Wisconsin Class of 2022 Rankings: Newcomers, Part Two
December 5, 2019
On Tuesday, the PBR Wisconsin team updated the state’s Class of 2022 Rankings for the first time, after unveiling the first edition of the board back in early September. Well, a busy fall allowed us to accrue enough intel to update and expand the board by 20 prospects, doubling it. Early indications are this sophomore class has the makings of becoming a memorable one. The talent runs extremely deep, through the top-40.
Yesterday, we began to introduce you to the 20 new faces on the rankings. We detailed the 10 primary position players who debuted in this update here, but now it’s time to look at the sophomore pitchers you need to know.
NEW ARMS TO KNOW
+ No prospect made a debut higher than RHP Mason Buss (Arrowhead), who’s the new No. 16-ranked prospect in the state’s 2022 class. Buss starred at September’s PBR Midwest Fall Championships in front of both our staff and national crosschecker Shooter Hunt. At the fall tourney, Buss sat in the low-80s with ease and a jump out of the hand that troubled bats. The fastball’s heavy, late life is already effective and his 6-foot wiry frame seems to suggest there’s going to be more velocity to come. Additionally, the feel he’s displayed for a solid 11/5 breaking ball and fading changeup are advanced for his age. It’s an arsenal worth following attached to an athletic, loose arm.
Getting a good look at ‘22 RHP Mason Buss (@PBRWisconsin) early this morning for @hittersbaseba11— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) September 14, 2019
80-82 w/ much more in the tank. Ball jumps out of the hand w/ some late life. Has shown feel for right breaking ball & faded Changeup.
High upside arm.#FallChampMW pic.twitter.com/ilgv2XgWMx
+ A staffmate of Buss this summer and fall, fellow right-hander Luke Klekamp (Oak Creek) also shined bright at the Fall Championships. At an athletic 6-foot-2, Klekamp wields a harder fastball – at 82-84 mph – generating a similar heavy, running action. Buss’ offspeed is a little further along, but Klekamp’s own curveball-changeup combo is effective still, if raw. He’s already jumped a few ticks in velocity since we saw him in the summer at The Rock, so his leap to an 84 mph high is significant. He works with some funk and rhythm out of a clean ¾ slot with arm speed, which helped him debut inside the top-20 also.
Luke Klekamp (9/15/19)
+ Though we haven’t seen RHP Ryan Karst (Brookfield East) since the summer, at the high-profile Underclass Games event, he was considered by our staff a “Just Missed” prospect when we debuted our 2022 board, so his inclusion on the rankings when we expanded the list was easy. Karst is built at a large and athletic 6-foot-2, which comfortably projects. It’s a smooth arm action, quick out front, which helps produce an easy low-80s fastball that topped 83 mph back in July. He’s also capable of snapping off some sharp breaking balls off an 11/5 plane. He introduced himself to the class rankings inside the top-30.
+ There are some similarities between Karst and the righty ranked right behind him on the new-look board, Braydon Cooper (Catholic Memorial). Both are built similarly, 6-foot-2 with lean levers and athleticism, though Cooper works exclusively from the stretch. From his balance point to his release, Cooper keeps his shoulders closed which increases some deception out of the hand from the batter’s perspective. His arm action is especially quick and fluid and generates some sinking action, with feel for the zone. We saw Cooper at both the PBR at The Rock Championships and the Badger State Battle where he sat in the 78-81 mph range, touching 83, primarily serving as a go-to arm for those STiKS Academy squads. His offspeed is a work in progress, but count Cooper among a budding Catholic Memorial staff who could help them go deep this spring.
Braydon Cooper (7/23/19)
+ James Reese (University School of Milwaukee) has real two-way upside, though his early work from the mound has him ranked on the state’s sophomore board. He’s a right/right 5-foot-10 athlete with a solid, strong lower half that helps him generate advanced arm strength for his age. Back in June at the Underclass Trials, Reese touched 84 mph and sat in the 80-82 mph range during his bullpen. He’s harnessing a quick, loose arm and uses some effort, though he’s able to maintain that aggressiveness with his offspeed, showing off a tight curveball and fading change. Reese also swings a fast bat off an inclined path and he’s a pretty reliable defender on the infield.
+ The big lefty from Evansville, Willard Peterson, was another one of the arms who helped Hitters Baseball hoist the 16U trophy at the Fall Championships in September. There, Peterson was really impressive and showed excellent feel for the zone, showing control of a backdoor curveball with a cut fastball that ranged from 78 to 81 mph. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Peterson works with tempo and rhythm which helps him repeat well with little effort involved throughout. He’s certainly one of the top southpaws in the class to watch moving forward.
Willard Peterson (9/15/19)
+ We last saw RHP Luke Shepski (Waunakee) in March, but his work there is definitely enough to have earned a spot in our expanded rankings. He sat 80-82 mph then with a quick and compact arm circle, working with little effort but at a quick pace. He flashed some feel to spin his curveball and also mixed in an effective fading changeup. Any sort of uptick in velocity and increased feel for this three-pitch repertoire and Shepski will be due for a bump on this board.
+ Even in early May, Wisconsin baseball can be frigid. We last saw tall, lanky RHP Torin Byrnes (Tremper) on one of those cold May days in Kenosha, pitching for his high school as a freshman on varsity. There, Byrnes used his loose levers to sit in the 78-81 mph range, touching 82 a few times. He has confidence in a big breaking ball with depth that he can land for strikes or drop beneath the zone, and he also used a straight change to keep batters guessing. We’ve yet to see Byrnes in a showcase setting, but hopefully we’ll get another updated look at Byrnes later this winter or again in the spring for the Trojans. He turned out to be one of Tremper’s most reliable arms last spring and pitched over 46 innings, punching out 51 batters in total and recorded a 1.35 ERA along the way.
Torin Byrnes (5/8/19)
+ Aaron Jungers (Madison Memorial) is our other lefty Newcomer on the board. Jungers was certainly interesting after showing well at both a March showcase and in-game at The Rock in the summer. At both events, he showed high pitchability with a low effort delivery that helped him work effectively in the 72-74 mph range. When our staff visited him at a fall camp, Jungers was up five ticks into, sitting in the 78-79 mph range, pitching with that same poise and feel. He was forced in the summer to pitch well with lesser velocity, and now that the velocity has arrived, he’s established himself as a real follow in the class. Jungers isn’t fastball only, either. He’s shown feel for a tight curveball and firm changeup, and he’s also an excellent athlete.
+ Carson Flugaur (Franklin) is another two-way type on the board, but his live arm and twitchy athleticism have helped him establish himself early as an arm to follow. At October’s Southern Wisconsin Open, Flugaur pounded the zone at 81-83 mph with some natural arm-side run coming from his ¾ release. That same release creates a more slurve-y breaking ball with more lateral movement. With lean, tightly wound 5-foot-11 frame, Flugaur’s whippy arm makes him deserving the No. 40 and final spot on the state’s 2022 board.