Josh Day wasn’t a sought after baseball prospect coming out of Adams County Christian High (Miss.) in 2018. Day had just two junior college offers and signed with Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi.
The lack of college attention motivated Day. He thrived as a freshman and added significant weight to his frame at Copiah-Lincoln last season.
His success as a freshman and physical maturation caused professional scouts to take notice. In less than a two-year span, Day has gone from not being on the radar of major league teams to one of the top junior college prospects in June’s MLB draft.
Day, a shortstop prospect, has worked out for multiple teams this winter and projects as a top-five round prospect entering the spring.
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.
“It’s really crazy,” Day said. “I never expected to be in this position that I am in right now. But I am just enjoying it. I enjoy being watched. I know every move I make people are watching, so I guess I enjoy all the attention I’m getting.”
Last season, Day hit .333 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 31 RBIs as a freshman. He also notched a .485 on-base percentage and stole 13 bases.
Besides his production on the field, Day dedicated significant time to the weight room. He has added 20 pounds to his frame since starting his collegiate career and currently measures at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds.
He’s more of a line-drive hitter but his size gives him solid power potential. He also is an above-average runner who has the speed to be disruptive on the bases.
“My biggest strength is hitting because I think I can hit pretty good,” Day said. “It was tough when I first got here with adjusting to the higher velocity. I wasn’t really used to powerful, fast pitching. I had to make a big adjustment.”
Day has quieted down his swing in his time at Copiah-Lincoln. He still has room to grow in terms of his plate discipline and hopes to show a better approach this spring. Last season, he struck out 33 times and drew 24 walks in 173 plate appearances.
“I need to cut down on some strikeouts,” Day said. “I chased quite a bit of pitches, so I’ve tried to be more selective and take walks. A lot of people will probably try to pitch around me, so I’m going to take my walks.”
Day’s above-average speed and arm strength will allow him to profile at multiple positions in the pro ranks. He committed 24 errors for a .867 fielding percentage at shortstop last year, but spent the offseason refining his defensive skills in hopes of showing growth this season.
He believes he can stick at shortstop long term, especially if he shows a more mature approach this season, he said.
“I can get to most balls that most people can’t get to, I think,” Day said. “I can make those tough plays that it takes to win ball games.”
Copiah-Lincoln begins its season against Mineral Area College (Mo.) on Feb. 15.
This season will determine Day’s next step in his baseball career. He’s committed to the University of Missouri, after selecting the Tigers over multiple Division I offers, and likely will have the option to embark on a pro career this summer.
Although he said the pro attention brings “a little pressure,” he’s focused on having a strong sophomore campaign this spring.
“I want to hit more home runs and have a higher batting average and hit .400 and hit 10 bombs or something like that,” Day said. “I just want to win more ball games as a team and put the team first and let whatever happen, happen.”
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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.