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Photo: Blinn College

Juco : : Rankings
Top 200 Junior College Prospects
Allan Simpson        
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Also see: 2014 Top 50 Preseason Junior College Teams

Three Pitchers Stand Atop List
Of Nation’s Top JC Prospects

It is safe to say on the eve of the 2014 season that there are no players of Bryce Harper’s unparalleled stature in this year’s junior college prospect ranks, nor any players with realistic expectations of even climbing into the first round of the this year’s draft—unlike a year ago when fast-rising East Central (Miss.) outfielder Tim Anderson was taken by the Chicago White Sox with the 17
th pick overall.

Harper, then a catcher out of the College of Southern Nevada, is the most-acclaimed junior college player of all-time after being taken by the Washington Nationals with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Perfect Game has unveiled an updated ranking of the Top 200 Prospects in this year’s junior college draft class, and it is headed up by three pitchers whose appearance on the list is noteworthy because they were all relative unknowns at the conclusion of the 2013 college season.

Blinn (Texas) Junior College righthander Robbie Dickey has the distinction of being the nation’s top-ranked JC talent, though his hold on that spot is tenuous as Seminole State (Fla.) righthander Jake Cosart and Oxnard (Calif.) righthander Patrick Weigel both throw harder and may have better overall raw stuff, though lack Dickey’s command and his more-advanced feel for pitching.

A relative unknown in 2013 after posting a modest 6-6, 3.82 record with 63 strikeouts in 73 innings as a freshman at Blinn, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Dickey became a marked man among Texas-based scouts last fall when the velocity on his fastball, typically in the 89-91 mph range last spring, spiked to the mid-90s. With greater arm speed in a loose, easy delivery, his secondary pitches also became much sharper.

Dickey, Cosart and Weigel are all projected second- or third-round picks in this year’s draft. Unlike Dickey, Cosart and Weigel are transfers from four-year programs. Cosart, a red-shirt freshman, is a transfer from Duke, Weigel from Pacific.

Initially recruited to Duke as an athletic, two-way player with significant arm strength, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Cosart (younger brother of Houston Astros righthander Jarred Cosart) left that program without even playing a game as a freshman. He has since focused on pitching only in junior college, and his fastball velocity saw a steady climb to 93-96 mph last fall, topping at 98, though his secondary stuff needs refining.

Weigel went 0-2, 8.02 while pitching in a variety of roles as a freshman at Pacific, but made significant strides with both his stuff and command during the summer for the California Collegiate League’s Santa Barbara Foresters, working mostly as a closer. He soon began throwing strikes with a 93-97 mph fastball and 80-83 mph slider, and his overnight transformation into a coveted prospect prompted him to transfer to a nearby junior college to become draft eligible a year ahead of schedule. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound righthander still has plenty of work to do in refining an inconsistent delivery, but his size and impressive stuff should make him a hot commodity for California scouts this spring.

While righthanded pitchers appear most in demand at the junior college level with the 2014 draft still more than four months away, two athletic outfielders from Nevada—Southern Nevada’s Grant Heyman, a transfer from Miami, and Western Nevada’s Conor Harber—rank as the top position players.

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