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Juco  | Story  | 2/8/2023

JUCO: Florida Regional Preview

Kyler Peterson      Tyler Kotila     
JUCO: Top 500 Prospects

Regional Previews: Southeast

Florida Regional Top 15
Rk.  Team  City  Record
Central Florida  Marianna  47-17 
Florida SouthWestern  Fort Myers  42-15 
Northwest Florida State  Niceville  30-20 
Miami Dade  Miami  39-19-1 
Chipola  Marianna  41-14-1 
Gulf Coast State  Panama City Beach  31-18 
State College of Florida  Bradenton  29-25 
Pensacola State  Pensacola  16-30 
Indian River State  Fort Pierce  33-19 
10  Santa Fe  Gainesville  27-24 
11  Palm Beach State  Palm Beach Gardens  30-16 
12  South Florida State  Avon Park  30-24 
13  Pasco-Hernando State  New Port Richey  40-17 
14  St. Johns River State  Orange Park  29-28 
15  Eastern Florida State  Cocoa  25-25-1 

Top 15 Team Breakdowns 

1. Central Florida 
The 2022 season was one to remember for head coach Marty Smith as he led the Patriots to a school record 46 wins and an appearance in the JUCO World Series for the first time in 24 years. The 2023 group will have to do a lot to back up the performance of last year’s team but are talented enough to make it back to back trips to Grand Junction. Everything starts on the mound for them as Oklahoma State commit Brian Holiday is set to lead the staff. Holiday has a refined arsenal as the fastball sits in the 93-94 range with a good breaking ball and a changeup. James Hill is back for his sophomore campaign to take hold of the number two spot and he features a five pitch mix with two distinctly shaped breaking balls. He can run the fastball up to 93 mph as well. Cam Schuelke, a native of Michigan will be in line to take over the closer role after transferring from Northwood University. He is an uber-competitive pitcher that sits in the 90-92 mph range from a tough arm angle. The depth on the mound is impressive but just as impressive is the amount of talent in the lineup. Bradke Lohry, a Tennessee commit, will be asked to set the table for the Patriots lineup, a task he is more than capable of doing. Carson Bayne is another name to know that returns from the 2022 team after hitting six home runs and driving in 50 runs just a season ago. Former PG All-American Thad Ector will be relied upon heavily in the middle of the order, along with two freshman Edwin Toribio and Kainen Jorge, as well as Georgia Tech transfer John Marant. This team is loaded from top to bottom with depth across the board. Don’t be surprised if they are back in Grand Junction challenging for a national championship at season’s end.  

2. Florida SouthWestern 
It’s a new era in Fort Myers with a new head coach in Zac Cole, who came over after a stretch as the head assistant at College of Central Florida. FSW basically turned over the entirety of the roster heading into 2023, and while that usually points to a bit lower of a ranking than this lofty perch, the talent level on this roster is simply much too high-end to ignore. It starts on the mound with newcomer righties Martin Gair, Kelan Hoover and Jovan Gill, both figure to be in the rotation and both are clearly prospects, with Gair possessing some of the most powerful pure stuff in all of JUCO baseball. Lefties Adam Dowler and Reyn Watson will be counted on right away, as will transfer righties Tyler Kennedy and Lucas Hartman. Offensively, transfers AJ Shaver, Sergio Rivera and Derek Williams should form the outfield triumvirate, with Williams especially looking to have a huge season following a freshman campaign at Mineral Area CC that saw him hit .366 with 25 home runs. Aries Samek is loaded with tools and should see infield time right away, and it’s expected that both Nathan Earley and Joel Gardner are both going to be key pieces for this offense right away. This iteration of Florida SouthWestern baseball will get an immediate introduction to the best talent in the country when they, along with 11 others, travel to Panama City Beach for the PCB Classic in early February. All coverage of that event will, of course, be provided by Perfect Game. 

3. Northwest Florida State 
Northwest Florida State being loaded with talent entering a season is certainly nothing new, but what makes this year a little more unique than usual is just how many freshmen they will be counting on, especially on the mound. Working with a pitching staff of primarily freshmen is difficult at any level of baseball, but given NWF’s ability to develop as well as the pure talent level of those freshman arms, the upside of the staff is vast. The Witherspoon twins, Malachi and Kyson, both enter the 2023 season with big roles and will be counted on immediately. Freshman lefty Blaise Grove has a lot of prospect stock and continues to develop, he should be a key rotational piece right away or he could fill a bullpen spot, and the same goes for freshman righty Collin Linder. Offensively, shortstop Kendrey Maduro is a star and should be drafted highly this summer making him a one-and-done in Niceville, he leads the offense and is flanked by a key returner in Blake Cavill and fellow heralded pickup Alex Urban, a lefthanded hitting outfielder who transferred in from Clemson. It’s a very talented but very young group who will need some time to gel at first, but the upside here is Grand Junction quality to be sure. 

