Prep Baseball Report

South Milwaukee Preseason I.D.: Quick Hits

By Steve Nielsen & Andy Sroka
Wisconsin Staff

On Sunday, March 1, the PBR Wisconsin team hosted the longest-running annual showcase on its winter event circuit: the South Milwaukee Preseason I.D. Every year, our staff makes it out to Hitters Baseball Academy to host this event and every year it helps us evaluate some of the state’s best talent. Given the budding talent inside the state’s 2022 and 2023 classes, this year’s South MKE I.D. was especially star-studded.

Today, we’ll take a look at the best things we saw on Sunday and publish our rapid analysis within this Quick Hits post. Keep an eye out on Tuesday when we examine the statistical leaders from this showcase. By the end of the month, videos from this I.D. event will be living within player profiles and we’ll begin rolling out our position-by-position scouting reports.

For now, here are the top highlights from the South Milwaukee Preseason I.D.



+ The lone senior of the event, Steve Marhefke (Neenah, 2020; uncommitted) is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound third base-type defender. He has a confident right-handed swing and he lets it eat in BP. As an unsigned senior, Marhefke should garner some attention this spring.


+ Darryl Jackson (Milwaukee King, 2021) was one of our players to watch when we previewed this event last week, and for good reason. Jackson had been steadily climbing our rankings and on Sunday, he led off the infield defensive evaluations with a huge exclamation mark, throwing 91 mph across the diamond on multiple occasions. It’s a plus arm that plays loose and quick, and it set the tone for a huge crop of big arms across the diamond.

+ Jackson was one of 17 players who threw it 85 mph or better across the infield. The top spot belongs to Whitefish Bay’s Mitchell Voit (2022; Michigan commit), who recorded a 95 mph high to first. However, the best infield arm is easily awarded to Alabama commit Noah Miller (Ozaukee, 2021). Miller is a plus defender, not only for his soft hands and easy actions, but for his ability to get to easily playable arm strength. Topping at 89 mph across the diamond, Miller’s arm played the most accurate on the day, and it naturally translates in-game as it’s short and easy with a quick release that plays within the confines of his actions. Miller throws a true ball across the diamond and can even get to his arm strength when on the move and going into the hole. The top ranked junior in the state showed an advanced hit tool from both sides of the dish, with slightly more strength out of his right-handed swing, but similar bat-to-ball skills from both sides. His ability to already handle a wood bat with ease will make him one of the top MLB Draft follows in the state this summer.

+ Joseph Ricchio (Tremper, 2021) caught our attention at this event last year and looked even better on Sunday, with a compact right-handed stroke. He has a typical, strong catcher’s build at 5-foot-10, 190-pounds with a strong arm out of the crouch (topped 79 mph) and he’s an above-average runner for his position (7.25 time in the 60).

+ Oak Creek’s Tyler Gall (2021) was one of the day’s many surprises. A strong-bodied, right/right outfielder, Gall has matching arm strength at 90 mph and flashed occasional pop in the batter’s box. He also earned a mention in the pitcher’s section below.

+ Whitefish Bay is at no shortage of talent this year, including the aforementioned Michigan recruit Voit. OF Jack Stecker (2021; uncommitted) is continuing his upward trend from last summer when we saw him at the PBR at The Rock Championships. Stecker is a 7.15 runner with a short, compact swing that stays well connected at impact. He’s an athletic outfielder to boot with smooth actions, a big crowhop, and a true arm that carries well and plays on target.

+ INF Brady Counsell (Whitefish Bay, 2021) has grown three inches and added 20 pounds since this same event last year, and it immediately stands out. His added strength plays well in the box, as a right-handed hitter, and his swing stays on plane well and finds the barrel regularly in BP. Additionally, the added size has improved all of his measurables immensely.

+ Notre Dame commit Benjamin Loyd (Tremper) was one of many infielders who continues to shine. Loyd has an easy repeatable swing that makes consistent line-drive, gap-to-gap contact all while being a slick defender up the middle. He’s athletic and moves easily, with soft hands, which makes him a definite candidate to stick to the middle of a diamond.

+ C Noah Berndt (Winneconne, 2021; uncommitted) is as physical as it gets, built at a sturdy/strong 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. The ball jumps off his right-handed bat and shows gap-to-gap power, with a bat strength-type swing combined with some of the best bat speed of the day.

