Western Wisconsin Open: Quick Hits
July 21, 2023
On Tuesday, July 18, the PBR Wisconsin team hosted the second ever Western Wisconsin Open at Carson Park in Eau Claire, highlighting the under-the-radar talent among area prospects from the northwest portion of Wisconsin.
Today, we’ll be highlighting the players who stood out in Eau Claire within this Quick Hits piece. The showcase had around 35 players present, giving our staff an updated look at the future and present prospects to monitor on the western border of the state, a region filled with talent we don’t get to see quite as often as elsewhere.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we continue to break down our in-depth metrics measured at this event, with the help of our tech partners in TrackMan, Blast Motion, Swift, and Vizual Edge.
+ We got our second look at UTIL Tanner Hraby (Medford Area, 2024) in a showcase setting this summer, as the uncommitted prospect once again put together a strong performance on both ends of the field, coming off of an appearance at the Top Prospect Games in Milwaukee. At the plate, Hraby flashed the most power, launching the only home run out of Carson Park during the BP session, which traveled 355 feet, according to TrackMan. From an open stance, Hraby presented a quick barrel and strong hands, a combination that allowed him to spray line drives to all fields, a trait demonstrated a couple of weeks ago in live action and at the aforementioned showcase. The right-handed hitter continued to display his versatility on the defensive end, this time turning in a clean round of infield where he looked capable of playing shortstop at the next level. His smooth hands and natural movements, something we’ve seen in the outfield and on the mound, allowed Hraby to prove himself as a sure-handed defender, giving him multiple options with the glove heading into his senior season as a quality uncommitted prospect at Medford Area HS. His lean physique offers even greater upside, as he already impacts the baseball well in the batter’s box, but still has plenty of room to tack on usable strength that stands to enhance a quality existing batted-ball profile.
MIF Tanner Hraby (Medford Area, 2024) is a lean, athletic 6-foot, 160-pound prospect, on the rise this summer. Soft hands, middle infield actions; loose RH swing with some bat speed, impactful batted-ball profile that projects.#WesternWIOpen— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 21, 2023
👤 PROFILE: https://t.co/HbJDQulWlF pic.twitter.com/P9vOnFdjvr
+ After showing well at the PBRT Wisconsin Open three weeks back, INF Sam Reimann (Merrill, 2024) appeared for the first time in front of our staff in a showcase setting. Standing at an athletic 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, Reimann was amongst the top leaders in exit velocities from the plate, illustrating his gameplay actions from a couple of weeks ago. Reimann reached 95 mph from the plate, featuring a wide stance setup and twitchy hands, presenting bat speed and pull-side power. The right-handed hitter inserted himself as a middle-of-the-order bat for the future, displaying easy power with a smooth swing. Defensively, Reimann tied for the highest velocity across the infield, reaching 83 mph. Reimann was solid throughout the entire workout, reflecting his work over the spring and summer.
+ C Carter Vieth (Elk Mound, 2024) is another catching prospect from the northwest portion of the state who performed well on Tuesday. The former 2022 Top Prospect Milwaukee participant stands at a strong 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame, as he turned in a solid outing at the plate in his BP session. Offensively, Vieth finished with exit velocities in the upper-80s throughout, maxing out at 88 mph from the right-handed batter’s box. His relaxed hands and quick bat path allowed him to be a standout amongst the pool of hitters, ranking in the top half of hitters, metrics wise. As a catcher, Vieth reached 73 mph from behind the plate, continuing to show improvement within his footwork and arm strength, as he reached 70 mph over the winter. Vieth’s all-around performance keeps him on our radar in the Eau Claire area for the future.
+ OF Carter Gilhausen (Onalaska, 2024) is surely a follow prospect from this event, as he prepares to enter his senior year. He’s an athletic, lean, broad-shouldered 6-foot, 150-pound player with a loose, easy left-handed swing that showed some projection and promise – and he connected for a max EV of 90.9 mph, which is noteworthy considering his slight stature that can support a strength gain effectively. Gilhausen’s athleticism showed elsewhere, as a 6.89 runner with 20.2 mph top speed, and each led the event.
+ INF Brady Lokken (Mosinee, 2025) has a strong, broad 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame, and he showed well at the plate during Tuesday’s showcase. Coming off of a quality spring season in Mosinee, Lokken displayed the best all-around athleticism at Carson Park, especially for a player with his physicality, beginning with the 60-yard dash, running a 7.05, one of the day’s lowest times. He followed that up with an very loud BP session, spraying line drives all over the field with high exit velocities. Lokken led the pool of athletes in both average and max exit velocity, at 90.8 mph and 96.9, respectively. His quick, flat bat path, paired with noticeable strength within his lower half allowed him to drive the baseball for power, as he emerged as an intriguing follow in the 2025 class after attending his first showcase of his prep career.
