Prep Baseball Report

South Milwaukee Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Andy Sroka & Steve Nielsen
Wisconsin Staff

On March 7, the PBR Wisconsin team hosted the South Milwaukee Preseason I.D., at Hitters Baseball Academy in Caledonia, Wis. This was an open event for all high school classes (2021-24), and gave our staff an ample look at the area's top players.

Today, in our first post-event piece from this event, we’ll publish our biggest takeaways and highlights from Sunday’s showcase within this Quick Hits story. Throughout the rest of this week, we’ll be taking diving deeper into all of the data we collected, too, with the help of our Blast Motion and TrackMan devices.

For now, check out our notes and findings from Sunday’s event at Hitters. Each of the players below are uncommitted unless stated otherwise.



+ Sunday started off on a fast note when three of our first handful of runners ripped off sub-6.80 times in the 60-yard dash. INF T.J. Williams (Racine Horlick) and OF Dylan Mass (Franklin) were two of our first three runners and they tied each other for the day’s top 60 time at 6.70. Williams has a speedy second base profile with bat control approach at the plate. Mass has shown a ton of improvement in a short amount of time since his last event at the end of the fall. In less than five months he’s shaved 0.15 seconds off his 60, added 4 mph to his outfield arm (reaching 91 mph on Sunday), and he put together an average exit speed of 88.8 mph during his round of BP, which was nearly 10 ticks better than his average exit in October. Things are trending in the right direction for Mass, and at the right time.

+ OF Jonathan Kim (Brookfield Academy) posted a 6.76 time only a few runners after Mass, and Kim took an impactful round of BP, recording the highest average exit speed (93.2 mph) of any player in attendance – and it was a very crowded field. Kim hit five balls over 300 feet, and his furthest travelled an estimated 358. Kim’s speed/strength skillset, and left-handedness, make him among the top uncommitted players in the region.

+ Continuing onto another one of the state’s top-ranked, uncommitted junior outfielders: D.J. Kojis (Whitefish Bay). Listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Kojis lit up the radar gun from the outfield, topping at a staggering 97 mph. It’s an electric arm from the outfield that will likely profile him in right field paired with some whippy bat speed that generated top-five peak hand speed among all batters, according to the Blast Motion sensor.

+ In 2020, RHP Luke Klekamp (Oak Creek) earned a reputation as a highly competitive pitcher who attacked the zone with a heavy mid-80s fastball and three-pitch mix that dodged barrels in every live look. A member of Team Wisconsin at the 2020 PBR Future Games, Klekamp looked like his same self on Sunday – only, with substantially more velocity. An uptick in stuff helped him sit 89-90 mph, landing strikes with all three of his pitches. He’s among the top uncommitted prospects in the state.

+ One of several Warren (IL) stand-outs from Sunday, RHP Kendall Lyons’ outing warrants a specific mention. From a durable 6-foot-3 stature, Lyons’ has previously showcased as a sinker-type who can fill up the strike zone with low- to mid-80s stuff. On Sunday, much like Klekamp, he did the same with a well-rounded, effective three-pitch mix – while also adding newfound velocity. Up from an 84 mph high in 2020, Lyons sat at an easy 89-90 mph on Sunday, becoming a need-to-know uncommitted arm in Illinois’ junior class.

+ Another Illinois native exited Sunday’s showcase with his arrow pointed up: INF John Ahler (Marian Central Catholic, IL). Ahler’s simple right-handed swing allowed him to find the barrel for on-time, line-drive contact up the middle of the field on repeat. It’s a fluid, balanced swing and his defense is similarly smooth and rhythmic – and he reached an 88 mph high across the infield. Ahler was a fraction off the top 60 time of the day as well, recording a 6.71. He projects as an athletic middle infielder with a contact-oriented, line-drive approach.

+ It was the second time this winter circuit that C Heath Venne (Muskego) impressed our staff. He’s worked diligently to sculpt a muscular 5-foot-11, 195-pound build without it affecting his quickness or mobility, as he ran a 6.83 on Sunday and continued to show improved actions from behind the plate, and he reached an 81 mph on his throws down to second. Venne’s obvious strength helps him produce some really loud barrels, more often of the line-drive variety rather than lofted contact. He squared up one liner to center field that left the bat at 98.6 mph, and he averaged an exit speed of 86.5 during his round.