+ Left-handed-hitting first baseman Brady Marget (Whitefish Bay, 2021; uncommitted) is a natural around the bag, and his left-handed swing continues to show growth and promise. Marget hits off a natural uphill path and he creates hard contact with loose, explosive hands. As he continues to add strength, his hard contact rate should rise.


+ Arguably the biggest riser of the day may have been Indian Trail’s Ian Choi (2022). Choi was around the top of every statistical leaderboard on Sunday. He ran the second-best 60 of the day (6.87), recorded a top-three exit velocity (93 mph), as well as a top-five velocity in the infield (88 mph). This is an impressive feat for any event, let alone one that included some of the top committed prospects in the state, representing all classes. Choi plays a quick and easy shortstop with active feet that keep him moving through the baseball. Offensively, he shows a short swing path that gets extension through contact with loose, easy bat speed. Choi was another prospect who had a diligent offseason and added some impactful muscle to his frame, which is already helping his batted-ball profile.

+ Michael Lippe (Whitefish Bay) is in a different category when it comes to the best the 2022 class has to offer, one that is particularly full of talent in Wisconsin. Lippe looks even more physical than he did last fall, now standing a chiseled 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He’s got a gifted toolset that, for me, draws some comparisons to Doran Turchin (Oak Creek, 2015, Illinois; 2018 MLB Draft, Orioles) and Zaid Walker (Homewood Flossmoor, IL, 2018; Michigan State). Lippe is a 6.88 runner with a 95 mph arm from the outfield, and recorded a 92 mph exit velocity on Sunday, placing him inside the top-four or better in each of those three categories from Sunday. He’s equipped with premium bat speed and the ball explodes off his bat, while bringing a sense of ownership and confidence into the batter’s box that he won’t be beat. Lippe looks to be a lock at the top spot in the class for some time, but there’s plenty of talent lurking behind him.

+ D.J. Kojis (Whitefish Bay, 2022; uncommitted) is in the same breath as Choi for biggest risers of the day. Kojis has always been high on our list as a projectable, right/right outfielder with lanky, quick twitch levers. He’s listed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, and has one of the highest upside bats in his class. On Sunday, he recorded above-average swing metrics across the board. Kojis is short and direct to the baseball with loose, quick hands that helped him find gap-to-gap barrels throughout his round. He’s a rangy outfielder with natural actions, and he plays in stride with a plus arm for his age that carries with accuracy at 94 mph.

+ Illinois State commit James Duncan (Arrowhead, 2022) missed a good portion of last spring and summer, but came back with a vengeance at the PBR Midwest Fall Championships. He wowed again on Sunday with an athletic and loose swing from the left side with excellent hand speed that generates top-end bat speed. He’s an easy defender in the outfield who glides to the baseball with above-average arm strength. Duncan is one of the many upside athletes in the 2022 class that could finish his career as a top-five player in the state.

+ South Carolina commit Keegan Knutson (Milton, 2022) did his thing all over the diamond. He’s got a ton of feel for his right-handed barrel that stays on plane and through the zone. He’s a natural athlete on defense who looks like he could play the part of any spot on the infield, but with his kind of arm strength (87 mph), he’s likely to stay on the left side.

+ 2022 Dylan Mass (Franklin; uncommitted) has added some useful size as well. Mass now stands 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, and is handling the bat a lot stronger through contact. The added size has helped his arm as well, touching 87 mph from the outfield, a nine-tick increase since seeing him last July.

+ Camdin Jansen (Racine Lutheran) is another sophomore prospect who looks to have benefitted from some physical maturity. Jansen, a right-handed-hitting infielder, swings a short, line-drive-type bat. He’s projectable in the box and will likely continue to improve by adding even more strength. Jansen shows even better defensively, with above-average hands that play out front and he works well through the baseball. His arm showed good carry, at 88 mph out with short, loose arm action that has the ability to play athletically.

+ Purdue recruit Tristan Ellis (Greendale, 2022) swings one of the easiest left-handed bats in his class. He’s simple, with little effort, and repeats hard gap-to-gap line-drives. Ellis is a middle-of-the-field defender with his 7.03 speed and 87 mph arm across the diamond. He has soft hands and plays just as fluid on the dirt as he does in the batter's box. 

+ Shortstop and Louisville commit Gavin Kilen (Janesville Craig, 2022) looks fully recovered from an elbow injury suffered this past summer. He’s got a dynamic arm, at 89 mph across the diamond, that carries and plays on target, as well as on the move. He plays with easy hands that work soft and out front and is a surefire candidate to stick at shortstop at the next level. 

