Prep Baseball Report

Fox Cities Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Wisconsin Staff

On Sunday, the PBR Wisconsin team made its annual trip north to the Appleton area to host the Fox Cities Preseason I.D. Every year, this event helps us identify some of the state’s top prospects residing in Oshkosh, Green Bay, Hortonville, Sheboygan and everywhere in between. This year, the Players Choice facility was packed for this sold-out event, where 160 prospects gathered to participate, many of them for the first time at PBR showcase.

Today, we’re taking the time to parse through our notes to pull out the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s busy showcase. Our rapid analysis can be found below, but stay tuned, because tomorrow we’ll be taking a look at the event’s top statistical performers.



+ One of the day’s biggest winner was Bay Port’s Gavin Rusch (uncommitted), a huge 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-hander with long, lean limbs, though he added some strength to his frame since we saw him this time last year. After topping 83 mph at this same event last winter, Rusch topped 88 mph twice in his ‘pen, on a steep plane to home, sitting 84-86 mph. While the uptick in velocity is substantial, his gains inside the rest of his arsenal is what separates him from his peers. Rusch showed the feel to locate a sharp 12/6 breaking ball beneath the zone with some consistency, at 68-70 mph – the signs of a true out-pitch are here. He also mixed in a straight change, at 74-77 mph, giving him a third usable offering to lean on in-game. Rusch’s arrow is trending way up headed into the spring season.

+ You can find more on Wilson Zuck (Appleton North; uncommitted) in our position player’s section, where his strong, compact right-handed bat was among the day’s best, but he’s worth mentioning here. Zuck touched a personal best 87 mph from the mound with similar heavy traits. He also mixed in a 12/6 breaking ball that featured some depth with feel for a change that tunnels well off his fastball at 77-78 mph.

+ Colin Dailey (Cedarburg; uncommitted) is another two-way type, and he has an authentic chance to contribute on both sides of the ball at the next level. On Sunday, Dailey pitched a polished ‘pen. He’s an athletic and smooth righty, at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, and is capable of pounding the zone with a four-seam and curveball combo. We last saw in October, where he was up to 83 mph. On Sunday, he was four ticks better, touching 86-87 mph, sitting in the 84 mph range. His spike curve grip helps generate some sharp action off a 11/5 plane, at 68-70 mph. You’ll see him again in this post for his work at the plate and on defense.

+ From Oconto Falls, junior RHP Tucker Bouche (uncommitted) made a big splash into his first-ever PBR event. Bouche showed the makings of a feel three-pitch mix, sitting 84-85 mph, touching 86, with a straight fastball that featured some carry through the zone. His 12/6 breaking ball flashed some late action, and his development to control the offering will help him garner more outs, at this level and beyond. His change also featured some solid arm-side action, giving him a usable arsenal to follow into the spring and summer.

+ De Pere southpaw Wyatt Fischer (uncommitted) tossed one of the cleanest ‘pens of the day. He’s a high-waisted, loose-limbed 6-foot with clean mechanics. His fastball sat 80-82 mph, touching 84, with consistent strikes at corners and on the knees, featuring hard arm-side action. He mixed in a solid-average breaking ball at 68-72 mph, off a 2/8 plane, and a firm changeup at arm speed with similar hard running action, at 71-75.

+ Big, strong Pulaski RHP Easton Vertz (uncommitted) has easy arm strength from his sturdy 6-foot-1, 235-pound frame. He sat 82-83 mph, touching 84 a couple of times, all with hard run. He’s still finding the feel to spin the breaking ball more consistently, but his aggressive changeup has upside, featuring similar arm-side action as his fastball, at 75-79 mph. 


