Black College Nines has digested this year’s incoming freshman crop from Historically Black College and University (HBCU) baseball programs, weighing their fall ball performances and the impact each could have on his team this year. Based upon these factors, below we identify ten freshmen impact players for 2018…
Dillon Oxyer, Infielder – University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Oxyer hails from Chesapeake High School, where he was First-Team All-County, three-time All-Star selection and helped lead his Cougar team to back-to-back state title games. He will receive significant playing time in the infield for the Hawks this season
Calvin Rucker, OF – Prairie View A&M University
Rucker, from Tampa, Florida has demonstrated tremendous power at the plate, as well as being a good defender. Expected to make big impacts on the team this year.
Dominick Lawson, LHP – Kentucky State University
Lawson is expected to make a significant contribution for the KY State Thorobreds. A 2017 Second-Team All-State Selection, Lawson is a left-handed pitcher/outfielder who will be in the starting rotation for the Thorobreds. He will also contribute as a left-handed power-hitter projected as an extra outfielder or designated hitter.
DeJuan Griffin, RHP – Harris Stowe State University
DeJuan has a chance to be the Hornets go to guy on the mound this spring out of the bullpen. Home grown from the St. Louis, Missouri area. He was highly recommended to HSSU by his summer baseball coach. Throws submarine style and has done a great job this fall keeping hitters uncomfortable. His playing time will be based on how many strikes he can throw, but he will play a major role out of the bullpen.
Pedro De Los Rios, RHP – Florida A&M University
De Los Rios will be the number two starter for the Rattlers. His fastball topped out at 90 mph in fall ball and he has command of three pitches. De Los Rios has a good feel for his breaking ball and is comfortable throwing it in any count. He will also change arm slots on all his pitches to give hitters different looks. He will make an immediate impact this year.
Derek Lohr, INF – Coppin State University
Finished third in batting this fall, with an opportunity to start at shortstop as a true freshman. Has pro-type abilities. Big strong mature frame with quick, short powerful stroke. Makes all the routine defensive plays and the occasional tough play look easy, primarily because of his plus 90 mph throws across the infield.
DJ Stiles, RHP – Selma University
Hard-throwing local pitcher from Selma, Alabama. Stiles’ fastball touches high 80s-90 mph. He will get lots of innings this year and is expected to do great things.
Marcos Castillo, OF – Coppin State University
Led all hitters in batting this fall with a .536 average. Has “gold glove” abilities defensively because of his exceptional reads of the ball off the bat. His strong, quick hands allows him to hit with power to all fields and he’s emerging as a disciplined hitter. Was an all-district first-team performer at Stony Point High School in Round Rock, TX. Was in some conversation last summer among baseball scouts as a possible MLB 2017 Draft selection.
Keilin Washington, OF – Edward Waters College
Washington will fill the role of a starting outfielder with speed and great baseball awareness. His skills will allow him to step in and contribute right away. Washington hails from Jacksonville, Florida.
Anthony Rodriguez, LHP – North Carolina A&T University
Rodriguez had a great fall. He has an assortment of pitches that he can throw for strikes. He really competes and has a bulldog mentality. Will start weekend and mid-week games for the Aggies.
Other Notables (Large School):
RHP Chris Levere – University of Maryland Eastern Shore, LHP Ethan Chavis North Carolina A&T University, RHP Jason Jenkins North Carolina A&T University, RHP Jacob Gilbreath Texas Southern, SS Noah Orlando Savannah State University, Juan Lugo, SS Savannah State University, RHP Jose Figueroa – Alabama A&M.
Other Notables (Small School):
Jarren Norman RHP Virginia State University, Justin Nase OF Virginia State University,