Starting 9: Crosscheck Swings


By Tell Taylor
Scouting Director, PBR Wisconsin

After a long weekend at the PBR Midwest Fall Championships, Sept. 10-12, we're taking a unique look at some of Wisconsin’s best bats who featured at this Grand Park tourney in Westfield, Ind. The following content will offer recap, scout talk, and some casual swing thoughts. I’m planning to generate more detailed opinions on offensive philosophy in this piece down the line. For now, we’ll move slowly into the opinionated suggestive lens.

STARTING 9

+ While representing Hitters Baseball, Illinois senior C Hayden Christiansen (Richmond-Burton; Xavier commit) came ready to swing it. He’s established himself as one of the most reliable sluggers in the upper Midwest this year. His slower days are loud, and his hot days are even louder. Every game I’ve seen him play results with at least one ball being obliterated. Not a lot of teenagers make the deep ball look this easy. The box presence is rather intimidating for the high school level. Standing wide and crouched with spaced elbows. I’ve never seen him get tied up on the inside half. Perhaps this is due to the spacing he creates between the elbows, and the space he leaves between his arms and his body. He makes an up-down stride that transitions from a bit closed to square, and wastes no time delivering the barrel to impact. If you don’t know what number he wears, listen for a loud crack of the bat, followed by an audible grunt. Christiansen has made me a real believer in his bat, and I’d love to see it against the best pitching on a daily basis. He offers Sammy Sosa enthusiasts an outlet to reminisce.


Mitchell Voit 3B / RHP / Whitefish Bay, WI / 2022

You could make a strong argument that Voit, a Michigan recruit, has been the most productive and versatile athlete throughout Wisconsin this year. To put simply, there’s nothing he can’t do on the diamond and his manner of execution comes with ease. He starts and wins the biggest games for his unit on the mound, as well as carries a big stick to the plate while holding down the hot corner. Here, we’ll focus on the appeal to his offensive offering. Voit has become a respected run-producer in the middle of a very dangerous ‘22 lineup. Setting up wide and athletic with comfortable hands, striding with a no-nonsense, up-down action. His path is flat, and the attack is direct with barrel quickness. One aspect of the swing that I find attractive is his ability to “close the gap” quickly upon heel plant. It’s become the norm to see Voit drill line shots off the wall with great frequency, even while he mows down opposing lineups on the mound.

(9/11/21)

Kyle Schupmann SS / 3B / Luther Prep, WI / 2022

Schupmann, a Cincinnati commit, was one of the more impressive players in attendance last weekend. He continues to stir curiosity from evaluators in recent looks. He’s shown high body awareness on both sides of the ball, and contributes very meaningfully in the box. Looking at his at-bats from Sunday, it becomes obvious he understands what to do, and when to do it. He steps in with confidence and utilizes a relaxed and athletic setup. When the count’s in his favor, he lets it fly. Evidenced by three loud batted balls in the game. He took very grounded swings that featured quiet rhythm, and little eye movement. He went for two doubles down the line that remind me of a “cheat swing” style often utilized when learning to handle premium velocity. Later in the game, he showed the ability to get the job done. With two strikes, and runners on second and first, he elevated a ball to the track in center to advance the runners 90 feet. Schupmann looks like a player with the foundation to succeed at the next level.


Will Vierling C / Homestead, WI / 2022

It’s good to see the top backstop in Wisconsin get back on the field after being sidelined by injury. Since seeing him resurface at July's 17U PBR at The Rock Championships, it appears as if Vierling (Louisville) is back at full strength. He showed well at the at Grand Park and wasted no time getting going offensively. His first at-bat of the weekend resulted in a well struck ground-rule double deep in the alley. It was great to see some easy pop off the lumber which carried with true flight. He’s a very dense body with strong hands. He gets into a comfortable setup with his hands relaxed, and the barrel close to his neck. The rhythm is small and quiet, and packs a punch in a direct attack to the baseball. I’ve seen a natural tendency to attack from inside and use the opposite field. Recently, there's been more pop as he gets more comfortable returning from injury. Vierling appears to be seeing the ball very well, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his offense transitions well to the college game quickly.

(9/10/21)

MICHAEL LIPPEOF / Whitefish bay, WI / 2022

First thing that stands out about Lippe, a Louisville commit, is his premium physique. He’s one of the more impressive physical specimens at the amateur level. The setup is balanced and relaxed in the box. He coils into his back hip quietly, and produces professional sounding batted balls when he really connects. From his recent looks, he’s been able to use the whole field with high exits, and show some speed turning first to second on extra base hits. There’s plenty of upside here, and we’re all interested to see what it’ll look like when he closes in on his ceiling.

(9/17/21)

Alec campbell
C / 1B / MILTON, WI / 2022

Standing at every bit of 6-foot-2, Campbell – who's still uncommitted – provides an interesting offering. Over a number of looks this summer, he’s performed enough with the bat to keep evaluators coming back for more. Another large frame standing tall in the box with an open stance. He generates enough power to drive balls out of the yard, and shows a willingness to take what he’s given situationally as well. Alec looks like a guy who can rotate positionally, and provide some pull juice to the middle of a lineup.


Caleb karll
OF / C / Madison west, WI / 2023

Karll has been rising as one of the names to know coming out of Wisconsin. He’s taken swings this year that’ve impressed the right people. The top uncommitted position player in the state's '23 class has the physical maturity you’d expect to see from a high school linebacker. Strong and dense to his frame, he stands tall in the box. Relaxed in his rhythm, he shifts from open to square with a toe tap. Karll exemplifies a controlled move getting into his plant leg before uncorking powerful hacks. The path covers all parts of the zone, as well as stays on offspeed with maturity. There’s nothing he can’t do in the box. Recently it appears like he’s cranked up the intent level and is producing larger distances than ever. He’s also doing this without exposing his swing and approach to vulnerability. Karll is well on his way to becoming an impact performer at the next level.


J.D. DIx
SS / 3B / Whitefish bay, WI / 2024

Dix is the youngest feature in this offensive piece. This switch-hitting youngster, has already begun growing into some pop. Although his opportunities at Grand Park provided a lot of topped batted balls, we’ve been seeing balls off the wall in competition, and balls leaving the yard in the practice setting off a three wheel. Both sides of the box offer athleticism, size, and enough bat speed to project big things may arrive. In the right-handed box, Dix offers a very rotational attack with high degrees of intent. When hitting left-handed, he looks to present a more directional barrel path through impact, with bat-to-ball feel, and a tick less intent. If the juice in the box follows the juice in the arm, this’ll be a name to know the rest of the way.


+ Additionally, prior to the start of last weekend's PBR Midwest Fall Championships, the tourney featured some JUCO action inside the Puma Classic that pitted some of the most talented JUCO players in the region against one another in exhibition play. We caught a brief glimpse at the gameplay ourselves, including the former Sussex Hamilton stand-out, INF Zach Storbakken (sophomore; uncommitted), who was one of NJCAA Region IV's most productive hitters in 2021 for Madison JC. Storbakken is a strong, broad shouldered uncommitted JUCO name to continue following. After his impressive first year for the Wolfpack, Storbakken is back to competing with alongside a loaded Madison JC roster. At the Puma Classic, he stood out again while featuring a swing that provides some of the easiest lofted pop around. In the clip below, he mishits a two-strike pitch deep into a breezy headwind. Storbakken is the kind of bat that might not make it to a four year with a few trackable improvements in his sophomore campaign.

(9/11/21)

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