Wisconsin Class of 2021 Rankings Update


By Andy Sroka & Steve Nielsen
Wisconsin Staff

The first official day of fall is right around the corner, but the summer baseball season is over with school in or nearing session for most high school athletes. With that, the PBR Wisconsin staff is gathering and assessing its scouting reports, video, and notes collected throughout this past summer’s atypical circuit.

At the end of August, the PBR national team updated the country’s Class of 2021 Rankings, a top-500 list that included seven prospects from Wisconsin.

At the very top of the board, there are no surprises. It’s the sixth straight update that SS Noah Miller (Ozaukee; Alabama commit) lands at No. 1 in the state. He earned his keep this time especially, having added strength that positively impacted his swings from both sides of the plate, all while maintaining his status as one of the smoothest shortstops in the country. Miller earned universal praise for his glove this summer, as it contains both standout tools – arm strength, deft hands, plus range – mixed with a sky-high on-field IQ that helps him stay engaged at all times. Now up to No. 50 nationally, Miller should continue to earn looks from pro scouts headed into the fall and spring as one of the Midwest’s top shortstops overall.

Noah Miller (7/7/20)

Up another couple spots in this update is OF Q Phillips (Brookfield East; Michigan), one of the toolsiest athletes in – not only the state – but the entire region. Phillips ran a 6.53 at the PBR ProCase Midwest in early July and the speed translates to the outfield and to the basepaths. We’ve seen him go and get some baseballs in center field this summer, taking quick and efficient routes to fly balls, and he’s really aggressive once he gets on. Like Miller, Phillips is a switch-hitter, and he’s used the past year to really start striking the ball more consistently while using the whole field. On several occasions this summer, we saw Phillips barrel baseballs the other way. He has a more natural feel to hit from the left-handed box, but he’s still able to produce a similar, repeatable swing from the right side, too. With twitch and tools, and increasing strength, Phillips is trending up as a pro prospect at the right time.

Q Phillips (7/7/20)

We were fortunate to see the state’s top pitching prospect twice in July, and we came away impressed both times. RHP Vincent Trapani (Eau Claire Memorial; Arkansas) has shown a feel for three pitches inside a strong 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, producing a consistent low-90s fastball that’s been up to 95 mph in front of PBR evaluators. Unique arm action tends to work in his favor, creating some deception for opposing hitters, which helps his electric stuff play up even more so. His breaking ball and changeup look like viable offerings, which give him the sought after starter’s mix that should help him acclimate well inside of a rotation at Arkansas, though he’ll also earn some attention ahead of next year’s draft.

Vincent Trapani (7/7/20)

As arguably the best pure bat in the state’s 2021 class, C Joey Spence (West Bend East; Notre Dame) really only reasserted that notion throughout this past summer. Inside a compact, strong 6-foot build, Spence takes simple, easy left-handed hacks that produce gap-to-gap contact in rhythm – while also providing some juice to his pull-side. Spence looked a little more comfortable behind the plate this season, too, showing enhanced mobility as a blocker and his athleticism works well back there as he’s able to efficiently transfer and fire throws to the bases from the chute. It’s clear, however, that he’ll be carried by his excellent, polished hit tool.

Joey Spence (7/7/20)

The No. 5-ranked prospect in the state, once again, is RHP Logan Schulfer (Stevens Point Area; Wisconsin-Milwaukee). A power arm in the state inside a sturdy, strong 6-foot, 185-pound build. Schulfer’s innate arm strength is obvious as he gets to his low-90s velo with relative ease inside clean mechanics. The fastball features some sink and run, supported by his spin rates in the 1,900 rpm range. Schulfer’s upside is attached to his two intriguing offspeed offerings: a tight, sharp curve and a power change with late fading action. Presently, the breaking ball needs a little more harnessing and polish but Schulfer offers pro potential, if not right out of high school, then some time in college, following his brother’s footsteps.

Logan Schulfer (7/3/20)

Not much else can be said about INF/RHP Owen Washburn (Webster; South Carolina) that hasn’t been written already. The true two-way talent added some significant strength to his frame over last offseason and it’s managed to show itself on both sides of the ball. He’s one of the youngest players in the state’s 2021 class and it’s molded him into one of the most competitive, too. His left-handed bat is timely and athletic and it might be his best and most playable tool at the next level, but he looked really sharp on the mound this summer as well. At the Badger State Battle, Washburn touched multiple 90s and used a biting breaking ball to earn his swings and misses. The curve is maybe the best breaking ball in the state’s class, as its sharp action was recording spin rates of 2,600 rpm this summer. It’ll be especially interesting to watch Washburn’s career play out in 2021 and beyond.

Owen Washburn (7/2/20)

SS Ryan Taylor (Verona Area; Central Florida) is another example of a player who sits in the same rankings position, but still has his arrow pointed up after another arduous summer. As good as Miller’s glove is at shortstop, Taylor’s isn’t far behind – he is that good on defense. He’s quick, smart, and packed with big arm strength, topping 89 mph across the infield at the ProCase. Taylor’s left-handed bat also showed signs of making more impactful contact at the next level, so he’s making an interesting pro profile for himself headed into the fall and next spring.

Ryan Taylor (7/7/20)

Rounding out the top-10: 3B Liam Moreno (Sun Prairie; Missouri State), RHP Drew Stippich (Kettle Moraine; Illinois-Chicago), and SS/2B Carson Shepard (Sun Prairie; Ohio). Moreno remains the class’ best right-handed hitter, and transformed his 5-foot-10 stature into a more toned, trimmed physique that should make his hit tool that much more potent. He’s long held the natural skill to spray the ball to all fields while also connecting for power potential, and it looks like he’s really starting to tap into it. Stippich got back onto the mound this summer looking a lot like the version of himself that landed a commitment to UIC. He wields a mid- to upper-80s fastball with hard arm-side action that works well in conjunction with a hard slider that he showed a feel to spot.

As for Shepard, he spent the majority of the year as one of the country’s most competitive (and talented) uncommitted prospects until he finally landed a commitment to Ohio in mid-July. At the end of the winter, Shepard showcased increased hard-hit rates and arm strength, which had his overall profile trending way up. He plays the game at a fast pace and with an infectious energy, and all of this combined to help him land a spot inside the state’s top-10 rankings for the first time.

Carson Shepard (3/15/20)


WISCONSIN’S TOP-10 2021 RANKINGS

RANK  NAME STATE SCHOOL CLASS POS COMMITMENT
1 Noah Miller WI Ozaukee 2021 SS Alabama
2 Q Phillips WI Brookfield East 2021 OF Michigan
3 Vincent Trapani WI Eau Claire Memorial 2021 RHP Arkansas
4 Joey Spence WI West Bend East 2021 C Notre Dame
5 Logan Schulfer WI Stevens Point 2021 RHP Wisconsin-Milwaukee
6 Owen Washburn WI Webster 2021 2B South Carolina
7 Ryan Taylor WI Verona 2021 SS Central Florida
8 Liam Moreno WI Sun Prairie 2021 3B Missouri State
9 Drew Stippich WI Kettle Moraine 2021 RHP Illinois-Chicago
10 Carson Shepard WI Sun Prairie 2021 SS Ohio

To view Wisconsin’s updated and expanded Class of 2021 Rankings in full, click here.

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