Inside The Overall Rankings: Wisconsin

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Wisconsin/Illinois

The 2018 rankings have seen a big overhaul across the Prep Baseball Report platform, state rankings have been adjusted and on Monday the 2018 Overall Rankings were updated. Now including North Carolina, our overall rankings are comprised of 31 states across the country, making it even more difficult to make the overall ranks.

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From a Wisconsin perspective, the state of baseball has never been higher in the Badger State. Last year a pair of Wisconsin natives were taken in the first 56 picks of the MLB Draft as Gavin Lux went to the Dodgers in the first round (20th Overall) and Ben Rortvedt was selected in the second round (56th Overall) by the Minnesota Twins. The 2017 draft may also see a first rounder born in Wisconsin as 2014 Holmen HS graduate Jeren Kendall capped off a huge summer with Team USA’s Collegiate National Team and getting talked about as a first round prospect. Move forward to the 2018 class and Wisconsin holds the No. 1 spot in the PBR Overall Rankings for the first time in any class as Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West) takes over the top spot across our 31-state coverage area.

1 Jarred Kelenic WI Waukesha West 2018 OF Louisville
2 Mike Siani PA William Penn Charter 2018 OF Virginia
3 Slade Cecconi FL Trinity Prep 2018 RHP Miami
4 Elijah Cabell FL Winter Park 2018 OF Louisiana State
5 Brandon Howlett FL George W. Jenkins 2018 3B Florida State
6 Mason Denaburg FL Merritt Island 2018 C Florida
7 Jonathan Gates FL Nature Coast Technical 2018 LHP Miami
8 Kristofer Armstrong FL The Benjamin School 2018 RHP Florida
9 Alek Thomas IL Mount Carmel 2018 OF
10 Noah Naylor ON St.Joan of Arc 2018 C

Kelenic headlines the 2018 Overall Rankings as he has been tearing the cover off the baseball all summer long against some of the top arms in the country. Kelenic’s combination of left-handed power, speed and arm strength make him a unanimous choice for the top spot. On top that, we’ve had the lefty up to 92 mph on the mound this summer.

Along with Kelenic, two more high profile bats moved up in the overall ranks. Indiana recruit Jeff Holtz (Arrowhead) and Louisville recruit Alex Binelas (Oak Creek) both made the top 60 overall and swing some of the best bats in the country. Holtz has hammered everything in sight since the last frost left Wisconsin, and doing it at a premium position behind the plate. Binelas, doing similar things from the left side, recently showed well at the 17U NTIS.

A pair of Wisconsin arms saw their names climb the board as both RHP Dillon Nowicki (Stoughton) and RHP Max Alba (Franklin) moved up into the top 80. Nowicki showed some of his best stuff this summer on multiple occasions, sitting consistently at 86-89 mph with a swing and miss breaking ball. Alba drove his stock up at the PBR Future Games as one of the best available arms in the country, touching 89 mph out of an athletic 6-foot-5 frame.

Three new Wisconsin names made the overall rankings for the first time. The biggest newcomer to the overall rankings was SS/RHP Tanner Kohlhepp (Eau Claire Memorial). Kohlhepp made the overall’s for the first time and fit neatly in the top 150.  Ty Olejnik (Hamilton Sussex) made the top 250, a super toolsy left-handed hitting prospect. Rounding out the newcomers for Wisconsin was Janesville Craig infielder Noah Berghammer made the top 350 after a strong PBR Future Games performance.

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