+ Left/left OF Jonathan Kim (Brookfield Academy, 2022; uncommitted) has a strong presence in the box. He’s a hard pull-side contact hitter that generates premium bat speed. Kim also ran a top-five 60 on the day, with a 6.90 mark.

+ C Heath Venne (Muskego, 2022; uncommitted) is a strong, compact 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, and he swings the bat in a similar fashion. He makes line-drive contact that jumps off the bat with backspin. 

+ Tristan Ott (Oconomowoc, 2022) has an athletic, projectable frame and 6-foot, 180 pounds. His right-handed swing played compact and quick to contact, while staying balanced, and producing fairly easy bat speed. His outfield arm played true from an over-the-top slot at 87 mph. 

+ From Illinois, Xavier commit Hayden Christiansen (Richmond-Burton, 2022) put up the best pop times of the day. He’s a sub-2.00 guy to second base with quick actions and a quick arm. Quick can also describe his swing, as he’s short to the baseball and produced some of the best bat speed of the day. 


+ It’s the first WIAA preseason for the 2023 class and we got a look at some of the top names to follow going forward, including SS Alexander Alicea (St. Thomas More; uncommitted), who looks to be one of the next high-end middle infield defenders in the state. He posted a 6.93 mark in the 60-yard dash and showed off some of the smoothest actions you’re going to see up the middle of the diamond. On top of that, he’s a switch-hitter who handles the bat well from both sides.

+ This event annually helps us uncover the top freshman follows in the state, and the latest among them is Zachary Olson (uncommitted) out of Oak Creek. Olson is an athletic 6-foot-3, 169 pounds, and he shows a lot of quick-twitch in his game. His bat speed and strength are exceptional for his age and the ball jumps off his bat in BP. Olson’s bat speed stays under control and in rhythm in the box and he shows the ability to generate above-average power for his age, especially. He’s got a plus arm, recording a 90 mph high from the outfield, and he plays with quick feet and through the baseball. Olson also took the mound on Sunday, and you can find quick notes on that in the section below.

+ Franklin’s Boston Halloran (2023) is a strong-bodied infielder who moves well with above-average actions and arm strength. His path has some length, but he makes up for it with advanced overall strength for his age. His hands get to continuous hard contact and it’s going to be a bat to follow going forward. 

+ Aiden Schenk (Janesville Craig) is a left/left first baseman and he’ll be a high-follow in the state’s freshman class with the bat, and he shows a ton of feel around the bag at first base. His feet work well in the outfield as well, but his left-handed bat looks like it could carry him a long way.

+ C T.J. Schuyler (Antioch, IL, 2023), an Illinois native, was one of two Indiana commits on Sunday’s roster. Schuyler has a middle-of-the-field approach from the right side with quick hands and a strong arm out of the crouch, playing at 78 mph, while showing an ability to be accurate and get rid of the baseball quickly. Schuyler averaged some of the day’s lowest pop times, too.



+ One of the biggest winners from the mound on Sunday was LHP Tommy Meyer (Wauwatosa East, 2021; Northern Illinois). He broke out in 2019 and it landed him on Team Wisconsin’s roster at the PBR Future Games at the end of the summer, and it’s evident he put in the work over the offseason. Meyer was up to 85 mph at this event last year and was a couple ticks lighter at LakePoint later in the year after an arduous spring and summer, but he surged up to 88 mph multiple times at Hitters on Sunday. His fastball is released from a high ¾ slot, with jump from the hand, and it generates some downhill tilt and run. He backed up the fastball with arguably the day’s best breaking ball, a 12/6 curve that featured tight spin and sharp bite, and he was able to locate it beneath the zone consistently. Meyer’s third pitch, a changeup, also flashed some late arm-side run and fade, giving him a reliable mix.

+ We had a prospect from the Chicago area join us in Milwaukee on Sunday: RHP Ben Plumley (Lane Tech, 2021; uncommitted). Ranked inside PBR Illinois’ top-70 within the state’s junior class, Plumley put together one of the day’s most complete bullpens. He sat 87-88 mph, touching one 89, with some tail and clean, loose arm action. His slider flashed tight spin off an 11/5 plane and was thrown aggressively while mostly maintaining his natural quick arm speed. His changeup looked like his best offspeed offering on Sunday, thrown with conviction and some late fade.

