Rox take Spartanburg’s Rogers in 4th round
Wes Rogers might be coming back to Grand Junction.
The Spartanburg Methodist College (South Carolina) center fielder was picked by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round (113th pick) of the Major League Baseball draft Friday.
Rogers was the first of four 2014 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series players and one 2012 JUCO player drafted on Day 2. He was thrilled, to say the least, to hear his name called that early.
“I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he said via telephone from his home in Greenville, South Carolina.
With his dad, Greg Rogers, acting as his agent and on the phone with the Colorado club, Wes said he wasn’t expecting to be picked that high.
“It was a little surprising, but I thought I’d be drafted somewhere. I just didn’t think I’d go that high,” he said.
For the past two seasons, Rogers led the Pioneers to the JUCO World Series, and if he signs with the Rockies, there’s a good chance he will be right back in Grand Junction to start his professional career with the Grand Junction Rockies.
Rogers, who made the JUCO World Series All-Tournament team this year, had signed with the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Being drafted in the fourth round, Rogers said the plan is to sign with the Rockies and get his pro career started right away.
“I was lucky enough to get picked in the top 200, so I’m pretty sure I will sign,” he said.
After JUCO, Rogers stopped in Denver to have a predraft workout with the Colorado Rockies, so he knew they were interested.
For Rogers, the Rockies are one of his favorite teams, so the fit is perfect. He also said one of his favorite players is Dexter Fowler, the former Rockies’ center fielder who was traded to the Houston Astros before this season.
The two have a number of similar baseball attributes, including both listed at 6-foot-4.
Rogers isn’t expecting much will change for him once he becomes a full-time baseball player.
“I don’t think it will be very different because I’ve always worked hard, and I’ve always dreamed of playing professional baseball,” he said.
Two years ago, Rogers’ high school teammate, Cory Thompson, was drafted in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Reds.
“I guess I get to brag on him now that I was drafted higher,” Rogers said with a laugh.
Blinn College (Texas) pitcher Robbie Dickey was taken by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round with the 124th pick. The sophomore caught the eye of scouts when his fastball velocity jumped this year, topping out between 95 and 97 mph. He also has a solid slider and change-up according to player information on MLB.com. He was regarded as one of the best junior college prospects in the nation coming into the draft.
Dickey thanked the Nationals with a Twitter post: “Thank you to the @nationals for selecting me and allowing me to continue my dream! Hard work never stops!”
Miami Dade College (Florida) second baseman Darren Seferina was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth round. Seferina made the all-tournament team and hit .600 during the JUCO World Series.
Iowa Western Community College pitcher Erik Swanson, the 2014 Most Outstanding Pitcher of the JUCO World Series, was selected by the Texas Rangers later in the eighth round.
Reivers head coach Marc Rardin said he sent Swanson a text message to congratulate him.
“He texted me back and said, ‘Thanks, and thanks for everything,’ ” Rardin said. “It never gets old (seeing his players drafted). It’s a childhood dream to get drafted.”
Rardin said he’s only had three players from Iowa Western get drafted and sign a major league contract.
“They usually are in position to go onto the four-year program, then go back into the draft,” he said.
The coach said he doesn’t know if Swanson will sign or decide to play with the University of Pittsburg.
One player who decided to postpone professional baseball for a while is former Iowa Western pitcher/infielder Keaton Steele. On Friday, he was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the eighth round. He is a senior pitcher at the University of Missouri.
Steele was the 2012 Preston Walker MVP at the JUCO World Series, where he hit the go-ahead home run in the championship game for the Reivers. He also picked up the save. He was drafted in the 40th round by the Kansas City Royals after the 2012 JUCO World Series, but he went to Missouri instead.
He missed the 2011 season with rotator cuff and labrum tears.
“He’s been the University of Missouri’s main guy, so he’s got a good future,” Rardin said. “I talk about deserving, a lot. He didn’t deserve to go through those injures, but this (being drafted) was very deserving.”
The junior college Division I player of the year, Eudor Garcia of El Paso Community College (Texas), was drafted by the New York Mets with the 115th pick overall.
No players from Colorado Mesa University were selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft, which concludes today.