2023 Puma Classic, Takeaways: Pitchers
September 21, 2023
On Sept. 15 and 16, the PBR JUCO staff traveled to Westfield, Ind., home of the state-of-the-art Grand Park complex to, once again, host the annual Puma Classic. This event featured 30 teams with many need-to-know prospects who are capable of contributing at the next level – be it a four-year opportunity or pro ball.
Now, with the event behind us, our staff has compiled a handful of names that impressed our scouts throughout our two-day trip to Indiana. We previously broke down more than 20 standount names from the event, which you can find HERE, and toady you'll learn more about several arms who stole the show, with 40-plus pitchers broken down below.
TAKEAWAYS (LISTED ALPHABETICALLY)
Nile Adcock, Soph., RHP, Kaskaskia CC
Long, lanky, and loose 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame that packs real twitch. Hurled a quick inning for the Blue Devils in their first game of the event. Explosive arm speed, throws with effort, fastball played at 92-94 mph. Developing slider, did flash sharp swing-and-miss spin, 84-85 mph. Still fully learning how to control his potent arsenal but has one of the higher ceilings in the GRAC.
Jacob Barrett, RHP, R-Fr., Kirkwood CC
Thick, physical 6-foot, 200-pound athlete with strength throughout, particularly in the lower half. Transfers to the Eagles from Murray State, started for Kirkwood in their first game of this event. Power arm, throws with aggression and effort, fastball touched 92, played at 88-91 mph. Slider is the separator; power swing-and-miss action at 81-83 mph, developing feel but flashed out-pitch potential.
Max Bianchini, R-Fr., RHP, McHenry County JC
Long and athletic 6-foot-3 frame with plenty of room to fill out further. Easy mover, stays in sync and gains ground downhill, doesn’t throw with much effort. Fastball played at 89-91 mph, plenty more to come. Confident in a tight, bullet-like slider, 78-79 mph, strikes. Came away from the Puma Classic as an arrow-up, name-to-know arm for the Scots.
Jacob Brown, Soph., RHP, Heartland CC
5-foot-9, 185-pounds. Came in relief for the Hawks and pounded the zone with a three-pitch mix. Throws with some effort, finishes with intent out front and onto a firm lead leg. Fastball touched 93, sat 89-92 mph, stayed in the zone consistently. Spotted a shorter wrinkle breaking ball, 75-77 mph, and turned over a low-80s changeup that showed late fade at times.
Sam Bryan, Soph., RHP, Parkland JC
Strong-bodied 6-foot, 185-pound athlete. Started the second game for Parkland and hurled two quality innings against a talented opponent. Fastball played at 90-93 mph with slight arm-side run from a ¾ slot. Flashed a slider around the zone, 77-79 mph. One of the top uncommitted arms in the MWAC.
Dalton Boruff, Soph., RHP, Kaskaskia CC
5-foot-10, 185-pounds, strong lower half. Showed well in a quick look, figures to be a key arm for Kaskaskia this spring. Simple and easy mover down the mound. Strike-thrower, pumped his fastball at 87-88 mph. Comfortable pitching backwards, favored a 73-74 mph curveball in this look, landing it for strikes in multiple quadrants of the zone. Also recently showed an upper-70s slider and upper-70s changeup at the Kaskaskia Scout Day on September 7th.
Michael Carpenter, Soph., LHP, Madison College
Athletic lefties with loose arms always catch my attention, and the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Carpenter was no different. The uncommitted sophomore pitched with moderate effort from a high ¾ release point. He filled the zone with a fastball that topped at 92, mostly sitting 89-91. His offspeed included a tight slurve, 75-77 mph, that features effective depth, swing-and-miss action, and he located it well. His changeup is more of a work-in-progress, but he did induce at least one swing/miss with the offering. Last spring as a freshman, Carpenter logged 62 innings and allowed 66 hits with 16 walks and 59 strikeouts.