+ It’s been over a year since we’ve seen the big 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior RHP Alex Windey (Wrightstown; uncommitted). On Sunday, he was filling up the zone with a 84-85 mph fastball, touching 86, with jump. He mixed in an aggressive slider featuring some late 10/4 action and a firm straight change, 77-80 mph.

+ We saw RHP Eric McLevige (Janesville Craig, 2021; uncommitted) at last year’s Madison-area showcase, where he was up to 79 mph, and he’s clearly made some strides since. On Sunday, the Craig righty was up to 85 mph, sitting 81-83, with downhill tilt and heavy feel. His curveball is a work in progress but has potential with its 12/6 shape. His changeup is also straight and firm, at 77-79 mph. Given McLevige’s lean 6-foot-4, 187-pound frame, as well as his quick and loose arm, he’s still polishing off the unearthed upside he brings to the mound. He’s an under-the-radar follow in the state’s 2021 class.

+ The most notable takeaway from RHP Mason Ruh’s (Wisconsin Lutheran, 2021; uncommitted) ‘pen on Sunday was his trimmed up, leaner figure to his 6-foot-4 frame. He still has long and loose arm action, and it was quicker on Sunday, helping him generate 84-86 mph velocity that touched one 87 early, with effort. His slider was aggressive and did flash late lateral action, 69-72 mph. His changeup is aggressive, too, featuring arm-side run at 76-79 mph.


+ With the WIAA’s spring season around the corner, we’ve been keeping tabs on programs on the up and up in early 2020 and Oak Creek’s pitching looks potent. There are a lot of familiar faces within the staff, but one one brink of breaking out is RHP Tyler Gall (2021; uncommitted). We’d heard murmurs of a strong offseason out of Gall, and he made a big impression on Sunday, sitting 84-86 mph with hard run. He mixed in a couple different breaking balls, a slider and curve, and was able to land both for strikes. The curveball looks like the more reliable go-to offering right now, a 12/6 type that flashed sharp action. The slider features more horizontal action with less bite, thrown firmer. 

+ Joining Gall as juniors on right-handed juniors Oak Creek’s staff: Tyler Peck (Ohio), Isaac Engelbrecht (uncommitted), and Maximus Graetz (uncommitted). The first two names, Peck and Engelbrecht, were members of Team Wisconsin, too, like the aforementioned Meyer. Peck topped 87 mph, a personal PBR high for him, with feel for two separate breaking balls and a solid straight change. Engelbrecht sits at a firm 82-84 mph, that looks harder with carry through the zone, and 12/6 breaking ball that flashed tight/late action. As for Graetz, he sat 80-83 mph with consistent arm-side action and an above-average breaking ball and change.

+ 6-foot-2, 180-pound sophomore righty Luke Klekamp (uncommitted) owned one of Sunday’s most polished ‘pens, regardless of age. Klekamp pounded the strike zone with his three-pitch mix, and touched 86 mph at the end after sitting 83-85 throughout. His fastball is heavy, with hard running action. His breaking ball is slurve-y with above-average movement that flashed sharp, though it’ll play up given his ability to spot it where he wants. Klekamp’s changeup generated similar arm-side run and sink and he mostly maintained his natural arm speed, too, while placing it on the corners and under the zone.

+ Zachary Olson (uncommitted) looked like an impact two-way freshman ahead of the spring, too. He topped 90 mph from the outfield and took a strong round of BP before he stepped on the mound, where he sat 82-83. He’s still finding the feel to spin the breaking ball, but his power-type changeup looks like a potential outpitch, with hard sink thrown with feel. 


Mitchell Voit (Whitefish Bay, 2022; Michigan commit) has a well-earned reputation as one of the class’ best athletes, and he’s ranked at No. 4 overall in the state’s increasingly impressive 2022 class as a result. While he has demonstrated some genuine two-way upside – and still does, certainly – his work on the mound looks especially tantalizing. On Sunday, Voit sat at an uber easy 86-89 mph mixing in feel for a 11/5 breaking ball he can drop in for strikes or bury under the zone, as well as a fading changeup thrown at arm speed and with feel. Smooth, clean, loose, fast are all synonymous with Voit’s arm action and his early polish and athleticism imply there’s plenty more sky to scrape for the Whitefish Bay sophomore.

