Juco : : Rankings
Friday, January 29, 2010

Junior College: Top 50 Teams

The 2010 junior-college season kicks off on numerous fronts Friday, and we're getting you ready with our ranking of the top 50 teams nationally and top 200 prospects for the draft. All the attention will be on Nevada as the College of Southern Nevada is our No. 1-ranked team and much-celebrated CSN freshman catcher Bryce Harper our No. 1 prospect.
Perfect Game's junior-college rankings will take on greater significance this year as we've joined forces with the National Junior College Athletic Association to produce an official national poll of the top 25 teams. We'll provide new NJCAA Division I rankings on a bi-weekly basis once the season gets underway in full swing nationally in late February/early April, and produce rankings on a weekly basis as the season heats up in mid-April leading up to post-season play and ultimately the Junior College World Series. You can find the rankings on both the Perfect game and NJCAA (njcaa.org) websites.

RANK SCHOOL STATE Division 2009 Record ^Top Prospect (PG Rank)
1 Southern Nevada NV NJCAA I 35-20 Bryce Harper, c (1)
SCOUTING REPORT: Sports Illustrated coverboy Bryce Harper makes this a must-see team for scouts, but the Coyotes are hardly a one-man operation. They have a potential dominating pitching staff with Georgia-bound RHP Joe Robinson (6-2, 1.99), sophomore LHP Chasen Shreve (7-0, 3.31), sophomore RHP Donn Roach (Arizona transfer) and sophomore LHP Bryan Harper (Bryce's older brother and a Cal State Northridge transfer) as starters, and fireballing sophomore RHP Tyler Hanks (0-3, 5.40) as the closer. The staff is so deep and so talented that last year's top winner and strikeout leader, sophomore RHP Gabe Weidenaar (8-3, 2.79), has been relegated to a filler role. Hanks' fastball can touch 97 mph, Robinson's 95, Roach's 94. Sophomore 1B-OF Marvin Campbell (.324-5-45 with wood), the team's RBI leader in 2009, and sophomore OF Trevor Kirk (.363-0-27, 28 SB), the team's top hitter, provide plenty of support in the Coyotes batting order for the immensely-gifted Harper, who makes the historic transition this spring from high-school sophomore to junior-college freshman--with the eyes of the scouting world watching his every move.
2 San Jacinto TX NJCAA I 45-11 Miguel Pena, lhp (16)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Gators gave it a gallant run at last year's Junior College World Series before eventually getting knocked out by in-state rival Howard (and its improbable 63-1 record). The seventh national championship in the school's rich baseball history is clearly in San Jac's grasp as it has a formidable four-man rotation of sophomore RHP Tommy Collier (13-1, 2.47), freshman LHP Miguel Pena (fifth-round pick of Washington Nationals), Oklahoma-bound sophomore RHP Clay Schrader (Texas-San Antonio transfer) and sophomore LHP David Rollins (8-3, 4.35), all top pro prospects. There's plenty of offensive support with the return of sophomore 1B-OF Deric Hawkins (.402-22-66), the top returning home run hitter in the NJCAA Division I ranks, and sophomore SS Ryan Burnaman (.368-13-64), an Oklahoma recruit. OF Randall Thorpe, a highly-regarded Texas A&M transfer, is the team's top newcomer. With 10 players, San Jac has more players on PG Crosschecker's pre-season listing of the nation's top 200 junior-college prospects.
3 Chipola FL NJCAA I 32-18 Levon Washington, of (2)
SCOUTING REPORT: No junior-college team has ever been the recipient of two high-profile unsigned draft picks quite like Chipola, which scored a major coup when OF Levon Washington, Tampa Bay's first-round pick in the 2009 draft, and LHP Jake Elipoulos, Toronto's second-rounder, elected to play at the junior-college level this spring. Both will play prominent roles for Indians, the 2007 Junior College World Series champs, but may be just another piece to the puzzle as freshman 1B Cody Martin and freshman 3B Michael Revell, and holdover OF Joey Rapp (.356-10-34) were also prominent drafts last June. Sophomore 2B Andy Fermin (.331-6-33) and sophomore SS Blake Newalu (.320-0-13) provide a veteran presence up the middle, and there is experience in a brand-new starting staff as projected No. 1 starter and Elon recruit C.J. Reifenhauser is a JC transfer, No. 3 starter Garrett Baker pitched at Western Carolina a year ago and No. 4 Brian Ellington at Florida State. Eliopoulos, a Canadian like ex-Chipola lefty Adam Loewen (the highest unsigned draft pick ever to enroll in junior college, becomes the fourth man in the rotation. At 93 mph, Ellington is the hardest thrower of the quartet. Washington, who takes over in center field, should be a considerable force on both offense and defense with his 6.2-second speed.
4 *Howard TX NJCAA I 63-1 Burch Smith, rhp (4)
SCOUTING REPORT: The likelihood of Howard duplicating its 2009 dream season (63-1 record, national championship, record 59-game winning streak) is slim, particularly since the Hawks return only one regular, OF Joey Leftridge (.396-6-58, 33 SB) and two arms, Oklahoma-bound RHP Burch Smith (4-0, 3.05) and Oklahoma State-bound RHP Blake Barnes (9-1, 3.27). Though Smith, who becomes the No. 1 starter, has been clocked at 95 mph, he's not even the hardest thrower on the Howard pitching staff as freshman RHP Damien Magnifico, a fifth-round pick of the New York Mets a year ago, has touched 97. Magnifico moves into the rotation behind Smith, and the possibility exists that both pitchers could be drafted in the first 2-3 rounds in June. Though there is a lot of turnover on the Howard roster as almost every 2009 Hawks player either signed or transferred to a major Division I school, the cupboard will hardly be bare as several prominent transfers, like ex-Dallas Baptist sophomore Marcellous Biggins, slides in at second, and a number of intriguing freshmen, like OF Nathan Burns, a member of the Howard football team who didn't play a year ago, will be counted on to sustain the Howard dynasty.
