Top 15 JUCO Players for 2018 MLB Draft

Trey RileyUsually for JUCO players arms get the most looks before anyone else. Closer to the draft teams will like to get as many looks as they can at them to stock pile as many of these picks as they can, in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough. As for position players, they must really stand out above all in order to get any eyes on them. 

This year’s draft isn’t any different and is filled with a solid crop of JUCO prospects that could have their name called this week. Here are the cream of the crops.

Trey Riley, RHP, John A. Logan (IL) CC
Throws: R  Bats: L

Height 6’2”  WT: 175 lb.

Riley’s quick arm release stands out the most. His fastball is considered one of the best in Illinois. His changeup needs work, though he doesn’t use it much, and when he does hitters can see it a mile away. He’s ranked in the top 100 of most draft boards.

Aaron Ashby, LHP, Crowder (MO) College

Throws: L  Bats: L

HT: 6’1”  WT: 170 lb.

Ashby is the nephew of former big leaguer Andy Ashby. Much like his uncle, Ashby followed in the same footsteps— pitching for Park Hill High (Kansas City, MO) and then for Crowder. Ashby’s curveball is a plus pitch that’s been known to manipulate into a slider at times. He can touch 94 mph with his fastball and it will miss some bats, but at the next level he’ll need to fix his delivery quite a bit. Ashby is the number two draft prospect in his state and in the top 200 of most draft boards. He was drafted by the Rangers in 2017.

Blake Rivera, RHP, Wallace State JC (AL)
Throws: R Bats: R
HT: 6’4”  WT: 205

Recently, Rivera signed with the Auburn Tigers, so pending on where he is selected he might decide to stick to school to improve his stock. The fifth best prospect in his state, he’s got great size, complete with a big arm that teams like to see with his sort of stature. Two years ago he was weighed at 220 pounds, but has since dropped the weight, which helped with his velocity.

Oraj Anu, OF/1B, Wallace-Dothan JC (AL) 

Throws: B  Bats: S

HT: 6’3” WT: 210

Cool name aside, Anu is one of Alabama’s best draft prospects— behind top picks Casey Mize and Travis Swaggerty, of course. He’s a unique player who’s a switch hitter and can also throw righty and lefty. Not sure how good that will come in handy but he’s got a nice frame and is extremely strong. His strength stands out the most. Enormous power from both sides of the plate and has serious bat speed that’s considered to potentially give him elite level power one day. Runs good for a big guy. Defense is below average and he needs to have better plate patience.

Keegan McCarville, RHP, South Mountain JC (AZ)
Throws: R Bats: R
HT: 6’3” WT: 210

McCarville’s fastball is his plus pitch. He has a slider that many feel could be a plus pitch in the future as well. He has recently signed with the Santa Clara Broncos.

Nick Trogerlic-Iverson, RHP, Central Arizona JC

Throws: R  Bats: R
HT: 6’1”  WT: 175

Trogerlic-Iverson has a three-pitch mix of a fastball, changeup and curve. While each seem above-average, there isn’t a plus pitch to be seen yet. He has a great feel for his hitters and pitches bigger than his frame.

Sean Roby, 3B, Arizona Western JC (AZ)

Throws: R Bats: R

HT: 6’2” WT: 205

Roby’s got a pro body with instinct and soft hands at the hot corner. He has decent bat speed with some power potential too.

Eric De La Rosa, OF, Grossmont (CA) JC
Throws: R  Bats: R
HT: 6’4”  WT: 175

De La Rosa compares to Reynaldo Rivera who was selected in the second round by the Detroit Tigers last year. He’s a big and lanky outfielder with power that’s off the charts. Great raw arm strength and decent glove in the corners of the outfield. He’s a risky pick that will strikeout a lot.

C.J. Alexander, 3B, State JC of Florida
Throws: R  Bats: L
HT: 6’5”  WT: 215

Alexander is a big, strong kid— probably the strongest on the field. Power in his lower half is exceptional, providing him with a lot of leverage in the legs that gives him solid pop off his bat. Moves pretty good at third for how big he is. More than enough physicality, size and durability for a broad everyday ceiling. Will need to be more selective at the plate as he matures. Like other JC Florida prospects this year, he could become lost in the mix of superior talent the state is putting out in this draft.

Aldrich DeJongh, OF, Hillsborough (FL) JC
Throws: R  Bats: L
HT: 5’7”  WT: 175

DeJongh is a spark plug type of player. Has a low, wide-set stance. Has a short stride out front with small load; very short, but efficient bat path to the ball. He’s strictly a contact hitter with not a ton of power. Has a slap and run approach, which compliments his lightning speed on the base paths. His first steps out of the box are some of the best around. Solid arm and has a knack for reads on the balls in the air. Compares a lot to Dee Gordon.

Brandon Williamson, LHP, North Iowa Area CC
Throws: L  Bats: L
HT: 6’5”  WT: 210

The top prospect in all of Iowa, Williamson committed with Michigan State for next season. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and a slider that’s clocked at 81 mph, however, it’s developing even better. Out of high school, he originally had offers from DI programs like Missouri, Alabama and Pittsburgh but ultimately felt North Iowa was the best fit for him. In his first season, he posted a 4-1 record with one save and a 3.86 ERA. He tallied 47 strikeouts and 25 walks on the season. It will be interesting to see if he stays with MSU or if he’ll turn pro this year.

Jason Rackers, RHP, Jefferson (MO) JC
Throws: R  Bats: R
HT: 6’5”  WT: 220

A fastball, curveball and changeup are what Rackers throws. His fastball is his future plus pitch, and it can hit 94 mph. Rackers has the sort of frame teams look for in an innings eater, such as himself.

Hunter Wolfe, SS, Walters State (TN) JC
Throws: R Bats: R
HT: 6’0” WT: 185

The Tennessee native can absolutely fly on the bases. Wolfe sits second in the NJCAA with 41 stolen bases. He’s a toolsy-shortstop who is extremely athletic. Reads the ball well and can work through throws with his footwork. Displays soft hands and makes a number of impressive plays in the field. Shows a very compact swing and does a good job of finding the barrel of the bat. Despite his size, he has more power in his swing than meets the eye. His approach is more of a line drive hitter but can take advantage of mistake pitches and drive them out. He has offers for DI schools currently, so if he falls in the draft, clubs risk losing him.

Josh Breaux, RHP/C/OF, McLennan (TX) JC

Throws: R  Bats: R
HT: 6’2”  WT: 200

Seventh best prospect in the state of Texas. Ranked first on many sites’s boards as top JUCO player. Breaux was selected in the 36th round by the Astros in 2017 as a J1 player. His brother Joe Breaux was also selected in the 36th round last year, but by the Phillies. However, he transferred to Alabama instead. Breaux can play all over the place and excels. On the mound he throws a 98 mph four-seamer that’s his best pitch by far. During the start of 2018 he started slow, compared to seasons in the past, but regardless, he’s already proved he can play at the next level. Breaux roams in the middle of the lineup and displays plus power with an even strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Trey Dillard, RHP, San Jacinto (TX) JC
Throws: R  Bats: R
HT: 6’2”  WT: 215

Another Texas stud, Dillard is considered to be a top JUCO pitcher in the south. His fastball’s velocity sits between the 91-96 mph range. His command has been on point and rarely misses his spots. Compound that with an 11-to-5 power curve, which showed great drop and bite at 85-87 mph, it is easy to see how many put him on the top of their JUCO lists. In May he committed to the Missouri Tigers, so teams will take that into consideration. If a team does grab him high, it will be a team that fell in love with his extreme potential as a frontline starter.

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