+ OF Owen Bond (Kettle Moraine) is trending up as position player in the state’s 2023 class, as he was responsible for some of the most authoritative contact of the day on Sunday. Listed at a lean/strong 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Bond’s left-handed swing produced the highest average exit speed among 2023s at this event, measured at 90.9 mph, reaching a 96.5 high. He also ran a 7.12 earlier in the day.

+ RHP Austin Kutz (Hartford Union) has made some slight alterations to his arm action and delivery, which has helped him sync up his extra-long levers with a little more regularity, resulting in increased velocity. The 6-foot-6, 190-pound righty was up to 86 mph on Sunday with his fastball that features big spin, especially for his age, measured at 2,335 rpm on average. The pitch carries and runs at above-average rates, too, making it capable of becoming an out-pitch on its own long-term. The offspeed feel is raw, but he’s able to spin the breaking ball, and as a good athlete for his huge frame, Kutz seems capable of making the adjustments he’ll need to enhance his arsenal over time.

+ We saw RHP Adison Tevz (New Berlin Eisenhower, 2023) at the Badger State Battle last summer, sitting 80-82 mph back then, with a tight breaking ball. He’s ticked up since, generating advanced velocity for his compact 5-foot-10, 170-pound build, sitting 84-86 mph on Sunday, touching an 87.1 high, the second highest among sophomores in attendance. Tevz’s curveball is a tight, sharp offering that spins at a high rate, measured at 2,391 rpm on average, and the change features late action, too.

+ 3B Boston Halloran (Franklin) swings a short right-handed bat, with athletic hands, to produce consistent line-drive contact, and he reached a 90.3 mph max exit speed during his round of BP on Sunday.

+ OF J.T. Kelenic (Catholic Memorial) again showed promise with the bat. At a high upside 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Kelenic works with a mature approach at the plate that flashes gap-to-gap power, above-average for his age. 

+ Waukesha West’s Ethan Brown continues to show well as a two-way player in the state’s sophomore class. He carries some inherent strength that rears itself from both the right-handed batter’s box and the rubber. Sunday, he squared up one ball into the right-center gap that left the bat at 97.0 mph, the highest among sophomores in attendance. On the mound, his fastball reached 84 mph from a higher slot and quick, loose arm action. His curveball flashed above-average action and he spotted his changeup under the zone well, featuring hard arm-side run thrown at arm speed.

+ RHP Adam Behrens (Warren, IL, 2023) saw a couple upticks in velocity since his last showcase in October. Behrens is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound durable righty who topped at 86.5 mph per Trackman. Behrens is a loose and athletic arm that showed feel for a well above average changeup that showed as his best secondary offering.

+ OF Gianni Royer (Lake Forest, IL) made the most of his PBR event debut, and we’ll pass on our findings here to the rest of our team. Royer impacts the ball well for a lean 5-foot-9 prospect – he averaged an exit speed of 87.1 mph which was among the day’s best, with a 91.7 high. He also ran a 6.92 and topped 83 mph to home.


+ RHP Nolan Buss (Arrowhead) has emerged as the top freshman arm we’ve seen along this winter circuit. At 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Buss has broad shoulders, a high waist, and long levers that indicate prominent projection as he continues to develop and mature. He works a fluid pace with his shoulders level and closed down the mound, and he reaches the mid-80s with minimal effort from a low ¾ slot, reaching an 86 mph high here. His feel to locate his breaking ball is raw, understandably, but the pitch projects well as it spins at an above-average rate (2,244 rpm on average), with large horizontal action and depth.

+ In his PBR debut, freshman J.D. Dix (Whitefish Bay) made a strong case for himself as the top prospect in the class. Dix is a high-ceiling, switch-hitting infielder at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds – and he looks every bit of the part from both sides of the plate, with a well-sequenced swing that works a middle-of-the-field approach. He’s brings similar upside on the infield where his hands work well, and he moves athletically to both sides, all while running a 7.17 in the 60. 