5 Spartanburg Methodist SC NJCAA I 55-9 Josh Adams, rhp (81)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Pioneers breezed into the 2009 Junior College World Series with a gaudy 54-7 record, only to fall far short of an elusive national title. The player most responsible for their success was OF-LHP Marty Gantt, one of the nation's best two-way players who hit a robust .410-21-70 with 13 stolen bases, and also went 8-2, 1.85. The remarkable aspect of Gantt's accomplishment is he was born without a fully-formed right hand and is still unable to grip a bat normally. Gantt, a College of Charleston recruit, will be the pivotal player for the Pioneers again this season, but he'll have an able supporting cast. Georgia Southern-bound RHP Josh Adams (4-0, 1.67), the team's best pro prospect, will anchor a rotation that includes Gantt and sophomore RHP John Long, a transfer from Liberty. Two highly-regarded freshmen, 3B Tyler Jackson and OF Travis Burnside, should play pivotal roles on offense alongside Gantt, though two other sophomores, 2B Travis Weatherford (.360-11-57, 19 SB) and OF O.B. Johnson (.364-1-25), will be counted on extensively.
6 Cypress CA California 32-15 Ben Waldrip, 1B (63)
SCOUTING REPORT: As always, the biggest challenge facing Cypress will be emerging unscathed out of southern California's ultra-tough Orange Empire Conference--possibly the nation's most competitive junior-college league. In the last 20 years, five different Orange Empire teams have combined to win 13 state championships, including Cypress in 2003, 1997, 1994 and 1991. The Chargers tied perennial state power Santa Ana and eventual state champion Orange Coast for first place a year ago, but may have the horses this year to win the league outright. Sophomore RHP Ray Hanson (11-1, 3.35), a former Arizona State recruit, and sophomore LHP Gabe Garcia (5-6, 3.63) return to anchor the rotation, while power-hitting 1B Ben Waldrip, an intriguing transfer from New Hampshire's St. Anselm College, will provide some thunder in the Cypress batting order behind sophomore C Dmitri de la Fuente (.333-3-26) and sophomore OF Corey LeVier (.380-2-24).
7 Central Arizona AZ NJCAA I 51-13 Chris Joyce, lhp (24)
SCOUTING REPORT: The departure to the four-year college ranks of Jimmy Patterson, Kevin Gelinas and Randy Yard, who went a combined 28-3 a year ago, has left a gaping hole in the Vaqueros rotation, though pitching should again be a team strength. Red-shirt LHP Chris Joyce, a UC Santa Barbara transfer, is a former 10th-rounder and steps in as the ace, while sophomore LHP Brian Carr (Missouri) and freshman RHP Nick Carrillo (Gonzaga) are other four-year transfers of note, and freshmen RHPs Josh Dahl and Gabe Gutierrez are two significant recruits from the Arizona prep ranks. The only holdover of note among the everyday talent is sophomore OF Markus Bradley (.420-0-40, 22 SB), an Arizona State recruit. Red-shirt freshman SS Sam Lind, a second Missouri transfer, should play a key role in the field and at the plate, and freshman OF Keenan Walker, a Utah high-school product drafted in the 16th round last year by the Chicago Cubs, has loads of natural raw ability.
8 LSU-Eunice LA NJCAA II 51-12 Tony Dischler, rhp (5)
SCOUTING REPORT: Two-time national champion LSU-Eunice has dominated the NJCAA Division II ranks in recent years, but has no immediate plan to move up a level of competition. Still, the Bengals have the talent to play with the big boys, even as they lost OF Trey Watkins (.427-6-71, 56 SB) and RHP Joey Bourgeois (12-2, 5.90) to its neighbor, NCAA Division I reigning champion Louisiana State. Bourgeois departed after his freshman year, but the Bengals will hardly feel the effects as they return sophomore RHP Chance Mistric (15-1, 3.49) and gained the services of former Louisiana-Monroe RHP Tony Dischler, who blossomed into a prime-time prospect in the fall when his fastball peaked at 97 mph. The stock of sophomore LHP Mitch Hopkins, yet another LSU recruit, also took a jump during the fall when his fastball improved to 93, and he's expected to improve dramatically on a 1-1, 6.97 freshman season. With seven returning regulars, including 1B Gabe Thibodaux (.413-8-72), 3B Jordan Bourque (.405-3-54, 20 SB), and OFs Brook Boudreax (.357-5-53, 27 SB) and Zach Kirksey (.370-10-66, 18 SB), the Bengals have plenty of offensive firepower.
9 Ohlone CA California 37-11 Roberto Padilla, lhp (49)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Renegades had a breakout 2009 season under new head coach Jordan Twohig, setting a school record with 37 wins, and return several key components from that squad. The most noteworthy are the Johnson twins--Zach (.366-7-51), a shortstop, and Jeff (.390-19-66), an outfielder. Both players essentially abandoned their baseball careers out of high school in 2006, before deciding to return to play at the junior-college level a year ago, earning all-state honors in the process. They'll hit in the 3-4 holes for Ohlone, while speedy leadoff-hitting OF Steve Ramos (.374-3-35, 38 SB) will provide plenty of RBI opportunities. San Jose State-bound LHP Roberto Padilla (4-4, 3.64) steps in as ace of the pitching staff, which will be dominated by freshmen but got an unexpected boost when red-shirt sophomore Jordan Kuks, who was clocked in the mid-90s before undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago, transferred from nearby St. Mary's.
