Prep Baseball Report

Q&A With Nebraska Commit Joe Acker

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Joe Acker recently committed to the University of Nebraska. Acker is currently ranked No. 8 in the Wisconsin Class of 2016 and No. 128 in the PBR Overall Ranks. This past June Acker showed off his loud tools at the inaugural PBR ProCase in Joliet. Here is his report from the event.

Joe Acker6/23/15 - The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Acker was the biggest surprise at the ProCase, leaving many in attendance wondering how the right-handed hitting outfielder was still uncommitted. Acker had the most impressive outfield performance of the day. In the workout portion, Acker turned heads by delivering the top outfield velocity of 95 mph while running a 6.78 laser-timed 60. Offensively, he generated the easiest bat speed at the event, hitting from a balanced, controlled setup with a slightly uphill path. During BP, Acker tanked a few balls out of Silver Cross Field with wood (with the wind blowing in). A quick-twitch athlete, Acker has strong hands and creates lift in his swing. Acker also carried his standout workout performance into game play. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of line-drive singles to centerfield and left field. He also drove in a run, scored twice and stole a base

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Acker: I knew going into the recruiting process that it wasn’t going to be easy and it was most likely going to be a process that happened over time in my high school career. At times throughout the season and offseason it seemed easy and other times it seemed extremely frustrating. With the NCAA recruiting rules it definitely did make things easier going into my junior year being able to talk to coaches more openly and freely.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Acker: I was looking for a college program that was going to be able to take my athleticism and baseball skillset and make me the best college player I could be and at the same time get me ready for even the next level, professional baseball. I was looking for a program that really wanted to compete and knew going into each season every year they had a legit chance at reaching Omaha. It was also important to me that it was a strong academic institution and that I would have a wide range of options in choosing a major. 

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Acker: Location or distance did not play much of a role in my decision.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Acker: No real game or event really sparked a ton of recruiting interest, a lot of the interest I had happened slowly throughout the offseason and into the season. Schools really started to make the push and contact me during the summer of my junior season. It really helped me to play for a club that played national tournaments as well. My coach and teammates always drew college coaches to the field and that gave me more opportunities to be seen.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Acker: Nebraska first saw me at the Futures Games but never made contact with me until the fall after seeing me play in a tournament. I was invited for a visit and camp that winter and they continued to watch me over the summer.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Acker: I liked the school and the city of Lincoln. With Nebraska not having any professional sports teams the city really rallies around and supports the university’s athletic teams. Being an athlete nothing is more attractive than playing in front of a big crowd that supports and rallies around your success. I also liked that the team is very involved in giving back to the community and not just once in a while but on a regular basis.  Not to mention the ability to have Coach Erstad as my head coach and to work alongside a former Major League outfielder who knows so much about the position was a big factor in my decision.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Acker: St. Louis, Creighton, West Virginia, Miami of Ohio, and UWM were all programs that were on my short list.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Acker: I haven’t faced Nate Brown and Ryan Schmitt for a couple seasons but both are two very tough pitchers who can mix up speeds and pitches very well and the times I have faced them as a hitter I had to be fully focused in the box to compete. Although I’ve never played against Connor Kimple, I’ve played alongside him and he is easily one of the toughest batters from Wisconsin to get out.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Acker: After  playing varsity my freshman summer season in high school, I realized my talent was at a high level for my age and I knew from then on I had a legit opportunity to be a college player if I kept working hard and developing my skills.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Acker: I would say find a travel program that is right for you. Every player is at a different stage and level, find one that matches your abilities best and where the coaches are committed to making you a better player and giving you time in the field.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Acker: That’s a tough question. I have so many great memories starting with the future games. Playing with the top players in my state vs. the best players in the Midwest was a great experience and one I will never forget. But, my most memorable was getting to play at Kauffman stadium this past July with some of the top talent in the country. Those types of experiences really inspire me to keep working on my game to see how far I can take my baseball skills.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Acker: I haven’t played for my high school team since my freshman year due to the season being in the summer and conflicting with travel ball. I’m currently undecided whether or not I will be playing my senior year, but as far as the talent at Marquette goes, they have a strong 2017 class. The seniors could possibly include myself, Connor Kimple, Jim Jarecki, and Jack Dwyer combined with their other talent, they can easily make a run at the summer state title this next season.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Acker: I played for the GRB Rays this past summer and will play for the Reds Scout Team in the fall. My entire GRB season was the most memorable experience. From winter workouts, national tournaments, winning games, to the van rides to and from games. Greg Reinhard and Max Cordio are not only great baseball coaches, but two of the funniest people I’ve met and make the travel ball experience even more enjoyable. We worked hard, had fun and won a lot of games. I had an unbelievable group of teammates who I’ve made a multitude of memories with this past year.

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