4. Miami Dade 
An infield full of talent and a pitching staff with starters that can pitch effectively deep into games will be the strengths of this season’s Sharks team. Head coach Adrian Morales will look to capture a third consecutive Southern Conference championship and another Florida State Championship in his fourth year at the helm. The Sharks infield is as dynamic and talented of a group as there is in the country. All-American candidate Wooyeoul Shin hit 9 home runs with 37 RBI and posted an OPS over .900 despite missing over twenty games due to injury last season. Former fourth round MLB draft pick Alex Ulloa (Florida commit), the first ever draft pick from the MLB Draft League is a big time talent with obvious pro tools on both sides of the ball. Add in Joseph Zamora who was a leader for the Sharks offensively last season (.369 AVG, 41 R, 42 RBI) plus MIF Richard Benitez and you have a very formidable group. The outfield has plenty of talent as well with Oklahoma State commit Max Galvin and Jose Hernandez who hit nine home runs last season leading the way. Look for freshman outfielder Matthew Mateo to make an impact as a 6.5 runner that covers ground in centerfield and puts pressure on a defense at the top of a lineup. Geremy Garcia is a catcher from the Dominican Republic that will handle a talented staff and provide some right-handed pop to the lineup. D’angelo Ortiz, son of Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz will look to make an impact as both a third baseman and an outfielder in his freshman season. Left handed pitcher Herrick Hernandez (Nova Southeastern commit) and right-hander Robert Fernandez (Rice commit) return to lead the staff in 2023. Their starter repertoires with a low 90’s fastball will be counted on to pitch deep into games this season. Freshman LHP Ervis Solis is an upside arm with a low to mid 90’s fastball that has big life and two distinct breaking balls that can miss bat. At 6-4/22 he’ll garner plenty of attention this spring. Fellow freshman RHP Julian Mlodzinski is another arm that can throw plenty of innings and be effective with his low-90’s fastball. Add in quality arms like Christian Orduna and Carlos Nolasco and this is a staff with the depth of arms to compete for another Florida State Championship. 

5. Chipola 
Another perennial powerhouse, Chipola checks in a little bit lower than they may be used to entering the 2023 season, but with the upside of yet another Grand Junction trip nonetheless. They are extremely talented, per usual, but may take a little time at first continuing to develop the nuances required of that talent, but with substantial upside as a team regardless. JP Ortiz should play shortstop as well as close, he’s taken big strides in the last 6 months and projects to be a key piece. Righty Drew Howard is a key returner and will be a rotation member with a ton of sink on his 90-93 mph fastball, with lefties Chase Nelson and Robert Evans also expected to be key pieces, and don’t forget about Carter Daniels, a power-armed righty who is one of the top prospects on the club. Offensively, Chipola expects a lot from Edian Espinal up the middle as well as Eli Berch behind the plate, and Brady Browning and Luis Gonzalez are also expected to be key offensive pieces. The expectations are always sky-high in Marianna and this year is no exception, with the development of the pitchability on the mound likely being the overall key to how good this team ends up being. 

6. Gulf Coast State 
Head Coach Tyler Younger’s group has a good bit of hype heading into 2023, entering the spring ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in several seasons. They are led by JUCO’s best prospect in lefty Carson Dorsey, a Florida State commit who has a chance at the top few rounds in the draft this summer. Freshman lefty Christian Oppor has tremendous upside and will likely start the season as the No. 2 starter, and he’ll likely be joined by another freshman in Dalton Davenport. Offensively, the club will be led by center fielder RJ Johnson, a transfer from Appalachian State who had a great summer and fall, as well as corner outfielder Ethan Lizama, who is a lefthanded hitter with good tools and huge power upside. Freshmen infielders Landon Russell and Jeremy Todd are expected to start right away and have legitimate upside, and the coaching staff is really excited about the long term upside of freshman arm Alex Collins, who has excellent feel to spin and should be a bat-miss weapon out of the bullpen sooner rather than later. 

