Texas JUCO Preseason Team Ranking

Noah Sharp
PBR Texas JUCO Insider

TEXAS, USA - When it Comes to Junior College baseball, the state of Texas is arguably one of the best in the entire country. From top to bottom regardless of the division, the teams compete on a national level every year. This past season alone, three teams made it to their respective World Series (San Jac, Tyler (D3), and Temple) with one playing in the National Championship (Tyler D3) but fell just short. The wealth of talent in Texas, along with quality recruiting and coaching is second to none. Look for weekly updates to our Texas JUCO Team Rankings, without further delay, let's get started.

#1 San Jac (52-15)

San Jac has been a staple in Grand Junction for as long as anyone can remember. They have made the trip 4 of the last 5 seasons, playing in 3 National Title games. On the Prep Baseball Report JUCO Top 60 MLB Draft Prospects, the Gators have 5 different players, including the No. 1 Ranked JUCO Player in the country, So. RHP Jackson Rutledge (Kentucky commit). The other 4 are So. SS Adisyn Coffey (#40), Fr. RHP Jonathan Jones (#46), Fr. LHP Mitchell Parker (#52) and Fr. LHP Luke Little (#58) committed to South Carolina.

When you take a look at the Gators Schedule this season it is one of the top in the country, not just the state. San Jac starts off in Nevada against AZ Western, Southern Nevada, and Central Arizona (Jan 25th-27th). Then a week later they take on the Tournament of Champions, which has many of the top teams in the state competing. They will take on #4 Grayson, #8 Odessa, #2 McLennan and #6 Howard. (Feb 8th-10th). The next week they play a team that they took two from in Grand Junction, Monroe CC (Feb15-17th). The next tough stretch they have is in mid/late March (18th-25th) where they play #4 Grayson, #10 Blinn (x3) and #9 Navarro all that week.  

#2 McLennan (44-15)

Coach Thompson and his staff have assembled a quality team, and the Highlanders will always be well coached. With 10 returns that played last year on both sides of the ball, they will have a bit of a learning curve, and will look to their big returnees out in the field to lead the way: Soph INF Aidan Shepardson (Uncommitted) and Soph OF Thomas Santos (Uncommitted). Big-time transfers in DBU transfer Soph C Ryan Bishop (UTSA Commit) and LA Tech transfer RS-Fresh SS Cameron Parikh (Uncommitted) will also have a significant impact. On the mound, they do have one of their aces from last year coming back in Soph LHP Grant Miller (TCU commit), as well as Soph RHP Alex DeLeon (Uncommitted).

Looking at their schedule their first big test will be when they head to Houston and take on #4 Howard and #1 San Jac. Ending the month with a 3 game series with #4 Howard. Their next tough stretch comes at the beginning of April when they play nine straight games against top 5 teams, four against #3 Cisco, four against #5 Grayson, and finishing up with #1 San Jac.

#3 Cisco (52-6)

Cisco is another team that will be very young. Coming off one of the best seasons in school history, it will be hard to replace a very sophomore-heavy team. The Wranglers will have one of the top infields in the state, and quite possibly the country, with Soph INF Zach Sweet (Lamar Commit), Soph INF Christian Smith (Uncommitted) and RS-Fresh Bryson Hill (Houston Commit). Between the two sophomores, they put up over 100 runs and had a part in roughly another 100 coming into score. Another key returner on the infield is Bryson Hill (Houston Commit). On the mound they will rely on Soph RHP Josh Lapierre  (A&M Commit), Soph RHP Taylor Munkres (ACU Commit) and Texas Tech transfer Soph Nick Candelari (Uncommitted).

Cisco has two really tough stretches in their schedule. The first comes at the end of February/beginning of March when they play #10 Odessa (four times), Howard Payne (twice) TCS, and then finish with four games against #5 Grayson. Then next stretch comes at the begging of April when they play #2 McLennan and #8 Weatherford both four times.

#4 Howard (35-21 Last Season)

The Hawks look just as strong on the mound as they ever have. One of the guys they are the most excited for is Freshman RHP Nicco Cole (Cal State Fullerton Commit), who was the Texas 6A Pitcher of the Year last year. Along with Jordan Mikel (ULM Commit) and Reed Osborn (Houston Commit) look for their staff to be one of the strongest in the state. Looking at them offensively, Brett Cain (Houston Commit) will lead the way for them being able to play multiple positions around the infield.

The Hawks have one of the toughest starts to the season in the state. In the first month and a half of the season, they play #1 San Jac, #10 Odessa, #5 Grayson (three times), #2 McLennan (four times) and #9 Blinn (four times). The Hawks schedule is very front heavy ending with their last 12 games against El Paso, #20 Frank Phillips, and out of state Conference opponent Luna.

