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South Milwaukee Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits


By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Wisconsin/Illinois

Yesterday, March 3, the PBR Wisconsin team headed back to Hitters Baseball Academy in Caledonia to host our longest running annual showcase: the South Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Year after year, this event provides us with a look at more than just a handful of Wisconsin’s brightest prospects and the 2019 crop of talent on display was one of the best in recent memory.

Over 100 of the area’s best high school prospects were in attendance, including many of the top ranked players in the state. Obviously, we’re very familiar with the state’s best seniors, juniors, and even sophomores, but we’re only just getting to know Wisconsin’s top freshmen and after Sunday, it’s becoming more clear that this class has the chance to be special.

Wisconsin’s Class of 2022 is loaded with talent and we had a front-row seat at many of the names on our list of follows – and we certainly came away with more prospects to add to those lists, too.

Whitefish Bay has three high-profile freshmen of their own, in OF Michael Lippe, RHP/3B Mitchell Voit, and OF D.J. Kojis. Lippe is actually on PBR’s national radar and was the first member of the state’s 2022 class to commit to college when he announced his intent to join Louisville back in August. Voit has loud tools all across the board and is putting it all together even quicker than anticipated. As for Kojis, he took one of the best rounds of batting practice on the day, regardless of age.

One of the most notable 2022 to debut at a PBR event on Sunday was Grafton’s RHP Hunter Schmitt. He has a very clean arm and is already sitting 82-84 mph, granting him substantial upside as he continues to develop and mature.

Within the 2021 class, we were eager to see a number of buzzworthy arms that had been rumored to be making leaps on the mound over the offseason. Muskego’s RHP Alex Jamroziak and LHP Blake Read both showed their best stuff to us to date. And we were also forecasting a big jump from the 6-foot-8 Logan Landers (Brookfield Academy) and he delivered, touching 87  mph, but it’s apparent that there’s more in there.

This is really only just scratching the surface of our findings from Hitters yesterday. We have more on top ranked juniors like SS Michael Seegers (Home School; Iowa commit), who had one of the all-around best performances at the showcase, as well as the Alabama-bound sophomore Noah Miller (Ozaukee), who is the top 2021 in the state.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an in-depth look at the measured data taken from the South Milwaukee showcase in our Statistical Analysis.

AT THE TOP OF THE CLASS

+ SS Noah Miller (Ozaukee, 2021) proved once again that he’s one of the top sophomores in the country. Miller improved all his numbers across the board, running a 7.33 mark in the 60-yard dash, touching 84 mph across the diamond, and topping 87 mph from the tee at the exit velocity station. His raw numbers don’t do his skillset justice though, as he shows some of the best bat-to-ball skills from both sides of the plate, and the easiest infield actions of any of the prospects in attendance. Miller’s athleticism also played on the hardwood this winter, as he finished his sophomore campaign with a 38-point night in a playoff loss to Manitowoc Lutheran.

+ Michael Seegers (Home School, 2020), a top-10 prospect in Wisconsin’s 2020 class, is leaving no doubt that he is a premium next-level shortstop. Seegers showed plus arm strength across the diamond at 89 mph with smooth and easy actions. His light footwork showed in the 60 with a 6.80 run time, and he took one of the easier, more repeatable, swings of the day. His middle-of-the-field approach was able to consistently spray hard line drives to all fields.  

+ OF Michael Lippe (Whitefish Bay) was the first 2022 off the board in Wisconsin, making a verbal commitment to Louisville last August after the PBR Junior Future Games. Lippe is physically impressive at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and still has plenty of room for projection. He posted the best 60 time for a 2022 at 6.82, and moves well in the outfield, proving he could profile as a legitimate center fielder at the next level with a middle-of-the lineup bat. Lippe is currently ranked in the top 40 on the PBR national board for the 2022 class.

+ Purdue commit Tristan Ellis (Greendale) is one of three 2022s in Wisconsin who has already made a verbal commitment to the next level. Ellis is a smooth left-handed-hitting middle infielder with plus hands and actions for his age.

