Ryan Rolison was a well-regarded prospect and one of the most polished prep arm in the 2016 MLB Draft class. But he fell to the 37th round, as he remained loyal to his commitment to Mississippi.
“It was a complicated process out of high school,” he said. “Meeting with all those scouts, having in-home visits and having scouts at games, it really came down to my decision. My parents were there to help me.
“We set a number for the draft and made it easy on ourselves. … I think I put a good number on where I valued myself as a baseball player. Coming to Ole Miss has been the best decision I’ve made in my whole life.”
The decision has paid off for Rolison, as he developed into a reliable starter as a freshman with Ole Miss and excelled in the Cape Cod League during the summer in 2017.
MLB.com ranks Rolison, a draft-eligible sophomore, as the ninth-best draft prospect in the 2018 class.
“Getting a little bit of that out of the way and knowing what to expect this year with the scouts takes a little bit off of me,” Rolison said. “There’s scheduled times and not in-home visit that can last up to three hours. I’ll meet with scouts in between classes.
“It’s been good for me. I’ve been able to keep my mind on being the best teammate and best baseball player I can be.”
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound hurler, Rolison has a three-pitch mix, featuring a fastball, slider and changeup. He throws a four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball with both sitting in the low-90s.
His best pitch is his slider that possess a sharp break and is his go-to out pitch.
“My strength right now is my ability to command the game,” Rolison said. “I think I’ve done a good job of staying in control of the game and not letting the bad situations get out of hand. Just staying even keel on the mound and competing every pitch.”
Besides improving his three-pitch mix, Rolison spent the summer months reading articles and sitting down with a variety of individuals to discuss the mental portion of baseball.
One player he discussed his mental game with was Stetson pitcher Logan Gilbert, who’s also considered a potential top-10 pick in June’s draft.
“I think the mental part of the game is what separates the good from the great,” Rolison said. “A lot of athletes worry about all the physical parts. While I think that’s important, I think a lot of athletes miss out on the mental game.”
Rolison started last season as a reliever, before transitioning into a starter. He pitched well, especially in the difficult Southeastern Conference, posting a 3.06 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 24 walks in 61 2/3 innings last season.
Ole Miss missed post season play with a 32-25 record last season. Despite his name swirling in draft chatter, Rolison’s focus is on being a reliable pitcher for Ole Miss this season.
“For any pitcher in the SEC, I think the goal is to be the Friday night starter,” he said. “I want to be the guy to take the ball on Friday night and set the tone for the series.
“Also starting my sophomore year, stepping into a leadership role to show the younger guys what it takes to be successful in the SEC and what it takes to pitch at this level.”
Find more 2018 MLB Draft profiles here.