Prep Baseball Report

WIAA Scout Blog: Week 1

By Wisconsin Staff

The PBR Wisconsin WIAA Scout Blog provides insider information and scouting notes from the PBR Scouting Staff during the season. This running blog will feature information on underclass prospects, unsigned seniors, draft prospects, and anything else that is notable. We will provide a wide range of information, including player evaluations, velocities, pop times, home-to-first times, and more. Simply put, the WIAA Scout Blog is loaded with information …

Scout Blog: WEEK 1

Janesville Craig @ Madison Memorial – April 27, 2021

By Andy Sroka
Illinois & Wisconsin Asst. Director

Aaron Jungers, LHP/OF, Madison Memorial, 2022
Uncommitted. 6-foot, 185 pounds; proportional strength in build. Started for Memorial in their season opener and he limited Janesville Craig to two runs on three hits in four innings; three strikeouts. Steady, controlled pace; athleticism in delivery helps him repeat well. Works on line, finishes athletically and in balance. Loose, easy arm action; noticeable elbow layback, separation in hip/shoulder. Sat 82-83 mph mostly, low effort, but would reach back for 84-85 on occasion. Above-average breaking ball feel; 2/8 shape with depth that flashed sharp action, locates, 68-70 mph. Projects just as well, if not better, offensively. Right-handed hitter with a simple/repeat swing; loose, athletic hands create some bat speed off a short, direct path to the zone. Has previously showed 7.00 speed in-event, dating back to March. Connected for a home run to straightaway center in this ballgame; finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

Tyler Piotrowski, OF, Madison Memorial, 2022
Compact, strong stature; hit fourth in Memorial’s order as their starting left fielder on Opening Day. Impressed offensively; right-handed hitter, physical swings that generate noteworthy strength on impact. Barreled a fastball up in the zone for a line-drive that carried all the way to the right-center fence on a line for a double, hustle from out of the box earned him third base on the hit with the help of a throwing error. With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, he demonstrated his aggression by fouling off the first pitch with the walk-off run on second base; homered to dead center on the very next pitch to end it. Has become an intriguing follow prospect to monitor in this junior class.

Kyle Yu, SS, Madison Memorial, 2021
Winona State commit. Yu’s a top-50-ranked senior in the state and he continues to play like one. Listed at a lean 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Yu’s highly athletic and coordinated inside his upside frame. Looked the part of an advanced defender in pre-game, with proficient shortstop actions; confidence on the move, excellent body control. Hit second in the order for Memorial; right-handed hitter, calm approach, pitch selection. Sprayed a 3-2 curveball down the right field line in his first at-bat, struck out in his second, single to center in his third, worked a full count and walk to lead-off the bottom of the seventh with the game tied.

Jake Schaffner, SS/2B, Janesville Craig, 2023
Uncommitted; No. 13-ranked sophomore in the state. Lean, athletic 6-foot-1, 170-pound physique; wiry levers. Hit lead-off for Craig in his first career varsity game, Opening Day shortstop, too. Advanced glove/hand actions; demonstrates quality body control with a smooth, quick glove-to-hand exchange. Confident defender who looked like a natural middle infielder in pre-game; converted several routine 6-3 outs in-game. Left-handed hitter, rhythmic pre-pitch; shows lead-off traits. Patience in his first-ever varsity at-bat was rewarded with a hard-earned walk in a left/left match-up with Jungers. Second at-bat with Jungers pitching, battled down 0-2, pulled a groundout to the second baseman.

Brookfield East @ Menomonee Falls – April 27, 2021

By Diego Solares
Staff Writer/Area Scout

Luke Nowak, OF, Menomonee Falls, 2021
East Carolina commit. Strong, athletic 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame, defined lower half and forearms/wrists; under-the-radar MLB Draft prospect. Left/left prospect that hits leadoff and starts in center field for Menomonee Falls. Went 1-for-5 in this game against Brookfield East, was on the barrel in all batted-ball events, except for one. Easy bat speed comes from a strong wrist flick through the zone, short bat path through the zone, flat line-drive approach to contact. Game-changing type speed is on display in all aspects of the game; track and field star at his high school. Clocked a 4.20 down the line in his first at-bat then manufactured a run on his own by stealing second and third base, scoring on a overthrow down the left field line. Stole multiple bases throughout the week as well. Only had two balls hit out to center field all game; showed a quick first step with fluid routes that work around the baseball. An arrow-up name in the state’s senior class that continues to prove why he’s one of the best players in the WIAA.