+ 2020 infielders Eric Erato (Sussex Hamilton, 2020; Northern Illinois) and T.J. Manteufel (Union Grove, 2020; Bradley) both put up big numbers. Erato showed off one of the better infield arms at 88 mph across the diamond, and Manteufel ran an event-best 6.67 in the 60-yard dash.

+ Left-handed-hitting Joshua Blount (West DePere) showed, for the second week in a row, that his bat is next-level quality. This time, Blount showed his defensive actions in the outfield and ran a 6.83 in the 60. He’s ranked inside the top 25 of his class and has given us strong looks in back-to-back weekends.

FRESHMEN ON THE RISE

+ SS Ian Choi (Indian Trail) is making his case as one of the top infielders in Wisconsin’s 2022 class. Choi has soft and dynamic actions on the infield and plays low through the baseball with carry on his arm that will allow him to stick at shortstop. Couple that with his improved foot speed at 6.91 in the 60, the best of any 2022 infielders in attendance, and Choi looks like a legitimate shortstop recruit.

+ RHP/3B Mitchell Voit (Whitefish Bay) is no longer a sleeper in Wisconsin’s freshman class. Voit has always shown a projectable arm and his profile as a right/right two-way player is bolstered after proving he is one of the top athletes in his class. Voit has smooth and quick actions all over the diamond and plays with ease. He ran a 7.16 in the 60-yard dash, showed an 89 mph arm across the infield, and posted a 93 mph exit velocity from the tee. His arm strength is just as evident on the mound, where he sat in the 83-84 mph range.

+ OF/INF Keegan Knutson (Milton) looks to be one of the more dynamic athletes on the field. Knutson is a physical 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, who showed plus arm strength at both infield and outfield defense. His arm played 85 mph across the infield and 87 mph from the outfield.

+ Lippe has a fellow freshmen to roam Whitefish Bay’s outfield with this spring: D.J. Kojis. Kojis has a projectable frame at 6-foot-1, 155 pounds, and took one of the more impressive BP rounds of the day. He has above-average bat speed, and gets extension at contact leading to hard hit balls from gap to gap.

+ OF/LHP Michael Mulhollon (Westosha Central) is a rare commodity with two-way abilities – he carries a similar profile to 2020 OF/LHP Jack Heiring (Christian Life; uncommitted). Mulhollon is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect who hits right-handed and throws lefty. He ran a 6.85 and showed an easy 80-81 mph fastball on the mound. Mullhollon has legit upside both on the mound and in the batter’s box and will be intriguing to see how his profile trends.

+ RHP Hunter Schmitt (Grafton, 2022) made his PBR debut with a bang. Schmitt is clean and easy with a young, wiry 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame. He has plus feel and plus fastball velocity for his age, sitting 82-84 mph. Schmitt’s ceiling is as high as anyone in the class, which is saying something considering how the 2022 class is shaping up – it’s got a chance to rival the depth and high-end talent that we saw in Wisconsin’s Class of 2016.

AN ARMS RACE

+ While the 2022 arms may have been the most intriguing on the day, 2020 RHP Arthur Liebau (Homestead) posted the top fastball velocity and continues to show his steady climb up the 2020 class rankings. Liebau topped at 90 mph and showed a plus potential action changeup and hard breaking curveball at 74-77 mph.

+ While Colton Coca (Racine Case, 2020; Central Michigan) has historically been touted for his smooth defense and easy arm strength at third base, Coca took his first cracks on the mound in front of our PBR staff. He opened some eyes with a 87-88 mph fastball that touched 89 mph and flashed occasional cut action. On top of that, he showed a natural 12/6 curveball that at played tight at 76-78 mph.

+ Pewaukee looks to have two unique underclass arms to rely on this spring. Sophomore Grant Ross showed improved fastball velocity, touching 88 mph out of an undersized 5-foot-9, 170-pound frame. On the other end of the height spectrum, freshman Logan Dobberstein stands in at 6-foot-6, 175 pounds, and is in midseason basketball shape, playing on Pewaukee’s varsity team during its sectional semifinals run. Dobberstein uses long levers to produce an 80-81 mph fastball and above-average splitter. He clearly has plenty more in the tank and will look for him to make significant jumps this summer as he transitions back to baseball.

