2018 MLB Draft preview: Ryan Rolison scouting report.
With the 2018 MLB Draft just ten days away — the first round kicks off on June 4, 2018 — its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #15 and their second round pick is at #55 — they have no compensatory picks this year.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first two picks. Today, we are looking at University of Mississippi lefthanded pitcher Ryan Rolison.
Ryan Rolison is a 6’2”, 195 lb. lefthanded pitcher from the University of Mississippi. He’s a draft-eligible sophomore, and was considered one of the better prospects in the 2016 draft out of high school, but fell to the 37th round due to signability concerns.
Rolison has three legitimate pitches currently. His fastball is in the low-90s, though it reportedly can get up to 96 mph. His out pitch right now is his curve ball, which Baseball America says has the potential to be a plus offering in the future, and MLB Pipeline says is one of the best curve balls in the draft. His changeup is his third pitch, which Fangraphs calls “above average,” and BA says should be solid. All told, he has the repertoire and build to be a potential major league starting pitcher.
Rolison has slid down the rankings as the season has progressed -- the reports on him from last summer’s Cape Cod League performance were great, but he hasn’t performed as well in this year’s college season, and there are concerns about his delivery. Rolison is at #21 on the Baseball America top 500 board, a drop from where he was on there earlier in the year. MLB Pipeline has Rolison at #17 on their list, while Fangraphs has him at #14 on their board. Keith Law, meanwhile, has Rolison at #32 on his list, and expressing significant concerns about changes made to his delivery in the last year. Interestingly, Law, BA and Fangraphs all mention that a team taking Rolison will likely need to adjust his delivery.
In the mock drafts, Baseball America’s most recent mock has Rolison going off the board at #20 to the Minnesota Twins. Fangraphs has Rolison going to the BoSox at #26, though he’s also mentioned as a possibility for numerous teams before then. Keith Law has Rolison going to the Angels at #17. Jonathan Mayo has Rolison falling to the Cubs at #24, while Jim Callis has Rolison going to the Mariners at #14.
Texas has mostly been linked to prep players, so Rolison seems to be someone who would be unlikely to go to the Rangers at #15. However, he’s someone who was seen as being a top half of the first draft type not too long ago, and with the big time curve ball and three pitch mix, Texas could see him as someone who could move in a hurry and be ready to join a big league rotation in the relatively near future with some delivery tweaks.
Some video of Rolison: