Janson Junk was taken in the 22nd round in the 2017 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Drafted out of Seattle University, Junk seemed to figure things out in his last season with the Redhawks —posting a 4.21 ERA.
Junk was an intriguing prospect because of his progression throughout his college career, along with his power arm.
Junk started his career in the Gulf Coast League working out of the bullpen and was impressive during his outings. In 12.2 innings pitched, he posted a 0.71 ERA and only one earned run. Despite being a starter throughout college, his move to the bullpen showed versatility in his first year of pro ball.
The main gripe within his first year, however, was the number of runners on base. Within those 12.2 innings pitched, Junk posted a 1.74 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .302. Despite the number of baserunners, he showed the ability to work out of high leverage jams.
Janson Junk started the 2018 season with the Charleston Riverdogs where he was able to work his way into the rotation. He pitched well in the South Atlantic League, starting 15 games, posting a 3.77 ERA. Junk’s ability to eat innings was effective for the Riverdogs, and he even made two appearances out of the bullpen during the season.
In 2018, Junk was able to cut down on both his WHIP (1.28) and his opponent batting average (.245) and against higher competition — a massive improvement from the inflated numbers in rookie ball.
Junk has a lean frame standing at 6’1 and weighing 177 pounds. Despite his skinny build, Junk has a live arm — with a fastball that tops out at 99 mph. His delivery appears to be short-armed, but much of the strength is generated with his bottom half.
The 22-year-old needs to work on cutting down on walks (3.16 BB/9 in 2018) and generating more swings and misses to help improve his development. His live arm and strong mechanics show promise. By adding weight to his frame, it will help generate more consistent velocity on his pitches.
Look for Junk to begin the season in Charleston, but do not be surprised if he makes it to Tampa at some point during the season.