10 Walters State TN NJCAA I 46-11 Will Scott, rhp-of (43)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Senators, 2006 Junior College World Series champions, were rudely bounced out of post-season play in the Tennessee state tournament a year ago, and face a significant rebuilding job after losing numerous prime-time prospects to the draft and graduation. The team's four winningest pitchers departed, leaving the No. 1 starter's job to sophomore RHP Will Scott (0-1, 4.07), who was winless in 2009 but is a two-time Atlanta Braves draft pick (26th round last year) and pumped his fastball up to 93 mph in the fall. Sophomore RHPs Cullen Park (4-2, 3.13) and Kyle Deese (a Clemson transfer) also move into the rotation, but the key arm on the staff--and possibly the key player on the roster--may be freshman closer Chris Costantino. A Boston Red Sox draft pick last June from a Rhode Island high school, Costantino was clocked at 93 in the fall, and he'll also hold down a regular job at third base on a team that lost five players with double-digit home runs. He'll get plenty of offensive support from sophomore OF Dylan Pratt, who red-shirted in 2009 at Tennessee after hitting .373 with 23 homers as a freshman for the Senators in 2008. Also on board are freshman 1B Corey Davis, a 13th-round pick in the 2009 draft; sophomore SS Garrett Koster, a transfer from Winthrop; and sophomore OF Sam Munson (.308-5-31).
11 Wabash Valley IL NJCAA I 42-17 Mel Rojas Jr., of (13)
SCOUTING REPORT: There's unusual strength this year in the Illinois junior-college ranks, both at the Division I and II levels. Wabash Valley not only has the best team, but the state's best prospect in freshman OF Mel Rojas Jr., a product of the Dominican Republic who sat out last spring before starring in summer-league competition. The multi-tooled Rojas adds to a strong returning cast, led by Western Kentucky-bound 3B Michael Mosby (.364-15-72), sophomore C Jacob Rhodes (.403-9-51) and Morehead State-bound LHP Ryan Rogers (6-1, 3.13). Three Division I transfers add to the mix.
12 Western Nevada NV NJCAA I 48-14 Kramer Champlin, rhp (41)
SCOUTING REPORT: Western Nevada thoroughly upstaged its higher-profile neighbor to the south a year ago, winning 15 more games overall than Southern Nevada while also handily winning the Scenic West Conference. The Wildcats may be every bit as strong this spring, but may be hard-pressed to keep pace with vastly-improved CSN. Western Nevada typically taps heavily into Pacific Northwest talent and imported two University of Oregon castoffs--sophomore RHP Riley Bevill and DH Colby Sokol--along with ex-Washington State 1B Eric Mauper to supplement a lineup that returns sophomore RHPs Kramer Champlin (8-1, 1.95), an Arizona State recruit, Jordan Lewis (12-2, 1.99) and David Carroll (8-1, 1.95), though an elbow issue could significantly impact Lewis' season. Freshman closer Dyllon Nurenburg, who was clocked at 94 mph in the fall, could play a significantly greater role if Lewis can't answer the bell.
13 Pitt NC NJCAA I 36-8 Pete Levitt, rhp (125)
SCOUTING REPORT: Outside of Junior College World Series champion Howard College and its improbable 63-1 record, no NJCAA Division I team lost as few games as Pitt in 2009. Still, it wasn't enough to land the Bulldogs an elusive spot in the national final. Pitt appears to be every bit as strong as a year ago as it returns its top three starters--Old Dominion-bound LHP Gary Ward (5-2, 1.99), Campbell-bound RHP Robbie Penny (5-2, 4.03) and RHP Justin Nygard (7-1, 4.74)--and welcomes back its best pro prospect, closer Pete Levitt, who missed the 2009 season with injury. The Bulldogs also return their two most productive offensive players, North Carolina State-bound OF Brett Williams (.429-14-43, 12 SB), who led the team in average, homers and stolen bases, and Appalachian State-bound 1B Trey Holmes (.344-4-47), the RBI leader.
14 Yavapai AZ NJCAA I 47-12 DeMarcus Tidwell, of (9)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Roughriders have some significant re-tooling to do from 2009, but few teams in the country have as impressive a cast of newcomers. Four of their incoming freshmen, notably RHP Casey Upperman (Atlanta Braves, 24th round) and OF Devon Zenn (Los Angeles Angels, 27th round), were selected in last year's draft. But the greatest impact the team should get from its wave of new talent should come from RHP Tyler Bremer, a UC Davis transfer who has committed to Baylor, and extremely athletic OF DeMarcus Tidwell, who hit .452-1-15 last year at Bossier Parish (La.) CC before being dismissed from that team. Tidwell and Bremer rank 1-2 among top prospects in the rich Arizona juco ranks for this year's draft. Among Yavapai's returning talent, 2B Ty Forney (.357-0-38), Oral Roberts-bound SS Cam Schiller (.363-0-34) and Arizona-bound RHP Pulama Silva (2-0, 0.84, 17 SV), the national leader in saves, should have the biggest impact.
