Madison Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

The last PBR Preseason I.D. showcase of 2019 is in the books, and it’s time to turn our attention to the much-anticipated 2019 WIAA season. But before we do, we have a ton of notes to break down and share with the public coming from last evening’s event in Madison.

The Madison Preseason I.D., hosted at GRB Academy in Windsor, was attended by more than . 180 high school prospects from the state, making it our largest preseason event of the winter. A common theme we’ve come to discover this showcase season has been the budding talent emerging from the state’s 2022 class. At Sunday’s showcase, freshman RHP/OF Brendan Strenke (Turtle Lake) cemented himself firmly in the discussion for top overall prospect in his state’s class, with a brow-raising performance on the mound, where he touched 89 mph.

Strenke is just at the tip of an increasingly deepening class. So strong that we’d even go far as to say that Wisconsin’s Class of 2022 may have the chance to grab more headlines than the state’s 2016 class did, one that featured two first-day MLB draft picks.

There were a few impact 2022s representing Waunakee in Madison, but really, the entire group of Warriors who made it out showed that the defending Division-1 champs are in a position where a repeat title is a realistic outcome. The rich got richer when they added Sun Prairie transfer Joe Hauser to the squad. Hauser is currently the top uncommitted junior in the state, just outside the top-10 overall, and looked like he’s due for a bump up the rankings in the next update. The junior righty put together arguably the best performance of the day on the mound, in what looks like a stingy Waunakee staff that includes fellow 2020s Taiten Manriquez and Nick Smith.

While Sun Prairie might have lost out on Hauser, it’s clear the Cardinals won’t be lacking in talent, either. The perennial powerhouse showcased several standout underclassmen at Sunday’s event and are reloading for another strong season in the Big Eight Conference.

Something to look forward to: these teams open their spring seasons against one another on March 27 at Waunakee.

We’ve stockpiled notes from the GRB Academy-hosted event below. Keep an eye out tomorrow when we publish our statistical analysis from Sunday, containing the most notable performances at the showcase taken from all of the measured data.

Now, onto our staff’s rapid reactions from the Madison Preseason I.D.


+ RHP Tyler Chadwick (Marshall, 2020) is presently ranked No. 2 in the state’s 2020 class. Chadwick’s ceiling is limitless, standing in at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds. His arm is clean and easy, generating a fastball up to 92 mph – one of three arms to touch 92 mph at the event.

+ Top-10-ranked sophomore Tanner Marsh (Mondovi) has one of the easiest looking games in his class. His swing is smooth, loose, and on time, repeating gap-to-gap hard contact. Marsh moves well in the outfield and looks to be a plus-type defender there.

+ One of the more eye popping body transformations came from left-handed-hitting infielder Owen Washburn (Webster, 2021). Washburn went from a wiry 5-foot-10, 150 pounds last summer to a chiseled 6-foot, 170 pounds. The biggest beneficiary of that added strength seems to be his bat. Always a smooth, easy lefty swinger, Washburn was simply a spray-singles-type hitter in the past. He still possesses that same easy swing, only now the ball is just jumping off the bat with authority to both gaps. His exit velocity improved from 82 mph to 90 mph, and he’s also running a 6.89 in the 60-yard dash. His potential on the mound is still there as he worked an easy 83-84 mph with trademark control.

+ 2021 Liam Stumpf (Mineral Point) has had his live arm on our radar for some time now, and is really coming into his own. He’s a lean, raw athlete at 6-foot, 165 pounds, who can do several things on a baseball field, as evidenced by his 6.80 mark in the 60-yard dash. But it's Stumpf’s arm on the mound that is the most intriguing. He’s continued to trend up, this time sitting 85-87 mph, touching 88 mph, with looks of even more in the tank as he fills out.

+ The biggest winner of the day arguably goes to 2022 RHP Brendan Strenke (Turtle Lake). Strenke first burst onto the scene last summer at the Western Wisconsin Open, and since earned an invite to last summer's PBR Junior Future Games. In the six months since we last saw him, Sternke has further tapped into his potential, going from 82 mph last summer to 89 mph on Sunday. The freshman has an electric arm that shows no signs of slowing down, making his push to become one of the top-ranked prospects when we release our first edition of Wisconsin’s 2022 class rankings.

+ 2022 Carson Klaus (Adams Friendship) may not have showed the best velocity out of what looks to be a loaded freshman class, but his upside is right there with anyone else’s. Klaus’ fastball sat 78-80 mph, but comes out of a long, loose arm action out of a ¾ window. It’s clean and effortless, and he also showed feel for multiple pitches.


