Illinois & Wisconsin D-I Recruiting Classes: Best of the Rest, Part One


By Andy Sroka & Diego Solares
Illinois & Wisconsin Staff

This offseason, our Illinois and Wisconsin staffs have collaborated to break down the state's Class 2021 committed players and their post-high school destinations, now that they’re preparing for the final springs of their prep careers.

The signing period opened on Nov. 11, so we’re well into monitoring this senior class make their formal commitments to their next-level homes. We began breaking down both states’ 2021 classes earlier in the offseason, assessing the 11 Division-I programs in Illinois and Wisconsin and the entirety of the players headed in their direction.

To view Part One and Part Two of that analysis, click on either of the previous hyperlinks.

We also started breaking down the players from our states who are headed to D-I programs elsewhere. We've been analyzing them by conference, beginning with the Big Ten, the MAC, the Missouri Valley, and the ACC. We’re covering the SEC and an assortment of others today.

SEC

+ The top prospect in Wisconsin’s senior class and a top-35 player in the country per our national rankings, Alabama commit SS Noah Miller (Ozaukee) headlines this quartet of SEC recruits. A true switch-hitter with a short stroke from both sides of the plate and extremely savvy defensive skills up the middle, Miller is the latest player to garner serious draft interest from the Badger State. Getting him to campus, however, would be a major win for the Crimson Tide – although that increasingly seems unlikely.

Vincent Trapani RHP / Eau Claire Memorial, WI / 2021

Wisconsin’s top pitching prospect from the 2021 class will also be joining Miller in the SEC. An Arkansas commit, Trapani is an arrow-up prospect after multiple strong showings throughout last year’s summer circuit. Trapani is built at a durable 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, and he has an unorthodox operation on the mound that surely makes for an uncomfortable at-bat, especially against right-handed hitters. His fastball comfortably sits in the low-90s and we’ve seen him up to 95 mph in the past, all while regularly averaging 20-plus inches of vertical break, per TrackMan. Trapani rounds out his arsenal with a curveball and changeup – the former being a legitimate out pitch for him that sits at 75-78 mph with sharpened spin. Joining Arkansas, one of college baseball’s top developmental programs, would be a major win for Trapani, but he’s certainly played himself onto several different teams’ draft radars.

(7/7/20)
 


+ LHP
Reed Gannon (Minooka) is the lone Illinois prospect headed to the SEC next fall, where he’ll be joining head coach Nick Mingione and the Kentucky Wildcats. Gannon burst onto the scene in a big way at the PBR Future Games in 2019, where he cruised through a talented Team Wisconsin lineup and tossed two perfect innings. His stuff has ticked up a bit since then and we saw him at The Rock this summer, where he sat an easy 86-89 mph with his fastball, all while landing a curveball for strikes at 72-73 mph. Gannon is one of the more polished arms in the Midwest and everything comes out easy for him on the hill. There’s likely more velocity to come as he further fills out his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame as he continues to mature, which would obviously boost his prospect stock. Gannon could make an impact for the Wildcats’ sooner rather than later.

Reed Gannon (7/25/20)

+ South Carolina commit INF/RHP Owen Washburn (Webster, WI) rounds out the handful of SEC commits from Illinois or Wisconsin from this 2021 class. One of the youngest seniors in the state, Washburn is an intriguing prospect because of what he can do on both sides of the ball. He boasts a smooth left-handed stroke with loose wrists and natural line drive feel, working best to all fields. His upside is arguably greater on the mound, however, where he pairs his mid-to-high-80s fastball with a swing-and-miss curveball that’s topped 2,600 rpm in previous looks. Whenever or however the Gamecocks feel he can contribute, Washburn will be able to utilize his do-it-all versatility.

PAC-12

Eric Orloff LHP / Glenbrook North, IL / 2021

Orloff is one of the top pitching prospects in the Midwest and he’s headed to Tucson next fall to join the Arizona Wildcats. A former PBR Future Gamer, Orloff has ticked up in a big way over the last calendar year, starting at our Preseason All-State event last February and carrying that momentum throughout the summer. He creates an uncomfortable release angle for opposing hitters with deception and that allows his upper-80s fastball to play more effectively around the zone. Orloff’s go-to secondary pitch is a low-70s curveball with natural depth and it’s flashed swing-and-miss potential in our previous looks. He’s a competitive southpaw with advanced pitchability that is going to get outs at the next level.

(7/7/20) 

SUMMIT LEAGUE

+ The Summit League is home to Western Illinois, and we previously covered their 2021-22 incoming class here. But, another program inside this conference will be well-represented by Wisconsin native talent.

Brand new to the Division I realm, the University of St. Thomas baseball program has done an impressive job of recruiting several impact prospects in Wisconsin’s 2021 class to buoy their first season in their new environment. Six of the top-50 prospects in Wisconsin’s senior class are headed to St. Thomas next fall – the most of any Division I program.

A trio of quality right-handed pitchers that are eager to make an impact on the Tommies’ staff next fall: Walker Retz (Boyceville), Carl Cano (Bay Port), and Bryce Leedle (Markesan). We’ve seen all three of them sit in the upper-80s with their fastballs and complement it with advanced feel for at least one above-average offering. All three of these arms are capable of logging quality innings for the Tommies early on in their collegiate careers.

Carl Cano RHP / Bay Port, WI / 2021

Cano is a strong, athletic prospect who works out of a low release height that makes his high-spin fastball explode through the zone, topping 88 mph. And he can really break off a slider. His strength and athleticism makes for an upside one-two punch inside his arsenal, one that can be further honed at St. Thomas for substantial swing-and-miss potential. At the Senior Games back in September, Cano reached an 87.6 mph high that spun at a max rate of 2,400 rpm, tunnelling very well off a biting slider that reached a 78.0 high.

(9/20/20)

The Tommies will also add three noteworthy offensive prospects from Wisconsin to their roster next fall: OF Tanner Marsh (Mondovi), RHP/INF Colin Dailey (Cedarburg), and C Brigs Richartz (Menomonie). Marsh is an extremely athletic, tooled up outfielder with advanced bat strength and early impact potential in multiple facets. Dailey boasts one of the strongest infield arms in the state and that translates to the mound as well, leaving room for some intriguing two-way potential. Rounding out this class is Richartz, one of the younger seniors in the state who ticked up in a major way after several strong summer performances. He’s arguably one of the state’s biggest risers and is just starting to scratch the surface of what he could potentially be at the plate.

Tanner Marsh (3/15/20)


BIG WEST

+ It’s not often we see an athlete from this region commit to the University of Hawaii, but the Rainbow Warriors have two top-20 prospects headed their way next fall – one from each state: LHP Cory Ronan (Routt Catholic, IL) and RHP Eli Hoyt (Waukesha South, WI). Ronan is an athletic 6-foot-2, 180-pound southpaw with an upper-80s fastball and feel to consistently land a high-spin, low-70s curveball for strikes. His sturdy build has helped his fastball make consistent velo gains, and the curve spin and feel has shaped it into a go-to offspeed offering. Ronan looks capable of impacting Hawaii’s staff early, while also encompassing additional projection to take another step forward once he’s on campus.

Cory Ronan (7/24/20)

Eli Hoyt RHP / Waukesha South, WI / 2021

Standing at a wiry 5-foot-11 and 165-pounds, the upside that Hoyt brings to the mound is tremendous. It’s an effortless, extremely fluid all-around operation that routinely produces mid-to-high-80s velocity and touched 90 mph multiple times last summer. He’s slowly starting to harness control of his breaking ball and it looks like Hoyt is just starting to scratch the surface of what he can truly be on the mound.

(7/16/20) 


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