Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown: No. 7 Waterloo

By Sean Duncan
 Executive Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 25 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:

Jordan McFarland
          OF Jordan McFarland

Team: Waterloo
Preseason Rank:

2015 Record: 24-12
Mississippi Valley
IHSA Class:
Head Coach:
Mark Vogel

Playoff Run: Regional Championship
2015 Final Rank: Not Ranked
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 6


Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Tyler McAllister, RHP, 2016 (Missouri State)
Jordan McFarland, OF, 2016 (Arkansas)
Erik Kaiser, RHP, 2017 (Vanderbilt)
Noah Thaggard, RHP, 2016 (Kaskaskia CC)
Kane Osterhage, SS, 2016
Cole Milam, RHP, 2016 (Jefferson College)
Ben Maurer, RHP/INF, 2017
Quinten Albrecht, C, 2018
Cole Kaiping, LHP/OF, 2016

OF Jordan McFarland. The physical 6-foot-4, 225-pound Arkansas recruit transferred to Waterloo after three seasons at small-school Gibault Catholic. McFarland is widely considered the best right-handed hitter in Illinois’ 2016 class and one of the top prospects in the Midwest. He possesses the rare speed-power combination, and his presence should greatly enhance the pitching-rich Bulldogs. As a junior at Gibault, McFarland batted ..442 with six doubles, five triples and eight homers. He finished with 42 RBI, a .907 slugging percentage, 10 stolen bases while earning PBR third-team All-State honors.

Quinten Albrecht. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound left-handed hitting sophomore catcher should make an impact this spring.

RHP/1B Tyler McAlister is heading to Missouri State for his prowess on the mound. But the athletic 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior made an impact at the plate last spring, batting .458 with six doubles, seven home runs, 33 RBI and 14 walks. On the mound, the hard-throwing McAlister posted a 3-3 record with 38 strikeouts in 34 innings.

The Bulldogs start the season in the Top 25 for the first time since the Prep Baseball Report’s inception in 2005. And not just in the Top 25; Waterloo should be the favorite to win the Class 3A state championship. That’s because coach Mark Vogel’s roster is loaded with high-level prospects. The Bulldogs are especially dominant on the mound, what with three right-handers that can pitch into the 90s in RHP Tyler McAlister (Missouri State), junior Erik Kaiser (Vanderbilt) and senior Cole Milam (Jefferson College). The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Kaiser, who also is a switch-hitting 3B, only threw two innings last spring but he is widely considered one of the top junior prospects in the Midwest. Milam, at a hulking 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, is also a hard-thrower. In all, the Bulldogs return six pitchers with experience, including senior RHP Noah Thaggard, a mid-80s Kaskaskia JC recruit who posted a 5-3 record with a 3.04 ERA, junior RHP Ben Maurer, and senior LHP Cole Kaiping. Positionally, Waterloo welcomes back six starters from last year’s 24-win club. But the big addition - and ultimately what makes it a state-title contender - is the addition of senior OF Jordan McFarland, an Arkansas recruit who brings middle-of-the-lineup thunder. McFarland gives the Bulldogs a dynamic offensive threat to pair with its pitching. Along with McFarland, senior SS Kane Osterhage returns to anchor the middle infield, in addition to McAlister, Kaiser and Kaiping. Positional depth is the chief concern.

The Bulldogs certainly have the high-level pitching depth to win the Class 3A state championship. Whether they have the big-game experience and moxie to pull it off remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, Waterloo will look imposing coming off the bus.

Make sure to follow @pbrillinois on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.


Preseason Top 25 Team Countdown Previews 

Updated Illinois 2016 Rankings

Complete Illinois High School Schedules