#5 Grayson (39-17)

Grayson returns a very solid group of guys from last year's team. In the field, they will have two catchers who split time last year, both playing about 30 games. in Soph Cordell Dunn Jr. (uncommitted) and Jarret Gonzales (Uncommitted). The other key returner for them is Soph 1B Brandon Talley (Uncommitted) who hit .361 with 69 RBI and 61 Runs. On the mound, they will have some young guys from Soph LHP Kayton Henderson (Uncommitted) to Soph LHP Nathan Hawkins (Uncommitted).

Grayson starts the year off fast in the month of February they will play nationally ranked Seminole State (OK)(twice), #1 San Jac, #10 Odessa, #7 Navarro (twice), and #12 North East (three times). They will then go out to Big Spring and take on #4 Howard (three times). In the middle of March, they will play #3 Cisco in a four-game series then take on #1 San Jac. They end the season with a tough April playing #2 McLennan (four times), #8 Weatherford (four times) and #1 San Jac.

#6 Tyler (33-29)

The Apaches reign as the top dog in Div 3 came to an end last year losing in the National Championship, looking to go for a 5th straight. They did lose some key pieces, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t reloaded and ready to go. On the mound, they return one of their biggest keys to last years team, Soph Jacob Blatney (uncommitted), along with transfer Soph Peyton Miller (A&M Corpus Commit) and Soph Michael Spinozzi (Miami OH Commit) to fill in the back part of their bullpen. In the field, they have Soph INF Michael Morissette (Miami OH Commit) and their catcher Soph Fiver Trimble (Uncommitted) coming back.

Tyler's schedule is an interesting one. They play a mix of JUCO’s as well as a few different universities. Their first real test will come at the beginning of March when they play Murray State (three times), #11 Panola, and then nationally ranked #20 Joliet (three times). The next tough stretch will be their entire month of April. Playing nationally ranked #1 LSU-Eunice (six times, #11 Panola, #14 Coastal Bend (four times), TCS (twice) and #24 Angelina.

#7 Navarro (35-22)

Navarro is coming off a season where they came up just short. After finishing the Regular season hot winning 12 of their last 13 games, they dropped their first two games in the regional playoffs. It will be exciting to watch some very talented returners and seven D1 signings, so far, mixing with their newcomers. On the mound, they have Austin Faith who was 7-1 in 13 starts, who had a great fall running his fastball up to 93.

When looking at the Bulldogs schedule, they start off with one of the toughest schedules in the state. In February alone, they play #9 Blinn twice, #10 Odessa once, #4 Howard once, #5 Grayson twice, #2 McLennan three times, and NMJC twice. Towards the end of March they have a tough two-week stretch where they play #11 Panola three times, #1 San Jac twice, #8 Weatherford once and  #12 Northeast three times. They then end the season with a tough week stretch playing #8 Weatherford once, #11 Panola three times, and Northeast three times.

#8 Weatherford (27-27)

After falling just a game short of the Regional Tournament, Weatherford rolls into the 2019 season with something to prove. Eight very physical Sophomores will take the field for them, led by Soph third baseman JT Thompson (Texas State Commit) and Soph Outfielder Garret Crews. They also look to have help from 2-3 Freshman, highlighted by Cole Johnson and Hunter Rosson. When it comes to the guys on the mound, the Coyotes look as strong as ever. Two transfers bolster the pitching staff, U of H transfer Trevis Sundgren (Texas State commit), who is 90-94, and UTA transfer Carlos Tavera (uncommitted) 90-93. They will be followed by two Freshman who are expected to make big impacts on the staff in Bryson Hudgens and Kyle Warden. Both freshmen won state titles their senior year of high school. (Hudgens at 4A Argyle  and Warden at 6A Southlake Carroll)

Looking at their schedule, their first big test will be against Seminole State (OK) (Feb 14). Then a week later they play 3 games against #10 Odessa (Feb 22-23). Their next rough stretch comes just a week later with a 2-week stretch facing off against New Mexico, four games against #2 McLennan, two games against #14 Coastal Bend, and ending that stretch with a single game with #7 Navarro. The last rough stretch they have comes in mid-April when they play four against #3 Cisco, four against #5 Grayson, finishing with another game with #7 Navarro.

#9 Blinn (37-17)

Despite being a young team, Blinn shows a lot of promise both on the mound and in the field. Their core group of guys in the field will be Soph. OF Reggie McCalister (Uncommitted), Soph INF Jake Miller (Uncommitted), Soph INF Cameron Gibbons (Uncommitted), Soph Gray Rodgers (Uncommitted), and Soph Catcher Alec Sanchez (Uncommitted). On the mound they will have a bunch of lefties that are going to have huge impacts for them in R-Fr LHP Richard Gilbert (UTSA Commit), Soph LHP  Ryan Day (Colorado Mesa Commit), Soph LHP Eli Reichmann (Uncommitted) and Soph LHP Brice Armistead (Uncommitted).

