Prep Baseball Report

PBR at The Rock 15U: Day 2 Quick Hits

By Wisconsin Staff

A jam-packed Day 2 at The Rock featured some exciting action and revealed some more follow prospects for our Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota.

After our short and quick Day 1, we published a list of highlights inside our Quick Hits post. You'll find the Day 2 Quick Hits below.

+ Chicago Elite threw two high-ceiling arms in the first game of the day; RHP’s Ryan Hussey (Providence Catholic, IL; 2023) and DJ Helwig (St. Laurence, IL; 2023). Hussey solidified his status as one of the top 2023 arms we have seen to date in Illinois. Hussey boasts a 6-foot, 165-pound, wide-shouldered, durable frame with athleticism throughout. He comes from a stretch-only delivery, stays closed down the mound, repeats and pitches with rhythm and ultra-easy effort. Hussey’s arm works clean and quick from a high ¾ slot. Fastball comes out of the hand clean and easy, angle at times, high-volume of strikes with late finish through the zone; sat mostly 82-83 mph throughout, touching 84 a handful of times. Hussey also showed off an above-average breaking ball, working out of the same window as his fastball, with short, late action at 71-73 mph. Easy to imagine the curveball turning into a hard slider down the road, which will only elevate the offering. Hussey was able to land it for strikes early in the count and expand with two strikes. Also, a right-handed hitter, Hussey hit the first home run of the weekend taking a pitch up in the zone and launching it deep over the left-field fence. High-follow uncommitted 2023 right-handed pitcher with current polish and high-ceiling potential.

Helwig has a 6-foot-4, 165-pound, high-waisted, high-ceiling arm that looks to be just scratching the surface of his potential. The arm works long, clean and quick out front, showcasing the ability to pitch to the glove-side with his fastball early in the outing. Control became more scattered as the outing went on but his fastball sat anywhere 82-84 mph throughout, touching 85 and gets late arm-side-run and sink at times. Would be really interesting to see Helwigs’ perceived velocity numbers on the TrackMan B1 unit, given how far he gets down the mound at foot strike; as well as his high front side adding deception. When he was at his best he was out front, finishing his offerings and the fastball seemed to play up from the already impressive velocity. Helwig has a chance to be a power arm in Illinois down the road. 

Another arm to keep an eye on for Chicago Elite 15U is RHP Matt Sauser (Normal U-High, 2023). Sauser has an upside, 5-foot-11, 150-pound frame, clean easy arm that works from a ¾ to high ¾ slot and filled up the strike zone in his outing. Sauser sat comfortably at 78-80 mph, touching 81 and mixed in a low-70’s sweeping breaking ball.

Positionally, left-handed hitting CF Sam Gurgone (Marist, IL) and INF Charalambos Nicoloudes (Naperville Central, IL) are follows in the 2023 class. Despite uneven results, Gurgone has a loose, athletic swing, keeps the barrel through the zone a long time and has fluid actions to his overall game. Nicoloudes, is a 6-foot, 172-pound, wide-shouldered, physical, right-handed hitter with bat strength. Nicoloudas has natural lift in his swing and the ball jumps off the barrel when on time.

+ In the first game of the day, Raiders Baseball Academy was led by Owen Piazza (Sycamore, IL, 2023) and SS Ryan Quinlan (Huntley, IL, 2023). Piazza has seen his velocity tick up slightly from the winter (73-75, T76 mph) to 76-78 mph in today’s outing. The loose arm right-hander mixed in a steady set of 65-67 mph breaking balls and ended up striking out nine in 4.2 innings pitched. The left-handed-hitting Quinlan led off for the Raiders and has a confident, relaxed look in the box from a slightly crouched setup with minimal pre-pitch movement. Quinlan understands the strike zone, stays short, direct to the ball and controls the barrel. Defensively, he flashed fluid actions and steady hands.