Kannon Carr, Soph., RHP, Jefferson JC
Athletic 6-foot-1, 180-pound look with some strength in the lower half. Enjoyed a successful freshman year for a 30+ win JeffCo squad, punching out 74 over 56 ⅓ innings of work en route to All Region honors. Started in the Vikings first game of the Puma Classic and tossed a quick inning. Quick arm, fastball touched 92, pitching at 89-91 mph. Spun a short wrinkle breaking ball in the low-80s off it with downer spin and feel to spot both for strikes/beneath the zone.
Danny Cihocki, Fr., RHP, Lake Land JC
6-foot-3, 185-pound frame that figures to fill out further as he continues to mature physically. Clear athlete on the mound, tight arm path, clean out front and works from a power high ¾ window. Fastball played at 90-91 mph, ride/carry up in the zone. Depth on a 76-77 mph breaking ball, confident in it, landed for strikes. Has the makings of an impact arm for Lake Land in 2024 and beyond.
Holton Compton., Soph., RHP, Rend Lake JC
Hulking 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame, former collegiate basketball player that now finds himself as a top-of-the-line arm for the Warriors. Tough angle on an 88-90 mph fastball. Capable of landing a mid-70s slider for strikes, and he effectively killed spin on an upper-70s splitter, too.
Porter Conn, LHP, Soph., Lincoln Land CC
Another top arm that returns from last year’s 40+ win Logger team. Punched out 73 batters with a 2.12 ERA in 46 ⅔ innings of work as a freshman. Simple up/down delivery without much effort. Sprayed it some in this look, fastball played in the upper-80s, touched 90 mph with more in the tank.
Jacob Culp, Fr., RHP, Wabash Valley JC
6-foot-1, 195-pound athlete with strength stacked throughout. Simple, in-stride delivery, clean and continuous arm swing, arm speed out front. Pumped his fastball at 89-92 mph, flashed feel to spin a sharp 78-80 mph breaking ball. Touted high school recruit, finished his career at No. 13 overall in the Indiana 2023 class, that’ll look to make an impact for the Warriors in his freshman campaign.
Eli Curtis, LHP, R-Fr., Lincoln Land CC
Lean, free-flowing athlete with upside levers and arm speed. Took the mound for a quick one inning look, pitching at 87-89 mph with his fastball from a quick ¾ slot, jumps. Gradual spin on a mid-to-upper-60s breaking ball, 1/7 shape. Intriguing look at a projectable southpaw that could continue to trend upward as the fall/winter rolls on.
Aidan Deakins, Soph., LHP, Wabash Valley
The 6-foot-3, slender-bodied Deakins was the southpaw who stole the show on this day. Touching 92 mph with a loose arm action to a ¾ release point, the sophomore southpaw also spun a quality 77-78 mph curve and filled the zone with strikes. He also has the ability to spin a slider and subtract with a quality changeup, but didn’t get to either in his lone inning. After limited innings last season as a freshman, the uncommitted Deakins looked the part of staff standout and is sure to be a highly recruited arm this fall.
Mitch Dye, Soph., RHP, Lincoln Land CC
Strong, wide-shouldered 6-foot-3 athlete with present strength and room to add more. Punched out 91 batters over 72 innings for the Loggers last spring. Athletic mover, loads into his backside and rides it downhill. Loose arm, fastball played at 90-92 mph. Spun breaking ball around the zone, grabbed a few uncomfortable swings, 77-78 mph. Also showed a changeup, 80-81 mph. Figures to be one of the top arms in the MWAC this upcoming season.
Jake Gothrup, Soph., RHP, John A. Logan
Easy, loose-bodied 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete. Western Kentucky transfer joins this Volunteers’ staff and figures to be a key arm as a result. Doesn’t exert much effort downhill. Fastball played at 90-92 mph in this look, straight action with carry. Tight spin with late action at times on breaking ball, 80-81 mph, 2400-2500 RPM.