7. State College of Florida 
SCF rolling into the 2023 season with serious upside as a team thanks to their talent level is certainly nothing new, as they’ve become an annual stop for scouts in Florida thanks to perennially having draftable pieces. That talent pool is led by flame throwing lefty Brandon Clarke this year, a mid-90’s arm with a good slider who is still refining command but has sky-high upside. Freshman righty Michael Forrett is another of those potential draft picks, he’s a big-bodied starter with good stuff and projection. Returning lefty Ryan Stefiuk and freshman righty Bryan Gomez are also expected to be key pieces in the pitching staff. Kevin Karstetter returns for his third JUCO season, he should have a huge offensive year with his eyes on the draft in July, and there’s a fair bit of experience joining him in the everyday lineup as well. Jayce Blalock came in from Georgia Tech via transfer and should make a big impact right away in the outfield. This should be a really good team per usual, but the pace with which the high-upside arms develop will likely end up telling the story. 

8. Pensacola State 
The Pirates are looking to rebound off of a season where they finished with a 16-30 record. They have loaded up on talent over the off-season and are one of the most purely talented schools in the state of Florida. The bats that they have either brough back or added are quite impressive. Colton Ryals, one of the strongest players on the team, is back for another season after putting up a .312/6/19 slash line in 2022. He’s a plus runner and has elite bat speed. Andreaus Lewis II is another returning sophomore that was hitting close to .340 last season before an injury derailed the season. Cooper Porter, one of the leaders on the team, will be able to be moved all over the lineup. He has good bat to ball skills and is an ultra-competitor. Some of the freshman that should be paid attention to are John Smith, Jackson Hiatt, Carter McCulley, and Blaydon Plain. All of them could have an immediate impact with tools that have really jumped off the page throughout the fall. The pitching staff is well-rounded, as well, led by Javi Marrero, a Troy transfer, who sits 88-92 with a really good breaking ball. Josiah Glodfelter and Tucker Jackson are in the mix to get some rotation time. Both are freshman right-handers who will be relied upon heavily this season. In the back end of the bullpen, they have multiple flame throwers that have had good outings this fall. Neco Lopez, a College of the Ozarks transfer, was up to 97 mph recently. Zach Kittrell has shown elite arm speed running the fastball up to 96 mph. He’s extremely athletic and is just scratching the surface after not playing baseball his sophomore or junior years of high school. The closer will be a name that has been mentioned before, Jackson Hiatt. Along with the big power from the left-handed bat, he has also been up to 95 mph with a good breaking ball in recent outings. The amount of pure talent on this team will catch anybody’s eye. Look for them to rebound in 2023. 

9. Indian River State 
As the Indian River State Pioneers get rolling in 2023, they will rely on some newcomers to round out their lineup. Sophomore outfielder Gabe Wright transferred in from SCF and will be a big part of the Indian River outfield. He managed a .356 OBP with 10 extra-base hits in 2022. Sophomore Camren Carroll returns to the lineup in 2023 after he hit .344 (leading all returning players) with a .494 OBP, churning out good at-bats in 2022. Freshman Matthew Rubin has also found himself behind the plate and could be a good source of offense for the Pioneers in 2023. Another freshman, Vincent Samuel, brings some physicality to the batters’ box and could be an impactful player if he gets things rolling early on. On the mound, its some familiar faces who are going to be relied upon this Spring. After leading the Pioneers in innings pitched in 2022, sophomore Jorge DeCardenas returns after pitching in 93.0 innings, striking out 77, while pitching to a 3.68 ERA. He’s got a solid three-pitch mix that gets into the low-90s and is expected to be a weapon for the Indian River staff. Khaden Washington returns after appearing in 15 games and logging 68.2 innings pitched in 2022. Sophomore southpaw Matthew Pizzarello will also get chances to be an impactful arm in 2023 after punching out 28 over 25.2 innings pitched in 2022. Another SCF Manatees transfer, this time a pitcher, is sophomore Gavin Adams, who will be a key player on the teams' staff after punching our 52 over 44.2 innings pitched. Beyond that, it's going to be Alexis Rodriguez-Ruiz, Angelo Smith, Christopher Hanson, and Jace Troutner, who are familiar faces for the Indian River staff. 