+ ISA Stars Royal opened up their tournament action strong with a great team showing against Phenom Wisconsin to start the day. Starter RHP Cole Bensen (Bay Port, 2023) was greatly effective in his outing, and came out sitting in the 80-82 mph range while spinning a sweeping breaking ball that earned some chases. He’s an athletic 5-foot-11, and it shows in his motion, as he repeated well with a loose, quick arm that produced a fastball that carried through the zone. The team also provided our staff with some key names to know through the weekend, too, some new and some familiar. SS John Kinzinger (De Pere, 2023) is a follow prospect in basketball but is becoming the same on the diamond. He played a savvy and smooth shortstop, ranging well side to side with a quick first step each way, and he also roped a deep double to the left field fence in game one, with a loose, whippy right-handed bat. His partner up the middle, Landen Lozier (Notre Dame Academy, 2023) is a small but live athlete with excellent all around actions. He’s a fluid defender who fits in perfectly at second base, and he swings an athletic left-handed bat worth keeping an eye.

+ Left-handed hitting SS Tanner Recchio (Lakeville North, MN; 2023) is the table setter at the top of the order for NorthStar Baseball. During the day’s first slot of games, Recchio finished 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. Recchio has quick hands, stays inside the baseball, has feel for the barrel and sprays the baseball to all fields.

+ Naperville Renegades RHP Jake Lavine (Metea Valley, IL; 2023) got the start in their first game of the tournament. Lavine, listed at 5-foot-9, 150-pounds, has a long, clean arm from a high ¾ window and sat 80-82 mph for much of his outing. He gets late arm-side-run, showed control in the zone and challenged hitters throughout. His out-pitch was a 66 mph curveball with 11/5 shape. Looking at the Renegades position players, left-handed-hitting shortstop Josh Wenz (Neuqua Valley, IL; 2023) is one to watch the rest of the weekend. Wenz, listed at 5-foot-11, 155-pounds, finished 1-for-2 out of the three-hole with an RBI and a run scored. He starts from a slightly crouched setup, stays quiet and has a short, uphill path. 

+ One of the strongest arms of the tournament so far belongs to RHP Logan Barnett (Pontiac, IL; 2023) who got the start for Go Pro. Barnett is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 210-pounds and features a strong arm that works from a high ¾ slot to over-the-top slot. His fastball sat 82-84 mph for much of the outfing with heavy, late boring action. The curveball varies in shape and action and sat 70-72 mph. Given his frame and arm speed, Barnett warrants a high-follow status moving forward.

+ Illinois Premier has plenty of upside frames and intriguing prospects across the board but C Joseph Pender (Lemont, IL; 2023) and 3B/C Nolan Zurawski (Minooka, IL; 2023) stood out in their game on Friday. Pender is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound, right-handed hitter who creates easy bat speed and the ball jumps off the barrel. Pender lined a single back up the middle in his first at-bat of the day and followed up with a triple to deep center field that looked like it may clear the fence when it left the bat. 

C/3B Zurawski stood out as a catcher last night, third baseman today and with his bat both days. The right-handed hitter has taken numerous competitive at-bats, tracks pitches deep into the zone, stays on balance, creates bat speed and is consistently on the barrel. Zurawski flew out to deep center field in his first at-bat and then lined a sharp single through the left-side later in the game. High-follow 2023 prospect.

+ RHP/SS Vidal Colon (Grafton, 2023) started on the bump for the Midwest Halos against Pro Player Canes and turned in a solid outing. He sat 77-79 mph, touching 80 mph and holding it late into his outing. Colon continuously went to his slider and was comfortable throwing it as both an outpitch and early in counts. He’s also shown well at the plate thus far into the tournament, taking some intentful swings and consistently finding the barrel. Colon has solidified himself as a follow name in Wisconsin’s 2023 class. 

