College Preview

2006 Junior College Preview




TOP 10: HOW THEY'LL FINISH



W L
1. Navarro (Texas) 37 24
2. St. Petersburg (Fla.) 47 16
3. New Mexico 55 10
4. Cosumnes River (Calif.) 31 12
5. Grayson County (Texas) 49 9
6. Walters State (Tenn.) 46 16
7. Lake City (Fla.) 31 21
8. Yavapai (Ariz.) 44 12
9. Southern Nevada 44 12
10. Lower Columbia (Wash.) 39 6
Boldface indicates participated in 2005 World Series

Division I World Series: Ten teams, May 27-June 3 at Grand Junction, Colo.
Division II World Series: Eight teams, May 27-June 2 at Millington, Tenn.
Division III World Series: Eight teams, May 20-26 at Glens Falls, N.Y.
California Community College Championship: Four teams, May 28-30 at Fresno.
Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Championship: Eight teams, May 26-30 at Longview, Wash.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-AMERICA TEAM

C—Luis Martinez, So., Jackson State, Tenn. (.365-13-69). 1B—Chris Davis, So., Navarro (.317-15-57). 2B—Chase Fontaine, So., Daytona, Fla. (.318-2-26). 3B—Steve Marquardt, So., Columbia Basin, Wash. (.284-2-27). SS—Milton Loo, So., Yavapai, Ariz. (.391-5-39). OF—Willie Cabrera, So., Los Angeles Pierce (.324-12-65); Tim Smith, So., Midland, Texas (.468-8-55); Elvin Vargas, So., Connors State, Okla. (.382-15-61). DH—Tyler Beranek, So., Lake City, Fla. (.337-7-32 at Nevada-Las Vegas).
P—Aaron Breit, So., Garden City, Kan. (11-1, 2.50); Brian Flores, So., New Mexico (15-1, 2.04); Mike Hacker, lhp, Cosumnes River, Calif. (7-1, 1.64, 76 IP/89 SO); Tommy Hanson, So., Riverside, Calif. (5-4, 2.66, 88 IP/79 SO); Bryan Morris, Fr., Motlow State, Tenn. (HS—Tullahoma, Tenn.).

Player of the Year: Milton Loo, ss/3b, Yavapai (Ariz.).
Pitcher of the Year: Tommy Hansen, rhp, Riverside (Ariz.).

TOP PROSPECTS, 2006 DRAFT

1. *Bryan Morris, lhp, Motlow State (Tenn.)
2. *Sean O’Sullivan, rhp, Grossmont (Calif.)
3. *Tommy Hanson, rhp, Riverside (Calif.)
4. *Steve Marquardt, 3b/ss, Columbia Basin (Wash.)
5. *Chase Fontaine, ss/2b, Daytona (Fla.)
6. *Milton Loo, ss/3b, Yavapai (Ariz.)
7. *Aaron Breit, rhp, Garden City (Kan.)
8. *Mike Hacker, lhp, Cosumnes River (Calif.)
9. *Luis Martinez, c, Jackson State (Tenn.)
10. *Brad Barragar, rhp, Golden West (Calif.)
*Player selected in 2005 draft; remains under control to selecting club

SHORT HOPS

• Navarro (Texas) JC, Baseball America’s choice as the top junior college team in the country, has assembled a pitching staff that would be the envy of any NCAA Division I team. Of its four pitchers selected in the 2005 draft—sophomore RHP Drew Johnson (Red Sox, 21st round), sophomore LHPs James Russell (Mariners, 17th) and Jared Souza (Yankees, 32nd) and freshman RHP Michael Whitney (Orioles, 18th)—only Russell (4-2, 3.31 pitched for the Bulldogs last year. They’ve been joined by former Arizona State RHP Seth Garrison (0-0, 5.50 in 13 games), and sophomore RHPs Jess Todd (5-4, 3.21, 5 SV) and Gary Campfield, who didn’t pitch last year while having a cyst removed from his rotator cuff but has been clocked from 92-95 mph. “We’ve got a pretty good staff,” Bulldogs coach Skip Johnson said. “We’ve been pretty blessed.” Sophomore 1B Chris Davis (.317-15-57), the team’s best hitter, also pitches and will close for the Bulldogs on occasion, while freshman SS Pat McCrory (.421-1-31 at Kilgore, Texas, HS) also has been clocked at 89-91 mph in rare pitching opportunities. Drew Johnson, who like Davis started his career at Texas, had surgery on his rotator cuff in October and is expected to miss the first half of the 2006 season.

• The sprawling four-state area of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah is hardly a baseball hotbed as it fields just nine NCAA Division I baseball teams, but it can claim the last four National Junior College World Series champions. New Mexico Junior College won the title last year, coming on the heels of Dixie State (Utah) in 2004, Southern Nevada in 2003 and Central Arizona in 2002. New Mexico (55-10) went undefeated in winning last year’s juco series and returns tournament MVP Brian Flores, a two-time White Sox draft pick and Arizona State signee who went 15-1, 2.04 with a national-best 147 strikeouts, and 2B/OF Mike Gosse (.468-7-78), who led a team in hitting that swatted the ball at a .400 clip in 2005.

• Unsigned third-round picks Bryan Morris (Devil Rays) and Sean O’Sullivan (Angels) remain eligible to sign with the teams that drafted them a year ago. They are among only five players attending junior colleges who were drafted in the first 10 rounds whose rights were retained as draft-and-follows.