Wisconsin has consistently produced players for the MLB draft in recent years. This year’s draft, which begins July 17, will likely have at least six players selected with Wisconsin ties.
Below is a list of 13 players with Wisconsin ties who have received interest from scouts in anticipation of this year’s draft.
Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
Prielipp, a Tomah, Wisconsin native, shut down college hitters in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season as a freshman. But the left-handed pitcher has pitched just seven innings since his freshman year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2021.
Prielipp is working his way back from the injury and recently pitched at the MLB Draft Combine. He posted the highest breaking ball spin rate and flashed his pre-injury ability at the event.
He is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound lefty with an above-average mid-90s fastball and exceptional hard-breaking slider.
Scouts rave about Prielipp’s frontline starter potential. They believe he will be a first or second-round pick. If he were healthy and demonstrating his pre-injury success on the mound, he would be in the mix to go first overall in July’s draft.
RELATED STORY: Connor Prielipp wants to build on first season (Published Feb. 17, 2021)
Max Wagner, 3B, Clemson
Wagner struggled to square up pitches and drive the ball consistently during his freshman season at Clemson last year. But he took a significant step forward to establish himself as one of the best hitters in college baseball this season.
Wagner is a 6-foot, 215-pound right-handed hitter who uses an open stance and is direct to the baseball. His quick swing allows him to drive the ball with authority to all parts of the field. He possesses above-average raw power.
Defensively, Wagner has played third base at Clemson after playing shortstop in high school. Wagner has the traits to stay at third base long term. He moves well and has a strong arm.
Wagner hit .370 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 203 at-bats this season. He showed solid plate discipline, recording 51 strikeouts and 45 walks. Due to his development, success and potential, scouts project Wagner as a likely second-round draft pick.
RELATED STORY: Max Wagner develops into impact hitter
Gavin Kilen, SS, Milton HS
Kilen is the top prep prospect from Wisconsin this year. The Milton High School senior shortstop hit .461 to lead his team to a state title this season.
Kilen is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound shortstop with a notable offensive toolset from the left side of the plate. He is a mature hitter with a balanced setup and uses a quick swing to hit line drives to all fields. Scouts believe he will increase his power potential as he matures physically in the future.
Kilen also prides himself on his pitch recognition and ability to thrive against premium arms. He credits his offensive skill set and success to his father, a former college left-handed pitcher.
Besides his advanced offensive skills, Kilen also is a respectable defensive player. The prep shortstop possesses above-average arm strength and the instincts, hands, and range to play the position at a high level. Scouts believe he can remain at shortstop long term.
Scouts project Kilen as a second, third or fourth-round draft pick. If the draft doesn’t work out in his favor, Kilen will attend the University of Louisville.
RELATED STORY: Gavin Kilen is Wisconsin’s top prospect
Alan Roden, OF, Creighton
Roden, a Middleton, Wisconsin native, made remarkable strides in his four years at Creighton. After redshirting his first year and then playing in three games in 2020, Roden broke out and produced at a high level the last two years.
The 6-foot, 210-pound left-handed hitter isn’t flashy but is a quality offensive producer. Roden has elite bat-to-ball skills and uses the entire field. He rarely strikeouts and will hit for average and power in pro ball. He also is athletic and can steal some bases.
Defensively, Roden split time between first base and the corner outfield spots at Creighton. He is most comfortable in the outfield but could serve as a valuable utility player in pro ball. He played catcher and shortstop in high school.
Roden hit .383 with 14 home runs and 94 RBIs in 342 at-bats in his three years at Creighton. He tallied 49 strikeouts and 27 walks. Scouts project Roden as a third to fifth-round draft pick.
RELATED STORY: Alan Roden develops into a draft prospect
Drake Baldwin, C, Missouri State
Baldwin made notable strides during his three-year career at Missouri State after a standout career as a hockey and baseball player at Madison West High School.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound left-handed hitter has a quality approach and rarely swings at pitches out of the strike zone. He consistently drives the ball into the gaps and hits for power, showing improvement this spring when he launched 19 home runs.
Defensively, Baldwin has solid arm strength but needs to improve his throwing accuracy. Scouts are split on if he can remain at catcher long term. Scouts project Baldwin as a top-five-round pick.
AJ Blubaugh, RHP, Milwaukee
Blubaugh is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-handed pitcher that split time as a starter and reliever in his three years at Milwaukee. He earned the Horizon League Reliever of the Year award each of the last two seasons and has pitched well so far in the Cape Cod League this summer.
The righty will likely get a chance to start in pro ball due to his mid-90s fastball and quality secondary pitches (curveball, slider and changeup). He could hear his name called in the fifth to seventh round of the draft.
RELATED STORY: AJ Blubaugh develops into a draft prospect
Additional Names to Know
Below are a few additional names with Wisconsin ties for this year’s draft. The college players might be selected in the final half of the 20-round draft, while the high school players have received draft interest but will probably head to college.
Cole Paplham, RHP, New Orleans: Paplham is an intriguing arm due to his premium fastball velocity. Statistically, Paplham didn’t have a great year, but his fastball sat in the high-90s and touched triple digits. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty is a project, but teams might be intrigued about the Denmark, Wisconsin, native’s potential as a hard-throwing reliever.
Jack Washburn, RHP, Ole Miss: Washburn is the son of former major-league pitcher Jarrod Washburn. The younger Washburn has split time between the rotation and bullpen at Ole Miss this season. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound righty has a low-to-mid 90s fastball and quality-breaking pitch. If he can refine his command, the Webster, Wisconsin, native has the chance to start in pro ball.
Paul Toetz, 2B, Purdue: Toetz isn’t a flashy player but has a quality skills. The right-handed hitter consistently squares up the baseball and hits for average power. The Greendale, Wisconsin, native played second base at Purdue, but scouts feel he could develop into a utility player in pro ball.
Will Vierling, C, Homestead HS: Vierling is one of Wisconsin’s top high school seniors. The 6-foot, 195-pound backstop has a balanced skillset. He is a strong left-handed hitter with the potential to be an impact bat at the next level. Defensively, Vierling is athletic and has a strong and accurate arm. Vierling is a Louisville commit.
Mitch Voit, RHP/3B, Whitefish Bay HS: Voit earned Gatorade Player of the Year for baseball in Wisconsin this spring. He is a highly talented two-way player as a right-handed pitcher and third baseman. His future is likely on the mound, as he has a quality fastball-slider combination. His fastball touches the low-90s. Voit is a University of Michigan commit.
Michael Lippe, OF, Whitefish Bay HS: Lippe has been on the radar of professional scouts since his freshman year. He is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound outfielder who is an explosive athlete with a balanced toolset and proven ability to impact all aspects of the game. He is a Louisville commit.
Tyler Deleskiewicz, RHP, Lake Geneva Badger HS: The 6-foot-5, 218-pound righty is an intriguing prep prospect. Deleskiewicz throws a low-90s fastball from a low-arm slot and unorthodox delivery. He also has a quality-breaking pitch. The Milwaukee commit is a name to watch in a few years.
Christian Oppor, LHP, Columbus HS: Oppor is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound lefty who throws a fastball and slider from a low three-quarters arm slot. His fastball sits in the low-90s. He has significant upside but would benefit from developing at the college level first. He is a Gulf Coast State (Fla.) College commit.
Do you enjoy reading Baseball Prospect Journal’s draft content? Support our work and become a Patron!
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.