+ Neenah’s RHP Gradin Taschner (uncommitted) was all over our radar in 2019, having seen him multiple times at showcases and events throughout the summer. His ease of effort was always the biggest takeaway upon our viewings, and his size suggested an uptick in velocity was inbound. It took just one offseason to see that leap in velo first-hand. On Sunday, Taschner touched 87 mph multiple times, a six-tick increase from the last time we saw him in late July. Again, Taschner’s able to get to his advanced arm strength in effortless form. He mixed in an 11/5 breaking ball that flashed late action, as well as a changeup he was able to consistently land in the lower third or under the zone. His present stuff combined with his 6-foot-2, 205-pound size makes him one of the state’s top righties to follow in the 2022 class.

+ It’s very clear that the 6-foot-5 righty from Amherst, Benjamin Lee (uncommitted), is only just beginning to scrape his sky-high ceiling. The long-levered Lee showed the makings of a four-pitch arsenal on Sunday, including a big fastball that touched 84 mph with downhill action and tilt, diving through the zone. Lee mixed in an aggressive breaking ball at arm speed, 66-68 mph, with late, downer action. He’s still harnessing the slider, but he manipulated its shape differently, generating more sweep at 70-72 mph. Lee’s changeup gets some arm-side action, too, at 70-74 mph. It’s an enticing profile for the towering sophomore, one we’ll continue to monitor.

+ Making the trip down from Escanaba, Mich., RHP Jared Hanson (uncommitted) showed an ability to command his fastball in the zone, at 80-83 mph. Hanson landed on the prospect map in 2019 for his advanced arm strength, but he showed signs on Sunday of honing his offspeed. He introduced us to a sweeping slider, at 65-66 mph, that flashed sharp action across the zone. His changeup had showed best in previous looks, and continues to show swing-and-miss upside, with deception and feel at 69-70 mph.

+ RHP Gavin Gawronski (Marquette University; uncommitted) exhibited some excellent traits for his age. The lanky 6-foot-2 righty was up to 80 mph in his bullpen, but consistently spotted everything well. His curve flashed sharp bite under the zone at 64-66 mph and his straight change is effective too.

+ LHP Carson Holmes (Hortonville; uncommitted) has the size – at 6-foot-1, 168 pounds – and arm strength from the mound worth following, he’ll just need to tighten up his release. He’s able to generate arm-side action on his fastball, 77-80 mph, touching 81, from a ¾ slot. Holmes is strong and wields a loose, quick arm, which is worth following on its own.


+ Taking the trip north, we met RHP Presley Wachowiak (Catholic Memorial; uncommitted) in Appleton, making his PBR debut, exploding onto the scene. At the very end of a very long day, the 6-foot, 200-pound Wachowiak pounded the strike zone at 84-85 mph, touching 86 – arm strength that propels him onto the prospect map. He backed his fastball up with a 12/6 breaking ball that he demonstrated advanced feel for under the zone at 72-74 mph, and complemented it with a straight change, 76-79 mph. It was one of the top debut performances of the winter, thus far.

+ At an imposing 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, RHP Eli Zollar (Ashwaubenon; uncommitted) is able to generate big velocity with relatively little effort. Zollar has a heavy 83-84 mph fastball that he was able to spot for strikes and mixed in a couple of upside offspeed pitches to go along with it. He slung in a 10/4 breaking ball with late, sharp action with a changeup at arm speed with slight arm-side run. Zollar’s strength shows up inside the batter’s box, too, as you’ll see for yourself within the next section.

+ Bay Port had a big day, with several strong performances across the board, and you can count Cole Bensen’s (uncommitted) among them. The thin 5-foot-11 freshman showed well on Sunday, demonstrating excellent feel of his arsenal for his age. Bensen sat 77-79 mph with his fastball, but was able to reach back for an 81 and an 82, consistently locating the pitch in the lower third of the zone, with some slight cut action. The curve he mixed in showed above-average action off a 10/4 plane at 66-67 mph, and he also utilizes a straight change at 67-69. It was a polished ‘pen for a freshman arm, giving us another 2023 name to add to our follow list.

