2020 16U CBT Wolfpack Team Preview
2019 RECAP: Record 11-9 * Team Batting Average .292 * Team ERA 5.09
The 15U team overcame a challenging schedule to finish above .500 despite a pitching staff ERA that was above 5. Last years MVP Zac Jurmu (Shawano, WI) who batted .422 and MV-Pitcher Gavin Stelter (Oshkosh, WI) both return. Carson Holmes, who missed most of the summer on the mound due to injury, also returns and adds a #1 quality pitcher back to our staff that will surely lower that team ERA considerably this summer.
NEWCOMERS: CF Joey Nerat (Campbellsport, WI), 2B Bryson Webb (De Pere, WI), 2B/OF Logan Kraus (Fond Du Lac, WI), RHP/3B Easton Plachetka (Greenville, WI), RHP Jaeden Carstens (Neenah, WI), and Matthew Stuczynski (Neenah, WI) round out our newcomers. Benjamin Lee (Amherst, WI) is a late addition that could prove to big a huge difference maker on the mound. He's 6'5" and tops at 84mph with a plus slider and changeup in the works. He will also see some time at 1B. A recent add, LHP Jack Grable (New London, WI) gives our team a nice left handed arm that can start or come in relief. A nice three pitch mix, Grable is another difference maker on the mound that adds nice depth to the staff. Brandon Vlcko (Steven's Point) helps our catcher spot but also adds another big time arm to our pitching staff and could be used as a one or two inning closer type.
Nerat came in with a bang this offseason posting 92mph exit speed with a special swing I haven't seen in 10 years at the 16U level. This is his first year playing on the travel circuit scene and it will be interesting to see how his game translates to the higher level. Webb transformed his body in the offseason and added 30 pounds to his frame to go along with his advanced hands and feet defensively. Kraus is a 2023 grad who is playing up a year this year due to a need on the 16U team and the 15U team having a full roster. Kraus' versatility and baseball savvy will translate easily as he plays up this summer. The staff is really high on Plachetka as we saw him pitch against us in a fall scrimmage game. He has the potential to be our #1 or #2 pitcher and will play 3B with a quality bat that will fit well into the middle of the order. Jaeden Carstens is a RHP who had a ton of success last year at the legion level. Like Nerat, it will be interesting to see how his game translates to the travel ball scene. The additions of Holmes, Plachetka and Carstens to go along with Stelter and Jalen Gellings (Eden, WI) will make our pitching staff much improved over a year ago. Stuczynski is a late add to the roster and so far the staff has really liked his swing and he will help us at 3B and in the outfield.
INFIELD: Mainstays in the infield will be Jalen Gellings, Logan Kraus, Easton Plachetka, Bryson Webb, Gavin Stelter and Wendell Waukau Jr. (Shawano, WI).
Gellings shows flashes of high level college ability both at SS and on the mound. He hit .314 with a 1.002 OPS and a .453 OBP. Kraus, Plachetka, and Webb are all newcomers who will all share time at various spots at 2B, SS, and 3B. Stelter looks to rebound from a down year at the plate last summer and adds depth to both the infield and outfield. The left handed hitting Waukau Jr. has also shown flashes of a high level college swing and hit .326 with a .463 OBP.
OUTFIELD: Nerat, Landon Behringer (Fond Du Lac, WI) and last years team MVP Jurmu will get the most time in the outfield. Nerat will play CF while Jurmu will play LF and Behringer will man RF. Others who will get time are Holmes, Kraus and Stelter. Last year, Behringer was second on the team with a .333 batting average and led the team in stolen bases with 16.
PITCHING: This is the area where we needed the most improvement and we feel we did that this year with the additions of Plachetka and Carstens to go along with Holmes being fully healthy. In the fall, Gellings really took huge strides on the mound and we're going to expect a lot more innings from him this summer in addition to his time at shortstop. Adding Lee and Vlcko late in the spring improves this unit even more. What was a weakness a year ago, may be the teams strength this year.
Carson Homes LHP - Currently working on a third pitch this offseason with a slider - High follow LHP
Benjamin Lee RHP - 6'5" and up to 84mph with a plus slider. Big follow in 2022 class with ideal size and work ethic
Easton Plachetka RHP - Newcomer who looks to add major impact with 3 quality pitches
Jalen Gellings RHP - All around tremendous athlete who was recently up to 83mph this past week
Gavin Stelter RHP - Last years Most Valuable Pitcher - Strike thrower with three pitches
Jaeden Carstens RHP - Newcomer who looks to add a huge arm to our rotation - advanced changeup for his age
Joey Nerat RHP - Great overall athlete who can play any position - will help to eat innings or close games down
Stuczynski RHP - Serviceable arm who should provide some innings for us and add to depth to the staff
Bryson Webb RHP - Another inning eater for us who has made some nice strides on the mound in the offseason
Jack Grable LHP - 3 pitch LHP and late add to a team staff that gets even better with his addition
CATCHERS: Logan Hochevar (Pulaski, WI) and Hunter Buschke (Green Bay, WI) will anchor the backstop for us. Hochevar adds a quality bat to the catcher position that boosts the offensive lineup and Buschke blocks well and handles the pitching staff. For the first half of last season, Hochevar led the team in hitting until a short slump dropped his numbers down. Gellings will also add some depth as we will ask him to catch a few games to allow the other two to rest. A late add, Brandon Vlcko out of Steven's Point joins out team and add a talented catcher and has huge potential on the mound as well.
HIGH FOLLOWS: Offensively, Nerat and Gellings are stars who should start to attract a lot of attention this summer. Waukau Jr. shows a D1 level swing from the left side while he continues to improve his defense at 1B. Look for a big bounce back summer from Holmes, who, with some added velocity and getting his slider going, should be a D1 follow. Plachetka also has the potential on the mound to turn some heads as well as he enters his first year on the travel scene. Lee also looks to be a big follow in the 2022 class due to his size and plus velocity.
POTENTIAL BREAKOUT PLAYER: Nobody works harder in our program than Landon Behringer. He's recently seen his exit velocity and throwing velocity get into the high 80's, he can run, and has developed his swing to the point he should be in the top 3 in our lineup. He was second on the team in hitting last year and led the team in stolen bases. With the time and work he puts in, it won't surprise any of our staff if he takes a huge step forward and puts himself on the recruiting map very soon.
BOTTOM LINE: With the addition of Nerat, Plachetka, Webb, Carstens and Kraus, the 16U team looks to take huge strides this summer and challenge the best in the midwest at a higher clip. Nerat has shown the potential to be a top recruit in the already deep 2022 class in the state of Wisconsin. He's as strong and as talented as a 16U hitter I've seen in the last 11 years. He is a game changer and could single handedly transform this team. Plachetka and Carstens add huge depth to the pitching staff and a healthy Holmes gives our staff a top end ace of the staff. Adding Gellings to the mound more will also help our pitching staff take a big step forward in 2020.
WHERE THEY'RE PLAYING THIS SUMMER
June 12th-14th CBT Invite - Appleton, WI
June 18th-21st Prospect Select Cornbelters Classic - Bloomington, IL
July 3rd-5th PBR Border Battle @ Woodside - Mauston, WI
July 10th-12th GameDay National Championships @ The Rock - Franklin, WI
July 16th-19th PBR Championships @ The Rock - Franklin, WI
July 24th-25th Prospect Meadows 16U North Championships - Marion, IA