We are so close to the MLB Draft, I can practically taste it. The Mariners have the 14th pick, and most mock drafts have them taking one of 2 players. Today, we will look at the left-handed pitcher from the SEC.
The two names most commonly linked to the Mariners are Oregon State outfielder Trevor Larnach and Ole Miss lefty Ryan Rolison. Today, we will focus on the lefty from Mississippi.
Ryan Rolison is a 6’2″, 200 lb left-handed pitcher from the University of Mississippi. A draft-eligible sophomore, Rolison followed up his nice freshman season with a dominant effort in the Cape Cod League, the elite summer league for top-shelf college players.
Rolison used his great summer to catapult himself squarely into the round 1 conversation. However, his sophomore season hasn’t gone as planned. He hit a snag in the middle of the season but has since rebounded in his last start.
When he is right, Rolison features a repertoire that includes a low 90’s fastball and one of the best curveballs in the draft. He also throws a decent slider. In addition, Rolison has a chance at a 4th quality pitch, as the changeup shows good fade, and has steadily improved each of the past 2 seasons.
Scouting Grades (20-80)- Fastball: 55 Curveball: 60 Slider: 50 Changeup: 50 Control: 50 Overall: 50
With a good fastball/curveball combo, plus the possibility of adding 2 more MLB quality pitches, it’s not hard to see why so many teams are enamored with the lefty.
He is also a gifted athlete, with the size and delivery to maintain and improve his command moving forward. However, this writer has some doubts.
For a guy with stuff this good to never dominate at the college level is a bit concerning. His career 3.91 BB/9 is a tad higher than most Jerry Dipoto targets. Finally, it just seems inevitable that a prospect with more upside and a similar floor will be available at 14. In short, this pick would feel similar to Danny Hultzen over Anthony Rendon.
Rolison would be a fine pick for the Mariners and should have a nice career if he can stay healthy. If Rolison is indeed the pick for Seattle, they will have added a nice prospect to their farm system, and one that could see big league time by the end of the 2020 season. But remember, as a draft-eligible sophomore, Rolison has a lot of leverage in negotiations.
Overall, adding a player of Rolison’s quality to your organization is never a bad thing. But rather or not he is the right player, we will just have to wait and see. If/when his name is announced as the 14th pick on Monday, I will be happy, but not excited.