Wisconsin Mailbag: Top Questions of the Week



By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois/Wisconsin

The Mailbag is a feature which allows readers to ask our scouting directors any questions they wish about high school baseball in their state. Whether it’s about possible state title contenders, top prospects, recruiting, etc. your questions will get put into our “Mailbag” via the ask.fm app and our scouts will answer your questions through Twitter (@PBRWisconsin) and Facebook.

This week one of the top questions revolves around the split high school seasons in Wisconsin with spring and summer baseball, a hot topic for sure. Also included this week are some of the top prospects in their class, college baseball and recruiting.

To submit a question about Wisconsin high school baseball to the PBR scouting staff simply follow the link HERE. Also if you have a burning question about the national landscape of high school baseball or draft specific questions you can send them to National Supervisor Nathan Rode HERE.

Top Questions of the Week

What would a freshman pitcher need to have to be considered good at a showcase?

If you’re a freshman pitcher at a showcase one thing you will need to prove is that you are projectable. Meaning that you have the ability to keep improving throughout high school and into college. As far as stuff goes typically off speed stuff is not where it needs to be at that age but any velocity in the low 80's as a freshman has promise. 

Does a Division 1 baseball player ever fly under your radar?

Hopefully not, but the truth is that players develop at different rates. Someone that might not be very well known can easily blow up over the course of a summer. Typically, we have a pretty good grasp on any D1 prospects.

What do colleges/scouts look in for a second baseman?

Most college second baseman were shortstops at the high school level that might lack slightly in arm strength. Just like a SS a 2B will have to have soft hands and be able to defend the middle of the field at a high level, while also being able to turn the double play. Again the hit tool can be the deciding factor on a lot of recruits so a guy that can hit will surely have an upper hand.

Will you be doing weekly team rankings this year for spring baseball? If not you should highly consider it! 

Yes this year we will be doing team rankings for the spring season. Look for the preseason rankings to come out around mid-late March.

What do you think about Jefferson's chances and contributing players this upcoming season?

Jefferson should be really solid. I like a lot of their players - Schrader, Renz, the Nelson brothers, Brahier, Johnson. They've got a really solid group and should be near the top in Division 2. 

When's the next time the rankings will be updated?

Rankings will probably be updated again right before the spring season starts. We have two Preseason events coming up in February and March which we will see a lot of players at and determine a lot of the updated rankings from.

What are your thoughts about that Wollersheim kid that transferred? 

He's good, highly projectable LHP which is not easy to find. We'll have to see how he recovers from his Tommy John surgery he had this past summer.

What team has the best 1-2 punch in their rotation going into this coming spring?

Probably SPASH. Their top two pitchers from last season's state runner-ups are returning as seniors in Cal Giese and Austin Schulfer. With all the experience and talent those two will be bringing back I think it would be hard to find a better 1-2 combo. 

What do you think about Chicago States’ program, and them joining the WAC?

Well we don't cover much college baseball so I can't speak too much about their team but I do know that they are building a new turf facility and should be racking up a ton of frequent flyer miles in the WAC. 

What type of arm action do you like to see MIFs have? Types that you don't?

One of the biggest things for a MIF is having an athletic arm action. It can't be too long and he has to be able to release the baseball from different angles as well as off balance and on the move. So having a shorter, athletic arm action is ideal for a middle infielder. 

When it comes to recruiting, I have heard outfielders are the last looked at, why is that? What would an outfielder have to be recruited towards the top and who are your top 5 outfielders currently in high school?

Typically on most high school teams the best players and most athletic are playing shortstop. That being said a lot of times colleges can recruit these players with the intentions of moving them to the outfield in college, especially if they can hit. However a left handed hitting outfielder with some power or a speedy CF that can absolutely defend will be recruited just as highly as any other position. Obviously all of this will also depend on a team's needs. But regardless of your position if you can hit you will get recruited. Top five outfielders would probably be Kendall, Henderson, Rolain, Turchin and Watson.

What do you look for in a shortstop at showcase events?

Typically a shortstop will need to be the best athlete on the field. Defense is probably the most important tool to be able to play the position at the next level. Colleges will tend to recruit many high school shortstops with the plan of moving them around to different positions depending on their tools. Having soft hands is essential to play the shortstop position; also being able to turn the double play at a high level will allow you to stick at middle infield.

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