Chase Illig Prospect Profile
Name: Chase Illig
Birthdate: September 14, 1997
Ht/Wt: 6’0”, 210 lbs.
Hometown: Bluefield, W. Va.
School: West Virginia University (IMG Academy)
Profile Date(s) — June-July, 2018
Affiliate (League): Santa Barbara Foresters (California Collegiate League)
Level (Org): College Summer Baseball
Two months in Santa Barbara did Chase Illig well, for the West Virginia University catcher is now at or near the top of the list of the best pro position player prospects in the 2018 California Collegiate League. A switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate and decent foot speed — especially for a catcher — Illig is an above-average athlete with strong baseball instincts and an advanced understanding of game management from behind the plate. In our look-ins this summer, he’s flashed home run pop from both sides of the plate, including the ability to go back up the middle and to the opposite field with authority, and showing good overall plate coverage with some semblance of an approach, and very strong hands and wrists to help manipulate the barrel. Further, we’ve had him at 4.27 up the line (LHH) and 4.71 on the turn at first — not burner speed, but 40-grade big league stuff, which is solid for his position and suggests a strong athletic foundation.
Behind the plate, Illig’s arm is his best attribute. This summer, we’ve recorded pop times for him at 1.94, 1.98, and 2.00 to second base — all on target throws to gun runners down, including one (the 1.98) from his knees — and a 1.71 pop time to cut down a runner at third base. Those numbers comfortably give him a 50-grade pro arm right now before he even enters pro ball, and collectively along with his raw power suggest Chase Illig ought to be attractive to pro scouts because of at least two quality, projectable tools. Now, we’ll see how his hit tool adjusts to the pro game eventually. He is a bit of a free swinger and will strike out a decent amount against good pitching with some over-aggressiveness in wanting to drive the ball, and so I can’t really imagine hitting for average as much as he’ll produce decent pop. But even without an above-average hit tool, the thought of a power-hitting (switch-hitting!) catcher with a very strong arm and some room left to grow into his body makes for a very attractive MLB Draft prospect.
For now, Chase Illig will return to West Virginia University in the fall, where his stock ought to have risen quite a bit after leading one of the best summer ball teams in the country. As we’re full-time here out on the west coast, it’s unlikely we’ll catch Illig again as he runs through the Big-12 this spring, which is a shame, but he’s given every indication from summer work that he ought to be on some (many?) scout’s radars ahead of the 2019 MLB Draft. There’s development to be done here with his hit tool and his eventual pro org will clean up some of his work behind the plate in framing and receiving, but all summer Illig flashed two 50-grade tools at a premium position, and that ought to make people take notice.
Chase Illig Prospect Video
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