JUCO (community college/junior college) baseball remains one of the most practical and affordable college baseball options for prospective college players of varying talents and backgrounds. As we detail in our recently updated four-part series linked below, JUCO baseball offers players the opportunity to develop and work towards a degree for a fraction of the cost of most 4-year schools.
Why go the JUCO Route?
There is no singular reason why players choose the JUCO route, but the idea that 2-year programs are only for those with poor grades or low skill level has long been put to rest.
For players with no 4-year options, players who want to remain draft eligible, players who need a cheaper alternative, players who want to live at home, or players who fall short of their 4-year college baseball goals out of high school, and many other reasons, community college baseball offers up to 2 additional years (3 if you include a red-shirt year) of development and the opportunity to establish a more clear academic and athletic vision. If this makes it seem like JUCO is a backup option to 4-year schools, let us be perfectly clear that it should not be viewed in this way. The JUCO route is a great path to take, both on the field and in the classroom.
JUCO Baseball: A 4-Year Pipeline
As we discuss in The Growing Influence of the JUCO Pipeline, there has been an increasing number of players using the JUCO route as a springboard to 4-year programs. With the competitive level of JUCO baseball on the rise, and the transfer portal creating more competition for open spots, it’s important for recruits wanting to use JUCO baseball as a stepping stone to a 4-year program to plan, prepare, and research before showing up on campus. Below we cover some of the basics and offer additional resources to support your planning process.
Academic and Transfer Planning
If you want to be part of the group that keeps playing baseball when your two years of JUCO ball are over, it’s important that you have an academic and transfer plan starting on day 1 at your 2-year program. There is a big difference between transfer requirements and eligibility requirements and you’ll want to be educated on these differences so you take the right classes to move on.
With resources like College Baseball Insights (CBI), it’s become much easier to see which JUCO programs are having success sending players to 4-year programs, and where these players are landing. In fact, CBI’s JUCO Pipeline has done that work for you. At a minimum, you should ask JUCO coaches at the programs you are considering about their success rates for sending players to the next level and the specific programs and levels where current alumni are playing. Are they sending guys to a broad range of schools and levels? Do they send all their guys to the same schools? Do they send guys to the type of school you ultimately want to end up at? Make sure you do your research and know before you go!
Show Up Prepared
“I’m going to a JUCO so I get a lot of playing time.” Famous last words for many JUCO players who assumed just because it was a 2-year program that they would be guaranteed playing time. Prepare for a highly competitive environment and show up ready to compete.
This article is meant to help you start planning your JUCO journey. Below we’ve included some of our best resources for the JUCO bound player. The information is all there, but the work is up to you. Start your planning today!