+ OF/LHP Cade Palkowski (Oak Creek) is another freshman who will likely see his name in the state rankings. He’s a compact 5-foot-11, 175 pounds with a similar swing that stays short to the baseball with sneaky pop for his size. The left/left outfielder plays athletic with a big arm for his age at 85 mph. 

+ RHP Mike Schoon (University School of Milwaukee) looks capable of becoming one of the class’ top arms, as he’s already demonstrating the feel to pitch with advanced stuff for his age, in a 6-foot, 160-pound build. On Sunday, he sat 80-82 mph with jump out of the hand while flashing hard arm-side action. Schoon’s already exhibiting the feel to spin his curveball, measured consistently in the 2,000-plus rpm range, featuring tight/sharp action that really projects as he continues to polish it up. And the control he showed over his changeup was similarly impressive, matching his typical arm speed/slot well with late run/fade that he landed in the lower third of the zone.

+ Aren Robinson (Brookfield Central) is as physically advanced as it gets for a freshman, standing at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, inside a power-hitting first base profile. A right-handed hitter, Robinson has a short and repeatable swing for his size that stays to the middle of the diamond with authority. He’s an advanced defender around the bag for his age as well, moving confidently with soft hands as a big target.

+ Left-handed-hitting infielder Brock Lulewicz (Muskego) has been on the radar for some time now. He possesses some wiry strength that generates above-average bat speed and can spray the ball on a line from foul pole to foul pole. Defensively, he’s shown well-above-average actions, with enough arm strength to profile on the left side. His total package will likely give him a shot to make the initial 2024 rankings when they release later this season.

+ INF/RHP Grayson Fluguar (Franklin) impressed with the top infield velocity across the diamond at 88 mph and translated it to the mound with a fastball that 80-81 mph, touching 82 mph. Fluguar’s fastball really projects on the mound, too, as it jumps from a lower release height (5.29 feet), with carry.

+ Left/left 1B Jackson Brewer (Homestead) is a smooth and easy hitter with similar actions around the bag. It’s a level path swing that stays on top of the baseball and gets good extension through impact, resulting in a ton of line-drive, up-the-middle contact. Brewer brings one of the more advanced approaches to the plate for his age which will likely continue to play up at a high level for him.

+ RHP/INF Paul Neutzel (Homestead) is on the follow list after sitting 80-82 mph on Sunday, reaching an 83 high from a lanky, projectable 5-foot-11, 150-pound stature. His long levers aren’t yet synced up to repeat often enough, but as just a freshman, Neutzel’s size and early velocity are definitely worth monitoring.

+ RHP Jack Olson (Antioch, IL) is a lean 6-foot-1, 160-pound right-hander with a clean arm action that projects well on the mound. He topped at 81 mph with a true four seam fastball and showed two above average off speed offerings. He has depth and above-average spin for his age on a 62-64 mph curveball, along with excellent feel on a deceptive fading changeup.

+ INF Seth Koci (Indian Trail) put together one of the more consistent rounds of BP in the class. It's a short stroke on top of the baseball that created repeated backspin contact back up the middle of the field. He’s well-balanced and athletic in the box, which showed on the infield and in his 60-yard dash (7.18).

+ RHP Sawyer Kowalkowski (Ozaukee) can really spin the baseball. Inside a wiry/lean 6-foot, 135-pound stature, Kowalkowski was up to a projectable 78 mph on a fastball that spun at an average rate of 2,312 rpm, and his curveball flashed genuine late bite, and not just for his age, while also spinning at a high rate (2,455 rpm on average). He has a quick, loose arm and he maintains his balance well, indicating that as he fills out, the velocity will climb complementing the rest of his already impressive arsenal.

+ OF/RHP Payton Jibben (Oak Creek) is another upside prospect in the state’s 2024 class. He’s 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, with a ton of room to fill out. His right-handed swing already showed one of the best peak hand speeds of the event – measured at 25 mph by our Blast sensor – and as he continues to add strength, he’ll only see his batted-ball metrics go up. Defensively, he showed all the right actions in the outfield with an athletic crowhop and a well-above-average arm for his age. It works from the mound, too, where his arm works fluidly, clean, and there’s likely a huge jump in velocity coming in the near future.

