Prep Baseball Report




Notre Dame
Moeller (HS) • OH
6' 4" • 215LBS
R/R • 26yr 10mo


2016 National

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2016 State

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6-foot-3, 185-pound right-handed pitcher. Looks the part. Just needs to put it all together at this stage. Fastball sat 85-86 mph with some sink to it, but needs to continue developing command in the zone. Breaking ball shows 72-74 mph break. When he puts it all together, Junker can be one of the top prospects in Ohio's Class of 2016.

6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect with tall, lanky frame. Carries himself well. Projects as one of the top arms in Ohio's class of 2016. Throws from a high 3/4 arm slot with long arm action. Shows quickness in his arm. Good direction to his delivery and throws downhill. Fastball sat at 82-83 mph with some sink to it. Breaking ball showed tight spin and late 11/5 action, but needs to continue developing command. Changeup was thrown at 76-77 mph with some sink to it.

8-1-2018: He’s a physical 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander with a good fastball and feel to spin his slider, and he has tantalized the coaching staff at Notre Dame with his potential during his first two seasons on campus. But one thing was holding him back from putting it all together: the mental part of the game.

“Like every Notre Dame kid, he’s a really intelligent kid,” Notre Dame pitching coach Chuck Ristano said early this year. “Sometimes that brain is your best weapon; sometimes it paralyzes you.”

It’s obvious when you speak with Junker that he’s very bright, and that he’s dedicated to his craft. And he has made big strides each of the last two summers with the Plymouth Pilgrims in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, where he has gone 6-1, 2.33 with 46 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42.1 innings this summer, earning him the start in the league’s all-star game Sunday in Holyoke. That’s a huge jump from the spring, when Junker flashed potential but battled his command, going 1-4, 8.74 with 41 strikeouts but 25 walks in 35 innings.

“This spring it was just kind of confidence. I’d sometimes have confidence, and I’d sometimes go out there unsure of myself,” Junker said. “This summer has helped me push myself, and I’ve been going six innings pretty much every start, working my way through the highs, through the lows — more highs this summer than lows. But it’s really just been a grind, sticking to the process, working the bullpens, getting the flat work in, and just sticking to my routine.”

Ristano and Junker both said his fastball command held him back in the past, which is why it was striking to watch Junker spot up to all four quadrants of the plate with his 91-92 fastball during his 1-2-3 inning in the all-star game. He struck out leadoff man Steve Pasatiempo with a perfectly placed 92 mph heater on the outside corner, then got Jarron Robinson to chase an elevated 92 heater, and was robbed of a third strikeout when the umpire squeezed him on a perfectly placed fastball on the inside corner one batter later (he settled for a groundout to short). Junker has been up to 93 regularly at Notre Dame and in the NECBL, and he has found some success with a slow, deliberate delivery, letting his arm strength do the work.

Junker also showed excellent feel for a 78-80 slider with good late bite, throwing it for a called strike and getting swing-and-misses with it in his efficient inning of work. His 85-86 changeup is too firm and remains a work in progress, but it’s been a point of emphasis for him this summer, and it’s making progress.

“My slider honestly has always been my go-to pitch. Any count I feel comfortable throwing it in,” Junker said. “The changeup has really come along this summer, I’ve gotten a lot of swings and misses on it, it’s moving really well. That’s gonna be the difference in my development and difference in my career as a baseball player.” (A Fitt)

8-2-2018: Fastball consistently 90-93 mph with good command and a tight slider at 78-80 mph. In two innings of relief he gave up two hits with two strikeouts. Clean and projectable arm action from his 6’4 wide frame. Could still add more strength in the upper body without compromising his range of motion. He has displayed improved command throughout the summer and is making a strong case to be a breakout performer in the spring of 2019.  (D Jurik)

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