Billy Howard, RHP/OF, Menomonee Falls, 2021
Uncommitted. Physical 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, broad shoulders with a barrel chest, plays middle linebacker for Falls’ football team. Started on the mound for the Phoenix and turned in a quality start, tossing five innings of three-hit ball and allowing just one earned run while striking out five. Poised and confident demeanor on the mound, works from an effortless tall/fall type delivery, level shoulders, stays in line to target with an athletic finish, smooth rhythm through release. Arm plays with some length on the backside, consistently lands on time at front foot strike and finishes out of a high ¾ release. Fastball sat right around 80 mph throughout this outing, flashed cutting action away from right-handed hitters and was consistently thrown for strikes, especially down in the zone. Advanced feel to mix pitches and displayed plenty of confidence in both his secondary offerings; a straight changeup located at knee-level and curveball that broke gradually off an 11/5 plane – both of which were landed for strikes. Impressed on offense as well, hitting out of the two-hole for Menomonee Falls and collecting three hits. Advanced bat strength for age comes from physical stature, hands stay short to the baseball, level line drive plane to contact. Each batted ball found the barrel and has a middle-of-the-order profile at the next level. Legitimate two-way talent that remains uncommitted for Menomonee Falls, who should continue to get better this spring in his return to the baseball field.

Evan Falkner, DH, Menomonee Falls, 2022
Uncommitted. Strong, well-proportioned frame with broad shoulders; hitterish look. Right-handed, started at DH for Menomonee Falls against Brookfield East last Wednesday. Balanced setup, active pre-pitch rhythm, subtle hand load backwards, short leg lift trigger to footstrike. Strong hands/wrists, physical strength provides for advanced bat strength for age. Simple swing, path can get long to contact, flashed loud juice off the barrel. Sat back on one and drove it into the right-center gap for a two-run single – his lone hit of the day. Scattered a few hits in other games throughout the week, too. Intriguing uncommitted follow in the state’s junior class who we’re looking forward to seeing more of.

South Milwaukee @ Pewaukee – April 28, 2021

By Andy Sroka and Diego Solares
Wisconsin Staff

Grant Ross, SS, Pewaukee, 2021
Valparaiso commit; earned Week 1 Player of the Week honors. Proportionally strong 5-foot-10, 175-pound frame; defined lower half and forearms. Currently ranked No. 15 overall in the state’s senior class. Started at shortstop the day after striking out 11 batters over five no-hit innings for Pewaukee, batting second in their lineup. Oozes an innate level of confidence in himself on the field, plays the game with emotion though in control. Went 2-for-4 in this game with a double and two runs scored. Strong right-handed stroke with bat speed, line-drive approach, showed juice off the barrel on his double. Though he did not pitch in this one, his statistics continue to underscore his upside from the rubber as well.

Vince Zipperer, OF, Pewaukee, 2021
Cornell College (IA) commit. Athletic, well-proportioned 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. Lean/athletic build, more athleticism/wiry strength than we’ve seen in the past. Left/left athlete who batted fifth for Pewaukee in this game. Calm/quiet setup in the box, hands start slightly ahead of the hip pocket and work back in rhythm, utilizes a high leg kick trigger. Quick hands, short and flat bat path to contact, throws hands at the baseball, showed a consistent line-drive approach, barrel control. Went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs. His first hit was a pull-side double into the right-center gap and he slapped one into the opposite field gap for his second double later on in the game. Added depth with senior experience in the field and on the mound for Pewaukee.

Luke Sopha, RHP, Pewaukee, 2022
Lanky frame with upside levers, projects to fill out. Entered the game in relief for Pewaukee in this game, tossing one scoreless inning and striking out two. Aggressive side-step initiates a tall/fall motion downhill, high leg kick to balance point, front hip turns before uncoiling downhill. Shoulders stay level throughout, maintains direction to target, athletic finish with controlled poise and posture through release; low-effort. Loose/quick arm, short circle, comes out of a high ¾ slot. Fastball sat 82-85 mph with hard arm-side run, consistently thrown for strikes. Featured a true 12/6 curveball at 68-69 mph, thrown from a slightly elevated arm slot than fastball, has out-pitch potential. An uncommitted follow name in the state’s junior class and a breakout candidate to note early this spring.

Gavyn Bowen, LHP, Pewaukee, 2023
Uncommitted; recently ranked as the No. 15 overall sophomore in the state. Listed at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds; wiry athleticism in build. Entered this game in a one-inning relief stint where he got a brief look at his exciting potential. Delivery is highly athletic, fluid, smooth; generates clear hip/shoulder separation that creates a whippy, loose arm; athletic finish. Works closed down mound, and gets arm in proper place at foot strike. Fastball sat 80-81 mph from a ¾ slot with hard run/carry traits. Advanced spin feel with his breaking ball; confidence to backdoor it, tight 2/8 shape with projectable swing-and-miss action. Changeup has previously featured hard arm-side fade/run as well, promoting the ingredients of a high-follow three-pitch arsenal.

