Prep Baseball Report

PBR Fall Championships 17U Preview

By Shooter Hunt
National Crosschecker

The dust has settled from a busy summer season, and prospects all over the country have begun making fall visits, and sometimes, commitments. While some have decided their collegiate path, other future, impact players are still determined to showcase their abilities in front of coaches and recruiters throughout the fall. The inaugural PBR Fall Championships kicks off, perhaps, the most heavily recruited period of the year where coaches take all the notes and names that they gathered throughout the summer, and get one more look before the winter takes hold.

National Supervisor, Nathan Rode, previewed the 18U division of the event with some probable 2018 MLB draft picks in attendance, here. The 17U division looks equally as impressive on paper, and many of the standouts from the Future Games will be back at Grand Park to, hopefully, pick up where they left off.

The Minnesota Blizzard is stacked with nearly the entire roster from Team Minnesota from the Future Games. 2019 RHP Will Frisch, a TCU recruit, and 2020 RHP Max Carlson, a North Carolina recruit, headline the big names on the roster, but there are other impact, uncommitted players that college coaches will be more interested with. 2019 LHP Ryan Sleeper (Lakeville North HS, MN) oozes projection. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound, long-limbed southpaw has run his fastball up to 89 mph in the past, and creates a downward plane from his high ¾ slot. Another big arm from Minnesota is 2019 RHP Ben Pedersen (Duluth Marshall HS, MN). At 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, the big right-hander looks the part of a future workhorse starter, and has a high ceiling. Eyes will be locked on their outings, which will give 2019 SS Noah Dehne (Minehaha Academy, MN) and 2019 SS Dalton McNamara (Centennial HS, MN) a chance to continue showing off their steady play. Dehne is a player who does everything right, and while his measurables do not jump off the page, his continued growth will make him a valuable player at the next level. McNamara’s twitchy hands at the plate and in the field make him one of the top uncommitted infielders in the 2019 class. He has smooth hands and a quick first step that should attract multiple collegiate suitors.

The talent from Illinois will be on full display throughout the weekend. The Midwest Rangers will roll out two of the bigger arms in the 2019 class in RHP Tyler Schlaffer (Homewood-Flossmoor HS, IL), fresh off an outstanding showing at the Future Games where he ran his fastball up to 91 mph, and showed off advanced feel for an above average changeup. The Illinois-Chicago recruit has a wiry frame that has room to add much more strength which should allow his velocity to climb even higher in the near future. RHP Kyle Wisch (Hinsdale Central HS, IL) will bring his 89 mph fastball and future swing and miss 12/6 breaking ball to Indianapolis. The sturdy, 6-foot-4, 198-pounder should have college recruiters imagining him starting for their programs. For the Top Tier Underclass team, 2019 RHP Michael Gurka (Joliet Catholic HS, IL) will look to build off of his outing at the Future Games where he was one of the most talked about players amongst college coaches. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander was up to 88 mph with his fastball while showcasing a sharp, late-breaking, swing and miss slider that allowed him to strike out the side in his first inning of work. Also in attendance will be Arkansas commit, RHP Nathan Rintz (Schaumburg HS, IL), whose loose, lanky frame, and powerful arm give him one of the bigger upsides of any player at the event. Teammate, RHP Grant Leader (Lyons Township, IL), an Illinois recruit, should continue to show off the bulldog mentality, and advanced pitchability, along with some of the best command of a breaking ball that make him one of the better arms in the 2019 class.

The SF Giants Scout Team Underclass will roll out an impressive roster that features multiple commits. 2019 RHP Reese Sharp (Noblesville HS, IN), and Indiana recruit, figures to continue a tradition of big arms from the state, and was up to 89 mph throughout the summer while showing off future starter type stuff. 2019 1B Blayne Robinson (Defiance HS, OH), a Louisville commit, already shows off power from the left side while still continuing to fill out his 6-foot-5 frame. Keep an eye on 2020 OF Grant Trinkle (Columbus North HS, IN). The athletic outfielder ran a 6.74 60-yard dash at the Future Games, and showed off a balanced approach at the plate while playing with tons of energy at all times.

Continuing the trend of big arms from Indiana, the Indiana Bulls will roll out a couple of their own including 2019 RHP Sam Fulton (Hamilton Heights HS, IN), a 6-foot-9, 220-pounder who gets on top of hitters while working up to 87 mph, and 2020 LHP Tyler Nemtuda (Chesterton HS, IN) whose quick left arm allows him to run his fastball up to 85 mph with much more on the way. 2019 INF Xavier Haediges (Salem HS, IN) was excellent in the field at the Future Games, and will give the Bulls a chance to win the tournament with his continued work up the middle.

Playing for the Evoshield Canes Midwest team, and fresh off his commitment to Notre Dame, 2020 LHP/OF Ryan Lynch (Penn HS, IN) will continue to show off the athleticism that makes him one of the top players in the class. Joining him will be 2020 RHP Cole Gilley (Columbus East HS, IN) whose big, tight, 12/6 breaking ball is one of the top pitches in the class, as well as 2020 RHP Casper Clark (Columbus North, IN), and Indiana recruit, whose 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame stands out on the mound with an easy, repeatable delivery, and a fastball that has been up to 87 mph.

While the 2021 class is still getting acquainted to its new high school halls, C Austin Bode (Columbus North HS, IN) has already made a name for himself on the national scene. The Evoshield Canes Midwest 2021 left-handed hitting backstop showed off pop at the Future Games while handling some of the best arms in the country.