Lleyton Grubich, LHP, Fr., McHenry County CC
6-foot-2, 200-pounds. Drew the start for the Scots in the opening act of the event and impressed. Fastball played in the upper-80s with run/sink. Late sweep on a mid-to-upper-70s slider, strikes. An arm to know for McHenry County that’s capable of making a positive impact early on in his collegiate career.
Dominic Guzman, RHP, Soph., McHenry County CC
Physical frame with strength throughout, listed at 6-foot-3, 215-pound. Fastball played at 90-92 mph in his lone inning of work at the event.
Mitch Haake, RS-Soph., RHP, SWIC
Long frame, lean strength with room to add more. Showed an impressive three-pitch arsenal in a quick one inning look. Fastball played at 87-88 mph with carry up in the zone and subtle run at times, 20+ inches of vertical break on average. Confidently turned to a 78-79 mph breaking ball, true downer spin for strikes, 2500-2600 RPM. Also killed spin on a changeup (T1500 RPM), 80-81 mph and threw it to both handed hitters.
Justin Hoff, Fr. RHP, Dyersburg State
6-foot-5, 205-pound athlete with long limbs that get on you quick as he works downhill. Aggressive demeanor on the mound, challenged in-zone with a carry fastball that played at 88-92, touching 93 mph.
Zach Horwith, Soph., RHP, Wabash Valley JC
Strong, sturdy 6-foot-1, 200-pound athlete. Pitched at 90-92 mph in a quick inning of work. Sharp low-70s slider with depth, reached upwards of 2700 RPM.
Trevor Jackson, Soph., RHP, John A. Logan
Strong, compact 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame. Is a top returning arm for John A. Logan, punching out 51 over 42 ⅔ innings of work with a 3.16 ERA. Extends down the mound, athletic with controlled effort through release. Long arm draw, high ¾ finish. Fastball jumps, 91-93 mph, spins a tight slider off it, 82-84 mph at 2400-2500 RPM. Strike-thrower that should be an integral part of the Volunteers’ staff this upcoming spring.
Nick Kolze, Soph., RHP, Heartland CC
Built physically at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds with broad shoulders and a prototypical starter’s frame. Easy, low-effort mover downhill, fastball played at 91-93 mph, touching 94 mph, with more to come and for strikes. Confident in a tight, late-breaking slider at 83-84 mph, T2726 RPM. Figures to be an impact arm for the Hawks as they look to defend their championship.
Zach LeDuc, Soph., RHP, Frontier CC
Comes back to the Bobcats after a school-record 2023 campaign where he struck out 94 batters over 68 innings, posting a 3.60 ERA in that span. Starter profile, feel for three pitches in this look. Fastball played at 88-90 mph from a long, loose arm draw, 2400+ RPM on average. Late break on a slider that mirrors fastball’s plane, 78-80 mph, 2600-2700 RPM. Faded a changeup to left-handed hitters, 81-83 mph. A name-to-know uncommitted arm for Frontier CC.
Logan Medsker, RHP, Soph., Vincennes
Athletic arm, fanned 52 in 43 ⅔ innings on the hill last season. Carry fastball, sat in the upper-80s, touching 90 mph. Spun a low-70s breaking ball for strikes as well.
So. RHP Logan Medsker (@VU_BlazerBsbl) was efficient in his outing today.— PBR JUCO (@PBR_JUCO) September 15, 2023
FB sat upper-80s T90 with carry through the zone. Spun a low-70s breaking ball for strikes. #PUMAClassic | @bestofmwbase pic.twitter.com/aX2VrNBtcP
Joseph Mrowiec, UTL, Soph., College of Lake County
Athletic two-way follow that had a strong showing on both sides of the ball. Swatted a home run to the opposite field, 99 mph off the bat, traveled 397 feet. Quick loose arm on the mound, fastball played in the upper-80s, touching 91 mph. Real feel to spin a swing-and-miss breaking ball in the upper-70s, bite and feel.
