Last August, New Trier outfielder Charlie Tilson blew up at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., going from a highly ranked player in Illinois to one of the most coveted high school prospects in the country. Eleven months later, Tilson was selected in the second round of the MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Who will be this year's Tilson in Illinois?
Seven Illinois players will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities on the national stage in early August, representing the Chicago White Sox team.
While the complete rosters have yet to be posted, we've learned who the representatives from Illinois are:
Brett Lilek, LHP, Marian Catholic HS: Lilek is the No. 1-ranked player in the Class of 2012, and at the Area Code tryouts, he showed why. The 6-foot-3 Lilek impressed with a 90-93 mph fastball, coupled with a low-80s slider. Lilek recently committed to Arizona State.
Jason Goldstein, C, Highland Park HS: Goldstein has established himself as one of the premier catching prospects in the country. Goldstein, who earned an invitation to the Aflac All-America Game, is a top-level defensive catcher who is also one of the state's best hitters. Goldstein is committed to Illinois.
Blake Hickman, C, Simeon HS: The 6-foot-3 Hickman has been one of the premier catching prospects in the country since his freshman year. Hickman has plus arm strength and is one of the more projectable talents in the country. Hickman is committed Iowa.
Ryan Borucki, LHP, Mundelein HS: The 6-foot-3, 165-pound left-hander has been one of the biggest risers this year. Long and loose, Borucki impressed at the Area Code workouts with an 89-91 mph fastball with late run and the ability to throw three quality pitches. Borucki is committed to Iowa.
Matt Schultz, RHP, Oswego East HS: The physical 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-hander has returned from Tommy John Surgery in a big way. Prior to his injury as a sophomore, Schultz was one of the top prospects in the class. Now back, Schultz has been consistently 91-93 mph with a fastball that has climbed as high as 95.
Kevin Ross, SS/3B, Niles West HS: The physical 6-foot, 200-pound Ross has all the tools. He has plus arm strength across the diamond, registering at 88 at a recent Prep Baseball Report event. He also runs a 6.84 60, in addition to showing big power at the plate from the right side. Ross recently committed to Michigan.
Ryan Perez, LHP/RHP, Westminster Christian HS: The 6-foot Perez is a rare talent, one who can pitch equally as well - and hard - with either arm. His fastball has been in the 88-91 range, while his curveball - especially from the left-side - is an excellent pitch.
- Sean Duncan is the publisher of the Prep Baseball Report