Prep Baseball Report

Madison Preseason I.D. Superlatives

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Wisconsin/Illinois

The final preseason identification showcase is in the books, and our scouting staff has their work cut out for them as the Madison Preseason I.D. finished our preseason tour as the biggest event with over 140 players in attendance, and arguable the best compilation of talent from the Badger State. The pitching alone was easily the best group of arms we’ve seen at an open showcase in Wisconsin. We will have plenty of content coming out from this event, but in the meantime here’s a quick look at some of the top superlatives to wet your appetite.

Best Fastball: Take your pick. LHP Jack Eagan (Wautoma, 2016, Indiana), RHP Alec Marsh (Reagan College Prep, 2016) or RHP Nate Brown (Arrowhead, 2016, Florida). All three touched 92 mph on our scout’s radar gun and all three fastballs have unique traits that make them stand out from the rest. Eagan is a big southpaw who works with a high front side and creates unique and tough angle on his fastball. Marsh’s heater is more of a power fastball that he showed excellent command of that will flash heavy action at the bottom of the zone. And finally Brown probably has the most dynamic action in the hitting zone with his low 90’s fastball, his arm side action is going to turn good hitters extremely frustrated as he will be able to get in on the hands of even the best bat speed guys around.

Best Breaking Ball: A good breaking ball has to be throw with confidence and conviction and that exactly how RHP Ryan Schmitt (Arrowhead, 2016, Western Kentucky) throw his curveball. Schmitt is a bulldog on the mound and curveball rivals RHP Joe Gahm for the best true curveball in the state. Schmitt showcased an absolute knee buckler at 75-78 mph that is ready to get hitters out at any collegiate level.

Best Changeup: Rarely do you see a freshman show feel for secondary offerings, especially in a cold weather state like Wisconsin, but RHP Dillon Nowicki (Stoughton, 2018) showed a power changeup with hard arm side action at 80-81 mph, harder than most freshmen’s fastball.  

Most Projectable RHP: Dillon Nowicki also takes the title of most projectable right-handed pitcher. Aside from his power changeup, Nowicki has the fastball to match. Sitting 84-85 mph while touching 86 mph, Nowicki compares to a young Jacob Sparger (Eau Claire, 2013, Louisville) the way his arm works and the ball comes out of his hand.

Most Projectable LHP: Augie Mihlbauer (Mukwonago, 2017) has always been a left handed arm that you can dream on, his arm works easy and loose and has a thin frame that is athletic. At 81-83 mph (which is what we’ve previously seen him at) he was a highly recruitable and coveted LHP. Well now the southpaw has jumped to 87-88 mph touching 89 with an excellent changeup.

Best Runner: OF Connor Kimple (Marquette University, 2016) and INF Ben Carew (Kimberly, 2016) ran the top 60 times at 6.76.

Best Infield Defender: Lucas Maurina (Altoona, 2016) and Alex Tricoli-Walkanoff (Tremper, 2017) both showed advanced infield actions. Tricoli-Walkanoff, adds to the pipeline of infield defenders that have been coming out of Kenosha Tremper lately. Both show the hands to stick in the middle infield with Tricoli-Walkanoff showing slightly better arm strength, and is a year younger.

Best Outfield Defender: Iowa commit Adam LaRock (Eau Claire North, 2016) can do a lot of things on the baseball field, play infield, pitch, hit from both sides of the plate, run and has plus arm strength. Of all that he does on the field he might look the most natural in the outfield, and with a 96 mph cannon he would provide the biggest impact there at the next level, deterring baserunners as a switch hitting right fielder. Needless to say, LaRock will give the Huskies a lot of versatility this spring.

Best Defensive Catcher: Freshman Jeff Holtz (Arrowhead, 2018) is already an Indiana commit, and posted some of the best pop times at the event. His footwork and direction is precise and showed probably the most accurate arm of all the catchers. In a strong group of catchers it was impressive to see the freshman fit in as one of the top receivers there. Holtz even handled some of the best pitchers at the event with confidence.  

Top Unsigned Senior: OF Nate Sorenson (Eau Claire North, 2015) is a returning all-conference selection for the Huskies and as Sorenson still searches for the right fit, he showed well in all facets of the game. He is an athletic outfield defender with a strong arm (85 mph) and showed strength in his bat, most likely projecting as a corner outfielder with a strong bat at the next level.

Top Pop-Up Prospect (New to PBR): One of my favorite aspects of scouting Wisconsin baseball is that there always seemd to be guys that pop out of nowhere and put themselves on the recruiting map. Whether it be the lack of exposure with the split high school seasons, or the weather itself keeping players indoors longer, LHP Justin Stollberg (Brookfield Central, 2016) surprised our scouting staff with an 84-86 mph fastball complimented by a sinking changeup that has swing and miss action. Stollberg was a JV player last year for the 2014 summer state champions Brookfield Central, and after losing their 1-2 punch to graduation Stollberg should fit into the rotation nicely.

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