Tanner Mueller, Soph., RHP, St. Charles CC
Noticeable physicality on the rubber, listed at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds. Showed some of the loudest stuff from the Puma Classic, bumping his fastball up to 95 mph early on, pitching at 92-94 mph as his inning went on, reaching 19 to 20 inches of vertical break at times. Threw his slider with fastball intent and aggression, developing feel, 82-84 mph.
Drew Pestka, Soph., RHP, John A Logan
From an undervalued 18th round draft pick in July of 2023 to showing Day One potential in September, that pretty much sums up Pestka’s performance on the second day of the Puma Classic. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound right-hander buzzed fuzz to the plate, topping at 99 mph on a couple of occasions, while sitting mostly 95-97. It’s not a heavy heater, but one with enough weight and control to miss barrels. There’s also a good possibility that even more velocity will come soon. Pestka also showed two distinct breaking balls, the best of which was a tight-spinning 78-80 mph curveball measured at around 2,700 rpm – and it flashed plus on the pro scale. His 84-86 mph slider was at least average on occasion with sweep and spin in the 2,500 rpm range. As a fourth pitch, Petska released an 89 mph changeup that is in an early stage of development. The last time a JUCO arm combined this velocity, command, and secondary offerings was Jacob Misiorowoski (Crowder), a second-round pick by the Brewers in 2022.
Dylan Petrey, Soph., RHP, McHenry County CC
Returns after a stellar season for the Scots, punching out 84 batters with a 2.84 ERA over 69 ⅔ innings of work. Vertical swing-and-miss fastball in this look, 87-90 mph at near 2400 RPM, too. Confident in a slider, throws it in all counts, 74-75 mph. A competitive strike-thrower that’s always been an out-getter, dating back to his prep career.
Eli Pillsbury, Soph., LHP, John A Logan
Strong, well-proportioned 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete. Punched out 36 over 21 ⅓ innings on the mound for the Volunteers last season. Tight deceptive arm angle, works straight over the top. Spun one of the better breaking balls of the event; straight downer spin with power, throws it with intent, 74-76 mph at 2700-2800 RPM. Fastball plays up as a result, 88-91 mph, whiffs up in the zone, some angle downhill. Expected to be a high-end arm for the Vols this upcoming season.
Konner Quinn, Fr., RHP, Wabash Valley JC
Physical presence on the mound; listed at 6-foot-5, 225-pounds. Simple, subtle delivery, tall throughout with effort out front. Tight arm window, high ¾ finish. Fastball played with some down angle at 90-92 mph, depth on a mid-70s breaking ball, landed for strikes.
Eric Rawlings, Soph., RHP, Lincoln Trail JC
6-foot-2, 185-pounds. Was a top arm for the Statesmen last spring, making 11 starts and logging 48 ⅔ innings of work with 47 strikeouts. Quick arm that plays out of a tight window. Fastball touched 90 mph, played in the upper-80s, and effectively spotted a 75-76 mph slider with downer action off it. Sparingly used his changeup, 79 mph, fade.
Will Richardson, R-Fr., LHP, Parkland JC
Long, lanky, and athletic southpaw that toed the rubber for the Cobras at Grand Park this past weekend. Short arm spiral, quick arm out of a tight window, ran his fastball up to 93 mph. Adds even more depth to the Cobras’ pitching rotation for this upcoming spring.
Grant Richars, Soph., RHP, SWIC
Athletic look, strong lower half with quick-twitch explosiveness. Closed things out for SWIC in their first game, showing live stuff out of the ‘pen in a quick inning look. Subtle to load, explodes down the mound with aggression through release. Twitchy arm speed out front, fastball played at 90-92 mph, challenged. Showed a biting upper-70s slider that flashed swing-and-miss sweep, T2698 RPM. Also a formidable middle-of-the-order type bat for SWIC. A high-end JUCO follow.
