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Inside Wisconsin 2020 Rankings: Risers


Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

Two of the more notable risers in the state came within the top 10 in the form of Joe Hauser (Waunakee) and Will Semb (De Pere). Both prospects were on the edges of the top ten, and made the jump due to their prospects on the mound. We covered the two at length in our 2020 Updated Rankings story yesterday.

Today we’ll venture past the top 10 and look at several prospects who made serious jumps this winter. It was a volatile rankings update which saw ten new additions and even more risers, all within the top 70.

In the top 25 as a whole we saw a ton of action, most notably were a pair of arms from the Milwaukee area. RHP Gavin Hinckley (West Bend West) and RHP Chris Byhre (Catholic Memorial) showed off big time fastball’s at the West Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Hinckley showed dynamic secondary stuff that makes him one of the more polished available arms in the state. Byhre’s fastball jumped to 92 mph and should be a high interest target for college programs this spring season.  

Colton Coca (Racine Case) showed something we’ve never seen out of the Central Michigan commit. Previously we have only seen Coca as a position player, but has recently been getting more work in on the mound, and it shows. Coca showed a rather easy fastball that sat 87-88 mph and touched 89 mph. On top of that he already has conviction in his secondary stuff with a firm curveball and changeup mix.

SS John Erickson (Hudson) has frequented a pair of Minnesota preseason events in the past two years, and is currently the top prospect in the 2020 class hailing from the northwest part of the state. His best gains have been as a position player, where he showed plus speed for his age running a 6.87 and a plus arm that plays 88 mph across the infield, and 90 mph from the outfield. He’s a right handed hitter with feel for the barrel and well above average athleticism that makes him an attractive prospect.

John Erickson (3/17/19)

Carson Fluno (Sun Prairie) is now among the top uncommitted pitching prospects in the state after undergoing some physical changes from what appears to be a hard-working offseason. His added strength helped his stuff play up on the mound, adding three ticks to his fastball since we had last seen him in March of 2018. At the West Milwaukee Preseason I.D., he sat 86-87 mph with feel for a hard, downer slider. But, just a few weeks later, Fluno started Sun Prairie’s season opener against the reigning Division-1 champs Waunakee and their loaded lineup.

Even in that short a span, Fluno was even a couple ticks better – sitting 86-88 mph in the first frame and touched 89 mph on the first pitch of the game. He struck out four in four innings of work and effectively kept Waunakee off balance with his live fastball and two distinctly different breaking balls. He’s up 30 spots on the board, up into the top 30 of the 2020 rankings.

Up 15 spots, and now into the top 40, is Waunakee righty Nick Smith. Back at the Madison showcase earlier this month, he put his hulking 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame to good use, showing more comfortability getting to the upper 80s, and he topped 89 mph at the event, too. Smith also showed an improved ability to spin the breaking ball, polishing off an impressive arsenal if he can continue to put it all together.

Nick Smith (3/10/19)

A 20 spot swing, and into the top 50, RHP Brody Cypert (Waukesha South) added to list of arms to make velocity jumps this winter. Cypert shows ability to cruise easily in the 83-85 mph range and show three pitch feel, but when tasked, there is more in the tank he can reach to. Cypert showed he can go 87-88 mph with added tempo and conviction that should play well in game when he needs to tap his reserves.

LHP Donovan Schultz looked as though he may be the key to the Kimberly puzzle in 2019, ace caliber stuff. Schultz continues to trend upward, this time more than 10 spots, tapping more and more into his potential. Most recently sitting 83-85 mph touching 86 mph with a deep bending tight curveball. Schultz showed the stuff that could frontline a senior heavy Kimberly staff.

We got to see Marquette’s Jonah Wronski (uncommitted) a few times over this offseason and he rose up the rankings more than any other catcher in the state. He’s sitting just outside of the top 50 now and demonstrated some premium arm strength out of the crouch, including the top velocity at both the South Milwaukee and Kenosha showcases. Wronski’s also a right-hander hitter with some real bat strength at the plate.

Kenosha Bradford has the makings of an elite front-line staff and the adjustments and progression that Nick Cairo (uncommitted) are at the center of that rotation now. At Hitters Academy, Cairo put together one of the day’s more polished bullpens where he sat at an easy 84-85 mph with feel for a slurve-y breaking ball and a sinking changeup with substantial potential. His 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame is also in the best shape we’ve seen, and it’s clearly paying dividends already. Cairo’s now inside the top 50.

Nick Cairo (3/3/19)

Inside the top 50, several notable names impressed our staff, but with all of the new additions and risers, may not have moved as significantly numerically.

Mitchell Alba (Franklin, RHP/OF) - Fastball improved to 87 mph and looks bigger and stronger at 6-foot-3, 193-pounds. Continues to get it done with the bat.

Matthew DePrey (Sun Prairie, C) - An athletic catcher with exceptional feel behind the dish, showed soft hands and arm strength. Improved pop time to 1.93.

Tyler Swanson (Burlington Central Catholic, INF) - Evansville commit, looks more refined on the infield with unique strength and quick twitch actions, arm strength also improved.

Bryce Miller (Franklin, C) - Has been trending uphill for some time now, and continued to show advanced actions behind the dish with power potential at the plate.

Christopher Vandenhuevel (Xavier, OF) - Committed to Wisconsin-Milwaukee this fall and is one of the more dynamic L/L outfielders in the state. Left-handed bat continues to trend up with advanced feel for the barrel.

Spencer Bartel (Sun Prairie, OF) - R/R outfield is an all-around athlete. Improved 60 time to 6.75 and brings a compact gap to gap bat. Also worked up to 85 mph on the mound.

Ethan Habetler (West De Pere, INF) - Right-handed hitting infielder who’s bat continues to show upside, feel for the barrel with occasional gap pop.

Jacyk Uehling (South Milwaukee, OF) - L/R outfielder moved into the plus-plus runner category posting a 6.60 at the Madison Preseason I.D. Centerfield profile with a top of the order bat.

Call Verlanic (Bay Port, OF) - Corner type outfielder with above average bat, athletic prospect climbed more than 10 spots.

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