Juco | Rankings | 1/22/2019

2019 Preseason JUCO Top 25

Photo: Noah Myers (Wabash Valley Athletics)

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Welcome back to Perfect Game's coverage of junior college baseball. We're excited as ever to get rolling on the 2019 season, which actually starts in just a few short days for some clubs. Back in September, I had the opportunity to head down to Springfield, Illinois, for a fall JUCO tourney/showcase event where I saw several of the top programs in the Midwest. I came away from that weekend thinking about these rankings (as well as the prospect rankings, with the updated version set to be released this Friday), and while JUCO rosters are hardly settled in the fall I couldn't stop thinking about how loaded Wabash Valley was.

Obviously, it's silly to rank teams too far before the season, as these rosters can look completely different on either side of Christmas. So while I waited for the transfer dust to settle and started making my phone calls a few weeks ago I kept circling back to Wabash Valley.

So, obviously, Wabash Valley is our preseason No. 1 team, and our pick to click in Grand Junction. They are loaded with pitching, both in terms of talent and depth, and feel comfortable running out double-digit arms to compete for them. Ryan O'Connell and Cameron Tullar have a chance to be two of the more productive pitchers in all of JUCO baseball while Antoine Kelly and Nick King offer sky-high upside, both for Wabash Valley and for themselves in terms of the MLB Draft. With Noah Myers leading the charge atop the lineup and in center field gives Wabash Valley one of the best players overall in JUCO baseball while Zade Richardson behind the plate may be one of the top handful of players selected from the junior college ranks in the draft this coming June. 

In my conversations with coaches and scouts across the country over the past several weeks it certainly seems like it's going to be an especially strong year, both in terms of team talent and draft talent. Texas, Florida, and Arizona will be strong as they always are, but it seems like a very strong year in the Midwest and NorCal in particular. 

As a reminder, these team rankings take every JUCO league and level into account. This includes all three divisions of the NJCAA, the California schools (CCCBA) and the schools in the Pacific Northwest region (NWAC). We'll expand the preseason rankings to 50 on Wednesday as well as provide detailed capsules on teams 1-25, then on Friday we'll release the updated and expanded (300) junior college top prospect list. 

Welcome back baseball season, you've been missed.

2019 Preseason Junior College Top 25

Rk. Team ST '18 Rec. '18 Rk.
1 Wabash Valley IL 45-11-1 11
2 Northwest Florida State FL 29-21 NR
3 Central Arizona AZ 45-13 NR
4 McLennan TX 44-15 17
5 Walters State TN 60-8 3
6 Chipola FL 49-7 1
7 Jefferson MO 54-12-1 10
8 San Joaquin Delta CA 43-9 2
9 Iowa Western IA 54-7 7
10 Cowley County KS 54-9 NR
11 San Jacinto TX 52-15 5
12 Wallace-Dothan AL 42-18 NR
13 College of Southern Nevada NV 36-21 NR
14 LSU-Eunice LA 59-6 4
15 John A. Logan IL 38-16 NR
16 Howard TX 35-21 NR
17 Johnson County KS 38-23 NR
18 Crowder MO 46-15 21
19 South Mountain AZ 46-15 25
20 Harford MD 47-12 NR
21 Sacramento City CA 36-16 9
22 Kirkwood IA 42-17-1 NR
23 Arizona Western AZ 49-16 19
24 NIACC IA 37-20-1 NR
25 Santa Rosa CA 25-15 NR

See also: Final 2018 Junior College Top 25

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