15 #Orange Coast CA California 34-13 Chad Thompson, rhp (17)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Pirates won their first California state championship in 29 years in 2009, but repeating may be more challenging as they were decimated by the draft and graduation. The most critical defection was RHP-1B Brett Wallach, a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers who shone both in the field (.352-3-46) and on the mound (9-1, 2.23, 3 SV). The key returning player for the Pirates is OF Mykal Stokes (.332-3-30, 17 SB), but freshman RHP Chad Thompson headlines an impressive list of newcomers. The 6-foot-8 Thompson was projected to be one of the top high-school arms in the 2009 draft before he underwent Tommy John surgery early last spring. He slipped to the 17th round of the draft and subsequently elected to enroll at Orange Coast instead of Arizona State. Three Division I transfers have also bolstered the Pirates chances.
16 St. Petersburg FL NJCAA I 31-23 Austin Wood, rhp (3)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Titans fell short of expectations a year ago, but have significantly revamped their roster with several noteworthy four-year transfers, including three players from Northern Iowa, which abandoned its baseball program after the 2009 season. But no newcomer should make as big an impact as former Florida State RHP Austin Wood, who emerged as a premium talent for the 2010 draft when his fastball peaked at 97 mph in the fall. A second ex-Seminoles player, OF Spencer Dickinson, also ended up at St. Pete, along with other four-year transfers like RHP Greg Conver (North Carolina State) and Pat Quinn (Maine). Wood, Conver and Quinn are expected to occupy the first three spots in the rotation. Outside of OF Brooks Beisner (.330-4-42), few holdover players are expected to make meaningful contributions for the Titans this spring.
17 Jefferson MO NJCAA I 34-25 James Hudelson, rhp (36)
SCOUTING REPORT: With a roster that includes numerous players with commitments to prominent four-year programs, the Vikings have a significant shot to burst onto the national stage this year. Projected No. 1 starter Matt Stites (7-3, 3.96) and closer James Hudelson (1-2, 3.22), whose fastball has reached 94 mph, are earmarked for Missouri, while LHP Seth Swafford (a red-shirt in 2009) is headed to Missouri State, RHP Jordan Coons (2-1, 2.16) to Coastal Carolina recruiit and C.J. Rose (Creighton transfer) to St. Louis. Beyond that impressive group of arms, the Vikings boast sophomore C Trey Sorrels (.367-6-36) and Elon-bound OF Jake Luce (.359-3-19), along with talented freshman OF Drew Levi.
18 Connors State OK NJCAA I 43-14 Marcus Knecht, of (11)
SCOUTING REPORT: If the Cowboys can coax big seasons from some of their unheralded arms like starters Josh Eidt (6-1, 2.81, 77 IP/97 SO) and Cameron Gray (a 2008 draft pick who missed last year with Tommy John surgery), and closer Sam Meloy (8-0, 2.55, 8 SV), they could make a significant run in the national-title chase as position players like C Peter Bako (.382-3-25) and OF Marcus Knecht (Oklahoma State transfer), both Canadians headed for North Carolina State, and OF Daniel Meeley (.440-14-62), an Oklahoma recruit, are all high-profile talents. Yet another Canadian, C-DH James Kottaras (.408-1-37) adds another potent bat to the lineup.
19 Miami-Dade FL NJCAA I 44-20 Jabari Blash, of (13)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Sharks must replace OF Mycal Jones (.447-13-50, 29 SB), a fourth-round pick in last year's draft, and most of their pitching staff from a 10-loss team, but they have a solid nucleus in sophomore OFs Jabari Blash (.353-10-33 and a ninth-round pick of the Texas Rangers) and Joel Capote (.382-5-47, 35 SB), sophomore C David Vidal (.418-11-59) and sophomore infielders Chris Pelaez (.393-4-39) and Vickash Ramjit (University of Miami transfer). Sophomore RHP Ricardo Perez (8-2, 2.54) returns, but patching together an effective pitching staff will be critical to the Sharks chances of emerging from the highly-competive Florida junior-college ranks.
20 Middle Georgia GA NJCAA I 44-20 Reggie Williams, of (27)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Warriors appear to have the deepest, most-established talent base to rank as Georgia's best junior-college team. Sophomore RHP Blaine O'Brien (8-2, 3.82), the team's top starter, is a Maryland recruit, while sophomore LHP Jarett Leverett (4-1, 3.02, 9 SV), the closer, is headed for Clemson. Memphis-bound 1B T.J. Rich (.408-5-46) and Georgia-bound SS Jonathan Hester (.343-10-43) will hit in the middle of the order, and be joined by promising freshman OF Reggie Williams, a Texas Rangers 2009 draft pick who already ranks as the state's best JC talent.
21 Santa Ana CA California 37-13 R.J. Hively, rhp (66)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Dons have a proven stopper in all-state LHP Christian Meza (11-1, 3.53, 94 IP/91 SO), a Cal State Fullerton recruit, and have another potential ace in sophomore RHP R.J. Hively, who has transferred to Santa Ana, coincidentally from Cal State Fullerton. The team's pitching staff would have been further fortified were it not for the unfortunate December drowning of LHP James Wernke, who red-shirted at Santa Ana in 2009 but had recently committed to Long Beach State. Sophomore 1B Chris Miller (.374-5-39) is the primary holdover position player, but he'll get a lot of support with the transfer of 2B Brett Tanos (San Diego State), OF Tyler Richardson (Oklahoma State) and DH David Peterson (Rice) from Division I programs.
22 Heartland IL NJCAA II 42-9 Dillon Napoleon, rhp (85)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Hawks will have to go through Illinois rival and reigning Division II champion Parkland JC to earn national-title aspirations of their own, but have clearly accomplished a lot in just two years of the program's existence. From last year's 42-9 team, the Hawks return Alabama-Birmingham-bound RHP Dillon Napoleon (7-1, 2.62) and Central Michigan-bound RHP Jon Weaver (2-1, 4.16), along with sophomore C Tony Sanchez (.417-1-21), Valparaiso-bound 2B Bobby Martin (Ohio transfer) and two Illinois State recruits, SS Bryan Huff (.382-3-40, 17 SB) and OF Eric Augilera (.442-11-59). Napoleon's fastball touched 94 in the fall while Weaver was a 17th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2008.
