2021 HBCU Baseball Breakout Candidates

Black College Nines ranks the top breakout candidates to watch in HBCU baseball for the 2021 season. These players were on a breakout path before the 2020 season was cut short. As we near another exciting HBCU season, it’s always interesting to delve into which ballplayers had the most impressive offseason, and which pitchers or hitters have the best shot to breakout and take the next step in their respective careers in the coming months.

Below is our list of breakout candidates for the upcoming season who could take the next step on the national stage. It is a list of players whose names you may very well know by heart by the end of the season.

No matter the scenario, they’re all players worth watching this spring…

Lane College

Thomas Arias Right Handed Pitcher/Outfielder. Has shown next level stuff. Recorded 14 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched in the 2020 shortened season. His numbers will improved across the board this year given a full season. Better than talked about changeup to go with a good fastball



Southern University

Joe Battaglia, Right Handed Pitcher. A 6-foot-3, 240-pounder, the talented righty can fit in as a starter or out of the pen in relief appearances. Uses every square inch of the strike zone while showing off a good and developing mid-80s curveball.



Prairie View A&M University

Brayden Johnson, Outfielder. Prior to the 2020 season being cancelled, he led the team in batting average and was putting together a potential SWAC Freshman of the Year-type campaign. He led the team in hits, doubles and RBI as well, and flashed not only as a threat on the base paths but also as a solid defender with a .944 fielding percentage. If he cuts down on his strikeouts, he can be a real player.

Jackson Hydorn, Catcher. Perhaps the most impressive hitter during fall, his only issue is that he plays behind a senior catcher. If he gets a chances, he could pay dividends. Flashed some power.




Grambling State University 

Marc Luna, Left Handed Pitcher. Luna was a highly regarded prospect coming out of high school and was working his way in the rotation as one of the focal points of the Tigers’ pitching staff. In four games started during the shortened 2020 season he recorded 23 strikeouts in 21.0 innings pitched. Just imagine what Luna could do in a full season.



Texas Southern University

Kamron Fields, Right Handed Pitcher. Transfer from the University of Texas. As a junior in 2020 shortened season, in five innings pitched struck out five batters and walked two. In a scoreless inning against Cal State Fullerton in final appearance of the season, pitched two hitless innings with two strikeouts against Missouri. Ready to make a name for himself in head coach Michael Robertson’s pitching rotation.


Savannah State University

Christian Harkey, Right Handed Pitcher. What he did makes the Tigers all the more excited to have him at the back end of their bullpen. Harkey can pitch in any high-leverage situations for much of the excitement, has a curveball and changeup that he can throw for swings-and-misses.



Norfolk State University

James Deloatch, Left Handed Pitcher. The redshirt sophomore, in 2019 as a freshman contributed as a pitcher and outfielder, had scoreless appearances vs. James Madison University (one inning) and North Carolina Central (one-third of an inning) to start the season. Also drove in a run coming off the bench at James Madison. His showing this season will help shore up Norfolk pitching. 


Tuskegee University

Cyree Broughton, Outfielder. The only freshman to make the list. Keep an eye on Broughton. The utility player, when he takes to the mound, becomes a force of nature with a high-spin changeup sitting around 84 mph that leads to pop-outs. At the plate smacking the ball to all fields, expects to crack the starting line up.



Florida Memorial University 

Malik Shinozaki, Outfield. Above average defensively. Has gotten bigger and stronger, expect offensive numbers to get better this spring. Will earn the everyday job in the outfield and could get handed keys to the lead-off spot. 


Johnikeal Acosta, Right Handed Pitcher. Has worked very hard all summer and fall. His velocity improved this off-season. Command has improved. If he can stay healthy, has the potential to be one of the better arms in the conference. Look forward to seeing Johnikeal compete in 2021.


Jackson State University

Chandler Dillard, Outfielder. Dillard played in 16 games with starts in all 16 games last season. All he did during the shortened season was 26 hits in 61 at bats for a batting average of .426 slugging percentage of .541, 16 runs scored, 1 double, 3 triples, 7 runs batted in and 11 stolen bases. Imagine the number with a full season.



Honorable Mention:

Tuskegee University – Devon Shaw

Florida Memorial University – Rohandry Javier 

Grambling State University – Jeremy Almaguer


2 comments for “2021 HBCU Baseball Breakout Candidates

  1. Actually… Ron McGhee will be featured in an upcoming story on HBCU’s top catchers.

  2. I don’t know how Ron McGhee from Tuskegee University could be left off this list. He is one of the top catchers in college baseball. Very few base runners attempted to steal on him as a catcher, and those who did mostly failed. In the shortened 2020 season, McGhee batted .357. He batted over .340 in a competitive summer league over the summer, hitting six homers. McGhee has the tools to make it to the next level.

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