Grant Ross, Soph., RHP/INF, Madison JC
Wide-shouldered frame with strength and athleticism. Quick tempo’d worker, competitor on the mound, attacked hitters. Fastball touched 93, played at 89-92 mph and spun a short, tight slider off it, 79-81 mph. Also a formidable, middle-of-the-order offensive threat for Madison that earned First Team All-Conference honors last season, batting .367 with a .931 OPS, doubled 11 times and plated 34 runs.
Cade Schneider, Soph., RHP, Wabash Valley
The right-hander had one of the quickest arms at the Puma, generating a fastball up to 92 mph and spin rates into the low 2,400 rpm range. His slider spun even quicker, up to 2,810 rpm and at 81-83 mph. He also has a split-change in his arsenal, but did not get to it in his one inning or work. The uncommitted sophomore punched out 29 batters in 23 innings last season, and he has the stuff to far surpass both of those totals next spring.
Jackson Soucie, LHP, Soph., Wabash Valley JC
Premium frame; 6-foot-4, 225-pounds with present strength and room for more. Tossed a clean inning in a start for the Warriors at this event. Fastball played in the upper-80s, touching 89 mph, for strikes consistently. Feel for a SL/CH mix; sweeps a subtle breaking ball that figures to be especially difficult for left-handed bats, touch and feel for sinking changeup. Capable of getting outs consistently without high-end velocity, though ceiling will only climb should he continue to tick up in that regard.
Matthew Tarr, Soph., RHP, John A. Logan
6-foot-1, 200-pound frame with wide shoulders and defined strength in the lower half. Worked in relief for the Volunteers in a short one inning appearance. Sprayed it some but continues to show advanced raw stuff. Carry fastball, played at 91-93 mph with backspin up in the zone, 2400-2500 RPM. Natural feel to spin a breaking ball, 74-76 mph, T2900 RPM.
Gradin Taschner, R-Fr., RHP, Madison College
Big-bodied at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Taschner is the son of former Major League left-handed pitcher, Jack. A red-shirt at Illinois State last year, the right-handed Taschner unleashed fastballs from a high ¾ slot to the plate up to 95 mph, while sitting more in the 92-93 range on a vertical-type heater. With a fluid delivery and on-line direction he also showed good feel for a hard-breaking, low-80s sweeping slider that spun in the 2,400 rpm range. Taschner has all the physical attributes, as well as the bloodlines, to develop into a coveted prospect in time.
Dylan Tate P, Soph., RHP, Jefferson JC
6-foot, 185-pound frame with lean strength. Returns 35 strikeouts over 21 innings as a freshman last spring. Impressed in his lone inning of work at this event. Athletic, intentful mover downhill that carries controlled aggression through release. Challenged a talented lineup often, getting in-zone whiffs on his fastball at 90-92, touching 93 mph. Shorter wrinkle slider, tight spin at 82-84 mph. Power arm with the stuff to prove as a pivotal piece for the JeffCo pitching staff.
Gavan Wernsing, LHP, Soph., SWIC
Large, physical presence on the bump that excelled for the Blue Storm as the anchor for this staff last spring; 60 ⅔ IP, 62 strikeouts, 2.97 ERA. Comfortable changing eye levels with his upper-80s fastball, tight window that jumps on hitters. Spun a mid-70s breaking ball and faded a changeup at 79-81 mph, too. A consistent strike thrower with three pitches that routinely gets outs at a high level.
Cale Willson, RHP, Soph., Jefferson JC
6-foot-5, 250-pounds. Didn't have his control in this look, but battled against a talented opponent and still showed follow stuff. Fastball played at 89-92, touching 93 mph, with downhill action from a high slot, best down in the zone. Showed feel for a low-70s curveball in warmups, didn't turn to it as much in-game, 2500+ RPM.
Dylan Zentko, Soph., LHP, Olney Central
6-foot-1, 215-pound athlete that figures to be a top arm for Olney Central this upcoming season. Showed well at this event, working around the zone with a three-pitch mix. Fastball played at 88-91 mph, worked mostly to the glove-side of the plate. Lateral spin on a 75-76 mph slider, turned over a 79-81 mph changeup, too.
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