23 Des Moines Area IA NJCAA II 55-11 George Jensen, rhp (114)
SCOUTING REPORT: DMAC won a school-record 55 games and made a spirited run at a Division II national championship in 2009. The team ultimately fell short and its biggest challenge will be replacing a dynamic trio of Patrick Cooper (Bradley), Mitch Mormann (Louisiana State) and Cole Nelson (Auburn), who went a combined 22-6 and should all be premium drafts in June out of their new Division I homes. Sophomore RHP George Jensen (4-1, 5.73) has first crack at becoming the new staff ace, but the Bears should be a more offensive-oriented club with the return of 3B Joel Hutter (.385-6-74) and SS Brashad Johnson (.352-12-65), and addition of 2B Jerrod Eigsti, a Dallas Baptist transfer.
24 Columbia Basin WA NWAACC 48-9 Tym Pearson, of (56)
SCOUTING REPORT: Led by New York Mets fourth-rounder Darrell Cecilliani (.389-4-41), Columbia Basin won a school-record 48 games in 2009 and appeared primed to win the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College championship. But the Hawks stubbed their toe when it counted most, and look to regroup this year with a retooled roster that includes another Oregon-raised, Cecilliani-like talent in freshman OF Tym Pearson, a Colorado Rockies draft pick last June. Pearson is a potential five-tool prospect, capable of running a 6.5 60 and throwing 92, and he'll be joined by sophomore RHP Elliott Van Gaver (9-1, 1.25 against wood), sophomore OF Marco Morales (.366-2-18, 17 SB) and sophomore C Maxx Garrett (.318-3-25), the team's top returning players, and newcomers like sophomore 1B Kevin Komstadius (a Washington transfer), sophomore 3B Nate Williams (.350-6-53 at Cisco, Texas, JC) and Idaho's two best prep prospects, including 6-foot-8 RHP Nico Lytle, who spurned a Washington State scholarship offer to attend CBC and was clocked at 92 mph in the fall.. 
25 Western Oklahoma OK NJCAA II 51-14 Andrelton Simmons, ss (15)
SCOUTING REPORT: Playing in the wind-swept obscurity of western Oklahoma, the Pioneers have quietly tapped into talent sources from all ends of the baseball universe and amassed some gaudy offensive numbers in the process. OF Randolph Oduber, who hails from Aruba, became the second straight WOSC player in 2009 to lead the nation in home runs, smashing 32 while also topping the country with 98 RBIs and batting .472. Though drafted by the San Francisco Giants in June, he elected to return for more and will be joined by 2B Jose Carlos Thompson (.440-10-62), a Massachusetts product, and RHP Jamaine Cotton (10-4, 4.96), who is from the Virgin Islands and was also drafted by the Giants. The gem on the Pioneers roster. however, may end up being SS Andrelton Simmons, a lively, athletic talent who was primarily a soccer player growing up in Curacao.
26 Chattahoochee Valley AL NJCAA I 39-19 Jeff Shields, rhp (26)
SCOUTING REPORT: Typically overshadowed through the years by Alabama juco powers Shelton State and Wallace State-Hanceville, Chattahoochee Valley is the school this spring that most area scouts will pay the most attention to. The Pirates feature a rotation that includes Georgia-bound RHP Jeff Shields (2-1, 5.50), whose fastball has touched 96 mph, Auburn-bound RHP Derek Varnadore (6-5, 3.90, 81 IP/94 SO) and 6-foot-7 Mercer-bound RHP Bronson Gagner (4-2, 4.65). Sophomore C Tom Richardson (.360-7-36) and Samford-bound OF Kevin Putkonen (.318-9-43) will provide most of the offensive punch.  
27 Cowley County KS NJCAA I 48-15 Ronnie Melendez, of
SCOUTING REPORT: Cowley County has been the signature junior college program in Kansas since winning back-to-back Junior College World Series crowns in 1997 and 1998. The Tigers will lean on holdover players like sophomore LHP Zach Cargill (8-1, 2.95), 2B B.J. Masialek (.369-9-58) and OF Ronnie Melendez (.367-4-38).
28 Meridian MS NJCAA I 37-17 Corey Dickerson, of (35)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Eagles must replace the potent bat of infielder Tyler Vick (.415-24-70), the second-leading home-run hitter in the NJCAA D-I ranks who is now at South Alabama, but sophomore OF Corey Dickerson (.381-15-54) is capable of duplicating those numbers. More likely, Meridian will get more mileage out of a deep pitching staff that includes sophomore LHP Blake Hennington (4-1, 2.29), Southern Mississppi-bound Johnathan Thompson, whose fastball has touched 94 mph, and sophomore LHP Alan Williams (2-1, 8.26), who will close.
29 Gulf Coast FL NJCAA I 32-20 Cam Greathouse, of-lhp (31)
SCOUTING REPORT: As a freshman, RHP Andrew Morris (10-2, 2.78, 94 IP/107 SO) was one of the most effective pitchers in the rich Florida junior-college ranks. The Auburn signee returns to front the Gulf Coast rotation, and will be joined by two-way player Cam Greathouse (5-4, 3.21, 84 IP/81 SO), a South Carolina recruit who will also see regular duty in right field (.333-3-27) when not pitching. Sophomore 3B Jeremy Boyte (.323-2-35), sophomore OF Bryce Lane (.352-7-47) and sophomore SS Cyle Rasmus (.287-5-27) also return, and Rasmus' twin brother Casey will move in behind the plate after transferring from Northwest Florida State JC.
