GENEVA, Ill. -- Northwestern Medical Field hosted some of the top high school baseball talent on Thursday for the Prospect Development Pipeline Premier event, with 28 players on hand from the classes of 2019 and 2020.The PDP is a collaborative event between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to create
GENEVA, Ill. -- Northwestern Medical Field hosted some of the top high school baseball talent on Thursday for the Prospect Development Pipeline Premier event, with 28 players on hand from the classes of 2019 and 2020.
The PDP is a collaborative event between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to create an official player development path for players in the United States. Thursday's event provided the top high school MLB Draft prospects from Illinois and its surrounding states with an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of professional scouts.
:: Complete 2018 Prospect Development Pipeline coverage ::
The players on hand participated in several activities that allow both the players and the scouts to gauge their baseball abilities. These assessments included athleticism tests, a vision test, batting practice, infield and outfield drills and a bullpen session for pitchers.
Here are some of the names to remember and keep track of from the event:
Ben Wiegman, RHP/3B, Carmel Catholic High School (Mundelein, Ill.)
Wiegman, one of the top Illinois pitchers from the class of 2020, verbally committed to play for the University of Louisville the summer before his freshman year at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill. He committed at the same time as his brother Andrew, a grade ahead of Ben, also announced he would play at Louisville. Wiegman has a live arm with a fastball that sits around 90 mph, and his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame is promising when projecting his future development.
Max Carlson, RHP/OF, Burnsville (Minn.) High School
Carlson, a right-hander from Minnesota, boasts a strong fastball that is only going to get better as he continues to grow. The University of North Carolina commit for the 2020 class can already hit 90 mph with his fastball, which is a good sign considering the 6-foot, 155 pound Carlson is expected to get a few inches taller and put on some more weight. Carlson's brother Sam was selected by the Mariners in the second round of the 2017 Draft, and one scout said he is more encouraged by what he sees with the younger Carlson than he was with his older brother.
Christian Knapczyk, SS/2B, Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy
The smooth middle infielder was a favorite of a few of the scouts here, mainly because he knows exactly what kind of player he is and he doesn't venture from that skillset. At 5-foot-9 and 140 pounds, the left-handed hitting Knapczyk knows he's never going to be a power-first player. Instead, he's developed a knack for shooting line drives over infielders heads for singles and into the gaps for extra bases. One scout said the class of 2020 Louisville commit is a joy to watch because he's consistent in his approach and a reliable table-setter in any lineup.
Drake Westcott, 1B/3B, Edwardsville (Ill.) High School
Another Louisville commit for the 2020 class, Westcott is a middle-of-the-order left-handed slugger with a rising line-drive swing. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound first baseman rests his bat on his shoulder in a quiet batting stance before unloading a violent hack. On Thursday he impressed with his power to center field in addition to his pop to right.
Zack Lee, RHP, Effingham (Ill.) High School
Lee, a University of Kentucky commit for the class of 2019, is a tall, lanky right-hander with a fastball that floats around 90 mph. He has four pitches and demonstrates solid control with them. He said he committed to Kentucky because of the team's pitching coach Jim Belanger, and Lee said he thinks Belanger will help elevate his development.
There are two PDP events scheduled for next week, one in Oxford, Ala., on Tuesday, and another in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday.
Matthew Martell is a contributor for MLB.com.