Our next MLB Draft profile is on Ole Miss left-hander Ryan Rolison, who could just as easily go in the 10-15 range as he could in the 25-40 range.
6’2, 195 pounds
DOB: July 11, 1997
Slot recommended bonus (No. 30): $2,275,800
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and video.
The Dodgers have been, in recent years, known for drafting college players who were once seen as Top 10 prospects who fell down draft boards in the weeks and days leading up to draft day. Walker Buehler, Kyle Funkhouser and Jeren Kendall all fit this criterion. This year, that player might very well be Rolison.
Rolison is a draft-eligible sophomore who is having a good-not-great season for the University of Mississippi — 3.95 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 82 innings. He was better in 2017, but he’s still a solid prospect who might make it to No. 30.
He’s armed with a low-90s fastball that touches 96 MPH. He works more comfortably in the low-90s, but it’s nice to know he has a little reach-back velocity. His best pitch is a curveball in the 78-81 MPH range (he’ll sometimes throw it a little harder) that is among the best in the draft class. It’s a true swing-and-miss pitch. He also has a changeup that has flashed above-average in the past, but it’s lagging behind his other two offerings. The solid 3-pitch profile lends itself to sticking in the rotation.
The biggest knock against him is his delivery. He changed it from last season and now throws more across his body. He threw a little across his body last season (third video below), but it’s more pronounced this season. Cross-body throwers usually have trouble repeating their delivery consistently, and that’s partially reflected in his getting hit harder and walking more hitters this season than last. The good news is, it’s a mechanical thing that could be tinkered once he gets some professional instruction. He works from the first base side of the rubber and has a three-quarters arm slot, and you can see the crossfire delivery because of it. While he’s physically maxed out, he’s athletic, which means there’s potential for his delivery to improve once he gets into an MLB organization.
Videos courtesy of Prospect Pipeline, Scout Trio and 2080 Baseball.
As a draft-eligible sophomore, he has options. He doesn’t absolutely have to sign if he’s drafted, but Drew Pomeranz is the only other Ole Miss player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft, so (based on that bit of history) he might be taking a bigger risk than it seems on the surface.
The Dodgers have had their eyes on SEC prospects in recent years, and Rolison is one of the best pitching prospects in that conference. He’s not as good or polished as a guy I liked last year in David Peterson (University of Oregon, Mets’ 1st-rounder), but he’s still a strong prospect. If he’s the selection at No. 30 and they can iron out his delivery, he could take off with a No. 2 starter ceiling (but more likely a No. 3/4 guy). If he can’t overcome the delivery inconsistencies, he could carve out a nice role as a power lefty out of the bullpen.