Prep Baseball Report

IL/WI Underclass Games: Preview

By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

In its eighth year, the PBR Illinois and Wisconsin staffs will gather in Crestwood, Ill., on Tuesday, July 21, to host one of the most decorated showcases on the summer circuit: Underclass Games. Each year, directors from both states collaborate to invite a collection of the top incoming sophomores from Illinois and Wisconsin to meet in the Chicagoland area. This year, the area’s brightest Class of 2023 talent will be on hand at Standard Bank Stadium to participate in this year’s high-profile event.

Coaches, check out the most up-to-date roster HERE.

Players, stay tuned for more information regarding the teams you are rostered on, as well as more pertinent information regarding Tuesday’s showcase.

This PBR Illinois and Wisconsin showcase will also provide participating prospects with access to unrivaled technologies during and following the event, facilitated by our recently announced partnerships with TrackMan Baseball, Blast Motion, Driveline Baseball, as well as Vizual Edge. You can read more about those partnerships and how they’ll enhance prospects’ own post-event analysis under the ‘Our Partners’ section of this showcase’s info tab.


First, we’ll break down some of the most prominent names headed to Crestwood who are representing Illinois. There are a handful of Big Ten-committed prospects on Tuesday’s roster, including OF Bryce Nevils (Homewood Flossmoor; Michigan commit) and SS Ryan Jefferson (Providence Catholic; Illinois). Both are situated just outside of the top-100 on PBR’s national board of its 2023 rankings. Nevils is a live-wired left/left athlete with quick-twitch on display all over the diamond, from the outfield to the batter’s box. He has the electric toolset to keep him as a high-level follow throughout his prep career.

As for Jefferson, he’s a left-handed-hitting shortstop who has premium actions on defense. Soft hands, light feet, Jefferson just carries an innate confidence on defense that will make him a long-term asset on the left side of the infield. His loose, fast lefty bat makes his profile that much more exciting.

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Ryan Jefferson (2/16/20)

C Ryan Bakes (Huntley; uncommitted) has already established himself as a high-follow in the state, as he’s been on the radar for a little while now. His build resembles a prototypical catcher’s stature, a broad and strong 5-foot-9, 181 pounds with inherent athleticism. That premium athleticism seamlessly fits behind the plate, as he’s a mobile, agile receiver with quick and fundamental actions out of the chute, with arm strength. A right-handed hitter, Bakes wields huge bat strength, and not just for his size and age. He checks a lot of boxes and is among the Midwest’s top backstop prospects.

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Ryan Bakes (2/16/20)

Not too far away from Bakes’ hometown is fellow backstop T.J. Schuyler, an Indiana commit from Antioch. Schuyler emerged as a national follow in late 2019 after a couple huge late summer and fall performances that landed both on our radar and Indiana’s. He offers some huge physical upside as an athletic 6-foot-2, 170-pound catcher. He’s an advanced catcher, with strong hands and wrists who’s also quick out of the crouch. Schuyler’s loose hands and ease of effort from the right-handed batter’s box make for an enticing follow at the top of Illinois’ 2023 class.

Having recently committed to Louisville, OF/1B Trey Swiderski (Joliet Catholic) carries a frame that offers some immense projection. Standing in at a wiry 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Swiderski’s an athlete, too, who’s present twitch and physical projection offers a lofty offensive ceiling. His natural barrel feel, packed with his early ability to drive baseballs to all fields, suggest Swiderski’s only just beginning to tap into his next-level traits.


The Wisconsin representatives headed south are a group that features many of its top-ranked talent. Among them, RHP Adam Switalski (Westosha Central), another Indiana commit who actually regularly pairs with battery mate Schuyler during the summer for their travel team. Switalski is a highly athletic, competitive right-hander with mid-80s out of live, loose arm action. He’s been up to 86 mph in front of our staff this summer in live action, and we’re excited to get another up-close look at one of the state’s premium prospects.

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Adam Switalski (3/1/20)

RHP Presley Wachowiak (Catholic Memorial) is emerging as one of the top uncommitted pitchers in the state’s 2023 class. A 6-foot, 200-pound righty who’s also touched 86 mph in the past, though most recently lived in the 81-84 mph range back at our 15U tournament at The Rock Complex in Wisconsin. What has separated Wachowiak from his peers is the breaking ball, a tight 12/6 curveball with huge spin and biting action. The pitch isn’t just one of the best in the class, it’s advanced by any real standard.

Ranked inside the top-300 nationally is jumbo RHP Evan Shaprio (Wauwatosa East; uncommitted). Shapiro has a case as the event’s top uncommitted prospect headed into things, with an imposing 6-foot-5, 200-pound frame that he’s only just harnessing. Obviously, a build like this offers a ceiling that’s just as big, so Shapiro has been garnering some looks wherever he pitches. He has electric arm speed with huge extension that makes him tough to square up, and he’s been into the mid-80s, up to 86 mph, with aggressive offspeed, including a 12/6 breaking ball that he’s continuing to refine.

Bound to catch some of these arms on Tuesday is C Thomas Curry (Arrowhead). While Curry has demonstrated characteristics to stick behind the plate long-term, it’s his advanced hit tool that’s landed him as a ton of attention this early into his prep career. He wields a loud, fast and strong right-handed bat that finds barrels with relative ease and he can square up powerful contact to all fields.

RHP/OF Zachary Olson (Muskego) broke out early this winter for his excellent athleticism that showed itself on both sides of the ball. Another projectable prospect headed to Crestwood, Olson is listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, who carries huge upside. Back in March, Olson took an explosive round of batting practice and gracefully ranged around the outfield during his indoor reps, but he’s since earned more attention for his work on the mound. Up to 84 mph at a PBR tournament at LakePoint, Olson’s easy athleticism and low effort from the bump are especially intriguing – though there’s some two-way potential here, too.


We’re still assessing and finalizing rosters, as we’re still accepting invitation requests, so check back at this link in the lead-up to the event to find which team you’ll be playing on. Position players from all teams will check-in at the same time in the schedule as follows:

  • 8:15 - 8:30 a.m. – Position Players Check-in
  • 8:30 - 8:50 a.m. – Stretch/Intro
  • 9:00 -11:00 a.m. – Position Player Workout

As of now, we’re currently scheduled to play two simulated games, with the first beginning at 11 a.m. Players registered as pitchers-only will check in an hour before their team’s scheduled game time.

  • 11:15 a.m. – Team 1 vs. Team 2
  • 1:00 p.m. – Team 3 vs. Team 4

*NOTE: Games are simulated to regulate pitch counts and innings played.


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