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Wisconsin Underclass Trials: Quick Hits


By Andy Sroka & Steve Nielsen
Wisconsin Staff

On Wednesday, June 24, the PBR Wisconsin staff hosted its first showcase of the summer: Underclass Trials, at The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin. This event was open to the state’s 2022, 2023, and 2024 grads and served as an identifier for future showcases like All-State Games, Underclass Games, and the PBR Future Games and Junior Future Games.

Today, we’re spending some time sifting through our notes taken from this event and publishing rapid analysis inside this Quick Hits post. We have the day’s highlights below, breaking down the day’s most important findings. Stay tuned for a look inside the statistics gathered from this event later today, too.

QUICK HITS

POSITION PLAYERS

+ OF J.T. Kelenic (Catholic Memorial, 2023) – the younger brother to Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha West, 2018; Mariners), the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft – is poised to make a name for himself after physically morphing into a 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-handed power bat over the last year. While both Kelenic brothers clearly show no fear of hard work in the weight room, J.T. possesses a longer frame that has blossomed some early strength and it can clearly take on much more, undoubtedly coming in the future. J.T. shows some easy bat strength from the right side with a familiar knack for the barrel, like his brother showed from an early age. His swing path lends itself for a more natural power profile, one that elevates and backspins the baseball with relative ease. On Wednesday, he registered an average launch angle of 30.9 degrees and posted the top Blast bat speed of the day (74.5 mph). Three of his 10 contacts fell in the sweet spot of 23 to 33 degrees at launch, with three that recorded an exit velocity over 90 mph, with a max of 94. Kelenic also posted a 7.15 time in the 60-yard dash, and topped 79 mph from the outfield to round out his day. Obviously, a performance like this has Kelenic on a high watchlist and he’s entrenched among his peers near the top of the state’s ‘23 class.

+ Hitting in his own backyard, Franklin’s Boston Halloran (2023) showed well with the bat, taking one of the better rounds of the day. Registering over a hard-hit rate of over 54 percent, Halloran hits from a line-drive/pull gap approach, and he averaged an exit velocity of more than 88 mph in BP. He’s a quiet and compact right-handed hitter who unloads a simple, powerful swing that stays on top of the baseball. He’s another 2023 bat in Wisconsin to keep tabs on.

+ One of the better all-around athletes on Wednesday, SS/2B Ethan Hindle (Arrowhead, 2023), showed very well in multiple facets at Underclass Trials. Listed at a lean, projectable 6-foot, 165-pound frame, Hindle’s natural barrel feel helps him spray line drives to all fields from the right-handed box. He registered line drives into both gaps at or over 87 mph and he launched a hard-hit fly ball to straightaway center at 91 that landed 341.5 feet from home plate. Hindle’s athleticism also shines on defense in the infield. He moves swiftly and gracefully from side to side, fluidly funneling baseballs through his exchange and release. Simply put, he’s another high-follow incoming sophomore to add to our ever-growing Class of 2023 watch-list.

+ A second familiar family member to stand out on Sunday was Luke Schuler (St. Joseph, 2023) – the cousin of Pete (St. Joseph; Kent State), one of the top prospects in Wisconsin’s 2015 class. Luke’s frame is reminiscent of his cousin, standing in at a broad-shouldered 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Schuler’s is a line-drive, gap-to-gap right-handed bat who showed strong barrel awareness and considerable upside.

+ Wednesday’s event also introduced our staff to another incoming sophomore bat to follow: Jason Adix (University School of Milwaukee, 2023). Adix took one of the more eye-catching rounds of batting practice, consistently barreling baseballs at a high rate, every single ball struck topped 80 mph, three of which were at an exit velo of over 90. His gap-to-gap approach created carry on the baseball, averaging over 230 feet of distance. From a slightly closed setup, Adix generated the best rotational acceleration of the day, per Blast, at 29.8 g’s.

+ SS A.J. Lausten (Hartford, 2022) was one of the break-out performers of the winter. In the Fox Cities, Lausten took an exceptional round of infield defense, touching 87 mph across the infield, and his round still shined on Wednesday amongst an even more talented field. He demonstrates instinctual actions and is excellent on the move. Lausten swings a left-handed bat and strikes the ball with some surprising authority for his lean 150-pound frame. Per TrackMan, he recorded some hard pull-side contact and two balls travelled 300-plus feet (306, 326) with an average exit speed of 83 mph, topping 91.3 in live BP.

+ Green Bay Southwest’s OF Jaicee Foster (2022) looked a little trimmer, stronger as he begins to mature. Listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, Foster strikes the ball with innate strength while swinging a violent right-handed bat that generated one of the event’s fastest peak hand speeds, bat speeds, as well as power, according to our Blast measurements. Foster also hit the farthest baseball of the day, per TrackMan, with a 369-foot line-drive that left the bat at 95 mph at an ideal launch angle (24.5 degrees). He’s a top-40-ranked prospect in the state’s class.

+ It had been roughly a year since we’d last seen SS/3B Jalen Gellings (Campbellsport, 2022), who had an impressive day at the dish. TrackMan recorded Gellings’ right-handed bat as one of the most consistent, utilizing an up-the-middle approach that allowed him to spray hard-hit contact into both alleys effortlessly. He has strong hands in a sturdy 5-foot-10, 188-pound build that generates bat speed and strength from the right-handed batter’s box. Gellings averaged an 87.3 mph exit velocity in live BP, with several line drives measured at over 90 mph, including a ground ball that topped 98. He also sits atop the exit velocity leaderboard from the tee, with a 96 mph high from there. Gellings also looks like a fit to stick to the left side of the infield, with reliable hands and fluid actions, and above-average arm strength that topped 81 mph. Presently off the ‘22 rankings, Gellings looks like a surefire bet to make a loud debut the next time we update the incoming junior board.