30 Palomar CA California 36-13 Ryan Wilkins, rhp (54)
SCOUTING REPORT: Palomar positioned itself among the elite junior colleges in California a year ago with a star-studded roster that contributed to a school-record 36 games. Most of that talent has been dispersed to the pro ranks or four-year college programs, but all-state 1B and Pacific recruit Alfonso Casillas (.442-10-35) returns, though he'll move across the diamond this spring to third. Washington-bound C B.K. Santy (.291-1-22) is also back, but the team's real strength should be a pitching staff that includes University of San Diego-bound sophomore RHP Patrick Smith (0-0, 2.00 in 10 IP), Oklahoma-bound sophomore RHP Scott Myers (3-1, 2.91 at Saddleback CC) and a pair of promising freshmen righthanders, Trevor Bayless and Ryan Wilkins. Wilkins transferred back to Palomar, near his San Diego home, after initially attending the College of Southern Idaho, while Bayless bumped his velocity into the low 90s in the fall.
31 USC Sumter SC NJCAA I 52-11 Tyler Christman, rhp (30)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Fire Ants have made huge strides in their short, four-year history. With a 52-win season in 2009, they came within a step of a Junior College World Series berth while also producing a fourth-round draft pick, RHP B.J. Hyatt. The team must replace Hyatt and its entire offense, but sophomore RHP Tyler Christman (11-0, 1.27, 64 IP/93), a Georgia Southern recruit, led the nation in ERA a year ago and could be even better this year after bumping up his velocity in the fall to 95 mph. A second sophomore, RHP Jeremy Knab (7-0, 2.81), provides the Fire Ants with another experienced arm, and the team's top freshman recruit, RHP James Hall, made major headway as a prospect in the fall with a fastball that reached 91 mph.
32 Shelton State AL NJCAA I 44-19 Josh Wirnsberger, lhp
SCOUTING REPORT: The Bucs have made three consecutive trips to the Junior College World Series, and could be primed for a fourth with the return of two South Alabama-bound lefthanders, Josh Wirnsberger (10-1, 3.12) and Mike Carden (6-1, 2.88), along with sophomore C Matt Kirkwood (.348-4-31) and sophomore 1B Cayleb Coker (.346-7-42).
33 Texarkana TX NJCAA I 40-15 Tanner Bailey, rhp-1b (91)
SCOUTING REPORT:  Howard and San Jacinto, two of the nation's top four teams, are clear-cut choices as the strongest junior-college squads in Texas. The battle for third begins with Texarkana, which has been bolstered by the transfer of sophomore RHP Matt Lackie and his 93 mph fastball from Louisiana-Lafayette, and the return to health of freshman red-shirt LHP Nick Fogarty, a 2008 Milwaukee Brewers draft choice who sat out last season while on the mend from Tommy John surgery. Those two arms will help to offset the loss of RHP John Stilson, who emerged as an elite-level prospect by going 10-1, 2.15 as a Texarkana freshman only to subsequently elect to play his sophomore year at Texas A&M. Sophomore C Jordy Snikeris (.362-2-27), Texas A&M-bound OF Brian Ellis (.324-2-29) and sophomore OF Austin Atwell (.364-4-35) add experience at the plate, while Mississippi-bound sophomore RHP Tanner Bailey (8-1, 3.75) is another key part on the pitching staff. 
34 *Parkland IL NJCAA II 49-9 Kevin Kiermaier, of (25)
SCOUTING REPORT: The defending national Division II champions have plenty to build on with the return of premium talents like Purdue-bound OF Kevin Kiermaier (.436-13-47) and Central Florida-bound RHP Danny Winkler (3-0, 3.60), just two of six Cobras players who have committed to four-year, Division I programs. The athletic Kiermaier is the state's second-ranked juco talent, while Winkler's fastball has topped out at 94 mph. Among the newcomers on Parkland's roster are three D-I transfers, notably ex-Ohio State 1B T.J. McManus and ex-Bradley C Brandon Stevens.
35 South Mountain AZ NJCAA I 40-18 Danny Coulombe, lhp (87)
SCOUTING REPORT: Overshadowed in its own state by perennial national powers Central Arizona and Yavapai, South Mountain may be on the outside looking in again in Arizona, but the Cougars have a pitching staff that would be the envy of most college teams in the country--any level. Their projected starting staff includes Arizona State-bound LHP Kyle Ottoson (10-1, 2.54, 71 IP/81 SO), Texas Tech-bound LHP Daniel Coulombe (a Southern California transfer and former 17th-round pick out of an Arizona high school), 6-foot-6 sophomore RHP Casey Collins (a Grand Canyon transfer and the hardest thrower on the staff at 93 mph) and serviceable sophomore RHP Joseph Lopez (7-2, 3.40). Moreover, sophomore LHP Ryan Christenson is an Oklahoma State recruit, yet lacks a defined role for the Cougars. The offense will rely extensively on freshmen with the most intriguing talent being OF Michael England, a Washington state high-school talent of some note who initially enrolled at Arizona State before subsdequently transferring.
