Madison Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits


By Wisconsin Staff

Sunday, the PBR Wisconsin team travelled to the Madison area to host its final high school showcase of the winter, the Madison Preseason I.D., at GRB Academy.

Today, we’re taking the time to parse through our notes to pull out the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s event. Our rapid analysis can be found below, but stay tuned, because tomorrow we’ll be taking a look at the event’s top statistical performers. All but one of the prospects (Keagon Kaufmann, DeForest, 2021; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) below are uncommitted, making it a must-read for recruiters looking to add to their incoming 2021, ‘22, and ‘23 classes.

Continue on below for our Quick Hits, detailed notes on the highlights from Sunday.

PITCHERS

UPSIDE JUNIORS

+ It’s been some time since we’ve seen Markesan’s junior RHP Bryce Leedle in a PBR setting, but he was among the top takeaways from Sunday’s huge showcase. We saw the lean 5-foot-10 righty last spring pitching at state for his high school where he established himself as an interesting follow and then he ticked up in the fall. It’s all coming together now, though, and on Sunday, Leedle touched 89 mph, sitting 87-88, with finish and carry through the zone. His offspeed is also progressing well; his curveball flashed tight, late action off an 11/5 plane and he only gained feel as his bullpen went on. He throws his changeup at arm speed and can land it under the zone with some hard arm-side action. Leedle is a top-40-ranked prospect who’s still trending way up as he exits the winter.

+ The pause on the WIAA baseball season is hurting all corners of the state, but Sun Prairie especially looked capable of a ferocious run back to state to one-up their runner-up finish in 2019, and they were all set to add another premium arm to their loaded staff: RHP Jason Starr, who’s listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds. Starr was up to 84 mph late in 2019 but he clearly put in the work during a diligent offseason. He came out on Sunday at an easy 85 mph with his first pitch and continued to escalate the velocity until topping at 89 with his last. The fastball is straight but jumps through the zone. He’s still working on sharpening his offspeed – he has the feel to spin a breaking ball but decelerates some – but Starr is a big winner coming out of Sunday.

+ RHP Isaiah Cerfus (Union Grove) is a strong, physical arm that was one of the hardest throwers at Sunday’s event. His fastball consistently sat between 85-87 mph with hard, late action and exploded into the zone. Cerfus is still developing his secondary offerings, but he’s flashed potential with them already, especially his changeup that he throws with near fastball arm speed. 

+ RHP Aaron Rice (Brillion) is a slender 6-foot-3 athlete who’s primarily a follow for his work on the mound. He showed well a couple times in 2019, especially last August where he was up to 84 mph with projection and he’s ticked up in the time since. He sat almost exclusively at 87 mph in his ‘pen from an over-the-top slot, working in rhythm. Rice mixes in an 11/5 breaking ball and sinking changeup that mostly matches his typical arm speed, boosting his overall profile. He’s an upside junior rising up the ranks at the right time.

+ RHP Keagon Kaufmann (DeForest) made his PBR event debut on Sunday and the UW-Milwaukee commit did not disappoint. He’s a physical 6-foot, 205 pounds on the mound that works quick and in a rhythm. His fastball showed hard and heavy action, jumping into the zone and sitting between 83-85 mph, topping at 86. Kauffmann has some upside offspeed, too.  We’ve previously seen him mix in a sharp breaking ball, an 11/5 offering that flashes late bite. On this day, his changeup flashed best at a firm 80-82 mph, made effective by its consistent late sink down in the zone. 

+ Brodhead junior RHP Andrew Brockwell has added some physicality to his 6-foot-2 frame and it’s helped him tick up on the velo board, too. He sat 81-84 mph for most of his ‘pen before hitting three consecutive 86s to close things out. Brockwell’s changeup looks like his go-to offering, a 73-75 mph offering with swing-and-miss fading action.

+ RHP Evan Jackson (Milton) doesn’t have the physicality that some of his fellow peers might, but the 5-foot-10 right-hander has impressive stuff capable of competing with anyone. He throws with an easy, loose arm action and the ball leaves his hand in crispy clean motion. Jackson’s fastball jumps into the zone with hard action, sitting between 80-83 mph and touching 84 mph. His best secondary pitch is a powerful curveball with a tight, 11/5 shape that plays at 72-74 mph. 