+ A strong bodied left/left outfielder, Grant Beth (Catholic Memorial, 2022), led the event with the highest average exit velocity in batting practice, at 88.5 mph, with his best connection at 96, all according to TrackMan. He’s a consistent middle-of-the-field hitter hitter with a balanced approach and advanced bat speed. Beth also offers some two-way potential, sitting 81-82 mph in his bullpen with some work-in-progress offspeed. Either way, Beth is a follow this summer as he continues to trend upwards.

+ One of the top breakout performances of the day belonged to 3B Cade Honkamp (Brookfield East, 2022). His loud round of batting practice from the right side impressed our staff, showing off some natural pull-side pop as three of his 10 contacts carried at a distance at or over 350 feet, averaging an exit velocity of 86 mph, too, each among the day’s best.

+ SS Camdin Jansen (Racine Lutheran, 2022) has been, to this point, one of the biggest winners of the calendar year in Wisconsin. In an upside 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame, Jansen has a substantial case as the top infield defender at this event. With effortless, fluid range and big arm strength (86 mph), he looks cemented to shortstop long-term and he’s beginning to unlock the projection in his right-handed bat. During his live round, Jansen hit two baseballs over 88 mph, one that travelled 331 feet to the left field fence. His short, quick bat mostly favored center field and the right-center gap, showcasing some barrel control and feel. On top of his added strength at the plate, he dropped his 60 time to 7.09.

+ From West Allis Hale, INF/OF Tyler Clark (2022) is another upside frame to watch – listed at a lean 6-foot, 170 pounds with some athleticism. His TrackMan numbers favored his round as half of his contacts registered hard-hit status, averaging an exit velocity of 87 mph, among the day’s best. From a pull-side approach, Clark peppered the left side of the diamond with low-lying line-drive contact. He’d benefit from elevating the ball a little bit, but it’s clear his athletic hands generate some next-level traits to follow the rest of the summer. Clark’s also a multi-positional prospect who took above-average reps on defense from both the outfield and infield, though he looked especially sharp on the dirt.

+ For a school its size, Green Bay’s Notre Dame Academy has several underclass follows to know and C Cade Milton (2022) is firmly among them. He’s a strong backstop with some natural actions from behind the plate, popping between 2.13 and 2.25 on Wednesday. While his average pop technically was quicker this winter in the Fox Cities, Milton was much more efficient and accurate at The Rock. He swings a simple right-handed bat with strength and was 86 mph off the tee and he recorded an 85 mph pulled line drive in BP.

+ While Milton’s value is more so tied to his defense, C/OF Levi Kline's (Baraboo, 2022) is a bat-first type. He smashed hard-hit lofted contact repeatedly to center field from the right-handed box, including a ball hit 93.2 mph that travelled 343 feet. Kline’s built at a strong 6-foot, 174 pounds, in a prototypical catcher’s build. He actually recorded the fastest time of the day in the 60, at 6.99, and moves with athleticism on blocks and while receiving.

PITCHERS

+ As arguably the top pitching prospect coming out of the event, RHP Cole Selvig (Regis, 2023) sat in mostly the 84 mph range in his session, reaching back for one 86 at the very end with an average spin of 1,800 RPM. Built at an athletic 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, Selvig is separating himself from his peers with his offspeed feel. While he is showing an early feel to spin his curveball (2,092 RPM), it’s his changeup that projects as his best offspeed offering. It features late fading action, moving with seven- to eight-inch horizontal break, per TrackMan, and is thrown while mostly maintaining his typical arm speed. Look for Selvig to continue to assert himself as a follow right-hander in this class the rest of the summer, and beyond.

+ The huge 6-foot-4, 235-pound righty from Arrowhead, Mason Krznarich (2022), put together a solid bullpen on Wednesday, sitting exclusively at 84-85 mph, touching 86, with an Induced Vertical Break (IVB) that ranged from 16.5 to 20.1 inches at an average 2,147 RPM. He tunnelled the changeup well off his fastball, releasing his only offspeed from a similar slot consistently. It’s an effective two-pitch mix to keep an eye on in this 2022 class.

+ A sturdy 6-foot-2, 205-pound righty from Barneveld, Chase Ignatius (2022), first appeared on our radar while pitching for Team Heat last summer at the PBR Badger State Battle. This was our first up-close look at him, however, and he did not disappoint. With a loose, low effort arm action, Ignatius sat 83-84 mph with his fastball, touching 85.4 while averaging a spin rate of 1,853 RPM. That heavy fastball pairs effectively with his changeup, which he consistently landed down in the zone with some arm-side action. Ignatius also has the makings of a sweeping curveball, and while he wasn’t able to fully locate it Wednesday, it showed the signs of good action that he might be able to one day harness.

+ Another big body, LHP Matthew Mueller (Brookfield Central, 2022) sat 78-81 mph in his ‘pen from a steep plane with carry in the zone, as evidenced by an average IVB around 19 inches. He’s also another whose changeup closely matches his fastball, with similar tilt, as a go-to secondary.

+ And speaking of IVB, the long-levered RHP Nolan Klug’s (Menomonee Falls, 2022) were consistently in the 20- to 21-inch range at an average of 82 mph. His 74 mph straight change closely mimics his fastball arm action and movement, giving him a viable second pitch, as he works on his feel to spin a breaking ball.

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