- Full name Jakob Benjamin Lee Junis
- Born 09/16/1992 in Jacksonville, AR
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Rock Falls
- Debut 04/12/2017
Drafted in the 29th round (876th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2011 (signed for $675,000).
View Draft ReportRighthander Jake Junis might go in the top 10 rounds if he were signable in that range, but it may take early-round money to lure him away from North Carolina State. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder has more athleticism, feel and aptitude for spinning a breaking ball than Nick Burdi. Junis usually pitches at 88-91 mph, shows the potential for a plus curveball and has a developing changeup. He has the body and easy delivery to remain a starter. He could stand to rein in his cockiness. Junis also shows promising power potential as a third baseman and may play both ways for the Wolfpack. He's also a star basketball player who averaged 19 points and six rebounds a game as a senior.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Royals spent big in the late rounds of the 2011 draft because the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2012 threatened to restrict draft spending. Junis, a 29th-round pick, was one of the beneficiaries, turning down North Carolina State after the Royals offered $675,000. Junis cleaned up the timing of his delivery, found more arm speed and pitched more aggressively in 2016 It paid off, mainly because a righthander who ranges from 89-95 mph makes hitters much less comfortable than one who sits at 87-92 mph, like Junis did in 2015 He always has had above-average control and excellent durability, but thanks to the better arm speed, his curveball, slider and changeup all got sharper as well. Nothing in Junis' repertoire grades as plus, but with an average fastball and curve, fringe-average change and improved deception, he has a shot to be a No. 5 starter. After a rough finish at Triple-A Omaha in 2016, he will return there in 2017 with a chance to be an emergency big league option.
Another late-round bonus baby from the 2011 draft, Junis received $675,000 as a 29th-rounder to give up a North Carolina State scholarship. He had to be shut down halfway through his 2012 pro debut with an elbow strain, though he didn't require surgery and should be ready for spring training. Also a star basketball player and a power-hitting third baseman in high school, Junis is a quality athlete who has no problem throwing strikes. His long-term success depends in part on how much projection remains in his strong frame. He currently sits at 88-90 mph with his fastball, though some scouts believe he could work at 92-94 once he matures. He shows the ability to snap off a power breaking ball and has an advanced changeup for his age. If he's healthy, he could open 2013 in low Class A.