36 Lower Columbia WA NWAACC 35-6 Levi Dean, rhp (82)
SCOUTING REPORT: With eight championships in the last 30 years, Lower Columbia is the most accomplished baseball program in the recent history of the NWAACC--though, the Red Devils have won just once in the last 13 years. This year's club could reverse that spin as it has some of the best arms in the Oregon and Washington JC ranks with the likes of hard-throwing Tennessee-bound sophomore RHP Levi Dean (1-0, 1.06, 4 AV) and freshman RHP Jeff Ames, a Philadelphia Phillies draft pick last June. Sophomore RHP Tim Culligan (7-1, 0.86) was the staff's top winner a year ago, and sophomore LHP Drew Pettit is expected to fill the void with the unexpected departure of LHP Nate King (5-2. 2.31), who departed for North Carolina State after his freshman year. The team's most prolific offensive player is IF Eric Lane (.408-1-27), who topped the team in hitting in 2009.
37 Iowa Western IA NJCAA I 39-24 Derek Landis, rhp (119)
SCOUTING REPORT: With three straight Junior College World Series appearances and four in the last five years, Iowa Western has become a fixture in Grand Junction, Colo., in late May. The Reivers must find a way to replace LHP Brian Feekin (9-2, 3.78), now at Louisville, and LHP Mike Strong (7-2, 4.64), now at Oklahoma State, but RHP Derek Landis (4-6, 5.93), a San Diego Padres draft choice last June, owns a 93-mph fastball and the raw ability to improve on his 2009 performance, and LHP Taylor Eikenberry initially committed to Baylor before re-routing to Iowa Western. Among the returning position players who could make an impact in 2010 are Creighton-bound C Anthony Bemboom (.329-1-34), sophomore 1B Brent Seifert (.375-6-57) and sophomore 2B Ivan Hartle (.362-4-46).
38 Santa Fe FL NJCAA I 36-22 Kenny Wise, rhp (47)
SCOUTING REPORT: SCOUTING REPORT: The Saints were surprise finalists in last year's Junior College World Series. The team will be a shell of itself this year as shortstop Keon Broxton, a third-round round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is among the many players who have departed. Santa Fe's hopes of being competitive enough to challenge for the Florida state title hinge on a pitching staff that features sophomore RHPs Gary Merians (8-3, 5.60) and Ken Wise (transfer from Gordon, Ga., JC), sophomore LHP Morgan McKinney (4-1, 6.05) and promising freshman RHP Ricky Claudio. With a fastball at 91-93 mph, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Wise is the best pro prospect in the group. Offensively, the most depenadable bats belong to sophomore OF Jardian Thomas (.377-3-25) and sophomore C Brett Bozeman (.317-0-38).
39 Georgia Perimeter GA NJCAA I 42-16 LeAndre Davis, ss (89)
SCOUTING REPORT: With a 42-win season and 20-4 record in conference play, Georgia Perimeter was an unexpected success story in Georgia junior-college circles a year ago. No less surprising was the development of two-way talent Robbie Hefflinger into a seventh-round draft choice of the Atlanta Braves. The Jaguars may be hard-pressed to repeat that success as Hefflinger (6-0, 2.87; .316-11-43) has departed and the only noteworthy returnee on the pitching staff is Kennesaw State-bound RHP Alan Busenitz (1-3, 4.37). Sophomore C Blake McCullers (.401-2-37) returns and will be joined in the field by freshman 1B LeAndre Davis,a 13th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in last year's draft, and sophomore OF Will Howard, who batted .374-2-16 at Florida's Gulf Coast CC. A revamped pitching staff features sophomore RHP Nate Fawbush (7-0, 1.47 at Tennessee's Walters State CC and promising sophomore LHP Matt Hill, who was ineligible a year ago and continues to battle academic-ineligibily issues. With a fastball that touches 93 mph, freshman RHP Jarius Rhodes could be a significant contributor. 
40 Fresno CA California 33-14 David Rohm, 3b-rhp
SCOUTING REPORT: With five state titles to its credit, Fresno City College has a long history of success at the junior-college level in California. The Rams should make another run this year with a roster that features sophomore C Zach Sullivan (.372-8-52), sophomore 1B Brent Jones (.314-9-46), sophomore OF Paul Anaya (.345-4-29) and freshman 3B Dave Rohm, a Fresno State transfer. The key will be picking up the pieces left by the departure of star SS Garrett Weber (.450-3-49, 18 SB), now at Fresno State. Anaya (0-1, 1.29) will take a more active role on a depleted pitching staff, joining with Maryland-bound RHP Sean Buford (4-3, 4.62).  
41 Seminole State OK NJCAA I 40-20 Jarod Peper, rhp (177)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Trojans will never approach their own record for wins in a season (89, set in both 1987 and 1990), but even with 40 wins they had a productive 2009 season as it culminated with an appearance in the Junior College World Series. It may be a challenge for the Trojans to duplicate even that performance as 12 players from that team moved on to four-year colleges, including six at the Division I level. But those left to carry the load this spring include sophomore RHPs Blake Payne (4-0, 4.09), Jarod Peper (5-3, 6.06) and a healthy Aaron Rosborough, a Marshall recruit whose 93 mph fasrball is the best on the roster. Dallas Baptis-bound 2B-SS Logan Brumley (.364-0-2) and sophomore OF David Jackson (.360-8-37) are among the top returning position players, and they'll be joined by red-shirt freshman OF David Jackson, an Oklahoma transfer.
42 Cleveland State TN NJCAA I 38-18 Ryan Casteel, c (115)
SCOUTING REPORT:  The Cougars have a sound 1-2 act at the front of their rotation in two sophomore righthanders, Louisville-bound Travis Tingle (5-3, 3.94) and Cody Ferrell (6-2, 2.35), but are especially set behind the plate with the presence of standout freshman Ryan Casteel, whose presence will fill push incumbent Cody Hooper (.341-12-51), the team's home run anjd RBI leader in 2009, to first base.