Catholic Memorial vs. Arrowhead (DH) – May 1, 2021

By Andy Sroka
Illinois & Wisconsin Asst. Director

Emiliano Ramos, 3B, Arrowhead, 2022
Uncommitted. Sturdy, strong 6-foot, 195-pound build. Took quality at-bats from the middle of the order for Arrowhead in both games against Catholic Memorial; faced several quality arms, too. Right-handed hitter, pre-pitch rhythm in hands/wrists. Balanced setup, hands set high, front foot open, leg kick trigger and stride to an even landing; leg hang in load seems to help him sync up contact and foul off quality pitches, spoiled several pitcher’s pitches to put balls in play later in his at-bats. Did not chase much, demonstrated zone feel and barrel control to spray the ball around the field, and his inherent strength contributes to his batted-ball profile. Went 5-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Thomas Curry, C, Arrowhead, 2023
Uncommitted; the No. 8-ranked sophomore in the state. Continues to show one of the most physical profiles in the state, and generates prominent bat strength on contact – one of the state’s hardest batted-ball profiles, regardless of class. Muscular/compact build at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. Right-handed hitter, balanced/square setup, hands set high; confident approach, aggressive. Loads onto back leg, strides into hip/torso separation, uncoiling for robust swings that produce evident, fast bat speed; advanced strength makes for repeat hard-hit contact. Short, simple swings allow for him to meet the ball on plane especially well, and his innate strength takes it from there. Re-entered the ballgame shortly after a foul tip ricocheted below his eye and swelled it shut; collected four base hits upon re-entering. Physicality translates behind the plate where his arm strength is weaponized. Aggressively back-picks baserunners, trail runners. Efficient catch-and-throw skills, arm carries to the base in-between innings; popped in the 2.00-2.15 range consistently in warm-ups. Room to grow as a receiver, but works hard to stick pitches around the zone, and he’s mobile for his sturdy stature. Vocal catcher with leadership qualities, too.

Ethan Hindle, INF, Arrowhead, 2023
Uncommitted; a high-level athlete in the state’s sophomore class. Listed at 6-foot-1, 183 pounds; wiry strength, lean and long levers. Right-handed hitter; short, loose swings, quick, athletic hands. Tall/square base with hands set high in a pre-pitch rhythm, front foot open; leg lift and hang to time contact. Hands drop into load and load back opposite his leg lift/hang to stride and landing. Generates a whippy barrel that projects as he continues to develop and mature. Feet and actions on defense are athletic; arrives to ground balls in a proper fielding position, low to the dirt, hands out front; all-around smooth. Has worked diligently to increase his arm strength over the past year.

James Duncan, OF, Arrowhead, 2022
Illinois State commit; the No. 22-ranked junior in the state. Listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds; upside, lean frame with present athleticism and room to support effective strength/muscle. Prominent pre-pitch movement; tall base, slight open front foot. Hands set shoulder height, high back elbow. Very short stride forward to even in load, bat wraps some in coil. Generates loose, fast swings; athletic hands. Stays balanced through long extension through the zone and contact. Aggressive swings promote some swing and miss, but also connected for a two-run homer to straight against top-scale velocity to underscore his offensive potential.

J.J. Vargas, RHP, Arrowhead, 2022
Uncommitted; recently debuted as a top-75 prospect in the state’s junior class. Broad shoulders in sturdy 5-foot-10, 190-pound stature; strength in lower half, long levers. Started game two against Catholic Memorial. Simple side step rock into high knee, square, balance point. Works on line to target, level shoulders. Long draw, fluid and efficient down mound, reaches and tucks with glove hand on time; arm reaches proper positioning at foot strike, leads to notable elbow flexion/layback. Finishes square to target while working with low effort. Fastball sat mostly 84-86 mph with consistent run/sink that flashed late, leading to dodged barrels; three groundouts in three innings. Changeup mimics arm speed/slot effectively while featuring similar sink/fade action. Above-average feel to spin a slider, 11/5 shape with depth, flashed sharp, though did not have full control over it on this day, though he did not need it, either.

