Wisconsin's Top MLB Draft Prospects
1. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha (Wis.) West HS (BA Rank: 12)
HS • 6-1 • 196 • L-L •
Kelenic was the only outfielder in the high school class to unanimously make the first team in Baseball America’s Preseason All-America vote, as decided on by major scouting directors. Kelenic achieved that honor as one of the best hitters in the class with a balanced and powerful swing, a track record in the middle of USA Baseball’s 18U National Team lineup and a strong arm, as well as athleticism, above-average speed and impressive route running. One of the most intense players in the class, Kelenic has a fiery demeanor on the field that gives pause for some evaluators, while others who know him have no issues and see his passionate personality as a positive indicator. He lives and breathes baseball and is regularly in his dad’s training facilities in Waukesha, Wis., and also worked out in the same facility as Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt. One of the more polished hitters in the class, Kelenic has the frame and strength to continue to add more power as he gets into player development and could wind up with plus raw power down the road. As he ages, scouts are mixed on whether he stays in center field or moves to a corner, with his backers pointing to exceptional reads and defensive instincts, and detractors saying that his speed will back up as he gets stronger. He has more than enough arm for the outfield, regularly registering 96 mph readings from the grass and regarded as one of the most accurate arms in the class. The challenge with Kelenic is that he’s been difficult for teams to scout this spring in Wisconsin. He’s playing with a travel team rather than his high school and he’s also been seen indoors more frequently than outdoors. The track record for Wisconsin hitters is also poor, but Kelenic’s own track record with Team USA and on the showcase circuit, combined with his natural tools and makeup, could allow him to become the exception. He should be one of the first prep bats to get drafted this June.
2. Jacob Campbell, C, Craig HS, Janesville, Wis. (BA Rank: 155)
HS • 6-0 • 200 • R-R •
Campbell is one of several solid prospects who was hurt by the cold weather that delayed the start of baseball seasons in the upper Midwest. It’s a pity because scouts have long been impressed with his combination of a physical frame, solid receiving skills and an average arm. Campbell, an Illinois signee, is a good athlete and an average runner. At the plate, he has a line-drive approach that is more geared to singles and doubles than home runs, but his swing works and he stays balanced. Even with less time to evaluate him than many other prospects, Campbell could still be an early day two pick for a team that likes his well-rounded toolset.
3. Alex Binelas, 3B/1B, Oak Creek (Wis.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 200 • L-R •
Binelas was seen by all the scouts who saw Kelenic and he's shown plus raw power himself. Defensively his eventual home is subject to much debate as he may be able to stick at third, while other see him sliding to left field eventually.
4. Max Alba, RHP/1B, Franklin (Wis.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-5 • 190 • L-R •
Alba is an athletic high school quarterback who has just begun to tap into his potential on the mound. He sits at 87-91 mph right now, but it would surprise no one if he added two ticks to that fastball over the next year or two. He has a promising slider, but his control wavers right now.
5. Austin Jones, RHP, Wisconsin-Whitewater (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-2 • 205 • R-R •
Jones has been a steady performer and profiles as an excellent innings-eating senior sign. He went 8-2, 2.91 this year and is 22-7, 2.49 in four years at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
6. Nate Brown, RHP, Madison (Wis.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-2 • 200 • R-R •
7. Jeffrey Holtz, C, Arrowhead HS, Hartland, Wis. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-4 • 205 • R-R •
8. Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP/SS, Memorial HS, Eau Claire, Wis. (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-3 • 190 • L-R •
9. Dillon Nowicki, RHP, Stoughton (Wis.) HS (BA Rank: N/A)
HS • 6-2 • 195 • R-R •
10. Jack Eagen, LHP, Madison (Wis.) JC (BA Rank: N/A)
JC • So. • 6-3 • 235 • L-L •
11. Austin Schulfer, RHP, Wisconsin-Milwaukee (BA Rank: N/A)
4YR • Sr. • 6-2 • 165 • R-R •
Schulfer is a senior sign who has some ability. The sinkerballer can touch 94 mph and went 6-5, 2.96 to wrap up four productive seasons at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.