+ Iola-Scandinavia junior RHP Marcus Jaworski made his PBR debut on Sunday and earned a nod here for sitting 81-85 mph, touching the latter velocity with much more frequency. His present velocity and 6-foot-3, 175-pound size make him another 2021 name to check back in on this spring and/or summer.

ON-THE-RISE SOPHOMORES

+ We saw RHP Carson Klaus (Adams-Friendship) at this same event one year ago, and he took a huge step forward over that span. He’s burst onto the prospect scene after a live bullpen on Sunday where he was up to 86 mph with easy arm strength and speed. At 5-foot-11, 153 pounds, Klaus is still raw and malleable, while offering some excellent present stuff. From the windup, he sat 83-85 mph before reaching the 86 high at the end of his ‘pen, while generating solid sweeping action with his breaking ball and arm-side action off his change. Klaus had a little less feel for his arsenal from the stretch, underscoring some of the refining he can do, but Klaus was one of the day’s best surprises, regardless.

+ RHP Logan Dobberstein (Pewaukee) is only just beginning to grow into, and fill out, his spindly 6-foot-6 frame and the progress he’s making is showing itself early in 2020. There are the makings here of an authentic four-pitch mix, and his size only offers more tantalizing upside. His fastball sat 81-84 mph, and touched 85 with his last pitch, with easy effort and jump from the hand. Dobberstein threw two breaking balls on Sunday with similar shape, but the curveball, specifically, flashed some late, tight action off a 10/4 plane. He’s harnessed a splitter he throws at arm speed that features late fade, tunneling very well off his fastball at 72-73 mph. His changeup is more straight, and firmer, separating it from the split, and he’s able to maintain his arm speed with the offering, too. He’s continuing to track as one of the state’s best sophomores in a 2022 class that projects to be a memorable one.

+ Mason Buss (Arrowhead) came into this event as one of the top-ranked right-handed arms in Wisconsin’s loaded 2022 class and his performance further solidified him as just that. He consistently repeats his delivery and works with a loose, easy arm action that suggests more is left in the tank. Buss pounded the zone with a mid-80s fastball that plays with arm-side run. He has advanced feel for a sharp 12/6 curveball and fading changeup, both of which are consistently thrown for strikes. Buss is a high-follow in his class.

+ Tremper’s RHP Torin Byrnes was among the team’s most reliable arms as only a freshman in 2019. He was set to handle the bulk of the No. 1 role in 2020 until the season was paused, but Byrnes still managed to break through at his PBR debut on Sunday. We last saw him in the spring where he was up into the low-80s with early feel for a big breaking ball – but that was nearly a year ago. Byrnes stands at a lanky 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, and he uses is long levers to create a downhill plane and he sat 83-85 mph on Sunday. That breaking ball was generating late action more often on Sunday, too, and he has feel for a changeup that features arm-side action at 70-73 mph.

+ Like Dobberstein, Middleton’s RHP Easton Zempel has a towering, thin 6-foot-5 frame. With it, Zempel is able to create a steep, tough angle on his fastball, which sat 80-82 mph, touching 83, on Sunday. Presently, the offspeed is inconsistent, but he showed the signs that signal future feel of his curveball-changeup combo. The breaking has tight spin and it flashed sharp action at arm speed, and the changeup features good arm-side run and action under the zone, though there’s some deceleration to his natural arm speed.

+ We saw RHP Caden Capomaccio (Notre Dame Academy) several times over the summer and got another impressive viewing of the athletic sophomore on Sunday. He touched 86 mph on the mound with his fastball and there’s reason to believe that more velocity is on the way as he continues to grow into his fairly projectable frame. 

+ The sophomore from Whitnall, 6-foot-1, 175-pound LHP Taylor Kilps, demonstrated some arm strength that landed him on an instant follow list. He touched 86 mph at the end of his session, sitting in the 82-85 mph range. His offspeed is a work-in-progress, but there’s some obvious upside here.

+ Dominik McVay (Mineral Point) has some highly impressive tools across the board. He ran a 6.58 in the 60 and was 85 mph from the outfield and is built at a compact, strong 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. He’s physical with some easy arm strength, up to 85 mph from the outfield and 81 mph on the mound.

