Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with Saint Louis Commit Justin Stollberg

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Recently 2016 LHP Justin Stollberg of Brookfield Central committed to Saint Louis, joining another former Lancer, Luke Sommerfield (2014) who just finished his freshman year for the Billikens where he compiled 28 strikeouts over 31 innings while recording two wins in his rookie campaign.

Stollberg is currently ranked No. 31 in the Wisconsin Class of 2016. This past summer he took part in the PBR Top Prospect Showcase where he saw his stock rise immensely, here is a report on him from the event.

Justin Stollberg6/18/15 - 6-foot-1, 180-pound left-handed pitcher, average frame. Smooth delivery with tempo, toe up into balance position, can create more separation. High ¾ arm slot, long arm action. Fastball showed run, 83-85 mph, ability to throw strikes. Curveball has 2/8 shape, slight sweep type action, 71-75 mph. Changeup thrown with fastball arm action, 80-82 mph, could get more velo separation from fastball. Easy arm, tough angle, good matchup on lefties.

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

Stollberg: At first, I expected the recruiting process to be very difficult, especially since I have only been on the recruiting map for less than a year, I had no clue how I was going to draw any interest from any school. Looking back now, it was not all that difficult. At the end of the day, as long as you get out there and perform to the best of your abilities the interest will handle itself. It really helped having Cody Smith to help me, otherwise the recruiting process would have been extremely difficult. 

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

Stollberg: Besides the access to a good education, I was looking for a program where I feel that I can keep developing as a pitcher so that hopefully one day I can continue my career after college. Along with that, I wanted a program that carried a winning tradition so that hopefully I can help carry that tradition.

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

Stollberg: Yes, I was looking for a program further South so that I can minimize my time inside. Playing in the cold is not nearly as fun as playing in warm weather. On top of that, competition really intensifies as you travel South.

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? 

Stollberg: The recruiting process was heated for me once it began because of how late I showed up on the recruiting map. After I showcased my skills at the PBR Madison Preseason I.D. this previous March, I established myself as an upcoming prospect in this loaded Wisconsin class of 2016. I was awarded the superlative of the "Top Pop Up Prospect" as well as the "Top Newcomer" which definitely began a very successful recruiting process.

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

Stollberg: At the PBR Top Prospect Showcase this past summer in Illinois, I got in contact with Coach Gandossy at SLU a few days after that.

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

Stollberg: I love that SLU is right in the city, but once you step foot on campus you would never be able to guess that you are in the middle of St. Louis. It is a baseball city with a history of success in it's programs. Also, it is nice having someone who went to my high school as a teammate (Luke Sommerfeld, 14'). The coaches are younger than most which I love because I find it easier to create that coach-player chemistry.  

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

Stollberg: I was in contact with a number of schools before my decision and was on the radar of a few others. My short list of those consisted of Columbia, Purdue, Michigan, St. Johns, Creighton and Illinois.

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

Stollberg: I have been fortunate enough to face some of the best players in the state of Wisconsin. I definitely feel that Connor Kimple has been the best player I have faced. Connor is an absolute beast when it comes to the game of baseball. He hits the ball hard every time and can be a deadly force on the base path with his speed. Also, he has an arm not to be taken lightly, he throws the ball on a line every time. Connor is a great baseball player who deserves to be playing at the division 1 level. 

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?

Stollberg: It was not until the fall of 2014 that I realized the potential I had. I tried out for PoundTown Baseball and met Cody Smith, who I am fortunate enough to call my coach. He saw the potential I had and told me I could go as far as I wanted if I was willing to put in the work. I put my trust in him and with his coaching, I made great improvements over this previous offseason. I found my passion for baseball during that and realized that I was willing to work as hard as I possibly can to continue my career for as long as possible.

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

Stollberg: One thing that I learned that really helped my baseball career take off is that the little things do matter, and they should be done correctly. As a kid, I never cared about working on my throwing mechanics, but over the last offseason and the upcoming offseason, mechanics are a major part of my development. They may seem relatively pointless at a young age, but they can mean a major difference in your performance. 

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

Stollberg: My most memorable moment in my baseball career is definitely committing to Saint Louis University. I worked as hard as I possibly can to be able to make this commitment, and finally being able to do it really marks the start of the next chapter of my baseball career. I am so proud to say I will be able to represent my state in the years to come.

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

Stollberg: The sky is the limit with my high school team at Brookfield Central. Even though we lost 9 seniors, we will have 7 returning Seniors this year and one returning Junior from last year's roster. I see so much raw talent on this team full of athletes, and if they are willing to put in the work like I am this offseason I believe that we have a great chance at being one of the better teams in summer ball. Some names to watch out for are Jacob Sandy, Jonathan Osman and Michael Hauser.

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

Stollberg: I play WIAA summer ball with Brookfield Central High School, and then finish off the summer and fall with PoundTown Baseball. My most memorable experience has definitely been forming a bond with both of these teams. I have been blessed with a great group of teammates and it is really fun to compete against some of them during school ball and then playing along side with them for the rest of the season.  

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