We’ve covered a litle bit of high school so far. We have a lot more prep coverage in the works. We’ve covered a tiny, tiny bit of college ball so far. There will be a ton more of that to come. What we’ve ignored thus far, unintentionally of course, is the all too often ignored grey area of draft prospecting. I mean, and let’s be honest here, who among us can truly say that he or she knew the 2009 junior college baseball season has already started? We shall ignore the juco ranks no longer! After the jump, enjoy the best prospects — by position, naturally — currently on junior college rosters.
I’m thinking the photo was a combination of excessively obscure and borderline offensive. Anybody who gets the reference wins a prize – true story! Email our new address (thebaseballdraftreport AT gmail.com) or answer in the comment section to claim that reward. Oh right, baseball. Back to it…
Junior college baseball – where high school and college ball intersect! Players wind up in junior college for all sorts of reasons, but what ultimately matters is what they do and how they look once they get there. That in mind, here is n all-prospect look, position by position, at the best junior college has to offer in 2009.
C – Miles Hamblin (Howard CC – Texas)
1B – Art Charles (Bakersfield CC – California)
2B – Adrian Morales (Miami-Dade CC – Florida)
SS – Keon Broxton (Sane Fe CC – Florida)
3B – Jake Rogers (Chipola CC – Florida)
OF – Jaron Shepherd (Navarro CC – Texas)
OF – Runey Davis (Howard CC – Texas)
OF – David Stewart (Grayson County CC – Texas)
Hamblin is a promising bat who should be able to stick behind the plate long-term. Charles has a massive frame and power to spare, but first base is always a huge weak spot among the junior college ranks. Morales and Broxton show promise as up the middle talents who combine good enough fielding with bats that should play. Rogers is more or less the third base equivalent to Charles, a big frame, bigger raw power-type with plenty to work on both at the plate and in the field. Shepherd is a true centerfielder defensively, Davis may have the most all around upside of any position player on the list, and Stewart’s bat could be the best in junior college if it all comes all together for him.
As you can see, there are plenty of “if’s” and “maybe’s” in that group – very indicative of group of junior college prospects. This year has lots of high upside players who excel in one or two areas of the game (power, pure speed, athleticism, etc.), but have major flaws keeping them from being called legit first five round caliber talents (plate discipline, defense, swiss cheese swings). That’s not to say that many juco guys won’t go in the first few rounds of the draft, of course – every player has the spring to iron out the wrinkles in his game, though, ultimately, even juco guys with major warts will be attractive to big league clubs because of the presence of an exceptional tool or two.
RHP – Daniel Webb (Northwest Florida State CC – Florida)
RHP – Ryan Weber (St. Petersburg CC – Florida)
RHP – Jake Cowan (San Jacinto CC – Texas)
Webb is an easy, easy, easy choice as the consensus top junior college prospect in the country – great size and a mid-90s fastball will get you far. However, his secondary stuff still lags behind his heater (though his curve is coming along quickly), both his command and control remain shaky, and, most worrisome to me, his fastball, though undeniably fast, is just too darn straight at present. Wow, that’s a lot of commas!
Weber was very close to agreeing to terms with the World Champion Phillies before opting to go the junior college route. I love that he follows Webb in the rankings for no other reason than he’s the anti-Daniel Webb. Weber’s strengths are tons of big game national team experience, plus movement on everything he throws, plus command of quality secondary stuff (slider and change). What he lacks is a blazing fastball (tops out in the high-80s) and much physical projection. Weber as the anti-Webb is an idea I can get behind. I mean, even their names are similar! How great is that? I’m a sucker for name-based wordplay, and Webb/Weber as similar (both good at the whole pitching thing/both with last names starting with Web-), but different (stylistically opposite on the mound/one last name ending with -b and the other -er) pitchers makes my day.
Oh yeah, Jake Cowan is good, too. Too bad his name doesn’t fit the narrative. The former Virginia Cavalier has a great three pitch mix and is as good a shot as any player listed to usurp Webb as the first juco player off the board come draft day. For the record, I like Cowan, Weber, and Webb as the top three righties…in that order.
LHP – Shawn Sanford (Palomar CC – California)
LHP – Chad Bell (Walters State CC – Tennessee)
LHP – Jarret Martin (Bakersfield CC – California)
Sanford is the top juco lefty and a darn good outfield prospect to boot. Bell is coming off an excellent freshman season at Walters State – he’ll go a lot higher than the 37th round this year. He reminds me a little of a more projectable, lefty version of Weber. Martin is similar to Sanford in that he is a legit prospect with the bat. In fact, I debated on having Martin top the 1B list before settling on Charles. I’d rank all three righthanded prospects listed above over any of the juco lefties here, but that’s more about the righthanders being a very good group than the lefties being less than solid.