10. Santa Fe 
The Santa Fe Saints are ready for the 2023 season, and Sophomores Jacob Guthrie & Hunter Keen are back. Guthrie managed a .309 OBP over 87 at-bats in 2022 and is expected to play a role in the team’s lineup. Same with Keen after he posted a .345 OBP over 53 at-bats, due for a breakout in 2023. JP Herrholz and Billy Graham also return to the lineup, looking to tap into the offense. Zeth Rodriguez brings some power and the ability to work gap-to-gap. He had 25 games played in 2022 and is looking for a jump in 2023. Freshmen Drake Harman and Josh Hogue are both expected to add to the Saints lineup in 2023 in their first campaigns. FGCU transfer Jahlani Rodgers also brings some experience to the table for the offense. On the mound, Sophomore right-hander Tobin Moran returns after logging 39.1 innings pitched over 12 appearances in 2022. Charleston Southern transfer Corey Braun is expected to play a prominent role with the staff as well after making 20 appearances for CSU in 2022; he’ll be a frontline arm in 2023 for the Sante Fe staff. Sophomores Jalen Hudson and Gaven Book also are returning and looking to show development after their first season with the Saints. Coastal Carolina transfer Jacob Lauderdale punched out 16 hitters over 13.2 innings pitched in 2022 and returns in 2023. Northwest Florida transfer Jacob Phillips is also expected to see time on the bump in 2023 as well. 

11. Palm Beach State 
As the Palm Beach State Panthers get rolling in 2023, it's a nice mix of proven contributors and a new cast of characters who will take the field. Sophomore Gavin Bogdanchik returns after hitting .326 with 12 extra-base hits in 2022. He’s an athletic mover behind the dish with good control of the barrel in the batters’ box. Joining him as a backstop and corner infielder is sophomore Caden Marsters, who had 9 doubles and 2 home runs in 23 games in 2022. Marsters brings a physical presence to the box and could be a nice power bat in 2023. Sophomore Skyler Schulz returns in a middle-infield role after hitting .348 with 14 extra-base hits. He’s a toolsy middle infielder. Freshman Brandyn Gonzalez, Cade Crews, Fernando Vila, and Kadien Dean are also expected to be impactful in 2023. On the mound, its sophomore Michael Fortes who will lead the arms. Fortes made 13 starts in 2022, totaling 77.2 innings pitched with 60 punchouts to his credit. A smooth operator on the mound goes out and competes. Sophomore Cody Little with 13 appearances (8 starts) totaling 60.2 innings pitched with 59 punchouts. He’s got the fastball working into the low-90s with a swing-and-miss slider. Returning sophomore Bryce Pratt made 13 appearances with 3 starts, totaling 33.2 innings pitched with 35 strikeouts will play a role with the PBSC pitching staff in 2023. Freshman Tyler Williams is worthy of keeping an eye on. He’s going to get some chances to show his stuff in 2023 as a right-hander with a loose arm and projectable frame. He has a primarily fastball/curveball mix to rely on that he has success with. 

12. South Florida State 
The South Florida State Panthers are looking for a big year in 2023. Their offense is going to be powered by experienced returners. Sophomore Pedro Moreno is returning to the infield after hitting .370 with a .471 OBP while collecting 22 extra-base hits last season. Sophomore Brylan West also returns to play first after hitting .365 with 7 home runs in 2022. Reid Lisle and Jakoby Stanley are both back in 2023 for their second seasons. Lisle had a .369 OBP with 17 extra-base hits in 2022. Stanley had a .352 OBP with 13 extra-base hits last season. Freshman Adrian Davis is expected to make an impact on the Panthers program in his first season. Two-way Sophomore Ian Anderson is back with the Panthers after hitting .297 over 37 at-bats and punching out 10 over 9.0 innings pitched on the mound. He’s looking for a more involved role in 2023. Sophomore arm Logan Adams also returns after pitching to a 3.63 ERA over 12 starts and 69.1 innings pitched in 2022. Sophomore Ben Vazquez returns after pitching to a 3.98 ERA over 31.2 innings pitched in 2022, striking out 32. Seton Hall transfer Brandon Chorzelewski is expected to get some work in as a starter this season, being one of the go-to arms. Sophomores Alex Burden and Logan Wynne also return to the roster in 2023. Freshman Jacob Morgan, Shaun Shipley, James Turnbull, and Baker Tygart are some first-year guys looking to benefit the Panthers' pitching staff this year. 

