Junior College prospects are part of the reason why the average sports fan can’t get into the MLB draft. Seeing your team select a player from Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) would be pretty confusing for the average sports fan that knows only about the SEC, Big 10, and the ACC.
But for draft junkies, JUCO is a lot of fun, and we know that there is a lot of talent coming from these schools. Below is a summary of how the well the Mets drafted from the JUCO ranks in 2017.
Jose Sierra, LHP (23rd Round, 697th overall)
Sierra pitched just 3.2 innings in 2017 at Monroe Community College according to Baseball Cube, and it wasn’t pretty allowing six runs on 10 walks though he did strike out eight. Unfortunately, he didn’t improve his control much in pro ball, pitching 12 innings, striking out 10 and walking 14, and was released in September.
Gavin Garay, 1B (26th Round, 787th overall)
Garay went the 4-2-4 route, going from St. John’s to St. Petersburg College before getting selected by the Mets in the 26th round in 2017 and signing for $75,000. The right-hander had a solid 2017 season at St. Petersburg, slashing .357/.402/.568 with five home runs in 185 at-bats.
His first season in affiliated ball was unremarkable (.662 OPS for Kingsport), but after repeating a year with the Kingsport Mets went much better, slashing .329/.364/.586 in 70 at-bats. Garay has above average power and an average hit tool, but the approach is a work in progress, given the 4/17 BB/K ratio. Garay is a below average fielder and runner but passable for first. Physically maxed out at 6’2 200. He will probably start out in Columbia, but another year in extended and the playing for Brooklyn is not out of the picture for the 21-year-old.
Kyle Wilson, RHP (35th Round, 1057th overall)
Originally drafted by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2015 draft, Wilson decided to go to Crowder Community College instead. Things didn’t quite work out as well as he planned, as he red-shirted his first year, before pitching just eight innings in 2016 with a 9.72 ERA and went undrafted.
The Missouri native a much more successful year in 2017, pitching 39.2 innings with a 58/23 K/BB ratio. He enjoyed a fine 2018 season with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, posting a 3.86 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 9.89 K/9 over 11 starts and 53.2 innings.
In his professional career, Wilson has thrown 71.2 innings with 78 strikeouts and 21 walks. Wilson received a healthy $270,000 signing bonus for a 35th round pick.
Wilson has a low 90s fastball with natural sink from his ¾ arm slot, and grades out as average. He complements this with a curve in the high 70’s, which he occasionally has trouble with but also grades out as average. His command was below average in college but has made significant strides in his professional career. Should be in Columbia next year, with a shot at St. Lucie given his age. Projects as a bullpen arm.
Robby Kidwell, C/1B- (36th Round, 1087th overall)
The Maryland native hit only .146/.215/.192 in 41 games between the GCL and Kingsport Mets before being released earlier this year. Not exactly what his .325/.400/.530 slash line at Brunswick Community College suggested.