Joshua Kuroda-Grauer makes strides during junior year

Joshua Kuroda-Grauer made significant strides as a junior at Rutgers this spring. The right-handed hitting shortstop demonstrated an enhanced ability to impact the baseball while maintaining his strong plate discipline. This refined approach at the plate resulted in a stellar .428 batting average over 53 games, placing him second in the nation, just behind Georgia’s Charlie Condon, who boasts a .445 average and is the top-ranked prospect for the 2024 MLB draft.

Kuroda-Grauer has consistently improved during his three years at Rutgers after being underrecruited out of high school in New Jersey. His success, skill set and potential on the diamond have captured the attention of scouts. Kuroda-Grauer is a promising prospect for July’s draft, with projections placing him as a likely early-round pick.

“It’s a very proud feeling,” Kuroda-Grauer said. “Coming where I’m from and not a big baseball town to being in the position I am to show younger kids from my town that it is possible. Knowing the amount of work I’ve put in, it’s a really proud feeling just because this is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I was 4 years old.”

Kuroda-Grauer is a 6-foot, 195-pound right-handed hitting shortstop known for his well-rounded toolset.

Offensively, Kuroda-Grauer uses an upright stance with simple mechanics and a quick swing to produce line drives. Kuroda-Grauer hardly ever swings and misses and rarely strikes out. He boasts strong bat-to-ball skills with an advanced approach and strong pitch recognition. He is also athletic and a threat to steal bases.

“The biggest thing for me is my controlled aggression,” Kuroda-Grauer said. “One reason I don’t strikeout is because I’m ready to swing early in the count. That’s one game that has grown a lot is understanding the game, understanding different counts and what pitchers are going to throw. I am ready to hit the fastball, take balls and keep it simple.”

Joshua Kuroda-Grauer
Photo of Joshua Kuroda-Grauer courtesy Rutgers athletics.

Kuroda-Grauer didn’t hit for much power in his three years at Rutgers, recording five home runs this spring. But he has room to add strength to his frame and scouts believe Kuroda-Grauer has the potential to hit double-digit home runs in pro ball.

“I want to see growth in the power aspect,” Kuroda-Grauer said. “I’ve never really been a big power guy. I’m more of a line-drive guy who gets on base and lets the big dogs drive me in. But I feel like the commitment I had this year in the weight room and my goals and aspirations of wanting to be a big leaguer, I know how important that is, so that’s something I want to keep up with is getting stronger.”

Defensively, Kuroda-Grauer has the potential to remain at shortstop in pro ball. His athleticism allows him to move well and cover plenty of ground at the position. He has average arm strength, which causes some scouts to envision him moving off shortstop as time passes.

Kuroda-Grauer has quality position versatility. During his college career, he played shortstop, first base, second base and all three outfield spots.

Kuroda-Grauer has developed into an impact player in his three years at Rutgers. This spring, he recorded a .428 batting average with 19 doubles, five home runs, 45 RBIs and 24 RBIs in 258 at-bats. He also had 23 walks compared to 18 strikeouts.

Due to his development throughout college, Kuroda-Grauer is in a position to be a top-five-round pick in July’s draft. It would mark just the third Rutgers player drafted in the first five rounds since Todd Razier went in the first round in 2007. Outfielder Ryan Lasko was a second-round pick last year.

“My team at Rutgers has been unbelievable,” Kuroda-Grauer said. “The coaches I’ve had in my three years and all I’ve learned from them have been great. Then the great players I’ve played with and taught me, and watching them work has helped me a lot.”

Read more in-depth stories on top 2024 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

Video of Joshua Kuroda-Grauer.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today,, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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