13. Pasco-Hernando State 
The Pasco-Hernando State Bobcats are ready to rock in 2023 and loaded up to compete. Offensively it's a couple of familiar faces that returned. Sophomore James Strom and Andrew Burns are both returning to the Bobcats lineup. Strom hit .350 with a .463 OBP while collecting 11 extra-base hits. Burns only played in 20 games but is looking to earn more of a chance in 2023. Redshirt Sophomore Nick Plaisted managed a .405 OBP with 12 doubles in 2022, and he’s back again in 2023. Frontier CC transfer Clay Badylak is also expected to be a consistent bat for the Bobcats. Freshmen Ethan Pues and Daniel Busot are both expected to play a role in each of their first years. Pues in the outfield and Busot behind the plate. Sophomore two-way players Chay Yeager and Justin Gay both return as well. Yeager hit .347 with a .413 OBP while hitting 9 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 home runs. Gay may not have hit a ton in 2022, but he was 2-for-4 while pitching to a 2.98 ERA with 59 punchouts over 45.1 innings pitched. Redshirt Freshman Aiden Corn transferred in from Eastern Florida State, is also expected to impact the Bobcats on both sides of the ball. Redshirt Sophomore Hunter Booth is expected to play a big role with the team’s pitching staff. Sophomore Casey Daiss returns to the Bobcats staff after pitching to a 1.36 ERA over 53.0 innings pitched with 58 punchouts. Justin Clark also returns after being a familiar face on the mound in 2022, making 13 starts and totaling 70.0 innings pitched. Redshirt Sophomore Joel Rodriguez is back for another season after 18 appearances in 2022 with 35 strikeouts over 35.2 innings pitched. Keiser transfer Peyton Ricko also returns after punching out 45 in 39.0 innings pitched last season. Newcomers Demetrius Vizcarra (San Jac transfer) and Logan Jones (Samford transfer) are also both expected to impact the PHSC pitching staff in 2023. 

14. St. Johns River State 
The St. Johns River State Vikings have many familiar faces returning but are also welcoming in some new arms to support the pitching staff. Sophomore Maverick Stallings is expected to swing it and be one of the team’s infielders after managing 14 extra-base hits in 2022. North Georgia transfer Kaleb Freeman hit .300 with a .437 OBP in 2022 and is expected to be one of the team’s backstops and could slot in at third if needed. Sophomore Jack Slater returns as one of the team’s backstops to back up freeman. He’s expected to settle in behind the plate and swing it well from the left side when he’s in the lineup. Ball State transfer Tyler Hinrikus is a corner infielder who is looking to show his tools with the Vikings in 2023. Freshmen Andon Lewis, Jack Schrafft, and Nathan Gagnon are all expected to play roles with the team’s offense this season. Sophomore Aiden Mastantuno will two-way for the Vikings after doing so in 2022. He managed a .425 OBP over 53 at-bats while also logging 16.1 innings pitched with a 4.96 ERA. Sophomore Jarrett Maresco is one of the primary arms after making 11 starts with 62.0 innings pitched with a 4.35 ERA. Sophomore Logan Schmidt also returns after making 10 starts in 2022, where he pitched to a 4.95 ERA over 36.1 innings. After leading the team in appearances, Sophomore Layton Deloach returns and is expected to be used out of the bullpen as needed once again in 2023. Connor McBride transferred in from Palomar and is expected to be a solid arm on the Vikings staff. He punched out 21 over 18.0 innings pitched in 2022 and is poised to be one of the Vikings' prominent arms. Marshall transfer Sam Thompson will pitch out of the bullpen in a late-game role for the Vikings in 2023. 

15. Eastern Florida State 
Coming off of a 25-25-1 season in 2022, the Titans look to be an improved team in 2023. Dalton Robinson, a massive 6’7” athletic left-handed power bat who slashed .305/.389/.490 with 28 stolen bases last year returns to be a presence in the middle of the order. Dom McKnight, a speedy outfielder will once again be a consistent bat at the top of the lineup. Freshman Adrian Dominguez offers a power threat and should make an immediate impact. Right-hander Trey Jackson, coming off of season with a 2.68 ERA over 53.2 IP returns and should get a share of innings. Pitchability southpaw KC Swords who led the team in innings pitched last year returns to head the rotation. Brady Guthrie is an athletic right-hander who should make an impact with a lively upper-80s fastball and high spin slider that reaches north of 3000 RPM. EFSC has a really nice mix of proven guys and high upside players. 
Florida Region Top 100 Prospects

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