School: Cal Poly Pomona; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-5; Weight: 235
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: One of the more talked about – and subsequently hyped – Division II prospects over the past couple seasons, Ponce, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, has been a steady force in the Broncos’ rotation this season. After dealing with his some minor shoulder issues earlier this season, Ponce has bounced back to post a 67-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go along with a 1.44 ERA in 62.1 innings.
The hard-throwing hurler opened up his career as a part-time starter/closer for Cal Poly Pomona, fanning 43 and walking eight in 48.1 innings of work. His production declined dramatically the following season – he fanned 52 and walked 29 in 75.0 innings – but still managed to earn a trip to the premier summer league – Cape Cod.
Ponce fared well during his first exposure against an elite level of competition during his stint with the Brewster WhiteCaps: he tallied a 33-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 35 innings.
Projection: So this is where it gets tricky – sort of. Ponce has enough talent to compete – and succeed – against some of the best collegiate talent in nation as evidenced by his work in the Cape Cod, where he also earned a nod as one of the league’s All-Stars. The problem, however, is that in three years at a suboptimal level – Division II – Ponce has never really stood out above the rest in terms of production.
His control is solid-average but has wavered at times. When he’s at his best he’ll miss about one bat per inning. But, again, he’s not facing the likes of Stanford, LSU, Oregon, Arizona, Vanderbilt, etc…
Ignoring the shoulder issues he dealt with early this season, there’s definitely some risk with Ponce.
He could very easily – and likely – slide into the bullpen in the coming seasons.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player
Floor: 0.5- to 1.0-win player
Grade: First/Second Round
Photo Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona via NCAA.com.