+ RHP Billy Howard (Menomonee Falls, 2021) made a duly-noted jump on the mound. He went from an 81-83 mph arm last fall to 85-86 mph – touching 87 mph – on Sunday. Howard has a strong, physical frame at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and throws everything firm and aggressively.

+ 2021 RHP Tyler Peck (Oak Creek) showed advanced feel for his age with four above-average pitches. He’s an easy right-hander with long, loose arm action that projects and presently sits in the 83-85 mph range.

+ Muskego will also make the transition to spring baseball with a pair of high-end 2021 arms on the staff. RHP Alex Jamroziak made a seven-tick jump since seeing him at this event last year. Jamroziak topped at 87 mph on Sunday while sitting 83-85 mph with heavy feel. From the left side, Blake Read also showed us his best velocity to date, topping at 86 mph with hard arm-side run.

+ LHP Tommy Meyer (Wauwatosa East) has a strong chance at being the highest newcomer to the updated 2021 rankings. He is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound southpaw who stands long and lean. Meyer has a loose arm action that works well out front and touched 85 mph with his fastball.

+ RHP Logan Landers (Brookfield Academy, 2021) is tough to miss on the mound. Landers stands at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, and we’ve been high on his upside for some time now. Landers has broken through, flashing premium fastball velocity for his age, topping at 87 mph on Sunday. His long levers still show some timing issues, but it’s loose and clean and projects for even more in the tank.

+ A plethora of 2022 arms showed high-end stuff worth following as just freshmen: RHP Dakota Veium (Westosha Central), RHP Max Martin (Franklin), RHP Mason Buss (Arrowhead), RHP Jaxson Easterlin (Franklin), RHP Luke Klekamp (Oak Creek) and LHP Willard Peterson (Evansville). All of the aforementioned showed advanced fastball velocities for their age group, paired with the kind of projection that suggests there’s more to come in the future.

CATCH-AND-THROW SKILLS

+ A strong crop of catchers were lead by several prospects who showed above-average arm strength and catch-and-throw skills: Jonah Wronski (Marquette, 2020), Kyle Sagan (Oak Creek, 2020), Joe Turco (Franklin, 2021), Josh Caron (Sun Prairie, 2021), Heath Venne (Muskego, 2022), Hayden Christiansen (Richmond-Burton, 2022) and Charlie Jarvis (Arrowhead, 2022).

+ Among the group listed above, Caron showed some of the better pop times of the day, ranging from 2.10 to 2.19, and he also swung a loose right-handed bat that jumped off the barrel. Jarvis showed arguably the most impressive raw arm strength of the group, topping at 78 mph as just a freshman, while his freshman counterpart Christiansen showed the truest arm with plus carry and accuracy for his age.

+ Arguably Sunday’s most notable catcher is the left-handed-hitting Blake Carey (University School of Milwaukee, 2020). He is strong 6-foot-2, 195-pound backstop who displayed consistent bat strength and the ability to barrel the baseball with authority. Carey showed to be one of the better left-handed bats on the day, and did it all less than 24 hours after winning a WIAA state title in hockey, leading the Wildcats with two goals.

ON-THE-MARKET JUNIORS

+ OF Gunnar Doyle is likely to be a middle-of-the-lineup threat for Oak Creek as they make the move to spring baseball. His left-handed bat has consistently made hard contact to all fields in BP and likely profiles at a corner spot in the outfield.

+ LHP Ayden Spykstra (Cedarburg) looked demonstrably better on Sunday than he did in his first showcase of the year, back in Kenosha. This time, Spykstra improved his fastball velocity to 82-84 mph and showed a plus potential changeup at 74-76 mph.

+ One of the best bullpens of the day goes to 2020 RHP Nick Cairo (Kenosha Bradford). Cairo was in the best shape we’ve seen, standing in at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. He surgically pounded the zone with all three pitches. Cario’s fastball played with heavy sink at 84-85 mph and a slurve-type breaking ball that flashed plus action for his age. His changeup may be most deadly of his arsenal, playing consistently down with advanced arm-side sink (78-80 mph).

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