+ OF R.J. Thomae (Hartford Union) is an athletic right-handed hitter with a short repeatable path that works in rhythm and on time. He showed excellent barrel awareness and drove several line-drives to the middle of the field.

+ INF C.J. Trask (Oak Creek) is an advanced defender in the middle of the diamond with soft hands and athletic feet. He showed a big arm at 85 mph across the diamond and a likely candidate to project at shortstop long term.

+ Luca Royer (Lake Forest, IL) is a strong 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed-hitting outfielder with some upside in his bat and a strong arm from the outfield at 86 mph. 


+ The No. 1-ranked prospect in the state’s 2022 class, SS Gavin Kilen (Milton, 2022), showed exactly why he’s clinging to that spot. The left-handed-hitting Louisville commit is looking closer and closer to comping to a former left-handed-hitting Wisconsin shortstop who’s currently in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

+ Michigan commit and RHP/INF Mitchell Voit (Whitefish Bay, 2022) wowed with his easy, elite arm strength across the infield, reaching 97 mph to first. Shortly after doing that, he hopped onto the mound where he touched 92 mph twice, with advanced arm speed and athleticism. He showed an improved breaking ball and greater control of the zone that will help him stick around the top of the state’s 2022 rankings headed into the spring and summer.

+ C Hayden Christiansen’s (Richmond-Burton, IL, 2022; Xavier) showing on Sunday may wind up being the most impactful upon the state rankings. His performance was in the running as the day’s best – he ran a 7.02, reached an 85 mph high from the chute, and slugged the three hardest hit balls of the day, as well as the day’s farthest (363 feet).

+ SS Tristan Ellis (Greendale, 2022; Purdue) has a big arrow up after taking an excellent round of BP on Sunday. There’s easy present bat speed and barrel control on the swing that should profile well at the top of a Purdue lineup in a few years.

+ LHP Brady Banker (Carmel Catholic, IL, 2022), an Illinois commit, tossed a polished ‘pen featuring three pitches that worked the bottom of the zone, topping at 88 mph.

+ Will Vierling (Homestead, 2022) is another Wisconsin native who’s committed to Louisville. The sturdy/strong left-handed-hitting catcher has a bat fit for the middle of any kind of order, and his arm strength out of the crouch (reaching an 80 mph high) helped him pop in the low-2.00s consistently, including a 1.97 low.

+ Back on the bump, it’d been nearly a year to date since we’d last seen LHP Michael Mulhollon (Westosha Central, 2022), and he made up for lost time by climbing into the upper-80s, touching 89 mph, from an especially athletic, projectable build.

+ SS Alex Alicea (St. Thomas More, 2023) is another one of the state’s Louisville recruits, and he left Sunday’s event as, still, one of Wisconsin’s best sophomores. He’s an elite defender who reached a 90 mph high across the infield from an athletic, live 5-foot-7, 140-pound stature. Alicea also takes short, compact swings from both batter’s boxes, demonstrating barrel feel.

+ RHP Adam Switalski (Westosha Central, 2023; Indiana) is a highly athletic, competitive pitcher who’s clearly been hard at work sharpening up his curveball, which showed much more bite and spin on Sunday, and he was spotting it consistently well. That development, while sitting 87-89 mph with jump and carry, was one of the more substantial takeaways from the entire event.

+ C/RHP T.J. Schuyler (Antioch, IL, 2023) is the other Indiana commit on this roster. He’s established himself as one of the top players in Illinois’ sophomore class already, and he took an advanced round of catcher defense on Sunday as further evidence of this – popping a 1.93 low while reaching an 83 mph high to second. That arm strength showed itself on the mound later in the day, an area he’s new to. Still, Schuyler required little effort to reach an 87 mph high from the rubber, and his 6-foot-2, 205-pound build makes him especially projectable here, should he decide to pitch with more regularity.