From @MosineeBaseball, CIF Brady Lokken (2025) has substantial strength and athleticism for his age, listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He's a 7.05 runner who led #WesternWIOpen in max (96.9 mph) and avg. EV (90.8).— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 21, 2023
👤 PROFILE: https://t.co/eenc0L9VXS pic.twitter.com/dKGoT3YXIM
+ C Jack Gorman (Eau Claire North, 2025) was a standout at the PBRT Wisconsin Open, and continued to progress as an athlete to monitor for the future as a 2025 graduate. Gorman illustrated what he had done for his summer baseball team all year on Tuesday, playing up an age group and producing at a high rate. The right-handed hitter reached 90 mph in exit velocities, one of the top numbers within the pool of 2025 prospects. Gorman presents quiet hands at the plate, getting into his back leg and whipping his hands through the strike zone. From there, it’s his bat speed generated from an athletic 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame that allows him to create a loud BP session, and earn extra base hits in live action. His defensive actions as a catcher project as well, where Gorman’s pop times from behind the dish ranged from 2.11-2.22 seconds, a slight improvement from a year ago. Gorman’s stock continues to rise, as our staff will get another in-game look at the athlete in Franklin at the The Rock 17U Summer Championships with the Eau Claire A’s.
C Jack Gorman (Eau Claire North, 2025) is a follow incoming junior backstop. Athletic for the position, above-average actions defensively; fast RH swing with strength, 92.8 mph max EV.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 21, 2023
👤 PROFILE: https://t.co/1P6A80GXe3 pic.twitter.com/3wBPHn2LA1
+ RHP/INF Giles Groothousen (Flambeau, 2024) entered Tuesday’s showcase as one of the most intriguing uncommitted prospects, who popped as a high follow from the inaugural Western Wisconsin Open in 2022. Groothousen stands at an athletic 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame, and continues to make strides as a two-way prospect in the future. Entering the showcase ranked at No. 57 in a loaded 2024 class in the state of Wisconsin, Groothousen proved his status with an excellent all-around performance, starting at the plate. The right-handed hitter presented a whippy barrel that allowed him to finish with a max exit velocity of 91.9 mph. After a clean showing from the shortstop position, Groothousen showcased his improvement on the mound. During his outing, the right-hander reached 88 mph with a live fastball and quick arm, featuring a leg kick into his windup, maintaining 87-88 mph throughout. He also spun the pitch at an average 2,387 rpm on each fastball, with a max at an advanced 2,521 rpm. The electric fastball was complemented by a curveball, featuring a sharp break as a secondary pitch. Groothousen completed his arsenal with a unique knuckleball, thrown with confidence and could be used as an out-pitch in the future. With his showing on Tuesday, Groothousen continued to establish himself as one of the top uncommitted two-way prospects in the state’s 2024 class, especially on the bump.
RHP/INF Giles Groothousen (Flambeau, 2024) is a need-to-know @PBR_Uncommitted prospect from #WesternWIOpen. Sinking FB up to 88 mph with the feel to spin one of the sharpest CBs in the class, 75-77 mph.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 21, 2023
Athletic mover; 5-foot-11, 170 pounds.
👤 PROFILE: https://t.co/RCxKIwZnm5 pic.twitter.com/OTUosIiGNv
+ RHP/CIF Jake Bjerke (Eleva-Strum, 2024) stood out as a two-way athlete for the Eau Claire A’s at the PBRT Wisconsin Open a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday, our staff got an updated look at the prospect for the first time since the winter, and he once again put together a noteworthy performance. Standing at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Bjeke has a sturdy foundation to work with as he progresses into his senior season at Eleva-Strum. At the plate, he finished with one of the highest average exit velocities, sitting at 83 mph. The right-handed batter presents himself with a wide stance setup, utilizing his loose, relaxed hands to square up the baseball, driving one 334 feet during the BP session. Bjerke finished as a winner on the mound, spinning all three of his pitches at a high rate, between 2100-2600 rpm. His fastball maxed at 84 mph, displaying power and ride. In addition to that pitch, Bjerke mixed in two breaking balls, showcasing quality feel for a sweeping slider that had tight spin and was thrown for strikes. His complete arsenal, paired with a strong bat, shapes Bjerke up well for the rest of the summer and into his final season of high school baseball.
+ Listed at 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, we got our first look at RHP/OF Cooper Jesperson (Eau Claire Memorial, 2025), who was impressive on both sides of the ball. At the plate, the incoming junior featured a whippy barrel that made efficient contact and worked with an opposite-field approach. The Eau Claire Memorial two-way impressed on the mound, which garnered attention on Tuesday. Jesperson displayed a high leg kick that transitioned into a smooth delivery with intent through extension. He showcased a whippy, fluid arm action that works quickly through the arm motion. His repertoire contained a fastball, a slider, and a splitter. Jesperson ran his fastball up to 85 mph as the pitch seemed to jump out of his hand without effort. His slider was the most impressive of the three pitches as it contained a tight break throughout with feel for placement. His third pitch, a splitter, was a complement to the first two pitches and contained some depth with a foundation to develop the pitch into a respectable third option. Jesperson’s performance and display of ability at Tuesday’s event puts him on our radar for the rest of the summer and into his junior season.
