Juco : : Rankings
Monday, June 05, 2017

Final 2017 Junior College Top 25

Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Chipola Athletics

May 23 Top 25Top 150 Junior College Prospects | Preseason Top 50 Teams

Every single year, across every single sport at any level of collegiate athletics, there are preseason rankings. Whether it's Division I NCAA football or Division III Junior College tennis; these preseason rankings are done, and someone, somewhere, will ask "Wonder if (insert No. 1 ranked school) can go wire to wire at No. 1 this year?"

Chipola did.

Ranked No. 1 by Perfect Game heading into the season, Chipola never relinquished that No. 1 spot, running the gauntlet as the No. 1 team all season long, and finishing with a National Championship a few days ago in Grand Junction, Colo. The Indians didn't take the easy path through the NJCAA DI World Series, to be sure. They had to go through the losers bracket after a second round loss to San Jac, but battled back to the championship game. Once there, they had to beat previously undefeated San Jac twice, and did so with what can only be described as a Herculean effort by ace Evan Steele in game 1, then an offensive explosion in game 2. 

Perhaps one of the more loaded rosters in recent junior college baseball memory, Chipola may have as many as 7-8 players drafted off of this one team, including PG/Rawlings JC Player of the Year Reynaldo Rivera (detailed below). Ace lefty Evan Steele and third baseman Andrew Bechtold are likely to hear their names called relatively early on Day 2 of the draft; not to mention the host of other players who will continue their college careers at the NCAA level now. 

Even more impressive than the prospect-laden roster was the team statistics, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Chipola hit .360/.467/.581 as a team, good for a team OPS of 1.048. For reference, Chipola's team OPS would rank 6th in Major League Baseball right now amongst individual OPS leaders; a truly ridiculous statistic. 

Congratulations are also due to Kankakee (Ill.) and Grossmont (Calif.); who won the NJCAA DII World Series and the CCCBA State Championship; respectively. 

Furthermore, Tyler (Texas) won the NJCAA DIII World Series, which would be impressive enough, if not for the fact that this is Tyler's 4th consecutive National Championship. The word "dynasty" is one of the more revered words in sports, and not lightly thrown around. Tyler is a dynasty of Junior College baseball, to be sure. A huge congratulations goes out to that program, as well. 

A special thank you goes out to everyone who has read these rankings weekly. I've had a fantastic time delving deep into the world of junior college baseball this season, really the first time I'd ever done so. Already looking forward to next year!

2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Junior College Player of the Year: Reynaldo Rivera, 1b/of, Chipola (Fla.)
Committed to Mississippi State, Rivera was simply tremendous all season long for the National Champions. Rivera had truly mind-boggling, video game type numbers this season. Across nearly 250 plate appearances, Rivera slashed .438/.534/.865, good for a ridiculous OPS of 1.399, to go along with 20 doubles, 20 home runs, and 73 RBI. Rivera is signed with Mississippi State and would immediately provide a significant power presence in Starkville, but the upcoming MLB Draft may have something to say about that first. 

2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Junior College Pitcher of the Year: Nate Pearson, rhp, College of Central Florida (Fla.)
The No. 1 junior college prospect in the country, Nate Pearson was ranked as such by Perfect Game last fall and has maintained that stock all through the season as we move towards the MLB Draft next week. Pearson was simply outstanding for CCF all season long, and as such is our JC Pitcher of the Year. Pearson threw 81 innings for CCF this spring, allowing a scant 14 earned runs total, good for an ERA of 1.56. He struck out 118 opposing hitters as well, which equates to over 13 strikeouts per nine innings, all of this done in what is one of--if not the--toughest region in all of JuCo baseball, Florida's Region 8. 

Rk. Prev. Team ST Record Conf.
1 1 Chipola FL 51-9 20-4
2 4 San Jacinto TX 48-18 28-7
3 13 Wabash Valley IL 50-15 22-5
4 14 Cowley County TX 45-18 27-9
5 12 Grossmont CA 38-8-1 22-2
6 NR Kankakee IL 54-11 N/A
7 2
Santa Rosa CA 36-11 19-5
8 3 McLennan TX 52-13 26-6
9 5 Crowder MO 54-14 N/A
10 18 Mercer County NJ 48-14 7-3
11 9 Wallace-Dothan AL 43-21 22-10
12 6 Dyersburg State TN 48-9 22-4
13 11 Parkland IL 52-9-1 30-2
14 NR Tyler TX 41-20 5-3
15 16 El Camino CA 40-11 17-5
16 8 Florence-Darlington SC 42-19 13-6
17 7 Ohlone CA 42-7 17-1
18 20 Phoenix AZ 43-22 25-15
19 15 Southern Nevada NV 45-18 28-8
20 10 Murray State OK 49-14 16-6
21 17 Pitt NC 42-9 22-2
22 22 Iowa Western IA 44-16 21-3
23 23 San Joaquin Delta CA 36-11 16-8
24 24 Santa Fe FL 38-13 19-5
25 25 Grayson TX 37-14 24-8

Dropped out: Chattahoochee Valley (19), Hinds (21) 
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