West Milwaukee Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits


By Wisconsin Staff

The second Preseason I.D. of 2020 concluded on Sunday with the West Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Over 70 prospects were in attendance, ranging from 2020 to 2023 graduates (CLICK HERE for the day’s roster). Despite the time of the year, the event’s pitchers looked to be approaching mid-season form, as there were a lot of notable performances from the mound. 

Today, we’ll be assessing the most highlight-worthy performances in our Quick Hits post that you’ll find below. Keep an eye out tomorrow when we take a dive into the statistical side of things, too. Videos from Sunday’s showcase should be posted in the near future and we’ll have position-by-position analysis soon after that. For now, here’s our rapid analysis from the STiKS Academy-hosted event from over the weekend.

VELO JUMPS

+ Arguably the most outstanding takeaway from Sunday came at the very end of the event, when RHP Ryan Karst (Brookfield East; uncommitted) sat 86-89 mph in his bullpen. Karst hasn’t been flying under the radar to this point, he came into the day as a top-30-ranked prospect in the state’s sophomore class, one that is looking more and more loaded by the day. He’s built at a strong, broad 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and he generates his advanced arm strength with relative ease. Karst’s changeup paired especially well with the heavy fastball and he’s still finding the feel to spin a breaking ball, but it was an excellent preseason look at one of the top 2022s in Wisconsin.

+ And while Karst’s performance was excellent, the biggest head-turner of the day came when 5-foot-9, 160-pound Union Grove right-hander Noah France (2021) sat in the upper-80s. The uncommitted junior sat 87-89 mph in his bullpen and the fastball really jumped through the zone with hard, natural tail. He throws everything aggressively and, even in this bullpen setting, demonstrated a feel to pitch with moxie. France’s changeup looked like his best offspeed offering on this day, a pitch with swing-and-miss potential featuring late fading action thrown at arm speed, though his slider shows potential as well.

+ There were a couple of former Team Wisconsin members of last year’s PBR Future Games roster in the house on Sunday, and RHP Tyler Hug (Waukesha West, 2021; uncommitted) was among them. He’s a talented multi-sport athlete and has been excelling within track and field most recently, which makes his polished ‘pen on Sunday all the more impressive. He sat 87-88 mph and closed things with back-to-back 89 mph fastballs but his offspeed is becoming a separator. His curveball featured sharp 11/5 action and he pinpointed it beneath the zone on Sunday at 72-74 mph. His changeup is also a worthy third piece, a power sinker-type at 83-84 mph.

+ From Waukesha South, uncommitted junior Eli Hoyt has always been one of the class’ most well-rounded athletes but it appears like that athleticism is working at its best from the rubber. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound righty has a live arm and he sat 86-88 mph with it on Sunday, the fastball plays up with extra finish through the zone and the ability to spot it up. He’s also able to snap off tight, aggressive breaking balls at 71-74 mph, and his solid-average changeup gives him a third pitch to work with inside of a rotation. Hoyt’s impressive live arm and ability to pound the strike zone made him one of Sunday’s biggest winners.

+ We last saw Hudson junior righty Owen Anderson (uncommitted) back in Eau Claire in the middle of last summer. There, he sat in the low-80s with competitive stuff and the kind of frame and strength that suggested there’s more in the tank. Sunday, Anderson made the trip to Waukesha and touched 86 mph a couple of times, reasserting himself as a follow in the state.

+ A year ago, at this event, West Bend West sophomore Joey Schneider (uncommitted) showed off some real arm strength for his age, and he made sure to show our staff that it was coming along nicely. In a year’s time, Schneider is up to 85 mph, up four ticks from the same time in 2019. His hulking 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame suggests his arm strength can be carved into a weapon worth watching, moving forward.

+ Like Schneider, Waukesha South’s Jordan McNello (2021; uncommitted) has shown an uptick in arm strength and McNello’s is pretty substantial. Topping out at 78 mph a year ago, McNello sat in the low-80s and topped 84 on Sunday. He has a quick arm and his fastball utilizes noteworthy sinking action and his breaking ball flashed bite, too. His changeup is a work in progress but McNello’s already come a long way, and he took a strong round of batting practice too, granting him some added two-way appeal.

