Prep Baseball Report

Western Wisconsin Open: Quick Hits

By Andy Sroka and Vinny Rottino
Wisconsin Staff

On June 28, the PBR Wisconsin staff hosted its second event along the 2022 summer showcase circuit, the annual Western Wisconsin Open. This event was originally set to be held at the historic Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis., but rain moved the event indoors to the brand new Valley Sports Academy facility in nearby Lake Hallie. Nearly 40 players made it out to this event, providing us with updated looks and a new list of prospects to follow in an area of Wisconsin that we don’t get to venture to often enough.

Today, we’ll be highlighting the players who stood out in the Eau Claire area within this Quick Hits piece. Stay tuned throughout the week as we continue to break down the in-depth metrics measured at this event, with the help of our tech partners TrackMan, Blast Motion, and Vizual Edge.


+ INF Jack Peterson (Southern Door) 6-foot 180-pound athlete with an athletic build. Ran an impressive 6.86 time in the 60-yard dash, the fastest time of the day. Hit from a stock set up with consistent timing. Weight stays slightly back of center, rotational swing geared to loft the ball to all fields. Peterson’s left-handed bat is really loud, making him one of the more interesting ‘23 hitters we’ve seen this season along our Summer Tour. He reached a 96.4 mph max exit velocity from the left side, which led the event, and no prospect at this event was on the barrel more consistently than Peterson.

+ OF Jaden Diller (Southern Door) a compact 5-foot-9, 175-pound outfielder with present strength. Quickness to hands with a direct path, working short to it and long through the baseball spraying line drives all over the field. From the outfield, displayed an aggressive and quick transfer through the ball making accurate throws to the plate.

+ RHP Hayden Hellenbrand (Middleton) is a 5-foot-10, 165-pounds righty with a simple, athletic delivery and he uses little effort to unleash a sneaky quick fastball that features hard sinking action with life through the strike zone, 80-83 mph. Hellenbrand backs it up with a tightly spun curveball, 71-72 mph, that spins efficiently at a high rate (2,285 rpm on average), working off an 11/5 plane that flashed late, biting action that should produce regular swings and misses. He utilized a workable changeup, 74-76 mph, as a third pitch, but the sinking fastball and curveball work well with one another and they should earn outs at the next level, too.

+ OF Christian Varsho (Altoona) is a 5-foot-9, 140-pound, left-handed-hitting prospect who is a quick mover in a build that still has some room to grow strength into. Hitting from a stock set up with balance and getting to a strong hitting position, he uses his lower half well to create a flat, short path finishing long through the baseball straying line drives to all fields. He also showcased his athleticism in the outfield with a good carry on his throws with a quick release from. His velocity from the outfield reached a high of 80 mph. 

+ RHP/OF Andrew Harris (Stillwater, MN) is listed at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, with wide shoulders and good proportions. He’s an athletic outfielder who started the day running the second fastest 60 of the event (6.94), showing good burst off the line and quick turnover. In batting practice, he hit from a stock set up with a short, simple trigger. He drove line drives to all fields using short swing and quick hands. Harris showed strong arm from the outfield and was up to 89 mph for his top velocity, which played on the mound. There, he also had impressive showing, using a 82-86 mph fastball with hard, late arm-side run to the pitch. The changeup showed well especially when getting it to the bottom of the zone showing late depth and fade at 76-78 mph. 

+ RHP Masen Werner (Baldwin-Woodville) stands 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, with long limbs and wiry strength. He showed some projectability on the mound with a quick arm from ¾ slot that produced a fastball sitting 78-81 mph with carry through the hitting zone. Showed the makings of two offspeed pitches in a curveball and changeup with fading action to arm side. Consider Werner a late-bloomer type with the peripherals to pop at some point down the road, maybe after a diligent offseason.

+ C Owen Eddy (Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau) is a compact 6-foot, 175-pound catcher with robust bat strength in the right-handed box that reached a max exit speed of 94.6 mph and a max batted distance of 340 feet, an event-high. Eddy also ran a 7.37 in the 60, a solid mark for his position, and he showed quick actions in the chute with a pop time range of 1.97-2.08 and his throws reached a 77 mph high to his target.

+ 1B/OF Liam Brennan (Chippewa Falls) is a broad-shouldered athlete listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, who reached low-90s exit speeds from the left-handed batter’s box, all while creating some bat and hand speed, per our Blast device. Brennan also ran a 7.14 in the 60.


+ RHP/INF Giles Groothousen (Flambeau) a two-way prospect standing 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, with projection to the body with a high waist and sloped shoulders. Hits from a stock set up with consistent toe tap back timing and lower hand launch position. Quick rotational swing allowing him to drive the ball to both gaps. Displayed athletic actions at shortstop with a quick first step, and clean transfer from ball to glove. Threw the ball 81 mph across the infield from ¾ slot with carry through the bag. And while impressive positionally, Groothausen really stole our attention when he hopped on the mound.

