Wisconsin 2022 Rankings: Risers


By Andy Sroka
Illinois and Wisconsin Assistant Director

Last week, the PBR Wisconsin staff updated and expanded its Class of 2022 Rankings. Today, we’re spending our time breaking down the new-look board further, by assessing the prospects with their arrows pointed up after climbing the rankings.

The summer showcase circuit is a critical one for prospects in between their sophomore and junior years, making this particular end-of-season update one of the most important each year. This update covers a busy event circuit for the state’s incoming juniors, one that includes the PBR Future Games, at which a handful of the names below earned invitations.

In the hyperlink above, you can find detailed breakdowns of four of the most significant Risers in the class, all of whom reside inside the state’s top-10 ‘22 rankings.

The new No. 1 SS Gavin Kilen (Janesville Craig; Louisville commit) has enjoyed a tremendous summer that landed him the top overall spot in the state for the first time. The 6-foot-5 right-hander Tyler Deleskiewicz (Badger) is the top uncommitted prospect in the state now, too, with the ability to repeat 90 mph velocity that helped him climb 26 spots up the rankings. Left-handed-hitting shortstop Rory Fox (Catholic Memorial) broke out in a big way this summer and ultimately landed a commitment to Notre Dame – and he rose to No. 6 overall in the state. And upside RHP Hunter Schmitt (Grafton) is another exciting uncommitted follow who broke into the state’s top-10 for the first time

 Learn more about their work this summer in that link listed in the opening paragraph. In this post, we’ll be focusing on prospects trending up ranked outside of the top-10.

ON THE RISE

Mason Buss RHP / Arrowhead, WI / 2022

KANSAS STATE COMMIT

With some of the best pitchability in the state, Buss has earned a ‘bulldog’ reputation this summer. He attacks the zone with mid-80s velocity and has been up to 88 mph in front of our staff before. He’s an athletic 6-foot, 170-pound righty who repeats efficiently from a high ¾ slot with a straight four-seamer that tunnels well alongside a high-spin breaking ball and fading changeup. It’s a really effective three-pitch mix that has consistently gotten the job done this summer, and it helped him earn a commitment to Kansas State following his representation at the PBR Future Games while a member of Team Wisconsin. Up six spots, Buss is now the No. 12-ranked prospect in Wisconsin’s ‘22 class.


Gradin Taschner RHP / 1B / Neenah, WI / 2022

Standing at a powerful 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Taschner possesses some huge upside in this class. Still somewhat new to pitching, Taschner exhibits a live, athletic arm action that has helped him reach 88 mph this summer. He makes mid-80s velo look easy and, while inconsistent, we’ve seen him really spin a breaking ball. Naturally, the size and athleticism here helps him wallop baseballs from the right-handed batter’s box, but Taschner’s tantalizing skill from the mound has him ranked No. 14 overall in the state – he’ll just need to spend the offseason further refining his exciting potential.

 

Joey Nerat OF / Campbellsport, WI / 2022

There is, perhaps, no single greater ‘winner’ on this list than Nerat. We were fortunate enough to get several up-close looks at this highly athletic left-handed-hitting outfielder, who ended up in the running as one of the MVP candidates at the PBR Future Games while on Team Select. Nerat earned that invite over several impressive viewings, timing up hard-hit contact from the left side on repeat. Per TrackMan, Nerat produced a 99.1 mph high in batting practice at the Future Games, showcasing his innate strength, while also running a 6.92 that plays up in-game, with his instinctual feel on defense and on the basepaths. He’s trending up as one of the top uncommitted players in the state, ranked No. 15 overall.


Cuyler Zukowski OF / Madison La Follette, WI / 2022

CREIGHTON COMMIT

The recent Creighton commit swings one of the easiest, strongest right-handed bats in the state. Its simplicity helps him unleash some fast, powerful swings with all-fields pop potential. A sub-7.00 runner, Zukowksi’s athleticism and twitch is becoming a trademark for him, and it helps him play an athletic corner outfield spot with the arm strength to fill the right field spot well. He’s up three spots in this update, to No. 17 overall.


Charlie Jarvis C / OF / Catholic Memorial , WI / 2022

Jarvis, still uncommitted, is very possibly the best defensive backstop in Wisconsin’s junior class. His mobility and athleticism, combined with his arm strength, help him produce in-event pop times under 2.00 seconds. He added some significant strength to his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame, too, which has helped his batted-ball profile. Jarvis is now hitting the ball much harder and with much more frequency, which has helped him climb all the way to No. 18 overall in the state, halving his previous ranking.


Addison Ostrenga OF / Sun Prairie, WI / 2022

IOWA COMMIT

Another huge ‘winner’ this summer, Ostrenga joined Team Select at the PBR Future Games where he shined. He’s tooled up and twitchy, and he moves well for his 6-foot-4, 215-pound stature, as a 6.94 runner. One of the biggest takeaways from the Future Games was the kind of bat and hand speed Ostrenga produces from the right side – according to Blast Motion, his max hand speed reached 27.9 mph and his max bat speed topped 79.9, both of which are seriously impressive marks that were up there for tops in the entire event. His athleticism translated into production, which helped him earn a commitment to Iowa shortly following the high-profile event.


Taylor Kilps LHP / Whitnall, WI / 2022

While raw overall, Kilps’ ability to reach his fastball into the upper-80s is so rare a trait that he offers substantial upside at the next level inside a projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. The fastball has repeatedly reached 86 mph with natural arm-side action, though the slider is still in development. Still, his athletic, quick, loose arm and present velocity is not easy to come by, which helped the lefty land a top-20 spot in this update.