+ RHP/INF Joe Hauser (Waunakee) has seen limited time on the mound over the course of his high school career. One of the only times we saw Hauser was as freshman in the state tournament, when he ran his fastball up to 85 mph and flashed a plus slider at 80 mph. He struck out one of the top hitters in the state, Arrowhead’s Jeff Holtz (2018), in a pressure-packed situation. Hauser looks to be at full-strength heading into his junior campaign, as he carved out one of the more impressive bullpen sequences during our entire 2019 showcase circuit. His fastball sat 88-90 mph, but that was arguably the least impressive thing he did. His feel and polish for four pitches was uncanny for his age, he looked like a true command-type arm. He showed two breaking balls with plus action on both, a slider at 79-82 mph, and a curveball at 79-80 mph. Add in feel for a sinking changeup at 80-84 mph, and Hauser may have easily shown the best four-pitch repertoire in the state. On top of all that, he still remains one of the top uncommitted position players in the state. Hauser ran a 6.89 in the 60-yard dash and and has strong, easy bat speed, that shows gap-to-gap pop. His profile could also project as a plus defender at third base with a middle-of-the-lineup bat.

+ Waunakee’s Will Ross (2020), a Saint Louis commit, showed some serious hit tools on Sunday. He stays within a balanced gap-to-gap approach that showed jump off the barrel, and likely profiles in a corner outfield spot at the next level.

+ Luke Ross (Waunakee, 2022), Will’s younger brother, is a left/left two-way player who stands in at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds. Presently, his bat looks like his best tool. He swings a fluid, compact bat path that adds natural lift courtesy of his athletic hands. The younger Ross is also 76-78 mph on the mound with a feel for his breaking ball.

+ RHP Taiten Manriquez (Waunakee) showed an easy arm that plays well on the mound. Mariquez features a running fastball at 85-87, that topped at 88 mph.

+ 2020 RHP Nick Smith (Waunakee) flashed upper-end velocity last summer and looks like he will be getting to it more comfortably this season. Smith is a hulking 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, with an 87-89 mph fastball to go along with two above-average breaking balls.

+ Luke Shepski (Waunakee, 2022), younger brother to Jake Shepski (St. Rita HS, 2014, Notre Dame), looks to be following in his brother’s footsteps. Luke already shows advanced arm strength for his age at 80-82 mph out of a quick, uptempo arm action. Shepski is a big addition to the already riches of the Waunakee program.


+ Next to Hauser, Iowa commit Will Semb (De Pere) threw one of the more polished ‘pens of the day. The 6-foot, 170-pound right-hander pounded the zone with three well-above-average pitches. Semb sat 88-91 mph, touching 92 mph, with a slider that flashed plus, at 75-77 mph, and a power changeup at 80-81 mph. He’s an athletic, quick-twitch arm who throws everything aggressively and with conviction.

+ Vanderbilt commit LHP Ryan Stefiuk (Green Bay Preble, 2020) touched 90 mph, a new PBR high for him, while sitting 88-89 mph. His changeup was a plus offering, with arm-side sink at 80-83 mph, thrown at fastball arm speed.

+ Purdue commit RHP George Klassen (Port Washington, 2020) has clearly been putting in the work this winter. Klassen has drastically cleaned up his arm action and it’s already helping his results. He sat comfortably at 90-92 mph, which isn’t a big stretch for him on its own, but the improved actions and feel on his curveball is what caught our attention. Klassen featured a sharp, biting curveball at 79-80 mph that showed the best feel that we’ve seen out of the lanky right-hander. And just for good measure, he ran a 6.69 and threw a PBR Wisconsin showcase record 98 mph from the outfield.

+ Jacksonville commit Jake Berg (Bay Port, 2020) is clearly ready for the 2019 season. The left-handed-hitting catcher was one of the better bats of the day, showing a natural hit tool with above-average pop.


+ Matthew DePrey (Sun Prairie, 2020) and Thomas Otto (Appleton North, 2020) both made their cases as two of the top uncommitted backstops in the state’s 2020 class. DePrey is presently more advanced on defense, where he showed plus arm strength for his age and posted a sub-2.00 pop time. Otto, on the other hand, is a physical right-handed hitter with some of the best pop in the class. His 101 exit velocity from the tee was an event best.

+ RHP Luke Skudlarczyk (Marquette University, 2020) looked sharp in his bullpen, ranging from 82 to 86 mph and demonstrated depth to his 72-74 mph curveball.

+ 2020 left-handed-hitting OF Jacyk Uehling (South Milwaukee) led the event with a 6.60 mark in the 60. More than two-tenths better than he ran back in October. Uehling’s plus run tool should profile well in center field at the next level.

+ Brady Jurgella (Menasha, 2020) was one of the biggest risers of the day. The left-handed-hitting utility player showed above-average athleticism all over the field. His 6.89 run time and above-average arm makes him a candidate to play multiple positions to keep his left-handed bat in a lineup.

+ Another left-handed bat to keep and eye on this spring is 2020 OF Henry Pitsch (Madison West). He’s a line-drive, gap-to-gap guy who showed feel for the barrel with above-average physicality, at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds.

+ Call Verlanic (Bay Port) was another strong riser within the 2020 class. Verlanic showed above-average tools across the board at 7.15 in the 60 and an 85 mph arm from the outfield. His arm played true with carry and he showed advanced actions through the baseball.

