HBCU Prospects Could Shine In The 2018 MLB Draft

The first round of the 2018 Major League Baseball player draft will get underway tonight with the 40th round finishing up on Wednesday, June 6th. The draft will be held in Secaucus, New Jersey. Last year, eight players from Historically Black College and University’s (HBCU) were drafted.

MLB Network on Twitter

They started simply as names. Now, they’re World Series champions. The #MLBDraft begins tonight on MLB Network and https://t.co/X66ltgHVGH. https://t.co/eOAwb2Xvrn

Demetrius Sims from Bethune Cookman University was the first HBCU player taken in the 2017 draft in Round 14 (No. 419).

Black College Nines on Twitter

HBCU Baseball: Bethune Cookman Demetrius Sims, First HBCU Player Taken In 2017 MLB Draft

According to Black College Nines, which highlights some of the top HBCU prospects in the 2018 draft class based on scouting information, the five top candidates to be drafted tonight will also be part of one of the deepest HBCU pro draft pools in recent history. 

1.
Marshawn Taylor, SS, Grambling State University

In 2017, Grambling State shortstop Marshawn Taylor swept the  Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) awards winning Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. 

GSU Athletics on Twitter

Marshawn Taylor with the RBI as Grambling State ties the game at 1 https://t.co/IVbx7HTzgv

The speedy Taylor led the conference in batting average last season. The redshirt junior totaled a .397 average, and also tied for the league lead with 77 hits and drove in 36 RBIs.  Taylor also had stellar numbers in SWAC play, totaling a .407 batting average which ranked fourth-best among all players against league opposition and tied for first with 39 hits while delivering 25 RBIs in SWAC contests.

2.
Ray Hernandez, INF, Alabama State University

Hernandez is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound First-Team All-SWAC third baseman with crazy power. This season he hit .379 with 11 homers and 45 RBI in 50 games played. 

Ray Hernndez Alabama State vs South Alabama Homerun

Homerun Vs South Alabama at Florida State Regional

3. Kamren Dukes, OF, Texas Southern \University

Kamren Dukes of Texas Southern was voted the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player and Hitter of the Year, as the league announced its 2018 baseball postseason honors on Monday.  

Dukes, a Pearland, Texas native, led the SWAC in batting average this season at .394, runs scored (57), and hits (84).  The senior also racked up 40 RBIs, which ranked eighth. His 84 hits ranks third nationally.

Black College Nines on Twitter

HBCU Baseball: Large School Player of the Year – Kamren Dukes (Texas Southern University) https://t.co/ZTzsnRSrHZ

In conference play, Dukes was fourth in batting average (.448), scored 26 runs, totaled 46 hits and 32 RBIs to help lead the Tigers to a West Division Title. He also has an active streak of 34 straight games with a hit.

4. Anthony Maldonado, RHP, Bethune-Cookman University

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound sophomore has posted a 15-6 record with 135 Ks in 150 inning over the past two seasons. The 20-year-old is expected to get drafted and hopefully will be taking the mound in an MLB stadium in the near future. 

5. Jose Tirado, OF, Jackson State University

Jose Tirado of Jackson State was voted the Relief Pitcher of the Year.  Tirado finished the regular season with a 2.78 ERA, which ranked first on the Tigers. The senior from San Juan, Puerto Rico also led Jackson State in opposing batting average (.170), saves (13) and was second on the team in strikeouts (67). His 13 saves also ranked first in the SWAC.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.