Wisconsin Class of 2020 Rankings Update


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer, Associate Scout

The offseason is upon us. With that, comes a final look at each of the high school class rankings, starting with the seniors, the 2020 class, which we have updated today. We last looked at and expanded the state’s 2020 rankings at the end of July, so this update will factor in the performances and the few events we held from August through the fall. Inside today’s update, you won’t see many changes to most of the board, especially the top-50 names or so. The July update after a busy summer helped solidify the top prospects in the state for the 2019 season, and we’ll take an even closer look after a busy winter event schedule and the high school spring season.

So, today, these rankings will primarily reveal more names to know inside this class. Late pop-up prospects who have made a run onto the board with strong fall performances, like at the PBR Midwest Fall Championships, for example.

We have added 25 names overall to the 2020 board, bringing the grand total of ranked prospects to 125. A small but talented group in September’s Senior Games event helped unveil a handful of names who deserved added recognition onto the 2020 rankings, and you’ll find their names listed below for the first time.

TOP OF THE CLASS

Briefly, we will add in nuggets regarding the top talent in Wisconsin’s 2020 class, which has some MLB Draft significance.

  • Unchanged, virtually, since the first iteration of this list, is the state’s No. 1 2020 A.J. Vukovich (East Troy; Louisville commit). While there isn’t much new intel to share after the fall, Vukovich’s one-of-kind bat allows him to leverage baseballs with relative ease, with an active barrel that helps him land it on the sweet spot to produce loud all-fields contact. His size – 6-foot-5, 205 pounds – only adds to the upside his bat brings to his overall profile. He’s ranked at No. 55 on the national board and the No. 119 prospect on our PBR Draft Board, that includes both college and high school talent eligible for the June draft.

  • Backing Vukovich up is the big flame-throwing righty Tyler Chadwick (Marshall; West Virginia). We were able to catch Chadwick a couple of times in the late summer and fall and he was more or less the same, meaning he can step on the gas to produce 94 mph heat, but control and feel to spin still require some additional work and polish. Still, Chadwick has long-term triple-digit upside and he’s already getting to his velocity with relative ease behind a big, physical frame. He’s also ranked No. 74 on our national high school board and at No. 186 on the PBR Draft Board.

  • However, the gap behind Chadwick and his travel ball teammate 3B Max Wagner (Green Bay Preble; Clemson) has never been closer. Wagner has been flying somewhat under the radar inside this 2020 class because, since the beginning, the top of this class has been headlined by some hard-throwing arms. Wagner’s bat has simply and quietly produced at every premier stage and against all kinds of velocities. This fall, finally, Wagner began to amass high-level recognition and it has made him a name to follow in the build to June, as he’s ranked inside the top-200 on our PBR Draft Board.

ON THE RISE

Again, this update was relatively quiet in terms of movement around the board. But there are still a couple of names to note who have been earning extra buzz headed into the offseason.

  • It all starts with Hudson’s SS Jack Erickson, a Creighton commit, who starred at a couple PBR Minnesota events in 2019. He’s a sub-6.70 runner with both arm strength and bat strength all contained inside an athletic body built to handle positions all over the diamond. While versatility can sometimes mean utility roles, with Erickson, it simply means he has the ability to play and start regularly all over the field, including shortstop. This late in the game, with the rankings ahead of him cementing more quickly, it’s tough to move drastically, so his three-spot climb is noticeable, ranked at No. 20 overall in the state. Also, our staff is already thinking of the 2020 high school season, and there’s something brewing in the Hudson dugout, a Division-1 program to keep an eye out for.

  • Skimming another 20 spots down the board, you’ll find another riser: C Levi Jensen (Luck), who just recently committed to North Alabama. Now ranked at No. 52 overall, 18 spots better than he was in the latest update. He’s a tooled-up catcher who can run, defend, and leverage some pop out of his compact and strong 5-foot-11 frame. He’s athletic receiver who gets the most out of his arm strength, helping him produce above-average results out of the crouch.

  • Ranked one spot ahead of him on the 2020 board is another backstop whose performance all fall has at least earned him a nod here. Bryce Miller (Franklin), who just committed to Jefferson County JC (MO), one of the top JUCO programs in the Midwest, was given ample playing time behind the dish for some big fall tournaments. He took full advantage. It helped him land the opportunity at JeffCo late last month, too.

NEW FACES

Tomorrow, Thursday, we’ll outline each of the newcomers to know who landed on the state’s 2020 board for the first time, but here are four names who’ve earned a share of the spotlight in particular.

  • Valparaiso earned a couple big verbal commitments from Wisconsin this year, and two-way senior Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee) was among them, though he really flew under our radar as a prep star for the Pirates, as well as his travel program GRB Rays. Still, what we have seen out of Cottrill has impressed us. He hit all summer, including at both our 17U PBR at The Rock tourney, as well as the Badger State Battle. It’s a simple, fluid right-handed swing that he’s able to land the barrel with consistently. He debuts on the board at No. 53 overall.

  • At No. 72, you’ll find thin and long-limbed right-hander Jackson Falkner (Mondovi). We saw Falkner for the first time at our Eau Claire showcase back in July, where he reached 86 mph, working with some rhythm and fluidity. At wiry athletic 6-foot-2, Falkner has a little projection to him as well, and given his present mid-80s fastball, backed up by solid-average offspeed already, Falkner is an uncommitted senior name to know.

  • Hailing all the way from the northwestern corner from Wisconsin, from Northwestern High in Maple, is SS Jake Brill. Brill attended his first PBR event back in July in Mankato, Minn., and showcased a plethora of playable tools that help him project well all over the field. He’s ran a 6.69 mark in the 60-yard dash at that event and showed off some big-time arm strength from both the left side of the infield as well as the outfield. While he needs some all-around polish to his game, it’s hard to find all the tools that Brill’s bringing to the table. He debuts at No. 78 in our 2020 update.

  • RHP Parker Jones (Verona, 2020) is one of the names in particular who put together a couple of strong outings this fall, enough to earn a big debut inside this update. At the PBR Midwest Fall Championships, Jones battled a solid Mariners Midwest Scout Team and looked competitive in a lengthy start. There, he sat in the low-80s throughout the start, touching 83 mph, and was up to 84 mph later in the fall. It’s a really simple and easy motion that helps him land strikes on the corners, and his aggressive breaking ball is thrown with confidence and he’s able to bury it beneath the zone for swings and misses. He could be a go-to piece for a Verona program that is primed to make waves this spring.

WISCONSIN’S 2020

UPDATED RANKINGS

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