STAND-OUT SOUTHPAWS

+ Like we mentioned in the opening paragraph, the list of arms who stood out from Sunday is long, including a number of left-handers, led by another former PBR Future Game participant Alex Hayes (Muskego, 2021; uncommitted). Hayes sat at an uber easy and smooth 84-85 mph all while pounding the strike zone. He was also able to bury his breaking ball beneath the zone with regularity off a 1/7 plane with above-average action. Hayes’ fading changeup gives him three reliable, steady pitches to work with that, all together, should make him starter material at the next level.

+ Fellow uncommitted junior, Reece Piontek (Denmark), is another one of the state’s top lefties. He’s a raw, projectable 6-foot-2, 160-pound prospect and he sat at a more controlled 81-83 mph, touching 84. His changeup is a deceptive weapon to earn swings and misses and his curveball flashes depth off a 1/7 plane that looks like an outpitch when he drops it under the strike zone.

+ Freshman Ian Boal (uncommitted), from Johnsburg High School in Illinois, sat 78-80 mph in his ‘pen to land on the 2023 watchlist. He’s built at a lean, lanky 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, with loose levers that show especially well from the mound. While Boal’s fastball shows some jump out of the hand and finish through the zone, he also demonstrated an above-average feel to spin a breaking ball and his curveball flashed some late action off a 2/8 plane on Sunday.

+ 6-foot southpaw from Ashwaubenon, Tanner Katers (2021; uncommitted), looks capable of breaking into a rotation at the next level. He has a loose arm that helped him sit in the 79-81 mph range on Sunday but the feel he showed for three pitches is what will lift him to a playing career beyond high school. His 12/6 breaking ball flashed tight spin, thrown at arm speed, and he was able to effectively locate his straight change, too.

+ There were two other uncommitted Muskego junior lefties to mention here, besides the aforementioned Hayes: Corey Plahuta and Ryan Sell. We’ve seen Plahuta at events before and he’s worth continuing to monitor with his low-80s fastball and progressing offspeed. Sell is a pop-up name to know coming out of Sunday. A 5-foot-11, 152 pounds, Sell’s lanky look projects well and he was also up to 82 mph with raw but workable offspeed.

BEHIND THE PLATE

+ Arrowhead freshman Thomas Curry (uncommitted) has the makings of becoming one of the top backstops in the state’s 2023 class. He’s a physical 5-foot-10 with advanced strength that rears itself in the right-handed batter’s box. Curry swings a fast, quick bat that produces extra hard contact off the barrel, especially for his age. He topped 92 mph at the exit velocity station off the tee on Sunday, among the day’s best marks. From the crouch, Curry’s arm carries well to second and he’s quick and clean out of the chute. He’s a high-end follow in Wisconsin’s freshman class.

+ Coincidentally, Curry has a chance to see varsity action this spring at Arrowhead because former Warhawks catcher Charlie Jarvis (2022; uncommitted) is at Catholic Memorial these days. Jarvis is ranked inside the state’s sophomore class for his advanced actions on defense; he’s a flexible receiver with soft hands and fundamental actions behind the plate. Jarvis is an overall athlete who runs well, especially for his position (a 7.12 time in the 60-yard dash on Sunday), and he also swings a short, fast bat with barrel control.

+ Sophomore backstop Alec Campbell (Milton; uncommitted) is a lanky 6-foot-2 and he’s able to leverage his frame well from the right-handed batter’s box. He made sound, easy line-drive contact on Sunday is an above-average defender from behind the plate.

+ Sam Holling (Waukesha West, 2021; uncommitted) is a strong and athletic 6-foot, 165-pound prospect with advanced defensive actions. His arm strength from out of the crouch is his biggest tool, topping 78 mph. Holling has also been improving inside the batter’s box, too. With a simple, easy approach he was able to make some loud contact with bat speed.