FRESHMAN POTENTIAL

+ RHP/OF Dylan Questad (Waterford) may have one of the biggest arms in Wisconsin’s freshman class. Questad is an athletic 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, with easy arm strength that sits 84-86 mph. He rounds out his arsenal with a 12/6 curveball that showed depth and a fading changeup at 74-76 mph. Questad showed off even more arm strength in the outfield, topping at 93 mph, which could be signs of more things to come out of the young freshman on the mound. 

+ From an over-the-top slot, RHP Evan Shapiro (Wauwatosa East) creates a steep, downhill plane off his live fastball, sitting 82-84 mph on Sunday. He’s ranked nationally on PBR’s 2023 board, and will certainly be a high-rank inside the state’s freshman class when they debut in the spring. Shapiro is still honing the breaking ball, a 12/6 curve with tight spin, though it’s presently inconsistent, but it’s an upside offering as he continues to develop it. Right now, the changeup looks like his best offspeed; he mostly maintains his quick arm speed, helping create some deception off a similarly sharp vertical plane.

+ RHP Cole Selvig (Regis) threw one of the more polished bullpens on Sunday, an impressive feat for the young freshman. He showed clear feel for himself on the mound, getting into a rhythm early and cruising throughout. Selvig pounds the zone with his lively 83-84 mph fastball that jumps in the zone. He showed the ability to throw both his offspeed pitches for strikes, but his curveball stood out as a potential swing-and-miss offering that showed sharp action throughout his ‘pen and it tunnels well off his fastball. That being said, Selvig’s changeup can be a go-to pitch in the near future, too. He’s able to maintain his arm speed with it and he consistently pounds the bottom of the zone with it. Selvig’s a high-follow inside the state’s freshman class.

+ We had a few prospects from Illinois in attendance on Sunday, but none impressed our staff like freshman RHP Braden Smith (Byron). He’ll make an appearance in our ‘Position Player’ section later on, but he’s earned a mention here as well. Smith showed a polished arm with clean, easy arm action and clear confidence in himself on the bump. Smith’s fastball sat at an easy 82-83 mph with arm-side run and he consistently threw it for strikes. He already has a strong three-pitch mix, including a sharp, 11/5 curveball with tight spin. Smith also has feel for his changeup; a deceptive offering with cutter action that he consistently lands in the lower third of the zone. His performance on Sunday solidifies him as a high-follow in the Illinois 2023 class.

+ Freshman RHP Tyler Lusic (Waterford Union) is a lanky, highly projectable 6-foot-2, 160-pound arm that impressed on Sunday. He’s primarily a two-pitch arm that pounds the bottom of the zone with his fastball that plays at 79-81 mph. Lusic pairs his heater with a late-breaking curveball that flashed plus several times throughout his outing. He’s still growing into his body and learning how to move, but once he figures it out, Lusic will be an impressive arm in Wisconsin’s budding 2023 class.

+ Madison West’s RHP Tiago Sanchez is a thin 5-foot-9, 130 pounds, so, as expected, he’s 74-75 mph right now, but his advanced feel and easy, clean mechanics help brighten his future. He pounds the zone with three pitches, including a sharp, tight 12/6 breaking ball that features late action already under the zone, at 62-64 mph. He throws his changeup with conviction and it flashes late arm-side action at 68-70 mph.

POSITION PLAYERS

UNCOMMITTED JUNIOR FOLLOWS

+ SS Carson Shepard (Sun Prairie) is one of the best available middle infielders in the Midwest. Shepard put up PBR personal bests across the board in all stat categories running a 6.63, throwing 88 mph across the infield and posting a 94 mph exit velocity from the tee. Shepard has a compact middle-of-the-field approach that projects to play well at the top of the lineup at the next level. Shepard definitively took the best infield reps of those in attendance on Sunday. All of his actions are quick and in control and he plays especially well on the move. He also added arm strength over the offseason, enhancing his chance at sticking to shortstop at the next level. Regardless of which side of second base he’s on, he’s going to provide big value with his glove.

