Wisconsin 2020 Rankings: Risers

By Steve Nielsen and Andy Sroka
Wisconsin Staff

To wrap up our latest class of 2020 rankings analysis, we’ll go through the board’s prospects who made the biggest climbs between April and August. On Tuesday, we went through rankings’ debutants, but today is about those who’ve grinded all summer and have the results to show for it.

We covered LHP Kaden Krueger (Appleton West) in Monday’s top-10 analysis but he also deserves a brief mention here, considering he leaped nine important spots from the No. 18-ranked prospect in his state’s class to the No. 9. The same goes for C Jake Berg (Bay Port; Jacksonville commit), who rose up from No. 23 all the way to No. 10. While that might not be the biggest number of spots climbed, it could be the most significant – any time a prospect claws his way into the top-10 rankings it’s noteworthy.

The story is similar within the top 20. LHP Brady Renfro (Antigo) and RHP Connor Kurki (Iola-Scandinavia) both made jumps to earn top-20 spots, in an already deep 2020 class. Renfro has been on a steady climb this summer with his abilities on the mound, which were capped off with an 84-87 mph fastball and well-above-average breaking ball. Kurki narrowly missed the top ten and is a big projection arm that is still raw but has a ton of upside in his favor. He’s a 6-foot-4, 165-pound frame that has been up to 88 mph. His arm is loose and live out of a ¾ slot and add a foreseeable 20-30 pounds to that frame and he could easily be pitch at a few ticks higher in the near future.

Brady Renfro (8.2.18)

The highest numerical riser within the latest 2020 rankings update is SS Eddie Saucedo (Oregon), who managed to leap from his previous No. 43 rank all the way into the top 20. The PBR Future Games participant managed to stand out amongst his talented peers while taking BP in Westfield, Ind. Saucedo came into the Future Games swinging a hot bat that performed against a high level of competition this summer, and it was easy to see why: his short and sweet left-handed cut routinely barreled baseballs in batting practice. The 6-foot shortstop showcased some premium glovework, too, equipped with a strong arm across the infield.

Eddie Saucedo (8.1.18)

Saucedo’s teammate at the Future Games, OF/RHP Mitchell Alba (Franklin), is also among the biggest risers on the class of 2020 board. The younger brother of Max Alba (2018; North Carolina), Franklin’s former ace and basketball star, excels at the plate and is strapped with a big arm in the outfield. Alba utilizes quick bat speed from the right side on a level path to consistently barrel the ball, which helped him drive in a few runs at the Future Games earlier this month. Alba also shows two-way potential with a hard biting breaking ball, a pitch that will only get better as his fastball velocity continues to climb.

Some other notable helium-filled prospects on the latest 2020 board:

  • LHP Jack Heiring (Christian Life): A high ceiling two-way player who stands at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds and runs a 6.85. He’s been up to 84 mph on the mound from the left side.

  • C Blake Carey (University School of Milwaukee): Left-handed hitting catcher with a strong bat that’s got pop. He’s also a natural wearing the gear; active defender, excellent blocker. A hockey player that transitions it well into his defensive skill set.

  • OF Christopher Vandenheuvel (Xavier): Left-handed hitting outfielder with a knack for the barrel. He’s only going to get better as he starts to see better pitching. A sneaky good athlete, too, as a 6.76 runner.

  • 2B/SS Colin Hageman (Janesville Craig): Craig’s manufactured its next premium middle infielder. He’s a highly athletic switch-hitter who can handle himself up the middle defensively.