Looking at the Bucs schedule they have tough games spread all throughout their season. Starting with #7 Navarro, #17 Temple, #14 Coastal Bend and then #4 Howard. In the middle of March, they will play a 3 game series with #1 San Jac, then travel straight up to Waco and play #2 McLennan. They will end the season with a four-games series against #1 San Jac, before hopefully heading off to the regionals.

#10 Odessa (34-25)

Odessa has some big-time guys look to make some noise on that year’s team. Starting on the offensive side, they have Soph OF Kyler Castillo (Uncommitted), Soph INF Angel Torres (Western Carolina Commit), and Soph INF Harry Fullerton (New Mexico Commit) leading the way for them, along with many others. On the mound they are just as impressive and will look to Soph RHP John Bridgeman (Uncommitted), Soph LHP Marc Luna (uncommitted) and Soph RHP Noah Bartlett (Uncommitted) to carry the weight..

Another team that is starting off hot, three of their first four games are against top 10 teams in #4 Howard, #7 Navarro, and #1 San Jac. The next tough stretch will come at the end of the month when they play back to back series against #8 Weatherford and #3 Cisco. They then have a tough stretch in the middle of April when they have a series against #4 Howard, #13 Midland, and out of state NMJC.

#11 Panola (37-20)

Panola will have a tough schedule with quality competition spread all throughout. In early February they will nationally ranked Eastern Oklahoma, then travel to Carthage to take on #14 Coastal Bend. The next test will be in early March when they play #16 Paris (three times), #6 Tyler and #12 Northeast Texas (three times). Then again in April they will play #6 Tyler, #16 Paris (three times), nationally ranked LSU-Eunice, #12 Northeast Texas (three times), #24 Angelina (three times), and #7 Navarro (three times), which has the potential to decide who will take the number one seed from their half of the region.

+ Fall Scout Notes

#12 Northeast Texas (35-22)

Northeast starts the season off with nationally ranked opponents #18 Cowley and #27 Eastern Oklahoma. In Mid-March they have their toughest stretch where they play #11 Panola (three times), Eastern Oklahoma, and #24 Angelina.

#13 Midland (37-22)

The Chaps schedule is very front-loaded, starting off with #2 McLennan for a three-game series. then at the end of the month take on Seward County. Their next street comes in March where they have two-midweek games against #10 Odessa and NMJC. then they will have New Mexico Military come to town for a weekend series before taking on Howard in a four-game home at home series. Their last test will come in mid-April when they take on #4 Howard, NMJC (five times), Western Texas and #10 Odessa (four times).

#14 Coastal Bend (35-22)

Coastal Bend plays an extremely tough schedule. In February alone they play #1 San Jac, Laredo (twice), #11 Panola (three times), #9 Blinn (twice), nationally ranked LSU-Eunice (three times), Western Oklahoma (three times), and end with #19 Galveston. The rest of their season consists of #8 Weatherford (twice), LSU-Eunice (three times), #1 San Jac, #9 Blinn (twice), and #6 Tyler (seven times).

#15 Eastfield (38-14)

Eastfield starts the season off with games against Jarvis Christian before heading into a two game series with #27 North Central. Their two toughest series will be against #22 Brookhaven at the end of February and then again in the in the middle of April.  

#16 Paris (21-32)

Paris will play Nationally Ranked Ellsworth and LSU-Eunice to start off the season. Then just a week later will take on another Nationally ranked opponent in Cowley. Their next tough stretch comes in early/mid-March when they play #11 Panola (three times), #15 Eastfield, #7 Navarro (three times), and #1 San Jac.

#17 Temple (36-25)

Temple has an interesting schedule when it comes to when they play opponents. Being in their conference means they play some of the top teams in the state every week. There two biggest series will be at the end of March when they play #2 McLennan (four times) and then at the end of the season in May when they play #3 Cisco.

#18 Ranger (23-29)

They have two tough stretches during the season. The first comes at the end of March (3/20-3/30) where they will play both #3 Cisco and #5 Grayson 4 times each. The next tough stretch comes at the end of the season where two of their last 3 Series come against top-ranked teams in #2 McLennan and #8 Weatherford

#19 Galveston (23-33)

The Whitecaps have two tough stretches during the season and both happen to involve most of the same teams. At the end of February and beginning of March, they play #14 Coastal Bend, #8 Blinn (three times) and #1 San Jac (three times). Then at the end of April, they play #8 Blinn (four times), Baton Rouge (twice), and then finish with #1 San Jac.

#20 Frank Phillips (19-36)

Frank Phillips big series are spread out throughout the season. At the beginning of March, they take on #10 Odessa. Then at the end of the month, they will take on NMJC. The next big series they have is at the end of the season where they take on #4 Howard.

#21 Clarendon-(34-20)

#22 Brookhaven-(33-20)

#23 Alvin-(30-27)

#24 Angelina-(28-26)

#25 Wharton-(21-34)


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