+ SS Ethan Thulin (Downers Grove North, IL; 2023) had a day at the plate for Hounds Baseball. Helping his team to two victories, Thulin went 6-for-8 in the leadoff spot. He concluded the day with five singles, a double, and four RBIs. Thulin has a line-drive approach at the plate with a level and quick swing. Defensively, he is very agile and has soft hands and a loose arm, fit for the middle of the infield. Thulin’s three RBIs in game two against Fastball Elite was matched by teammate Anthony Titone (Downers Grove South, IL; 2023), who slugged a home run in the ballgame.

+ NorthStar Neon squared off against Top Tier Nationals today, and the tone was set by starter RHP Sawyer Hoffman (Farmington HS, MN; 2023). Hoffman utilized his fastball to control the game. Inducing plenty of swings and misses, his fastball sat 79-82 mph through his 3.1 innings of work, punching out five. He flashed a couple different offspeed pitches, however the fastball alone would have been enough for Hoffman today. NorthStar Neon edged out Top Tier, 5-4. 

+ LHP Jack Thompson (Rosemount, MN; 2023) of the Minnesota’s MASH was in complete control all day. With his smooth delivery and repeatable mechanics, Thompson worked his fastball from 75-78 mph while also mixing in a 70 mph changeup. He led the charge for the Mash, shutting down Illinois Steel. Thompson registered a complete game shutout; 5 IP, 2 H, 7 K.

+ CBT Wolfpack got in their first pair of game of the weekend on Friday night and they sent out a pair of interesting arms in Wisconsin’s ‘23 class: RHPs Thomas Burns (Hortonville) and Devin Mrozek (Stevens Point Area). Burns is a tall, lanky righty who delivers the ball to home with a little funk, and the steep angle out of the hand generated a little tilt, at 78-82 mph, touching a couple 83s early – and he launched a homer in game two. Mrozek clearly has some innate arm strength and a quick arm, and he’s just beginning to harness it right now. He’s a stocky/strong 5-foot-11, 180-pound righty who was living anywhere between 78-82 mph, up to 83, with an inconsistent curveball that got sharper as he settled in. Doing the catching for these two was Maxwell Kalk (Kimberly, 2023) who’s becoming a premium prospect in the state’s incoming sophomore class. The left-handed-hitting backstop is an advanced receiver, coddling pitches in and around the strike zone comfortably and confidently, and he threw out a pair of baserunners – popping a 2.19 in-between innings and a 2.10 in-game. Kalk also operated as CBT’s lead-off man for both games, swinging a fast, loose lefty bat with a patient and keen eye for the zone.

+ Edge Baseball’s 1B Michael Comber (Verona Area, 2023) had himself a day in their two games. In their first game against Hounds Baseball, Comber tallied a pair of big hits. During his first at-bat, Comber took a two-strike fastball to left field for a two-run single. Later on, with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Comber singled up the middle to keep the inning alive. In Edge’s second game, Comber continued added to his hit total by collecting another three hits. In his first at-bat of game two, Comber turned on a first-pitch fastball for a ground-rule double. During his second at-bat in a full count, Comber singled to center that actually scored three runners, emptying the bases. To end his day, Comber singled again to center to score another pair of baserunners for Edge.

+ PTA Cardinal’s William Hyland (Oak Creek, 2023) swung a hot bat during his game against Go Pro 2023 Shelley at Milkmen Field. In the first, Hyland plated the first run for his team by beating out an infield single to the shortstop. In his second at bat, with a man in scoring position, Hyland roped a triple to the right-center gap. With his final at bat of the game, Hyland came to the box with a runner on first and second and a full count, Hyland hit a fastball to right field for a double and scored two more runs. 

+  AJ Trabert (Rosemount, MN; 2023) of MN STARTERS went 3-for-3 today against P2P Millers in the early evening. In Trabert's first at-bat, he roped a double to left field to start the bottom of the second and later went onto score. With the bases loaded for his second at bat, Trabert singled up the middle to score one run and later on crossed the plate himself. To end his night with two runners in scoring position, Trabert once again with another single to score both runs.