MORE SOPHOMORE FOLLOWS

+ At 6-foot-4, 165 pounds, RHP Thomas Harper (Wauwatosa East; uncommitted) has a high ceiling, both figuratively and literally. Harper works with low effort, relying on his long levers to sit in the 83-84 mph range. His changeup looks like his best offspeed pitch right now, a running, fading offering that he’s able to put where he wants. He’s still sharpening his breaking ball, but it projects well as a third pitch to mix into his arsenal. The combination of his size and present stuff should keep him as a follow for the foreseeable future.

+ From North Fond du Lac, OF Landon Behringer (uncommitted) is a lean athlete who took a solid round of BP on Sunday. He repeats a loose, fast right-handed bat and he consistently meets the ball on plane with his quick, athletic hands.

+ 3B Payton Frehner (Waukesha North; uncommitted) has a balanced, fluid right-handed swing that features bat strength and barrel control. In BP on Sunday he showed the ability to consistently find the barrel. He also ranges well enough to keep to the hot corner, with the arm strength for the left side.

+ Corner infielder Emiliano Ramos (Arrowhead; uncommitted) is a familiar follow sophomore who still swings an aggressive right-handed bat. His physicality works best at the plate where he attacks pitches with bat speed and is able to produce excellent bat strength – his 97 mph exit velo high from the tee was among the best at the event.

+ From West Bend West, two-way prospect Ryan Roehl (uncommitted) was one of the showcase’s breakout stars. His infield defense stood out in particular because of his athleticism on the move and strong arm, but that arm strength looked even more comfortable on the mound. There, Roehl sat 80-83 mph with a loose, quick arm that worked congruently with easy, smooth effort. At 6-foot, 180, combined with the toolset he showed us on Sunday, Roehl has landed on the prospect radar.

ON-THE-MARKET JUNIORS

+ We saw two-way talent Jacob Hartlaub (Martin Luther; uncommitted) last summer where he looked like a high ceiling athlete, built at 6-foot-2, 160 pounds. He’s a natural on defense, with soft hands and a big arm that plays well on the move. His defense stands out as his best tool positionally, a bonafide shortstop at the next level. We also got our first showcase look at Hartlaub on the mound on Sunday and he sat 83-85 mph, touching 87, and he was able to mix in some quality breaking stuff – a tight slider and a changeup with fade. He’s trending up headed into a critical spring and summer.

+ Oregon’s Brevin Brisack (uncommitted) is worth following for his huge 6-foot-5, 190-pound frame alone, but he plays lighter on his feet on defense than you might presume and his physicality fits in the right-handed box, where his size grants him some raw bat strength that he may yet tap into soon.

+ OF Anthony Gross (Catholic Memorial; uncommitted) has a strong, stocky frame with quick twitch and he paced the event with a 6.81 mark in the 60, the lowest in attendance. Gross checks a lot of boxes, both on the field and in the classroom. He’s continued to trend as an intriguing uncommitted 2021 in the state.

+ Yet another Muskego product showed well on Sunday: OF Peyton Seebacher (uncommitted). He swings a loose left-handed bat off an inclined plane and he makes some regular, robust contact. Seebacher also moves well in the outfield and is a 7.01 runner with above-average arm strength, too. This well-rounded profile should help him find a place to contribute at the next level, we’ll just wait and see where.

NEW 2023 FOLLOWS

+ 6-foot-2 INF Adam Schilz (Warren Township, IL; uncommitted) introduced himself to us on Sunday and has emerged as a follow freshman to pass along to our PBR Illinois colleagues. His loose levers give him some substantial offensive upside. He topped 91 mph off the tee at the exit velo station and swings a fast right-handed bat with big extension through contact. And despite his lanky size, he ranges well on the infield and he has an athletic arm that plays accurately from multiple arm slots on the move.

+ Nicolet freshman RHP Connor Olson (uncommitted) is worth keeping an eye on, too. He’s a lean/thin righty who was up to 78 mph from an over-the-top angle on Sunday and he also demonstrated a real feel to spin a breaking ball while locating his straight change well. He’s a low-effort, clean arm with some upside.

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