Mason Buss, RHP, Arrowhead, 2022
Kansas State commit; one of the top pitchers in the state’s junior class. Listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds; athletic, strong build. A competitive three-pitch mix, attacks. Simple, fluid to a high knee lift, tuck, square to home. Drops and drive on line, slightly closed, lands with toe to target with prominent scap load, max elbow layback. Releases the ball from a ¾ slot from a lower release height that increases his fastball’s perceived velocity, promoting swing-and-miss traits. Fastball sat 85-88 mph throughout his 4.2 innings; flashed late tail through the zone, with jump/carry that was generating whiffs, especially early on; struck out five his first time through the order. Throws a high-spin 10/4 curveball, 73-75 mph, with advanced depth and sharp action; did not have full control over it in his first start of the WIAA spring, but typically utilizes it well. Changeup is an added out-pitch with fade/run at arm speed that he located well on this day.

Mason Buss (5/1/21)

Michael Carpenter, LHP, Arrowhead, 2022
Uncommitted; an arrow-up junior who looks the part of a high-leverage reliever prospect. Listed at an athletic, lean 6-foot-1, 165 pounds. Pitched 2.1 highly effective innings against a quality Arrowhead lineup to earn a win; struck out three, allowed one hit, no walks, no runs. Earned seven swings and misses over 25 pitches, predominantly using the fastball alone. Athletic to high knee tuck and hip turn balance point, works closed down mound; lands square to target; efficient energy transfer from draw to release creates clean, quick, loose arm action. Fastball sat 82-84 mph, straight four-seam with some jump from the hand, located well up in the zone. Has previously showed a high-spin, tight, biting curveball, 71-73 mph here, though mostly opted for the changeup. Changeup is mostly straight, flashed late run/sink, located under the zone, 77-78 mph.

Rory Fox, SS/RHP, Catholic Memorial, 2022
Notre Dame commit; ranked No. 6 overall in the state’s junior class, and top-300 nationally. Highly athletic 6-foot-2 frame that added strength over the offseason, listed at 185 pounds now. Filled out frame enhanced his batted-ball profile, as he’s now making more impactful contact into both gaps more often. Connected for a deep triple to center/left-center that scored two runs. Left-handed hitter, tall setup, patient approach with pitch selection feel; advanced situational awareness. That on-field IQ shows itself at shortstop as well, where his natural athleticism helps him look the part of a long-term fit at the position. Fox also started game two and featured, arguably, the best stuff of the day. Easy and direct to a low-knee lift, drops and drives on line, shorter stride to even, low effort through athletic finish to target. Fastball basically sat 86-89 mph throughout much of his start, arm-side action. Showed the day’s best breaking ball; a tight, downer slider, 76-78 mph, that he landed for strikes at will. Earned 12 swings and misses total, leading to seven strikeouts in five innings.

Rory Fox (5/1/21)

Charlie Jarvis, C, Catholic Memorial, 2022
Uncommitted; among the top-ranked uncommitted juniors in the state. Listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds; quality combination of strength, speed, and athleticism. Balanced/tall setup, loads into narrow position; simple bat path, direct to the zone and impact. Natural barrel feel, hung back on a two-strike breaking ball and pulled it down the third base line for a double. Advanced athleticism at backstop; flexible hips, mobile blocker, quiet receiver around the zone.

Aiden Haney, INF, Catholic Memorial, 2022
Uncommitted; a top-100-ranked junior in the state. Small, athletic stature with some lean/wiry strength in build. Right-handed hitter; simple, rhythmic swings. Short, compact stroke with a spray approach, barrel feel. Profiles as an athletic, rangy second baseman with above-average instincts. Quick feet and hands work well together, especially on the double play turn.

Braydon Cooper, RHP, Catholic Memorial, 2022
Uncommitted; a power-arm type prospect in the state’s junior class. Listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds; sturdy/strong build. High knee tuck to closed/coil balance point, tall. Works closed down mound, short stride, closed landing, creating some crossfire action. Compact arm circle to a high, over-the-top slot with some funk that leads to some deception. Imposing frame and unique arm action contribute to a tough at-bat, in addition to a lack of control. Fastball sat 84-87 mph, touching 88, in a one-inning relief stint where he struck out the side. Changeup was the go-to offspeed here, with some late fade under the zone at 78-80 mph.

Keith Williams, DH, Catholic Memorial, 2023
Uncommitted; special physicality in a premium, powerful 6-foot-1, 220-pound physique. Trending as a high-follow prospect with raw tools, but a sky-high offensive ceiling; also appears to be a prominent prospect on the football field. Generates bat speed that promotes an especially impactful batted-ball profile from the left-handed batter’s box. Walked and struck out in his only two plate appearances, but he requires monitoring throughout this spring and summer; he’s sharpened his skill set demonstrably over a short period of time.