College | Story | 10/9/2019

PG Florida JUCO Challenge

Jered Goodwin        
Photo: Hunter Ruth (Perfect Game)

Palm Beach State will be playing ASA College Miami at the Roger Dean Complex leading up to the 2019 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla. on Wednesday. Below is a quick synopsis of both teams.

Palm Beach State College
Head Coach: Kyle Forbes
2019 Record: 24-20

Palm Beach State College has a long track record of putting together talented rosters with head coach Kyle Forbes having a superb reputation for developing pro and D-I ready players. This year is no different with Yordy Cabrera, Roger Ceballos and Joe Smith returning after very good freshman seasons. Cabrera returns with 55 2/3 innings under his belt as he is the most experienced starter who struck out 48 batters as a freshman. Ceballos had a stellar 2.12 ERA as a freshman with four starts and three saves. He looks to log a ton of innings this spring. Smith will help lead a young offense from the top of the lineup. He hit .337 with an .839 OPS during his first campaign. He brings stability both offensively and in the outfield.

Hunter Ruth, Jordan Mercado and Jake Roper all have experience at the college level and look like impact transfers. Ruth logged 26 innings in the SEC last year. The former Perfect Game All American brings his mid-90s fastball and power slider to PBSC and should be an immediate impact arm. Mercado transferred from the JUCO ranks. The infielder had eye-popping freshman numbers hitting .362 with 56 runs and 19 stolen bases. He should figure into the top of the lineup and fits well in the middle of the diamond. Roper is another Division I transfer that recorded 56 at-bats as a freshman. He has gap power and all the tools to have a breakout sophomore year.

PBSC has a very nice recruiting class that showed up to campus led by Isaac Marte, Branden Noriega and Michael Machin. Marte is from Puerto Rico and has high-end tools. The infielder brings his 6.52 60-yard dash and big arm (90 mph across the diamond) to Palm Beach. The righthanded hitter is a sparkplug that can create runs in a hurry. Noriega is a righthanded hitting outfielder that can cover ground well and very good bat-to-ball skills. Machin has a nice blend of skills behind the plate and his power arm and power bat are well documented and an instant impact is expected from him this spring.

This will be an interesting roster to follow throughout the spring as Palm Beach State is primed to make a run at a state tournament bid.

ASA College Miami
Head Coach: Robert Martin
2019 Record: 19-26

ASA College Miami has burst onto the state scene the last few years sending multiple players to the Division I ranks. Robert Martin enters his second year at the helm with his first full recruiting class. Eduardo Castillo returns and should take on more of the catching responsibilities. He has a very good arm and great leadership skills, plus he made strides offensively as a freshman and should have a big spring. Middle infielder Adrian Perez had a big first year and should bring a real punch to the ASA lineup. The righthanded hitter batted .339 as a freshman with seven doubles and five home runs during his first go-round last spring. Physical outfielder Yusniel Aguilar also had a huge spring for the Silver Storm, batting .322 with a whopping 19 extra-base hits. He is ready for a breakout campaign in 2020.

Yadiel Rolon and Fabian Ortega transfer in and will help provide a spark for the ASA pitching staff. Rolon is a mid-80s arm that is confident throwing four pitches at any time. He has great command and will be a steady force in the rotation. Ortega is more of a power arm who could start or close games. His fastball can touch 92 mph and he has shown confidence in his slider and changeup this fall. Both could be impact arms as they develop heading into spring.

Martin brought in a deep class led by Wilfredo Delgado and Ronald Zayas. Delgado, from Puerto Rico, has earned the leadoff role in the lineup with the ability to create havoc for opposing defenses. Zayas is a local product from Miami and has been consistent this fall in the upper-80s, peaking at 90, while mixing his off-speed well. Both of the freshman will be heavily relied on by the Silver Storm in the spring.

Martin’s roster is set to make a big jump in year two.

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