+ INF/RHP Kellen Smith (Altoona, 2025) performed in front of our staff for the first time this weekend and showed well. Smith is listed at 5-foot-10, 160 pounds and took a round of BP that featured a compact swing with an uphill path and an up-the-middle approach. The to-be junior displayed an upright stance with an elevated hand setup that was relaxed and snapped towards the ball. Posting a maximum exit velocity of 92 mph, he clearly showed ability to work through the baseball and favored power towards his pull-side. As an athlete, Smith ran a 7.07 60-yard-dash along with displaying athletic movement patterns during his defensive session. On the mound, Smith threw a low-80’s fastball that contained some life, exclusively out of the stretch. His arsenal also featured a curveball and a changeup as compliments to his primary pitch. Smith’s present tools and performance on Tuesday’s puts him on our radar as he will continue to progress in the coming years as a member of Wisconsin’s 2025 class.
+ OF/LHP Bennett Burke (IMG Academy, FL, 2025) is a compact, strong left/left athlete, built like a running back at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. He’s a 7.18 runner with some bat and hand speed, with a swing that projects to make authoritative contact as he continues to develop. On the mound, his arm strength was evident as he reached an 80.4 mph high on a fastball that had rise/run traits, and he demonstrated the ability to spin a breaking ball at an above-average rate (2,244 rpm avg.).
+ After showing out at the PBRT Wisconsin Open in late June, RHP Carter Gunderson (Eleva-Strum, 2024) came into Tuesday as an intriguing uncommitted prospect in Wisconsin’s 2024 class. The incoming senior featured a hybrid delivery with a methodical tempo and an athletic drop and drive delivery. His arm was whippy and fluid throughout the action and worked from a three-quarter arm slot. Included in his pitch-mix with a curveball and a changeup, Gunderson was able to run his fastball up to 85 mph as played with life out of the hand and carried heavily through the zone. His curveball contained a sharp 10-to-4 break and flashed a noticeable sweeping action. Sitting in the upper-70s, his changeup was thrown with intent and played with depth. With the frame and feel for multiple pitches, Gunderson projects well in Wisconsin’s 2024 class and remains as an intriguing uncommitted prospect throughout the rest of the summer and into his senior season.
RHP Carter Gunderson (Eleva-Strum, 2024) is a very projectable 6-foot-2, 150 pounds, equipped with a carry FB up to 85 mph at #WesternWIOpen.— PBR Wisconsin (@PBRWisconsin) July 21, 2023
Premium vertical break, efficiency; athletic, clean arm. Has impressed in live looks this summer.
👤 PROFILE: https://t.co/AHEONT2lB4 pic.twitter.com/oH9qG4XhAL
+ After appearing at the PBRT Wisconsin Open in late June, RHP Chase Watkins (Eau Claire North, 2024) came into Tuesday’s event as a ranked right-handed pitcher in Wisconsin’s 2024 class. During his session on the mound, Watkins backed up the notion of being ranked as he turned heads and garnered attention. The incoming senior features a side-step windup with a tucked leg kick and a closed stride that guides him through his delivery. The arm works through a full arm arc and shows loose traits along with coming out of a stock slot. The Eau Claire North hurler worked his fastball in the low-80s as it played with life and rode through the zone. Watkins mixes in a curveball and a splitter to go with his fastball. The curveball shows a 11/5 action that he has a clear feel for placement with. As for the splitter, there is a clear feel for the pitch with depth throughout the zone. Watkins remains a name-to-know in Wisconsin’s incoming senior class, especially in the northwest region of the state.
+ LHP Aaron Schwechler (Hudson, 2024) came out of Tuesday’s event as a winner on the mound. Listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds, the southpaw turned heads as he took the rubber. Schwechler worked out of the stretch only with a medium leg kick and showed the ability to work around and off of his front leg. His arm worked quickly through a shorter arm arc as he tossed a fastball that worked up to 85 mph. The left-handed incoming senior showed clear feel for the pitch as it worked straight through the zone with some life to it. Nearly as impressive however, Schwechler displayed three complimentary pitches to the fastball as he spun a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. His curveball displayed a 12/6 action with some break to it, while his slider acted as a slurve with sweeping action. His changeup was certainly a pitch that could not go overlooked as he showed command for the pitch as it glided through the zone with some fade to it. Schwechler becomes a name-to-follow in the 2024 class as our staff will get another in-game look in Franklin at the The Rock 17U Summer Championships.
+ RHP Caden Pierzina (Onalaska, 2024) has feel for spin on a fastball up to 79 mph that projects should he jump in velocity over the fall and winter. The pitch spins at an above-average rate, and especially at its speed, measured at 2,277 rpm on average, and it translates to effective offspeed too. His slider and curveball are somewhat similar offerings but the slider, in particular, showed sharp sweep with upside underscored by above-average raw spin traits.