+ SS Austin Bestul (Elkhorn) was a big winner on Sunday with strong showings throughout the day. Bestul has a short uphill path that created hard pull-side contact. He and fellow uncommitted junior Shepard produced the two best rounds of infield defense, and Bestul looks capable of inheriting the shortstop role at the next level, too. He has all of the necessary actions and athleticism and recorded the top velocity across the diamond of the day, at 89 mph. 

+ OF Trace Kirchberg (Columbus) is a strong 6-foot, 205-pound right-handed hitting outfielder who showed well at the plate, one of the better right-handed hitting outfielders of the day. Kirchberg swings a compact bat with strength and power potential. His strength at the plate matches his big arm from the outfield, where his throws topped 92 mph to home, one of the day’s best. He moves well out there, with fluid feet and athletic actions, which help his huge arm strength play up. Kirchberg was also up to 88 mph on the mound, further reiterating how strong his arm is.

+ OF Tanner Marsh (Mondovi) spent the end of the summer as a member of Team Wisconsin at the PBR Future Games and he remains one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state’s 2021 class. He ran a 6.60 in the 60-yard dash on Sunday, one of the day’s best, and was 89 mph from the outfield and reached a 95 mph high at the exit velo station. He also touched 85 mph from the mound, so there may, yet, be some two-way capabilities to untap further from there.

+ Waukesha South’s Nick Nowak brings a lot of tools to the ballpark – he’s a 6.81 runner and is a multi-positional defender. He took a reliable round of defensive reps from both the infield and behind the plate, demonstrating the potential to continue performing at both. He’s especially quick and clean from out of the chute, getting the most out of his 74 mph throws on target to second. On the dirt, Nowak is quick and athletic while ranging to either side, and his arm strength works better here, up to 85 mph across the diamond. He also swings a compact and simple right-handed bat. Nowak looked the part on the mound as well, running his fastball up to 84 mph and flipping some sharp 12/6 breaking balls into the zone for strikes. 

+ Ridge Guyette (Hilbert) is a physical right-handed bat and impressed in his BP session with advanced bat speed and power potential. He’s a strong 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, with a pull-side power swing that profiles as a middle-of-the-lineup bat.

+ Left-handed-hitting C Brigs Richartz (Menomonie) may see his name rise in the 2021 class after a strong showing with the bat. Richartz has a short path that makes hard line drive contact that works gap to gap. It's a balanced and simple swing that produces projectable pop. He was also quick and efficient out of the crouch, flashing carry through the infield and was consistently on target.

+ We saw Colton Schillinger a couple times in 2019, at WIAA state while starring for the D-3 champs Stratford, and again at our Eau Claire I.D. He’s bulked up considerably since and has only added speed and athleticism, which helps him excel out of the crouch. He’s built at a strong 6-foot, 185 pounds, and he ran a 6.88 on Sunday while recording a 79 mph high through the infield with some consistently low pops.

STAND-OUT SOPHOMORES

+ 2022 Nathan Elias (Verona Area) was one of the biggest winners of the day. Elias has a smooth loose swing with excellent barrel control. He’s a 6.98 runner as well and will likely see his name rise within the class rankings. The versatile prospect took reps from both the infield and the outfield, and likely projects best from the grass. His throws carried to home, topping 88 mph with accuracy, and his athleticism and quick feet fit work best out there. 

+ Cuyler Zukowski (Madison La Follette) is a high upside right-handed hitting outfielder who swings a loose loud bat. At 6-foot, 175-pounds he has a ton of projection in his frame and uses long levers to create advanced bat speed. He looks like a natural fit in the outfield, too, and plays especially light on his feet with athleticism, with arm strength that topped 85 mph to the plate with consistent accuracy. Zukowski’s quick and clean exchanges complement his arm strength and accuracy, adding to the upside attached to his overall profile.

+ Carson Hansen (Pewaukee) swung a high-level left-handed bat on Sunday. He’s a strong 6-foot-1, 185-pounds and has a short compact swing that showed upside and barrel awareness. He’s added some considerable muscle to his frame, though it didn’t detract from his foot speed or defense; he ran a 7.12 in the 60 and he’ll slot best in an outfield corner for now, topping 85 mph to home.

