Wisconsin Class of 2022 Rankings: Newcomers


By Diego Solares
Wisconsin Staff

Last week, we updated the state’s Class of 2022 Rankings, detailing the changes and most recent reports on the top-10 juniors in Wisconsin. This was the most well-represented class across our winter showcase circuit, which made for a busy update with movement up and down the board – we broke down the juniors on the rise on Thursday, and we’re highlighting the players making their debuts on the rankings today.

TOP OF THE CLASS

Nate Snead RHP / OF / South Milwaukee, WI / 2022

Snead made an emphatic leap up to No. 12 overall on the state’s updated rankings list after an impressive performance at the Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Snead is a quick-twitch 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete that threw one of the loudest bullpens we saw all winter, as he worked around the zone with a 91-92 mph fastball, topping out at 93 – a 10 mph increase from since we saw him last June at our All-State Games event. Though Snead is still fully refining his offspeed, it’s an explosive arsenal that currently has him slotted as one of the top uncommitted arms in Wisconsin’s junior class.

Nate Snead (3/21/21)

Nolan Klug RHP / Menomonee Falls, WI / 2022

Klug is built at a physical 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame and he came out hot in his bullpen at the Madison Preseason I.D., using his size to consistently pump fastballs in at 87-90 mph. It’s a pitch that projects as a swing-and-miss offering because of the steep downhill angle that it plays from, and it can be a weapon for Klug as he continues to refine his secondary pitches. The upside on the mound is undeniable and he's a rising name to know in the state’s 2022 class.

Nolan Klug (3/14/21)

Colin Obermann SS / 2B / Kimberly, WI / 2022

Obermann cemented himself as a high-follow prospect after an impressive all-around performance in his PBR debut at last month’s Madison Preseason I.D., and he’s now ranked the No. 52-ranked ranked junior in the state. He’s a high-level athlete, running an impressive 6.62 in the 60-yard dash, and that athleticism translates up the middle, where he profiles best in the long run. It’s an impressive offensive profile too, with strong hands and bat speed at the plate that repeats a barrel controlled swing that stays inside the baseball – he peppered line-drives to the middle-opposite field when we saw him in March. Still uncommitted, we’re excited to see Obermann throughout the spring as a main staple for the No. 5-ranked Papermakers.

Colin Obermann (3/14/21)

Troy Knutson RHP / Holmen, WI / 2022

We got our first look at the 6-foot, 210-pound right-hander last month, where he made an attention-grabbing first impression to our staff's eyes. There, Knutson located a heavy sinking fastball at 83-86 mph around the zone while reaching back for an 87 high. His changeup plays with hard arm-side action, averaging exactly 15 inches of horizontal movement, and he completes his arsenal with a slurve-type breaking ball that maxed out at 2,300-plus rpm.

Troy Knutson (3/14/21)

Payton Frehner 3B / OF / Waukesha North, WI / 2022

Frehner came away a winner from the Madison Preseason I.D., and the all-around improvements he made throughout the winter vaulted him up to the No. 68 overall spot in our updated class rankings. He added muscle onto a strong 6-foot, 190-pound frame and showed improved athleticism, bringing his 60-yard dash time down from 7.51 seconds to a 6.87. Frehner repeatedly connected on the barrel for hard gap-to-gap contact throughout his round of BP and there’s top-of-the-order potential in his offensive profile.

Payton Frehner (3/14/21)

MORE NEWCOMERS

+ An arrow-up name after the Kenosha Preseason I.D., C Joseph Lagina (Freedom Project Academy) jumped up to No. 72 overall in our state rankings after previously being unranked. He looked stronger there, now built at a sturdy 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame. He swings a strong right-handed bat with twitchy speed, and it helps craft some applicable in-game power potential long-term. His batted-ball metrics were arguably the day’s most impressive, too, as Lagina was responsible for both the farthest (363 feet) and hardest (98.0 mph) hit balls of the day. Defensively, he moves fluidly with above-average actions, and his throws to second were efficient and consistently on target.

+ Built at a lanky 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame that projects, RHP/INF Evan Iwinski (Franklin) makes his rankings’ debut after our recent update. Iwinski saw a noteworthy uptick in his arsenal on the mound at our Milwaukee Preseason I.D. When we saw him in October, Iwinski’s fastball velocity maxed out at 83 mph and that number jumped up five ticks to an 88 high at the MOSH Center, comfortably sitting at 86-87. He’s still harnessing feel for his secondary pitches, but the upside and athleticism on the mound are noteworthy. Iwinski also swings a loose righty bat that’s trending upward; he recorded a max exit speed of 91.4 mph, averaging 84.8, at the MOSH from a really smooth, fluid swing that peppered the middle of the field with line-drive contact. His athleticism works on the infield, and he reached an 85 mph high across the diamond from a loose, quick high ¾ slot. 

