For the last three years, Simeon HS (IL) has been the center of recruiting in the Chicago Public League, which is comprised of chiefly inner-city schools known predominately for their basketball prowess.
With top prospects such as OF Corey Ray (Louisville, 2013), OF/LHP Darius Day (2014), C/RHP Blake Hickman (Iowa, 2012), 2B Ronell Coleman (Vanderbilt, 2013), Marshawn Taylor (Eastern Illinois, 2013), INF Robert Fletcher (Alcorn State, 2013), and OF/LHP Terrance Robertson (2015), to name a few – it’s easy to see why the South Side of Chicago school became known for more than just the home of Derrick Rose.
As a scout, I’d wait until Simeon played schools outside the Chicago Public League to see how their lineup of prospects fared.
But after what I’ve seen this off-season, Simeon won’t be the only show in the city. Clemente HS, located in Chicago’s West Side, has a crop of exciting, high-level prospects that are sure to draw a lot of next-level interest this spring. Clemente, which had fallen off in recent years, was once a heavyweight in the Chicago Public League.
The Wildcats look like they are back. If nothing else, Clemente should take an extremely impressive pregame. Especially in the outfield.
Leading the way is unsigned senior OF Jeremiah Figueroa (2013), who lit it up at the PBR Unsigned Senior Showcase as he was clocked at 96 mph from the outfield while running a 7.03. Not to be outdone, Mizraim Fuentes, a physically impressive 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior, shot up the Class of 2014 rankings when he was clocked at 90 mph from the outfield, ran a 7.08 60 and showed an athletic swing in the box. After his performance, Fuentes climbed to the No. 16-ranked prospect in Illinois’ 2014 class.
Also in Clemente’s outfield is David Matthews, an athletically built 6-foot-2, 185-pound unsigned senior who impressed with his easy left-handed swing and athleticism in the field. He was also clocked at 84 mph from the outfield. David Gonzalez, a 5-foot-9 junior left-handed hitter, also showcased well by running a 6.91 60 and demonstrated advanced outfield instincts.
After watching Jeremiah Figueroa fire lasers from the outfield, I asked him if he pitched. He said he does, but he’s the team’s No. 4. After seeing him on the mound, I found it hard to believe. The 5-foot-10 Figueroa impressed with a fastball that topped at 89 mph, to go along with a sharp slider from a high-3/4 slot. The ball was hot and heavy out of his hand.
Then we saw Joey Marciano, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound left-hander who topped at 88 mph with a sharp 12/6 breaking ball. Marciano, who recently committed to John A. Logan JC, looks to be one of the premier left-handed prospects in the Class of 2013, as he appears to have plenty more in the tank.
Jeremiah’s younger brother, Jonathan Figueroa, opened eyes a week later at the Class of 2014 Showcase. The 6-foot Jonathan showed more polish on the mound, as he exhibited feel for three pitches, including a fastball in the 85-87 mph range. Jonathan is currently ranked No. 31 in the Class of 2014.
Clemente’s pitching staff also features Anthony Justiniano, a Class of 2014 RHP who we’ve seen 82-85 with some feel. Robert Berdecia, a junior third baseman, also showed well at the Class of 2014 showcase.
I will be honest. I haven’t been to Clemente’s field on Western Avenue since 2006, when it had a strong group of young prospects. I’m betting I won’t be the only scout parked at the field this spring.
This article was originally published Prep Baseball Article: AClemente HS loaded with high-level prospects
by Sean Duncan
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