After consulting with college coaches and scouts, here is the Baseball America Top 50 Junior College Draft Prospects heading into the 2018 season. This list is not as loaded at the top as it was in 2017 when Brendan Little and Jacob Pearson gave the junior college ranks a pair of potential first round picks. Little (27th pick overall to the Cubs) and Pearson (28th overall to the Blue Jays) did become first rounders. It’s much less likely that anyone on this list will hear their name called on the first day of the draft.
But this is a list with plenty of power, some athleticism and lots of velocity.
Top 50 JUCO Draft Prospects
1. Josh Breaux, RHP/C, McLennan (Texas) JC
Breaux ranked No. 301 on last year’s BA500 draft rankings. He has legitimate power potential as well as one of the best arms in college baseball. McLennan plans to use him as a closer this year, taking advantage of his 94-97 mph fastball-he struck out eight batters in just three innings in the Cape Cod League. He handles velocity well, but there are concerns about his ability to make contact to take advantage of his plus power.
2. Trey Dillard, RHP, San Jacinto (Texas) JC
Dillard ranked No. 327 on last year’s BA500 ranking of the country’s top draft prospects thanks to an excellent 91-94 mph fastball that has touched as high as 96. He’s improved his high 70s breaking ball, but needs to show his control has caught up to his stuff.
3. Spencer Smith, C, Harford (Md.) JC
Smith ranked No. 158 on last year’s BA500 draft rankings. He was slated to go to East Carolina, but transferred to Harford before spring semester, giving a further power boost to one of the best lineup of power hitters in junior college baseball. Smith has plus or better raw power and should be able to stay behind the plate defensively.
4. Hunter Wolfe, SS, Walters State (Tenn.) JC
A 12th-round pick of the Pirates last year, Wolfe opted to return to Walters State for his redshirt sophomore season. He hit .393/.458/.655 last year. He has above-average speed, an above-average arm and at least average power potential.
5. Jason Rackers, RHP, Jefferson (Mo.) JC
Rackers could climb draft lists with a strong spring, as he has plenty of stuff with a 90-94 mph fastball now and plenty of upside thanks to a strong frame.
6. Korry Howell, SS, Kirkwood (Iowa) JC
A 19th-round pick of the Royals last season, Howell is a speedy shortstop who hit .394 last season. He’s committed to Iowa if he doesn’t sign this year.
7. Shane Kelso, RHP, Feather River (Calif.) JC
Control has always been Kelso’s problem, but he showed improved ability to locate his mid-90s fastball during fall ball.
8. Robbie Peto, RHP, State JC of Florida
Scouts will be watching the North Carolina transfer closely this spring. He has plenty of potential with a 90-94 mph fastball and a promising breaking ball, but he didn’t get to pitch much in the fall because of injuries.
9. Ryan McDonald, RHP, JC of Southern Nevada
A transfer from West Virginia who is a UNLV commit, McDonald mixes a pair of quality offspeed offerings with a low-90s fastball and solid feel for pitching.
10. Tyler Keysor, RHP, East Florida State JC
Our No. 1 prospect in the Florida Collegiate League last summer, Keysor is a Miami signee with a low-90s fastball that can touch 95. His low-80s changeup has some late movement and he mixes in a high-70s curveball with promising break.