There, the Flambeau incoming junior reached an 85.7 mph high on a fastball that averaged a spin rate of 2,337 rpm with noticeable hop through the zone that matched the carry it measured on the TrackMan device, and he was also able to throw a true mid-80s sinker that profiled much differently than the four-seamer. Groothausen threw the four-seam in the zone consistently, too, and he utilized both an authentic knuckleball and a knuckle-curve. While he killed the spin on the knuckleball effectively, the breaking ball is what really separated his arsenal from his peers. The pitch featured sharp, late bite under the zone, working off the same plane as his fastball, making it that much more deceptive to opposing hitters.

+ 3B/RHP Jakeb Lequia (Chippewa Falls) is listed at sturdy/strong 5-foot-10 and he’s another two-way follow athlete exiting this event. Showing a hitterish look in the right-handed box from a short, direct path, and he showcased the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Defensively, he has rhythmic feet and hands in the infield and a strong arm across the infield from a ¾ slot. Lequia’s round of BP was among the day’s best, if not the standalone best, and he also managed to  impress on the mound, using a projectable fastball, 80-83 mph, that features both carry and hard arm-side life to it inside the zone, and he flashed the feel to spin a quality breaking ball, 67-70.

+ OF/RHP Braylen Nystrom (Stevens Point Area) is an intriguing 6-foot, 175-pound two-way player from SPASH with a strength/speed toolset. The incoming junior ran a 7.22 in the 60-yard dash and then took a right-handed round of BP that showcased the bat and hand speed he can create in the box that he leverages into above-average exit speeds (91.3 mph max). Nystrom went on to reach an 82 mph high from the outfield and it translated onto the mound on a projectable fastball that reached a 79.1 mph high, spinning at an average of 2,321 rpm. The curve also projects, spinning at a 2,306 rpm average here, so he’ll be a name to check back in on the rest of this year and again next spring at SPASH.


+ 1B Warren Bowe (Cadott) has advanced strength inside his 5-foot-11, 190-pound stature, and he used it well in the left-handed box, showing consistent timing and barrel control that resulted in impactful all-fields contact. Bowe’s max exit speed of 94.2 mph was among the day’s highest, and it led all players outside of the Class of 2023. He also showed some ability to play around the first base bag, with an accurate arm that was able to turn a tricky 3-6-1 double play during defense evals.

+ C Jack Gorman (Eau Claire North) has a 5-foot-11, 170-pound projectable frame, and he began his day by running a 7.24 with burst and quick turnover out of the gate. A right-handed hitter, Gorman has a short and simple move to and through the baseball, staying on top consistently and hitting low-lying line drives to all fields. On defense, the backstop displayed some accuracy to the bag with quickness to the transfer showing off a low 2.15 pop time.

+ INF Cole Perlberg (Chippewa Falls) was one of several Chippewa products to show well at this event. The wiry 6-foot-1, 155-pound middle infielder ranged around on defense with athleticism, soft hands, and looked the part of a reliable defender. His general quickness on defense was underscored by a 7.05 time in the 60, a quality mark for an incoming sophomore. In the right-handed box, he swings a short barrel with some hand speed that resulted in a projectable batted-ball profile as he fills out his thin, tall stature.


+ Listed at a slender 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, RHP/OF Nick Stellrecht (New Richmond) broke out at this event, and he uses his long levers especially well for a player that size and at his age. Stellrecht is particularly intriguing on the mound, where he organizes his delivery well; a drop-and-drive move from back side, on-line leg lift, on-line land, quiet head through release, medium leg swing to home. Over-the-top slot with quickness and power to how it all works through the baseball. Fastball showcased 76-78 mph with steep downhill angle and late arm-side run, spinning at more than 2,228 rpm on average, signaling a significant velocity ceiling. Also featured a true 12/6 breaker, 65-67 mph, that should show hard biting action in the future as velo increases, and it’s already spinning over 2,100 rpm. Stellrecht also showcased a changeup with deceptive sell and late fade/run action at the plate. It was a quality look at one of the more impressive Class of 2026 prospects we’ve seen this summer.

+ RHP/INF Sam Abrahamson (Hudson) is another incoming freshman who stood out at this showcase last week. Abrahamson stands 6-foot, 170 pounds, with an athletic build and projection to the frame, showing well as a two-way prospect. A right-handed hitter, he has a consistent centered move through the baseball allowing flat path to deliver the barrel and create loft to all fields. He also showed off an accurate arm with the ability to throw from multiple angles during infield work. On the mound, he deploys a delivery with a high closed tuck, slightly crossfire at landing, and he repeats athletically from a loose high ¾ quarter arm slot. He featured a fastball at 76-78 mph with some natural cut finish to go along with the makings of a quality curveball, 61-63 mph, with depth and a changeup that he throws with intent at 62-66 mph.