+ Spencer Bartel (Sun Prairie, 2020), a right-handed hitting outfielder, is another one climbing up the 2020 rankings. The uncommitted junior is a plus runner (6.75), and he showed a big arm at 86 mph from the outfield. His actions are true and clean in the outfield and he likely profiles as a center field prospect with a quick-twitch right-handed bat, also posting a 95 mph exit velocity from the tee.

+ Mitchell Alba (Franklin, 2020) keeps showing subtle improvements every time we see the 6-foot-3, 193-pound outfielder – this time it was in the arm strength. Alba topped 93 mph from the outfield, a personal best, and 87 mph on the mound. His bat continues to consistently find barrels, showing an uncanny knack for hitting from the right-handed batter’s box.

+ Uncommitted 2020 Riley Zirbel (Lake Mills) should make a splash in the updated rankings. Zirbel ran one of the top 60s of the day (6.75), and he showed advanced bat speed and pop at the plate, and he projects well at the next level.


+ Cuyler Zukowski (Madion LaFollete) was one of the biggest revelations in the 2022 class. Zukowski showed a plus arm for his age on the mound, ranging his fastball from 81 to 85 mph. It played similar in the outfield at 85 mph with carry. Zukowski ran a 7.19 and plays loose and athletic both in the outfield and in the box.

+ Mason Fink (Verona) was one of the top 2022 catchers in attendance. Fink has all the actions to stick behind the plate and to be a well-above-average receiver. His arm action and release will certainly give way to plus-type pop times in the future.

+ 2022 Jenkin Alexander (Sun Prairie) is another high-follow in Wisconsin’s 2022 class. Alexander is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound, left-handed-hitting infielder with a short bat path that creates consistent line drives. He’s a quick-footed infielder with excellent body control that plays well on the move, and he also ran a 7.14 in the 60.

+ Nick West (Verona, 2022) is a standout in the 2022 class. A switch-hitting infielder, West stands 6-foot, 160 pounds, and swings a next-level bat from both sides of the plate. His bat presently looks to be his best tool, but he already has a plus fastball for his age, at 81-83 mph.

+ Keep an eye on 2022 right-handed hitter Garrett Hoppe (Verona Area). Hoppe is a strong 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, and creates a ton of pop off the bat for his age. Likely a corner infield profile, his bat is definitely one to watch develop.


+ The arm strength out of RHP Peyton Jenkins (Sun Prairie, 2021) continues to improve the more we see him. Jenkins sat 82-85 mph in his bullpen session with an aggressive 75-79 mph changeup.

+ 6-foot-3, 190-pound RHP Isaac Engelbrecht (Oak Creek, 2021) had a strong showing, running his fastball at 83-85 mph. He’s an upside arm with little effort that works long and loose.

+ RHP Andrew Brockwell (Brodhead, 2021) flashed a sharp, late-action cutter at 71-74 mph that played well off of a sinking changeup and 82-84 mph fastball.

+ Left-handed-hitting backstop Brigs Richartz (Menomonie, 2021) will be worth keep a close eye on over the next couple years. His bat plays loose and easy with well-above-average hands at the plate.

+ Waukesha South C Nick Nowak (2021) was one of the quickest catch-and-throw participants out of the chute. Nowak showed exceptional footwork and transfer leading to pop times in the 2.00 marks.

+ C Kaden Kosobucki (West De Pere, 2021) did it again with his bat, showing a compact, gap-to-gap approach, but most notably showed a vastly improved 60 time of 7.21 in just three weeks time.

+ Anthony Vivian is a physical 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, who displays that strength most notably in BP. His right-handed swing has easy pop and bat speed to both gaps. Vivian posted a 94 mph exit velocity from the tee.

+ 2021 SS Carson Shepard (Sun Prairie) made a big splash in the last update of 2021 rankings and validated his ranking with his defensive prowess on the infield. Shepard has soft hands and natural actions that play well on the move. He can get to any ball under control, while still making athletic releases and accurate throws to first base.

+ Shepard’s Sun Prairie counterpart, Liam Moreno (2021), also showed well, and as expected, with his right-handed bat. Moreno is a hitter’s hitter; his natural, compact body type and swing lend him to finding the barrel with consistency. He’s quietly an above-average athlete, running a 6.91 that also speaks to his hand-eye in the box and juice off the barrel.

+ Bay Port looks to be back on track to becoming a title contender again, notably with their 2020 and 2021 classes. Carl Cano is one headliner in their sophomore class, who showed legitimate switch-hitting abilities and athletic infield actions.

+ SS Nicklas Williams (Union Grove, 2021) was one of the savviest defenders on the infield at the event. Williams’ hands played soft and showed athletic actions through the baseball. He’s a natural on the infield and showed a quick release with a short over-the-top arm action that played with carry.

+ Left-handed-hitting Brady Marget (Whitefish Bay, 2021) impressed our staff again with his ability to get to easy hard contact. His long levers, at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, generate a smooth easy swing from the left side that is only going to get better as he adds strength.