+ As a sturdy, broad-shouldered 5-foot-10, 192-pound athlete, RHP/INF James Vargas (Arrowhead) jumps into our rankings at No. 75 after multiple strong showings over the last calendar year. He’s an advanced athlete and moves better than expected, running a 6.92 in the 60-yard dash in March at the Madison Preseason I.D. That athleticism plays on the infield, as he ranges around with fluid/active feet at times while showing soft, sure hands and a strong arm that played at 87 mph across the diamond. With that being said, Vargas might be even better suited on the mound, where he pounds the zone with mid-80s velocity (85.8 mph max), with sinker-type action, and his slider and changeup are thrown with feel, too.

+ RHP Benjamin Kasten (Whitnall) is a physical 6-foot-3, 200-pound arm who showed tremendous strides at the Milwaukee I.D. this past March. Kasten bumped his max fastball velocity up six ticks from when we previously saw him in June, reaching back for an 87 mph high twice and attacking the zone for strikes at 84-86 mph. He’s still fully harnessing his secondary pitches, although his curveball did flash sharp spin and the potential to be his out-pitch when he worked on top of it. The best is yet to come for Kasten and he’s an intriguing uncommitted follow ranked No. 76 overall in the state’s junior class. 

+ From Waunakee, RHP Trevor Stevens slots into our updated rankings at No. 78 overall after an impressive performance on the mound this winter. As a 6-foot, 180-pound athlete, the separator for Stevens is his ability to spin a swing-and-miss curveball that is thrown with intent and features sharp downer action with advanced depth. The go-to offering topped at 75 mph and registered a max spin rate of 2,617 (averaged 2,391 rpm) at the Madison I.D. Stevens’ fastball was thrown for strikes at 82-85 mph as well.

+ Brookfield Central’s OF Luke Wenzel showed well at the Kenosha I.D. this past February and that performance inserted him into the No. 87 overall in our state’s rankings. It’s an upside 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame with room to fill out and lean levers that create some juice off the barrel. He was able to flash that upside strength from the left-handed batter’s box during his BP round, as his best batted ball travelled over 340 feet and left the barrel at 90.4 mph, and he created above-average bat and hand speed too, per the Blast Motion sensor. Wenzel also ranges around the outfield with fluid actions and a loose arm that reached an 83 mph high to home. 

+ RHP Tyler Schmitt (Madison Memorial) has been on our radar since popping up at an event last fall and he’s now ascended up to No. 89 overall on the state’s 2022 board. A 6-foot-2, 165-pound athlete, Schmitt built off a noteworthy 'pen last fall at our Madison event by cruising through his session from the mound. He throws an effortless low-80s fastball – and he climbed into the 85-86 mph range at the end of his 'pen (86.4 max). That velocity increase is up from an 81 mph high that came last October. The loose-levered, easy-armed 2022 should continue to see his velocity spike over the coming years as he continues to fill out his frame.

TOP-100 DEBUTS

+ Max Martin, RHP, Franklin: 6-foot-1, 172-pound athlete that we got our first look at since 2019 this past March. Reached an 84 mph high with his fastball at the Milwaukee Preseason I.D. and occasionally spun a sharp breaking ball for strikes. Lean athleticism and quick arm elicit some upside to monitor.

+ Aiden Haney, INF, Catholic Memorial: A 5-foot-8, 152-pound athlete with a short, compact stroke that works best on a line drive trajectory. Haney’s a 6.89 runner in the 60-yard dash with sure-handed defensive actions that profile best at second base.

+ Salvatore Zizzo, C, Muskego: Muscular 5-foot-11, 190-pound backstop who flashed noticeable bat strength off his right-handed barrel this winter. Quality receiver behind the plate with quick catch-and-throw skills despite average arm strength. 

+ Nolan Kahle, RHP, Brookfield Academy: Projectable 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame. Showed a significant increase in velocity this winter, reaching an 85 mph high with his fastball, spinning at 2,200-plus rpm. Quality pitchability right-hander that competes in-game and throws all three pitches for strikes.

+ Cade Honkamp, INF/OF, Brookfield East: Strong, well-proportioned 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame. Noticeable bat strength and juice off the barrel, profiles as a middle-of-the-order type bat down the road. Showed increased arm strength on defense this winter, reaching an 88 mph high from the infield and maxing out at 90 mph from the outfield. 

+ Dylan O’Connell, INF/RHP, Eau Claire Memorial: Compact 5-foot-10, 175-pound build with athleticism attached. Strong right-handed stroke that makes aggressive line-drive contact, looks the part of a top-of-the-order presence. Up to 85 mph on the mound with a true swing-and-miss splitter, too. Off to a strong start for his high school this spring, the No. 17-ranked Old Abes.

+ Fred Pierce Jr., INF, Brookfield East: Athletic, well-proportioned 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame that’s trimmed down and added strength over the last calendar year. Took one of the louder BP rounds at the West Milwaukee Preseason I.D., and he has shown that advanced raw power a few times this spring in game action, too.

These players are also making their 2022 rankings debuts inside this update: LHP Ashton Michek (Bangor), OF Patrick Schork (Janesville Craig), RHP Charlie McChesney (Verona Area), RHP Ty Sherman (Waukesha West), RHP Gavin Gawronski (Marquette University), and OF Charlie Marion (Franklin).

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