43 Johnson County KS NJCAA I 43-14 Vince Spilker, rhp (143)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Cavaliers return C Sam Stucky (.344-7-35), 3B Tanner Funk (.390-2-44), OF Harrison Gerber (.301-0-18) and DH Davis Morgan (.387-7-58) from last year's 43-win club, but the success of the 2010 team may hinge on the ability of two promising freshman arms--6-foot-5 RHP Jeff Soptic, a Kansas City Royals draft pick who topped out at 94 in the fall; and 6-foot-3 RHP Vince Spilker, a Tampa Bay Rays selection who reached 92--to pick up the pieces in the wake of the departure of a pair of 10-gamer winners. They won't have to do it alone, though, as sophomore RHP Zack Smith (7-2, 2.68), a St. Louis recruit, returns.
44 State College of Florida/Manatee FL NJCAA I 36-16 Anthony Figliola, rhp-ut (172)
SCOUTING REPORT: Formerly known as Manatee CC but now the State College of Florida, the Lancers have some significant rebuilding to do from 2009. But they had the fortune of landing three former University of Central Florida players of some note--3B-RHP Anthony Figliolia, OF Austin Smith and DH-1B B.J. Zimmerman. They'll all play prominent roles for the Lancers and complement returning talent like sophomore OF Hunter Ovens (.384-3-35), the former Virginia Tech football player who continues his transition back to baseball; Florida Southern-bound LHP Alex Burgos (3-2, 6.30) and College of Charleston-bound LHP Josh Renfro (6-2, 4.35). Freshman RHP Josh Lucas, a 39th-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays last June, should further fortify the rotation.
45 Crowder MO NJCAA I 37-17 Ethan Mather, rhp
SCOUTING REPORT: Crowder's best returning talent is OF Sam Bates (.359-5-54) and closer Dan Kickham (1-0, 3.60, 1 SV), but for the Roughriders to approach last year's 37-win mark they'll need big seasons from newcomers like RHP Chance Cleveland, a transfer from Mineral Area (Mo.) JC whose fastball reached 92 mph in the fall, and RHP Ethan Mather, a mid-semester transfer from Arizona State, who should immediately move to the front of the rotation; and three Missouri high-school products, 1B Kyle Clifton, 3B Koby Peebles and SS Alex Larkin, who will hold down three of the four infield positions while hitting in the heart of the Crowder batting order.
46 Navarro TX NJCAA I 32-17 Joey Fuda, of (83)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Bulldogs have a solid returning nucleus in Texas Christian-bound LHP Teddy Nowell (5-3, 3.04), RHP Austin Pruitt (6-1, 2.36), and OF Joey Fuda (.361-8-37), and are counting on two freshmen, Texas-Arlington-bound C J.T. Files and SS Brian Vigo-Suarez, a 21st-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, to be immediate contributors.
47 San Joaquin Delta CA California 35-18 Stephen Malcolm, ss-rhp
SCOUTING REPORT: From a team that lost in the California state final, the Mustangs welcome back only one starting position player, OF Vinnie DeVencenzi (.340, 37 RBIs), and one starting pitcher, LHP Kevin Rogers (4-5, 5.55). But two Division I transfers and a solid group of freshman recruits has infused a new wave of talent into the team. SS/RHP Stephen Malcolm, who red-shirted at UC Irvine in 2009 and has committed to play at Virginia Tech in 2011, should play a pivotal two-way role.
48 Young Harris GA NJCAA I 44-12 Jake Montgomery, rhp (53)
SCOUTING REPORT: The Mountain Lions have won at least 42 games every year since 2001, yet may face their biggest challenge in their final season as a junior-college program. They return only one regular, OF Matt Lowery (.361-7-39), from a team that hit .381 overall in 2009, and no pitchers of note. The rebuilding effort got a shot in the arm at mid-semester when three Division I players transferred into the program. Freshman RHP Jake Montgomery, a 32nd-round pick of the Atlanta Braves last June and a Georgia transfer, should make an immediate impact on the pitching staff. 
49 Mt. Hood OR NWAACC 35-8 Taylor Ard, 1b (12)
SCOUTING REPORT: Mt. Hood's chances of contending again in the NWAACC received a major shot in the arm when slugging 1B Taylor Ard (.490-12-49 with wood) had a change of heart and elected to return to junior college rather than transfer to nearby Oregon State for his sophomore year. He may be the elite hitter in the entire junior-college ranks and could surface in June as a second- or third-round pick, though has a commitment to Washington State to consider. Ard's supporting cast includes sophomore C-RHP Corey Davis (.323-7-29; 2-2, 3.16) and Hawaii-bound sophomore LHP Michael Blake. 
50 Eastern Oklahoma OK NJCAA I 32-26 Houston Slemp, of (145)
SCOUTING REPORT: The departure of slugger Stephen Hagen (.315-29-89), the nation's leading Division I home-run hitter, is the notable omission on this year's roster, but the Mountaineers also must totally rebuild their pitching staff. The transfer of former Oklahoma State RHP Anthony Trevino and ex-Oral Roberts RHP Andrew Dilling should help jump-start that effort, though two freshmen arms from national prep power Owasso (Okla.) High, RHPs Jesse Baird and Tyler Sparks, could end up making a bigger impact. The cupboard is not as bare among returning position players as 1B Cameron Green (.362-2-22), and OFs Justin Klusak (.345-8-41) and Houston Slemp (.324-3-31) are back.
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