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Illinois & Wisconsin D-1 Recruiting Classes: Missouri Valley Conference


By: Diego Solares
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

Within this post we’ll begin to break down where certain Illinois and Wisconsin players will continue their collegiate careers. We’re starting with the Missouri Valley conference today, an area of the country that’s recruited Illinois and Wisconsin prep players relatively heavily over the last few years.

Keep checking things out throughout the month as we analyze the entire Illinois and Wisconsin 2022 classes and the commitments they’ve made, as well as the top prospects in both states who have yet to choose a home for the fall of 2022.

ILLINOIS STATE

NAME STATE (RANK) SCHOOL POS
Daniel Pacella
IL (10) Mundelein
1B
Shai Robinson
IL (11) Homewood-Flossmoor
SS
Gradin Taschner
WI (15)
Neenah
RHP
Thomas Harper
WI (26)
Wauwatosa East
RHP
James Duncan
WI (33) Arrowhead
OF
Ben Karpowicz
IL (38)
South Elgin
3B
Drew Duckhorn
IL (111)
Hinsdale South
LHP


+ The Redbirds bring in the largest class from this region in the conference, as eight players from Illinois and Wisconsin are headed to Bloomington relatively soon. Headlining this recruiting class are 1B Daniel Pacella (Mundelein) and SS Shai Robinson (Homewood-Flossmoor), as the two are top-315 prospects in the nation for the 2022 class. Pacella, who was originally a Kentucky commit, boasts tremendous amounts of bat strength inside a 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame and a left-handed stroke engineered to elevate the baseball. He’s amongst the top all-fields power threats in the Midwest and could certainly be a force penciled inside this Illinois State lineup for a decent amount of his college career. Robinson’s long been known as an elite up-the-middle defender with smooth, savvy actions capable of sticking at shortstop for the long haul. How he advances offensively, especially should he grow into more power, will determine just how high his future ceiling can reach, but he’s certainly capable of providing above-average defensive play at the collegiate level right now.

Shai Robinson (7/6/2021)


+ Joining Illinois State from Wisconsin are a trio of prospects that are headlined by a quality one-two punch of right-handed pitchers in Gradin Taschner (Neenah) and Thomas Harper (Wauwatosa East). The son of a former big leaguer, Taschner oozes physicality attached to his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame and was up to 91 mph at the PBR ProCase - Midwest this summer. Though he’s still fully grasping a complete feel for the mound, Taschner’s sheer size and strength does equate to a potentially high ceiling down the road. Harper is one of the state’s most projectable arms, standing at a lanky 6-foot-4, 194-pounds with thin levers. We saw him sit in the high-80s a few times with his fastball this summer and continuously deploy a sharp breaking ball that flashed swing-and-miss upside. Rounding out this group is OF James Duncan (Arrowhead), who’s an athletic left-handed hitter that profiles in a corner role down the road.

Gradin Taschner (7/6/2021)


EVANSVILLE 

NAME STATE (RANK) SCHOOL POS
Willard Peterson
WI (29)
Evansville HS
LHP
Elias Hachem  IL (30) Mount Carmel
RHP
Jack Taczy
IL (119)
Cary Grove
LHP
Max Hansmann
IL (124)
York
RHP


+ The Aces covet physically built arms that can really spin the baseball and this recruiting class of theirs dictates just that. Four pitchers from Illinois and Wisconsin are headed their way this fall, led by RHP Elias Hachem (Mount Carmel). The 6-foot-7, 235-pound specimen attended the PBR ProCase - Midwest this summer and spins all of his pitches at an advanced rate, including a breaking ball that averages 2,350+ RPM. Another Illinois right-hander in this class is Max Hansmann (York), who’s a 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete with a quick arm and a potential swing-and-miss slider that he rips off at a 2,800+ RPM average. 

Elias Hachem (7/6/2021)


+ LHP Willard Peterson (Evansville HS) and LHP Jack Taczy (Cary Grove). Peterson was unquestionably one of the biggest winner’s in Wisconsin throughout this calendar year, shaping himself into the state’s top-30 prospects after a productive off-season. He now stands at a proportionally strong 6-foot-4, 215-pounds with a mid-to-high-80s fastball that consistently plays at a 2,400+ RPM average and a slurvey breaking ball at 2,600+ RPM. Taczy emerged at this year’s Illinois’ Unsigned Senior showcase and the 6-foot-3, 165-pound highly projectable southpaw committed to Evansville not long after. He has a fluid, clean delivery and easy loose arm with a fastball up to 87 mph and a true 12/6 curveball that flashed depth and tight spin.

Willard Peterson (7/13/2021)


BRADLEY

NAME STATE (RANK) SCHOOL POS
Theo Zeidler
WI (5)
Bay Port
RHP
Brayden Marks
WI (10)
Elkhorn
RHP
Gus Lucas
IL (96)
Washington
LHP


+ Though the Braves don’t have as large of a class as some of these other Missouri Valley teams, they’re bringing in quality talent with impact potential early on. Headlining this group is RHP Theo Zeidler (Bay Port), who’s inside the top-350 prospects from a national standpoint and a top five prospect in the current Wisconsin senior class. Zeidler is an advanced 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete with plenty of physical projection to come and present polish attached to his three-pitch mix. Another nationally ranked name hailing from the Badger State in this class is RHP Brayden Marks (Elkhorn). Marks stands at an ultra-physical 6-foot-6, 220-pounds that, like Zeidler, also brings a high ceiling to the hill. His fastball has been up to 90 mph in our looks and he compliments it with two distinct breaking balls that grade out as above-average right now. Both of these Wisconsin natives figure to impact this staff sooner rather than later and may each, respectively, garner professional interest down the road. Capping this group from Central Illinois is LHP Gus Lucas (Washington Community) as yet another physically advanced frame headed to Peoria next fall. He’s a 6-foot-4, 197-pound dual sport athlete that flashed velocity and an aptitude to spin his breaking ball in a look this spring.

Theo Zeidler (7/6/2021)

DALLAS BAPTIST

+ Dallas Baptist has won the Missouri Valley conference tournament four times since 2014 and they’ve propelled themselves onto the national stage in recent years. They’ll add a high upside athlete from Wisconsin this year, as OF Joey Nerat (Campbellsport) is headed to Mountain Creek Parkway next fall. Nerat shined at the 2020 PBR Future Games in all aspects, capturing our attention in the workout portion and consistently finding the barrel during gameplay. He’s a muscular 5-foot-11, 181-pound with advanced athleticism that’s evident on the diamond, especially as he roams the outfield grass. A left-handed hitter, Nerat could potentially serve as a table-setter type for the Patriots as his college career progresses.

VALPARAISO

NAME STATE (RANK) SCHOOL POS
Adam Guazzo
IL (92)
Huntley
RHP
Connor Dickson
IL (200)
Libertyville
OF


+ Two players are headed to the Beacons from Illinois: RHP Adam Guazzo (Huntley) and OF Connor Dickson (Libertyville). Guazzo is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound dual-sport athlete with a quality four-pitch mix, including a fastball that we’ve seen at 88+ mph a handful of times. His best compliment to that heater is a sharp slider that played at 2,700+ RPM at this year’s Preseason All-State showcase and can be an out-pitch for Guazzo at the next level. Rounding out his arsenal is a low-70s curveball that is landed for strikes and a high-70s changeup thrown down in the zone at fastball arm speed. Dickson stands at a strong 6-foot-1, 190-pounds with advanced raw bat strength inside his right-handed barrel and an arm that's peaked at 92 mph from the outfield at our events.


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