Top-10 Stories of 2021: Team Wisconsin shines at the PBR Future Games
December 20, 2021
At the end of each calendar year, our staff reflects on the most interesting stories of the past year. Through the end of the month, we’ll be counting down some of the most impactful headlines that affected Wisconsin’s baseball community, ending with our No. 1 story of 2021 revealed on New Year’s Day.
The PBR Future Games is a yearly, one-of-a-kind event that is routinely attended by more than 300 college coaches from across the country. Each of our company-wide 40-plus state coverage areas, and Canada, sent a team to LakePoint to participate in this year’s event.
Making the trip down from the Badger State, Team Wisconsin put together arguably it’s strongest performance to date down in Georgia. Made up of a complete roster of 2023 graduates, Team Wisconsin went 2-1 on the week, including a victory over Team Illinois on the third day of the event.
You can find all three game recaps from each game here:
In total 11 players from Team Wisconsin have already committed since the event’s conclusion, including RHP Jonah Conradt (P27 Academy, SC), who moved to South Carolina and committed to Arkansas a few months ago. The abundance of talent from this roster has continued to trickle down since LakePoint, as 17 of the top 30 prospects on our state’s 2023 rankings donned the green and gold Wisconsin jersey this year.
Read below for some of the names that stood out from Team Wisconsin’s most successful run to date.
COMMITTED STANDOUTS+ Jumping all the way up to the second overall spot on our state rankings, and onto the national board as well, INF Ethan Hindle (Arrowhead) came away a major winner from the Future Games. He came in as one of the Midwest’s hottest uncommitted commodities after hitting at nearly every stop and certainly backed that status up at LakePoint, even winning Player of the Game honors after Team Wisconsin’s first win. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound infielder committed to Kentucky shortly afterwards and has continued to trend up ever since.
INF Ethan Hindle (@DiamondWarhawks, 2023) was yesterday’s player of the game, and he’s already making a case for game two’s honor. He just smashed this no-doubt HR that traveled 369 feet, hot off the barrel at 96 mph.#PBRFG21 | #TeamWisconsin pic.twitter.com/fFWQBwCpAS— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 30, 2021
+ Captaining this pitching staff throughout the entirety of the event were C Evan Gustafson (Altoona; Oregon State) and C Thomas Curry (Arrowhead; Missouri), both of whom committed to their respective Power 5 shortly after. Gustafson displayed a relatively impressive offensive profile throughout the week, leading the team in walks and homering in the final game, too. Curry took amongst the loudest BP rounds we saw, with a 100 mph max exit velocity, and there were a few balls that screamed off his barrel in gameplay, too.
LHH C Evan Gustafson (Altoona) has cemented himself as one of the top names in WI’s ‘23 class.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 31, 2021
Strong 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. Adept defender behind the plate, quick release. Swings it too, launches this over the RF wall for a #PBRBombSquad. #PBRFG21 | @ShooterHunt pic.twitter.com/36chvgx0eZ
+ OF Caleb Karll (Madison West) entered the Future Games as a bit of an unknown to our staff and left it as an unquestioned winner after his play on the diamond. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Karll worked on the barrel throughout the week, pushing balls to both gaps and he homered early on in the event, too. Karll showed capable of playing the outfield as well, showcasing a strong arm from a corner spot and the lateral agility to stick there in the long run. He jumped into the top-10 on our state rankings after this performance and just recently committed to Ohio.
Plate coverage and bat strength have shown as Caleb Karll’s (Madison West, 2023) best tools this week. He went down and got this pitch, pulled to shallow LF for his latest RBI hit.#PBRFG21 | #TeamWisconsin https://t.co/LD9xArJaDc pic.twitter.com/7m7KUFYjDY— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 31, 2021
+ ATH Max Hennemann (Oak Creek) made a significant jump after a strong showing at this particular event, vaulting into the top-20 on our rankings and eventually committing to Northern Kentucky. The 5-foot-10, 145-pound Hennemann has long been one of the state’s most athletic follows with savvy, smooth defensive actions on the infield and he comfortably roamed the outfield turf for Team Wisconsin, too. Hennemann’s run tool aids him in a big way on offense and his ability to impact the baseball on the barrel combined with a natural all fields approach has slowly solidified a competitive profile offensively that could see him contribute from the top of a lineup long-term.
SS/OF Max Hennemann (@ocreekbaseball, 2023) keeps jumpstarting #TeamWisconsin offensively. Attacked a first pitch FB in a left/left matchup, driving it through the right side of the infield to score the game’s first run against Team Illinois.#PBRFG21 | @prepbaseball pic.twitter.com/sACiZWHezz— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 30, 2021
+ Left-handed hitting C Dominic Kibler (New Berlin West) looked every bit the part offensively throughout, jumpstarting the Team Wisconsin offense on day one with an RBI double. Kibler would end that day with two knocks, both working on the barrel, and he walked twice as well. He cemented himself as one of the state’s purest hitters and his offensive ability has continued to trend upward since the event. Kibler recently committed to Kent State.
LHH C Dominic Kibler (@NBW_Baseball, 2023) has carried some momentum over from yesterday’s workout into today.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 29, 2021
Barrels this one up through the pull-side for his second base hit, the first an RBI double earlier in the game. #PBRFG21 | #TeamWisconsin pic.twitter.com/WwhtSgknUd
+ RHP Luke Agnew (Marquette University, 2023) is still fully polishing up his arsenal and operation on the mound, but the 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander showed well in the Wednesday game. Agnew bumped his fastball up to 88 mph, sitting 86-88 mph and mixing in a low-to-mid-70s changeup that flashed out-pitch potential, thrown at arm speed. He is one of the most recent names to come off the board, committing to Wichita State a few weeks ago.
+ RHP Thomas Burns (Hortonville) started to tick upward after his performance at the Future Games, tossing arguably the cleanest inning of the seven we saw from the Wisconsin rotation on the first day. He retired the side in order, as the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Burns bumped his fastball as high as 90 mph and showed a feel to land his breaking ball for strikes, albeit used sparingly. He continued to cement himself as an upper tier arm in Wisconsin in his second appearance, reaching back for a 91 mph max on his fastball late in the game. Burns remains one of the Midwest’s top uncommitted arms.
+ INF Jack Counsell (Whitefish Bay) earned an invitation to represent Team Wisconsin after hitting in front of our staff throughout the summer and it was here when he truly broke onto the scene as one of the Badger State’s top prospects. Counsell impressed in his workout, including running a team-high 6.65 in the 60-yard dash, and put together strong at-bats throughout Team Wisconsin’s three games.
MIF Jack Counsell (@WFB_Baseball, 2023) has three hits already this week. He’s performed all summer, culminating in a strong showing at LakePoint. A barrel feel RH swing with reliable infield actions.#PBRFG21 | #TeamWisconsin pic.twitter.com/LDWQ4G3ntN— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 30, 2021
+ RHP Presley Wachowiak (Catholic Memorial) and RHP Brayden Olson (St. Croix Falls) emerged as winners on the mound from this event - both of which are still uncommitted. Wachowiak’s sole appearance was impressive, as the 6-foot-1, 195-pound prospect pumped in six straight 89 mph fastballs with two above-average secondary offerings to pair.
+ The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Olson allowed just one baserunner during his two innings of work, limiting hard contact throughout. He threw his fastball at 84-86 mph, touching an 87 mph high with natural run and sink. His go-to secondary offering was an advanced changeup that showed out-pitch potential, which he threw with plenty of confidence in any count and to all hitters, too.