+ RHP/INF James Reese’s (University School of Milwaukee, 2022; uncommitted) quick arm and athleticism has marked him as a follow within the state’s sophomore class for the last couple of years or so, and he took another big step up on Sunday. Another sophomore with two-way appeal, Reese looks especially sharp on the mound, where he sat 85-87 mph and touched 88 early in his ‘pen. He’s built at a sturdy 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, with a strong lower half. The fastball features hard arm-side action and he throws everything, offspeed included, with aggression and effort. His slider flashed tight, sharp 11/5 action, and he located a couple that darted late off the outside corner. Reese’s changeup tunnels well off his fastball while featuring similar hard running action. He’s also harnessing a knuckle-curve that, while currently inconsistent, flashes bite off a more vertical plane at 70-73 mph, separate from his slider. He’s trending up big in the 2022 class.

+ Westosha Central sophomore Michael Mulhollon (2022; uncommitted) is a premium athlete for his size, at 6-foot-4, 194 pounds. His 86 mph high from the left side trailed only the junior Meyer’s 88 for southpaws at the showcase, and the fastball produces consistent hard arm-side action. Mulhollon’s breaking ball spin and feel is still under construction, but he’s demonstrated some above-average feel and shape for it in the past. His changeup is his best present offspeed, despite some deceleration – it tunnels well and features the same kind of run/sink as his fastball. His loose, quick arm speed and smooth effort and rhythm is what has him ranked among the top talents in the state’s 2022 class.

+ Catholic Memorial is brewing something special in 2020, and sophomore RHP Braydon Cooper (uncommitted) could contribute to it. He’s built at a lean/strong 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, and was able to locate his hard-running fastball, 83-84 mph, touching 85. His breaking ball flashed sharp bite off a 12/6 plane and he mixed in a straight change, too, though he’s still finding the feel to land it for strikes.

+ Franklin has a talented, though youthful roster ahead of this spring and RHP Jaxon Easterlin (uncommitted) is entrenched in that mix. At a highly projectable 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Easterlin utilizes clean, loose, quick arm action with easy effort. His fastball jumps and sits 81-83 mph with slight run, and his changeup projects especially well. It’s thrown at arm speed and features late fade with feel at 74-77 mph. The spin feel he has for the slider is raw still, and featured average action at 70-73 mph.

+ This was our second viewing of Tyler Deleskiewicz (Badger, 2022; uncommitted) of the winter, after we ventured just over the Illinois border to see him make his PBR event debut at the McHenry Preseason I.D., where he topped 87 mph. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound righty was similar on Sunday, sitting at a funky 84-85 mph. He’s still gaining the consistent feel for his offspeed, but the curveball flashed late action of a 12/6 plane and his changeup features some arm-side run and sink. His arm strength and size have him as an emergent 2022 name this winter.


+ RHP/INF Adam Switalski (Westosha Central, 2023) became the first freshman in the state to announce a verbal commitment when he pledged to Indiana late in 2019. He’s among the most athletic prospects we’ve seen to date in this 2023 class and he’s ultra-competitive, especially on the mound. The 6-foot, 155-pound righty sat 83-85 mph, with natural tail and some downhill tilt. He mixed in tight, 12/6 curveballs that he demonstrated above-average feel for, especially for his age, and they were thrown with conviction. And despite inconsistent control, Switalski’s changeup is also thrown at arm speed and with some arm-side run/sink. His athleticism complements his quick, loose arm and smooth, clean mechanics, making him among the top freshman follows in the Midwest.

+ Austin Kutz (Hartford Union, 2023; uncommitted) made some national rounds on the football circuit earlier this year as one of the top freshman quarterbacks in the country. On Sunday, he made his PBR event debut where he sat 80-83 mph from a ¾ slot with a shorter arm circle. Built at a lanky 6-foot-5, 175 pounds, Kutz is really only just beginning to tap into his upside on the mound, but the level of athleticism makes him a highly intriguing follow moving forward.

+ RHP/C Nicholas Lacson (Barrington, IL, 2023; uncommitted) is a strong 6-foot, 165-pound prospect who’s a talented backstop with arm strength that plays well on the mound. He reached back to top 84 mph early in his ‘pen, but sat 79-82. His feel to spin a breaking ball is advanced, and he was able to generate late and sharp 12/6 action at 68-69 mph. Lacson’s changeup featured late run/sink, too, giving him three feel offerings inside his high-ceiling arsenal.