Josh Day entered the spring as one of the top position players in the junior college ranks.
The second-year shortstop at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi is an intriguing prospect for June’s MLB draft due to his combination of power and speed.
With the shortened spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic and the draft going from 40 rounds to just five, it’s not a guarantee that Day will be selected in the draft. But Day is hopeful that he will hear his name called, especially due to his intangibles and strong understanding of the game.
“I know it’s a gamble,” said Day, a Missouri commit. “I feel like I am good enough to get drafted in the top five rounds. If it doesn’t happen, it’s just a sign from God that he doesn’t want me to go yet. Hopefully it is this year. But if not, I will go to Mizzou and just keep working hard and trying to win there.”
Last season, Day hit .333 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBIs as a freshman in 41 games. He also notched a .485 on-base percentage and stole 13 bases.
In an abbreviated season this spring, Day hit .267 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 15 games. He also posted a .393 on-base percentage.
“I was making solid contact,” Day said. “I was hitting the ball well. I think as the season progressed, I would have gotten better. I think it would’ve been a good season. I could feel it. Those first couple games, I was much more comfortable on the field offensively and defensively.”
Day, who is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, is more of a line-drive hitter who has the potential to add power in the future due to his size and strength. He also is an above-average runner who has the speed to be disruptive on the bases.
Day’s above-average speed also helps him defensively at shortstop. He has solid arm strength that will allow him to profile at multiple positions in the pro ranks.
In his two years at Copiah-Lincoln, Day has played shortstop. He committed 24 errors for a .867 fielding percentage last year but spent the offseason refining his defensive skills in hopes of showing growth this season. He committed five errors for a .904 fielding percentage this spring.
This season, Day also focused on improving his approach at the plate after striking out 33 times compared to drawing 24 walks in 132 at-bats last season. Although it was a shortened season, Day showed glimpses of a better approach, as he drew six walks while recording five strikeouts in 45 at-bats.
“I was seeing the ball well and was just not swinging at bad pitches,” Day said. “I was much more comfortable at the plate and taking more pitches. When I swung, I made sure I was making solid contact. I cut down on a lot of those strikeouts.”
Two players have been drafted and signed out of Copiah-Lincoln in the program’s history. Nook Logan signed with the Detroit Tigers in 2000 and Kolby Byrd was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
Although Day is hopefully to hear his named called, he isn’t trying to focus on the draft. Instead, he is working on improving his skills in preparation for either pro ball this summer or his junior season at Missouri in the fall.
“I just want to continue to get stronger and faster,” Day said. “I’ve been working on my skill set, like ground balls and making tough plays.”
Read a profile on Josh Day from earlier this year on his development into a draft prospect here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.