Who are the breakout JUCO arms to know before Opening Day?
January 25, 2024
The ‘Hotlist’ is a series that provides weekly insight into the high school baseball scene spanning the country, curated by Prep Baseball’s state directors who are situated nationwide, with vital intel on the prospects who are in their own backyards. Each week, we’ll publish our ‘Hotlist’ on varying topics that are timeliest to the national baseball calendar at that point in time.
This week’s topic: The 2024 NJCAA season begins at the Division I level on Friday, Jan. 26. With that, let's celebrate by sharing some need-to-know prospects in the JUCO ranks and/or which teams you think will be representing each state at the DI, DII, or DIII World Series at the end of May.
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+ Read about previously published ‘Hotlist’ topics here.
The following story is actually the second part of the week’s Hotlist; we highlighted the top JUCO hitters on Wednesday. Today, we’re onto the top pitchers in the JUCO ranks ahead of Friday’s season openers at the DI and DII levels nationwide.
♨️ The ‘Hotlist’ (1/25)
+ Drew Pestka, RHP, John A. Logan (IL), Tennessee commit | (Carterville HS, 2022):
“From being an undervalued 18th round pick (Reds) last July to showing Day One potential in September, that pretty much sums up Pestka's performance on the second day of the Puma Classic.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound right-hander buzzed fuzz to the plate, topping at 99 mph on a couple of occasions, while sitting mostly 95-97. It’s not a heavy heater, but one with enough weight and control to miss barrels. There’s also a good possibility that even more velocity will come soon. Pestka also showed two distinct breaking balls, the best of which was a tight-spinning 78-80 mph curveball measured at around 2,700 rpm – and it flashed plus on the pro scale. His 84-86 mph slider was at least average on occasion with sweep and spin in the 2,500 rpm range. As a fourth pitch, Petska released an 89 mph changeup that is in an early stage of development. The last time a JUCO arm combined this velocity, command, and secondary offerings was Jacob Misiorowoski (Crowder), a second-round pick by the Brewers in 2022 who's since elevated himself into one of the top right-handed pitching prospects in the game.”
– David Seifert, Director of College Scouting