+ Another Bay Port freshman follow: RHP A.J. Courchaine (uncommitted). The lanky 5-foot-10 righty sat 79-81 mph with some carry through the zone. He also mixed in a 12/6 breaking ball that flashed sharp action, as well as a couple swing-and-miss type changeups at the knees, with fade/run. His loose and quick arm, coupled with his strike-throwing capabilities, is what earned him a spot on Quick Hits.

+ Three uncommitted Hortonville righties emerged as follows inside this freshman class: Jonah Conradt, Thomas Burns, and Nathan Vela. Conradt’s fastball features hard arm-side action and was up to 82 mph on Sunday. As for Burns, he reached back for 84 mph, sat 80-82, with above-average feel for a short-action slider that acted almost cutter-like at the top of its velocity. Vela gets the most out of his thin, lean 5-foot-8, 155-pound frame. He topped 80 mph while working with easy rhythm and athleticism. He was able to consistently land his fading change under the zone at 69-72 mph, too, with the early signs of a reliable sweeping breaking ball.



+ We talked about Colin Dailey’s (Cedarburg, 2021) rise last October and he’s taken another step forward in the offseason since. Dailey earned a mention among the top arms in attendance above, but he remains a follow from the infield and at the plate, too. He put up improved numbers across the board, including a big 92 mph high across the diamond. He ran a 7.10 in the 60-yard dash and topped 97 mph exit velocity from the tee. His swing is short to the baseball and his actions up the middle suggest he will stay there at the next level. 

+ Appleton North’s OF Wilson Zuck (2021) put together a strong day and looked much improved offensively. He’s a strong, compact body type at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, and his swing works much the same way, creating hard contact off the bat while staying connected throughout. He tied Dailey for top exit velocity of the day at 97 mph and it clearly carried over to BP. He projects as a potential middle of the order right-fielder with a big arm that played at 89 mph from the outfield. Like Dailey, Zuck offers some two-way upside as well, though his best traits likely lie at the plate and in the outfield grass.

+ One of the better barrel control hitters of the day went to junior OF Bennett Spaeth (De Pere) his swing stays on plane and he showed excellent feel for the barrel, repeating line-drive contact. Spaeth also moved well in the outfield and was on target with his throws that topped 86 mph.

+ Left-handed hitting infielder Will Mattheis (Laconia, 2021) is a strong-bodied third base-type prospect who showed arm strength across the diamond at 87 mph with a strong left-handed swing. That same arm strength helped him sit 78-81 mph on the mound, too.

+ At 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, Wyatt Wiitanen (2021) is an intriguing left-handed bat out of Green Bay Preble. He swings with long, lanky levers and drops the head on the baseball to create consistent hard contact up the middle. It's an easy swing that looks to project as he matures and adds strength. Wiitanen’s also an easy going left-hander with a feel three-pitch mix that he’s capable of pounding the zone with. He sat 77-80 mph, though it played up with its arm-side action and his ability to spot the corners. Wiitanen also showed an ability to drop a 1/7 breaking ball for strikes with above-average action, and he throws a firm running change under the zone, too.

+ Another upside swing to follow is Payton McClowry (Neenah, 2021), who wields another long-levered swing that stays on top of the baseball, generating extension through contact. He’s a 7.11 runner as well and looks to only be scratching the surface of his potential.

+ Bay Port’s Elijah Frank (2021) is a physical corner infielder at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds with a strong arm across the diamond at 84 mph. He’s got bat strength in the box with some serious power potential as displayed by his 93 mph exit velocity.

+ Kimberly catcher Cameron Miller (uncommitted) took a rhythmic round of BP, with easy and direct line-drive contact from the right-side. He also broke out as a follow for his work behind the plate, topping 78 mph to second with quick all-around actions. 


+ OF Landon Behringer (North Fond du Lac, 2022) impressed for the second time this winter already. He’s a 5-foot-10, 145-pound outfielder who moves extremely athletically. This time he ran even better improving his 60 time to a 6.97 mark, all while showing the same upside swing with loose, hand-created bat speed. He moves well in the outfield with a playable arm and spent Sunday improving on all of his numbers from an event just three weeks ago. 