+ Addison Ostrenga (Sun Prairie) is on that list of high upside prospects, he stands 6-foot-4, 205-pounds and ran a 7.02 in the 60. He’s a well-above-average athlete especially at his size and shows it in the box with a fluid connected swing. His quick feet help him cover a lot of ground in the outfield and he’s also equipped with a big arm, reaching an 89 mph high to home, with accuracy.

+ Yet another Sun Prairie standout, left-handed-hitting Jenkin Alexander, looked more physical than ever and it showed in the box. He made consistent hard contact and showed impressive bat speed and feel for the barrel. Alexander will be a strong bat to follow this summer.

+ Theo Zeidler (Bay Port, 2022) is an athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pound infielder with an athletic toolset and a high-follow right-handed bat. He ran a 7.06, topped 91 mph off the tee at the exit velocity station, and was 83 mph across the infield. 

+ Brandon Vlcko (Stevens Point, 2022) is a strong, compact 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed hitting infielder and his swing has similar characteristics. Vlcko has a short compact path that packs plenty of pop. His notable strength appears from behind the plate, too, where he was 82 mph down to second, though he’s still developing his catch-and-throw actions, hastening up his efficiency out of the chute. Regardless, Vlcko’s natural, inherent strength makes him another ‘22 follow to note coming out of Sunday.

+ LHP/1B Luke Ross (Waunakee) is one of the top 2022s in the state both for his assets on the mound and in the lefty box. Offensively, he showed a sweet swing that produces easy pull-side contact. On the mound, Ross ran his fastball up to 83 mph and showed a plus curveball with 1/7 shape. He’s one of the top two-way prospects in Wisconsin’s 2022 class and a name to know. 

+ Verona’s Garrett Hoppe attacks the baseball in BP and swings an aggressive loose bat. He’s a 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect that looks to be a follow in the 2022 class for his bat.

+ Also from Verona, C Mason Fink is a 7.04 runner and that kind of athleticism helps him generate quick actions on his throws down to second, compounded by above-average arm strength, especially for his age (76 mph). He averaged some of the lowest pops of the day and is a follow because of those traits.

FRESHMAN FOLLOWS

+ Roman Trapani (Eau Claire Memorial, 2023) is a strong well rounded athlete. The younger brother of RHP Vincent Trapani (Eau Claire Memorial, 2021; Arkansas commit), Roman has similar arm strength to his older brother and brings a physical presence to the batter's box as well. His arm played best in the outfield at 84 mph and showed similar strengths on the mound. From the rubber, Trapani touched 82 mph and he also featured a cutter that has slider-like action and bite to it, which could end up being his go-to out-pitch. He’s a name to know in Wisconsin’s 2023 class.

+ Left-handed-hitting infielder Justin Gorski (Rockford Christian, IL) emerged as an intriguing freshman follow. Gorski has an easy, repeatable swing and showed quick, athletic actions on the infield. Gorski is a quick-footed middle defender who also ran a 7.04 in the 60.

+ Oak Creek freshman infielder Kyle Pielsnik looks to be a mainstay at shortstop. Pielsnik showed a strong arm at 84 mph across the diamond with natural athletic actions and soft hands. He has a loose, quick-twitch swing that showed promise as well but looks to be a lockdown defender at first glance. The Knights have some serious underclass talent coming through their ranks, so you’ll need to add Pielsnik to that list.

+ Braden Smith (Byron, IL) is a high-follow freshman from our neighbors to the south. The Illinois product showed well in the box and strong infield actions that look to project best at third base with a big arm across the diamond. 

+ LHP/OF Zander Rockow (Thorp) has an advanced frame and look, at an athletic/strong 6-foot-1, 210 pounds – he looks like he could fit right in on the gridiron. Either way, his physicality has made him a follow on the diamond. He topped 80 mph on the mound and 86 mph from the outfield. He’s raw, but his innate athleticism and pound-for-pound strength gives him a unique, high ceiling.

+ Josue Figueroa (Sun Prairie) is a switch-hitting freshman who showed versatility not only in the batter’s box, but defensively as well. Figueroa has a middle-of-the-field approach with a level path that showed best from the left side. From behind the plate, he was quick and efficient to second with consistently accurate throws, producing pops ranging from 2.12-2.18.

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