Prep Baseball Report

Q&A With Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Commit Ryan Niedzwiedz

By: Peter Hamot
Area Scout, Staff Writer

When looking at the talented crop of infielders within the state's 2023 class, one of the names that stands out is INF Ryan Niedzwiedz (West Aurora, 2023; SIUE commit). Listed at 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, the left-handed hitter has a knack for punishing baseballs and recording exit velocities over 90 mph (101.8 mph max exit velocity). On the other side of the ball, Niedzwiedz shows steady actions that should allow him to stick on the infield moving forward - also boasting a well above-average arm across the diamond (T90 mph). The raw power Niedzwiedz possesses makes for an intriguing prospect on it's own, and he will surely look to play a large role in his high school team's success this coming spring. 

We recently had the opportunity to talk to the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville commit about his recruiting process, as well as some other topics mixed in along the way. 

Our Q&A

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Ryan: My expectations about the recruiting process was basically I knew that it won't be a quick process. I knew that some schools would contact me and I knew that I just had to keep in contact and be patient for the school that was best for me. The biggest thing I was looking for out of a college program would be how their development was. I wanted to pick the school that had a very good development program so that they can make me the greatest player I can be.

P: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

R: It did not because I knew that if it was the right school to go to, my goals are big so I would have to take that risk and go there.

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Where did the school you committed to first see you play?

R: The recruiting process really started to heat up for me in summer ball. I didn't have many schools contacting me before that, and as soon as I started to play summer ball, schools were rolling in. 

P: What do you like most about the program you chose, and what were the key factors in making your decision?

R: What I like the most about SIUE is their development. Out of all the schools I visited, I felt their development process was the best out of all of them. Some more key factors was I love the coach there. He is a really nice coach that is very easy to get along with. It's not super far away from where I live, and it is not the biggest of the big schools.

P: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

R: Other schools that were on my final list were Purdue, John A. Logan, Wabash and Fort Scott.

P: Who is the best player you have faced in your state? What about them makes for a tough opponent?

R: The best player I faced in Illinois was probably Ashton Izzi. What makes him tough is he throws hard and has a good off-speed pitch. So as a hitter he has the two things that a pitcher needs to take down the hitter.

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

R: I realized that I wanted to play college when I was nine in my first year of travel baseball. I've always had a dream ever since then of playing in college or even the big leagues.

P: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

R: I would just say if you want to play at the next level, work as hard as you can to be the best player you can be. Work every day and get one percent better and your goal will come.

P: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

R: The most memorable moment in my baseball career is when I hit a walk off home run for my high school team against a very good team when we were struggling. I was a sophomore on varsity and everyone was going crazy.

P: Preview your high school team's season for us. How do you feel your team will be?

R: I feel we could be solid this year. Our past problems have been our ability to hold the leads and I think we are upgrading in pitching so I think we could be solid.

P: If you could steal any tool or quality from another player in the state, what would it be and who would it be from?

R: If I could steal any tool from another player it would be J.R Nelson's fielding, or Brayden Bakes' speed.

P: Who is the next talented young player to keep an eye on out of your high school or travel program?

R: The next talented player out of my high school would be Colin Tarr. He's a pitcher that has disgusting off-speed pitches and has nasty spin rates on every pitch; he also has topped out at 90 mph.

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