Image credit: Roch Cholowsky was a star at Hamilton (Ariz.) HS. (Photo: Tracy Proffitt/Four Seam Images)
Peter Flaherty is highlighting some of the most notable incoming freshmen who we expect to contribute during the 2024 college season.
Roch Cholowsky has long been a popular name within scouting circles and is perhaps the most advanced incoming freshman in all of college baseball.
The 6-foot-2, 193-pound shortstop was ranked as the No. 42 overall player on the final Baseball America Top 500 draft rankings, but was always viewed as a tough sign due to his strong commitment to UCLA. While Cholowsky received significant interest in the top two rounds of the draft, he chose to head to Westwood and play for coach John Savage.
A product of West Coast power Hamilton High School, in Chandler, Ariz., Cholowsky was a two-sport standout. On the gridiron he was a dual-threat quarterback with an offer from Notre Dame, but most notably he was the Huskies’ star shortstop on the diamond. Cholowsky was named the 2023 Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .466 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI, and led his team to a 26-5 record and a state championship.
Cholowsky’s calling card is his double-plus defense up the middle. On top of his excellent baseball sense, Cholowsky has quick feet and has plenty of range in either direction, but especially to the glove side. He is comfortable coming in on the baseball and attacking it, as well as throwing from multiple arm angles. Cholowsky has an above-average arm with silky smooth hands and will without a doubt stick at the position long term.
At the plate, Cholowsky is currently a hit-over-power profile, but this spring he did show off some juice to the pull side. He has a medium-high handset and lays the barrel almost completely flat over his back shoulder and employs a rhythmic, easy load with loose hands through the strike zone. There is some quickness in his barrel, but what stands out is the polish and ease in his operation. Cholowsky has solid bat-to-ball skills, as well as a sound approach—both of which will serve him well against Pac-12 pitching. Cholowsky’s hit tool is above average with his power being a tick below average, but it’s easy to envision the power grading out as at least average once his draft year rolls around.
UCLA’s middle infield will be a bit crowded this spring as the Bruins return both Cody Schrier (.278/.381/.466) and leading hitter Duce Gourson (.319/.438/.515), but Cholowsky projects to carve out an everyday role somewhere on the dirt. He is versatile enough and has the actions to hold his own at either second base or even third base, so expect Cholowsky to be a regular in the Bruins’ lineup this season.
Looking way ahead, Cholowsky has the potential to be the next star out of UCLA and has top-10 overall potential in the 2026 draft if he proves his offensive chops against college competition.