Nick Kowalczuk and Keith Lehmann in the 2013 class (see this roundup), the Michigan baseball staff has received nods from two more—highly touted—prospects from the Land of Lincoln, members of the class of 2014. Overall, Michigan now has eight 2014 commits—plus one from 2015.

EDIT: I forgot that Charlie Donovan, the one Michigan commit so far for 2015, is also from Illinois. PBR currently has him ranked #1 in the state (up from #2 at the time of his commitment) and #6 overall in their eight-state coverage area. I'm not sure where Perfect Game has him ranked, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's in their top 500. (His Hello post is here.)

Hello: Bryan Pall

RHP, Carl Sandburg H.S. (Orland Park, IL) — 6-1, 190 lbs.

Committed: November 2012


  • Perfect Game: #343 nationally, #9 in Illinois
  • PBR: currently #10 in Illinois; was ranked #47 overall in PBR's eight-state region at the time of his commitment

Scouting Report: from his PBR profile:

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander is one of the hottest names in Illinois’ Class of 2014. We first saw Pall come out of the pen early in his sophomore year last spring, pumping 83-85 fastballs with a hard and sharp 78-80 mph slider. As expected, Pall’s stuff continued to improve, and this fall he’s been up to 88 with a filthy 80-82 mph slider. The slider is a plus pitch, a true swing-and-miss pitch at the next level. Pall is yet another high-level arm in Illinois’ loaded 2014 class.

Hello: Rahman Williams

SS, Morgan Park H.S. (Chicago) — 5-11, 170 lbs.

Committed: March 2013


  • Perfect Game: #139 nationally, #3 in Illinois
  • PBR: #25 in PBR's eight-state region; #7 in Illinois

Scouting Report: from his PBR profile, dated 2/17/13:

Athletic build, shows some strength, body still shows projection, 5-foot-11, 170-pound switch hitting middle infielder. Feet work well, shows athleticism, 6.94 60. Defensively shows an advanced prowess with the glove, confident fielder. Soft hands, excellent body control, highly athletic defensive actions. Arm works well across the diamond, shows carry, stays true to target, 85 mph arm strength across infield. Offensively hits from both sides of the plate. Hits from an open stance, short stride. Bat speed is present, hands work well from both sides. Right handed, pull side approach, slightly more pop. Left handed swing shows good balance, works the middle of the field well. High level middle infield prospect.

Rahman Williams



March 8th, 2013 at 11:58 PM ^

Any chance you could give a bit of insight to us non-baseball folks who don't have an intuitive feel for what being #139 or #343 nationally means? In Football I'd have some idea of how they stack up, but I assume it's different here...


March 9th, 2013 at 9:48 AM ^

I'm by no means an expert on baseball recruiting, but I'll give a somewhat educated answer to this. First, keep in mind that a fair number of the top-ranked prospects will end up being drafted and sign with a Major League team and never play in college. So if a prospect ranked #139 plays in college, then it might be the equivalent of getting a higher ranked football player (because none of the latter can turn pro out of high school).

In general, I think any time you get a player ranked in the top 500 nationally, you're getting an elite- or near-elite-level prospect. Bakich has been doing exceptionally well recruiting, but few of his commits have been nationally ranked, which is why these latest two are so significant. Ethan Cohen, part of Michigan's 2013 class, was ranked #448 by Perfect Game at the time of his commitment. PG also gave him a grade of 9.5, on their 10-point rating system. 9 is a "potential top 10 round pick and/or highest level college prospect," while a 10 is a "potential very high draft pick and/or elite level college prospect." (See the full rating system below.)

So maybe Cohen might be considered a 4 star, Pall a high 4 star, and Williams a 5 star?

Perfect Game USA’s Player Rating System

10 — Potential very high draft pick and/or Elite level college prospect

9 — Potential top 10 round pick and/or highest level college prospect

8 — Potential draft pick and/or excellent college prospect

7 — College prospect, possible future draft pick with development

6 — Potential college prospect

5 — Possible College prospect and/or possible HS varsity

4 — HS JV

3 — Possible HS JV

2 — No prospect at this time

1 — The game is too dangerous


March 9th, 2013 at 4:52 PM ^

6.94 isn't very fast. and at 5'11 170lbs...

and a RHP throwing 85? Those are a dime a dozen.

These recruits look more like projects, more than ready to play...

Plus Illinois has pretty bad prep baseball (like all northern states), so there is huge learning curve as well.

BTW the class of 2014 rankings will be much more accurate after the big national tournaments over the summer. I'd say check back in August to get a better picture of where these guys stack up.



March 10th, 2013 at 11:24 AM ^

Have you ever seen Rahman Williams play? I assume not, yet you're willing to baldly state that he's a "project."

For those interested in a detailed scouting report on Williams, from someone who has "watched Williams’ development since he attended an eighth-grade showcase three years ago," take a look at this from PBR:  Rahman Williams emerges as premier 2014 shortstop. Sean Duncan, a PBR executive director, calls Williams "a no-doubt, high-level Class of 2014 shortstop."

And I just don't understand the usefulness of making a blanket slam on all players from a particular state. Even if prep baseball in Illinois isn't as good as that played in California, for instance, that doesn't automatically mean that these two prospects in particular have "huge learning curves" ahead of them, as you say. Again, I don't think you've seen either of these prospects, so I just don't see how you have any basis for making such a statement.

To me, the bottom line on this is very positive: Two major scouting services—based on seeing them in action—agree that Williams and Pall are elite or near-elite prospects.


March 9th, 2013 at 9:19 PM ^

Really great. See I live in Southern Cali where baseball is king. I coach travel baseball 16u and I have kids that are better then these prospects. Until we can recruit in and around So Cal we are not going to be a power. There are so many kids here in So Cal that may be ranked in the top 300 or so in the state, but are by far better then these kids I see going to some of these Midwest or East schools.

Hell most junior colleges in So Cal would kick the shit out of all the Big 10 schools. NAIA and D3 schools in Cali are also loaded with talent.

Make your way out West Coach if you wanna really succeed.

Thank you