+ Joey Nerat (Campbellsport, 2022) is a left-handed bat to follow. It’s a loose, whippy swing that creates some lag and above-average bat speed through contact. He’s an athletic, strong body-type, at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, and a swing to follow this spring and summer.

+ SS Anthony Lausten (Hartford, 2022) put together one of the better infield rounds of the day. He’s an action-y defender with smooth, easy hands and he ranges well within his wiry frame. His exchange gets long to produce an 87 mph arm across the diamond, but Lausten showed it can play athletically when he’s on the move up the middle or charging a slow roller. He’s a left-handed hitter with a short swing that stays on top and uses an opposite field approach.

+ C Cade Milton (Notre Dame Academy, 2022) is a right-handed hitter with a strong gap-to-gap approach. He made consistent hard contact with a level swing that stays on plane and finds the barrel. In the crouch, Milton was also among the top backstops on the day. He was consistently accurate and on the bag with quick actions, and an arm that topped 75 mph out of the chute.

+ Nolan Gawrych (West Bend East, 2022) put together a strong all-around day. Gawrych showed playable actions with soft hands that work out in front and a complimentary strong arm at 83 mph across the infield. At the plate, his right-handed bat is strong and plays slightly uphill to create above-average bat speed through contact.

+ Will Johannes (Mukwonago, 2022) took one of the better rounds of BP of the day, showcasing a short, compact path that creates above-average bat speed and hard contact. He showed feel for the barrel throughout his round and carries strength in his 6-foot, 180-pound frame as well. 

+ One of the top prospects in the state’s 2022 class, C Will Vierling (Homestead; Louisville commit), has been carried to this point by his innate feel to hit capable of spraying hard, lifted contact all over the outfield. However, on Sunday, he showed improved actions from out of the crouch and increased, playable arm strength that topped 78 mph. The combination of his strong left-handed bat by improving skillset from behind the plate continues to make him among the state’s best sophomores.

+ Green Bay Preble’s Jake Petasek (2022) is a high-follow left-handed bat, simply put. He tore it up as a freshman on a talented Preble varsity squad and it’s easy to see why. Petasek works out of a simple and balanced pre-pitch approach and showed quick-twitch hands that generated consistent hard contact to his pull-side. 

+ At 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, Sam Meidenbauer (Waukesha West, 2022) looks to have a ton of upside. Meidenbauer swings a right-handed bat that projects and flashed plus contact off the bat at times. He also plays athletic in the outfield with an above-average arm that flashed carry.


+ In the 2023 class, Landen Lozier (Notre Dame Academy) is a quaint 5-foot-4, 110 pounds, but he has all the actions in the middle of the infield. He’s soft-handed, works with athleticism on the move, and showed a highly playable arm that was athletic and accurate to target. He’s a left-handed stick that hits with an up-the-middle, barrel control-type approach that projects as a top-of-the-order bat. 

+ Kimberly’s Maxwell Kalk (2023) may have been the top 2023 in attendance. A physical 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Kalk swings a strong left-handed bat and shows actions behind the plate and on the infield. He’s an all-around athlete and it shows in his physicality and mobility. Defensively, Kalk was among the most efficient in attendance, consistently popping in the low-2.00 range with a 74 mph high from the crouch. His capabilities from behind the plate are advanced, especially for his age.

+ Left-handed hitting Logan Frank (Oshkosh North, 2023) put on a strong showing in BP. He’s also highly physical for his age, at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. Frank hit with rhythm and showed serious power potential from the left side. Likewise on the mound, Frank brings with him some big arm strength for his age, topping 82 mph on the mound.

+ Hulking freshman Eli Zollar (Ashwaubenon, 2023) stands at a big 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, bringing with him an intimidating presence into the right-handed batter’s box. Zollar creates loud contact with a pull-side power approach. His swing is aggressive and plays uphill, getting plus exit velocity off the barrel. He tied for the top exit velocity of the day at 97 mph from the tee.