Top 50 JUCO Rankings

PBR Staff

With our Boots on the Ground for games this past weekend in Florida and South Texas to kickoff the 2021 JUCO baseball season, we bring you our season opening Top 50:

Rank School State
1 Central Arizona AZ
2 College of Southern Nevada        NV
3 Walters State TN
4 Wabash Valley IL 
5 McLennan TX

Still the Champions. The Central Arizona College Vaqs are still the Champs, having won the NJCAA World Series during the 2019 season. Although they have new faces, they are returning some key players who were destined for another run at the title last season. CAC returns their No.1 starter and Arizona State recruit, Mat Olson who was 2nd in the nation in strikeouts to start the year last spring. Another arm that has been predominantly used as the closer is high upside right-hander and Oregon State recruit, DJ Carpenter, who ran his FB up to 98 mph in the fall while standing 6-foot-8, 240-pounds. They also add some newcomers to this year's squad that might give them some of the most depth in the country. Switch-hitting newcomer and Tennessee recruit, Dayton Dooney could end up being the top hitter in JUCO baseball this year. Dooney comes to CAC from Arizona where he was nominated as Freshmen All- American by some in 2019. There is plenty more talent on this loaded Vaqueros squad to keep them in just about every game this spring. They open their season February 3 at home vs Colorado Northwestern CC. (PBR Arizona Director, Brett Thorney)

At No. 2 in our pre-season rankings, CSN has established themselves as one of the country’s top JUCO powerhouses and this year they continue that trend with one of the most potent rosters in the program’s history, including two of the top three ranked prospects in the PBR JUCO National Rankings. The CSN staff, lead by head coach Nick Garritano, is extremely eager to get on the field this weekend after an adventurous fall that involved a number of complications brought on by Covid-19. Along with the loaded pitching staff that includes PBR JUCO’s No. 2 ranked prospect, Josh Swales (Uncommitted), No. 3 ranked Kris Bow (Arizona) and No. 22 ranked Johnny Cuevas (Cal State Fullerton), the batting order could be just as dangerous with three Pac-12 signees in Dax Fellows (Oregon), No. 19 ranked Damiano Palmegiani (Arizona) and Austin Plante (Washington State) projected to be in the one, two, three spots in the lineup, respectively. Each of these prospects participated in the PBR x CSN Pro Day in October where they were putting up video game type numbers on both sides of the baseball and in conversations with the CSN Staff, those numbers have translated very well to the scrimmages that have led up up to the 2021 season. The Coyotes season opener is this Saturday, January 30 at home against No. 22 Salt Lake CC. (PBR Nevada Director, Brett Harrison)

In the No. 3 spot Walters State is coming off a 20-7 start before the 2020 season was halted, and look to make three consecutive JUCO World Series appearances after going runner up in 2018 and final four in 2019. A mix of veterans (seven returning positions players plus eight returning arms that contributed in ‘20) and fresh faces, Head Coach Dave Shelton believes he might have his deepest group in years.  C-SO INF Jerry Hammons will provide a veteran presence in the middle of the order, which has some high ceiling power options like C-FR 1B Alberto Osuna and C-FR UTL Caleb McNeeley, both of which averaged over 100 mph exit velo per Trackman. Add in the lefty triumvirate of C-FR Paul Moore (Radford commit), C-FR C Matthew Ellis and C-FR C/OF Cam Fisher and the Senators will present many challenges for opposing arms, given the right/left balance of sluggers from a group that had 17 players average 90+ exit velo. C-FR RHP Nolan Letzgus and FR RHP Hayden Summers (Pittsburgh) will headline the pitching staff as options 1a and 1b with low-90s stuff and an advanced knack to spin quality breaking balls. C-FR swingman Nathan Hickman and C-FR RHP Andrew Romanoli will look to build upon their success with a deep pitching staff that bolstered eight 90+ arms, and fourteen 88+ in their October Scout Day. Throw FR SS/RHP Lukas Cook into the mix as the x-factor after showing defensive stability up the middle while running it up to an easy 93 on the mound, a highly recruited true freshman should find ways to make an impact. The Senators won’t make their annual trip down South to the Carolinas and Chipola this year, but open up a three game set with USC Salkahatchie in Johnson City, TN on January 30. (PBR TN Director, Colton Provey)

Batting cleanup in our initial Top 40 are the Warriors from Wabash Valley. Coach Rob Fournier's club sat at No. 1 when the 2020 season was abruptly ended and look to continue their success this season with a mix of experienced returners, key transfers and talented newcomers. They will be led by returners that include SS Savier Pinales (Gonzaga commit), 2B Freylin Minyety (EKU), OF Hylan Hall (Washington St) and C Jonathan Nieves. The Warriors will boast a well-rounded lineup while Nieves and Minyety bring a dynamic defensive look up the middle. The big bats of Hall and Nieves add power the lineup. Mix in newcomers like OF Kyle Westfall (New Mexico St) and CF Curtis Washington Jr (Purdue) and you have the makings of an extremely athletic outfield. The Warriors have true depth on the mound, including rotational arms like Zac Robinson (Kentucky), Jason Bollman (LSU), Connor Oliver (TCU) and Colin Czajkowski. Additions like Ryan Sleeper (DBU), Stephen Pelli (Kansas St), Jose Cabrera Jr. (recent transfer from New Mexico JC) and freshman fire-baller Keegan Batka give the Warriors a lot of options this spring. Opening Day for the Bash will February 12 in Milllington, TN with single games against No. 36 Dyersburg State and Calhoun. (Wabash Valley SID)

Sitting at No. 5 in what is an absolutely loaded Top 40, McLennan is one of the perennial state and national powerhouses in the JUCO ranks. The Highlanders are primed to make some noise once again in 2021. Mitch Thompson and his staff have assembled a loaded roster both on the mound and in the field that will be able to compete with anyone. On the mound they are paced by RHPs Logan HendersonJared MathesonWill KarstenLandry Wideman, and Riggs Threadgill, as well as LHP Logan Freeman. In the field Dominic Tamez will be an important piece behind the dish and Mason Greer at the hot corner, as well as quality returning players such as, Garett Martin and Miguel Santos. All in all look for McLennan to be in the hunt for a run at the title in Grand Junction this spring. The Highlanders open their season Friday, January 29 against Alvin CC at the San Jacinto Tournament of Champions. (PBR Texas Director, Phil Haig)

And the remainder of our Top 50:


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