Jonathan Kim OF / Brookfield Academy, WI / 2022

There just aren’t many prospects around with as exciting a toolset as the one Kim possesses. The left/left prospect is still putting it all together, but there’s already a lot to like. He’s a 6.59 runner inside an especially strong, athletic 5-foot-11, 180-pound physique that produces above-average bat speed rates and bat strength. He repeats his smooth left-handed swing well, with barrel feel, and he bursts out of the box. A center fielder type, Kim ranges around the outfield fluidly and he’s also reached 88 mph on his throws home. There’s another level of upside to untap here, too, so we’re excited to see what another offseason looks like for the Brookfield Academy prospect.

 

Ragan Pinnow 3B / River Falls , WI / 2022

At a physical, athletic 6-foot, 190 pounds, Pinnow repeats a strong right-handed swing effectively, while making sound contact to all fields. It’s a simple swing that works with above-average bat speed and bat-to-ball skills. Defensively, Pinnow looks the part of a reliable third baseman, with soft hands and natural actions for the position. Pinnow has a likable, well-rounded profile, and he hails from a part of the state that’s consistently producing follow talent. 


Torin Byrnes RHP / Tremper, WI / 2022

The long-levered and lanky 6-foot-5, 185-pound righty has a quick, loose arm that produces mid-80s fastballs that can jump on hitters with its above-average spin rates, measured in the 2,300 rpm range, per TrackMan. Up to 87 mph this summer, Byrnes has also showed the signs of viable offspeed: an above-average changeup and a work-in-progress breaking ball. He was highly effective for his high school as only a freshman, and we’re hoping he gets the chance to operate as the ace again for Tremper next spring.


Kolton Schaller 2B / SS / Mount Horeb, WI / 2022

Schaller is an athletic middle infielder who attended the PBR Future Games as a member of Team Select’s roster, where he produced offensively for the squad. His twitchy left-handed bat finds the barrel often with the use of his athletic, loose hands. He projects as a bat-first second baseman with more upside to gain offensively as he continues to develop.


Jaicee Foster OF / GREEN BAY Southwest, WI / 2022

Like many others on this list, Foster represented Wisconsin as a member of Team Select at the PBR Future Games. Up four spots in the ‘22 rankings, Foster is a sneaky good athlete who swings a fast, loud right-handed bat. He’s capable of really growing into some significant power, as he already shows some over-the-fence pop in batting practice. He’s a 7.29 runner and projects best defensively in left field, but he can grow into an asset at the position.


Thomas Harper RHP / Wauwatosa East, WI / 2022

Harper was one arm, in particular, who consistently shoved in our multiple looks this summer. Standing at a highly projectable 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Harper has demonstrated a feel to pitch already with the stuff he’s got, and he continued to show off more velocity as the summer went on. He comfortably works in the 82-85 mph range, up to 86, with feel for his slider and change. The slider projects especially well, with tighter action than the curve he also throws, and the changeup features some late-arm side break. He repeats his loose, quick arm well and there’s reason to think he can climb inside these rankings again come next update.


Benjamin Lee RHP / Amherst, WI / 2022

Like Harper, Lee projects especially well as a 6-foot-6, 195-pound righty. What stands out about Lee is just how far he’s come in a short period of time. We got our first look at him this winter in the Fox Cities where he was up to 84 mph, but he’s only gotten better since, refining his arsenal and making it work in-game. He’s been up to 87 mph since while attacking the zone, more often sitting 82-84, regularly going to a sinking changeup and above-average (though raw) breaking ball. Lee has a lot going for him and he could leap up this board again after another diligent offseason.

MORE RISERS

+ Aaron Jungers, LHP, Madison Memorial: An athletic, quick-armed lefty who was just up to 84 mph at the PBR Midwest Fall Championships, Jungers has some upside in the tank that has him trending back up in this state’s class, now ranked No. 40 overall.

+ Camdin Jansen, SS, Racine Lutheran: Jansen projects especially well with his athletic 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. He’s shown us some really advanced defensive actions as a shortstop, with arm strength to go along with it, and he’s a 7.09 runner. He swings a level, short right-handed bat with some bat speed and some potential to grow offensively as he adds strength.

+ Caleb Guden, SS, Medford: It was a very productive summer for Guden, who swung a hot bat while playing an above-average shortstop. He’s a switch-hitter with an athletic swing and barrel feel which enhances his profile as a developing, but smooth, defender.

+ Josh DeGroot, 2B/SS, Union Grove: There’s some upside to keep an eye on in DeGroot’s 6-foot, 165-pound build. He’s athletic and he swings a loose right-handed bat with above-average bat speed who’s been known to find the barrel repeatedly. Defensively, he’s a middle infielder with sure hands and easy actions, and he’s been up to 88 mph across the diamond.

+ Sam Dodd, RHP/3B, Hortonville: Dodd’s physical 6-foot-4, 195-pound stature suggests there’s velocity to come, and that’ll only enhance what’s become a real feel to pitch. Presently, Dodd has been effective in the 80-82 mph range with above-average spin rates from an over-the-top slot that tends to get on hitters. He can spin a 12/6 breaking ball, too, that’s recorded spin rates in the 2,200 range. Dodd also swings a fast bat with bat strength, and he moves well for his size.

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