Remember Brendan Rodgers’ name. You might be hearing it sooner rather than later. The Florida shortstop is one of a handful of players whose name has been discussed as a viable selection for the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft and as the clock winds down to draft day, Rodgers’ start continues to rise.
It’s an impressive rise for Rodgers, who was born on August 9, 1996 and is still currently attending Lake Mary High School. Despite his age, Rodgers is experienced, with years on the prep circuit to his name and scouts, including the first-picking Arizona Diamondbacks, have taken notice.
Here’s what you need to know about the top-tier prospect:
Rodgers stat line as a senior has been good. They haven’t been incredible, according to some scouts, but they’ve been good.
This spring, in 25 games played, Rodgers hit .360, connecting on 27 hits, including eight home runs. He struck out 12 times in 75 at bats and recorded an on-base percentage of .457.
The biggest problem with that stat line? It doesn’t exactly compare to his junior year numbers. Rodgers, who measures up at 6-foot-1, batted .397 in his junior season with an on-base percentage of .488 and a slugging percentage of an almost-ridiculous .823.
Even so, Rodgers is still considered a viable option at the top pick as other players around him have trailed off slightly on their own stat lines. As an added bonus; he’s fast, both with and without the ball. According to Perfect Game, Rodgers was clocked at 6.77 seconds in the 60 yard dash and threw upwards of 93 miles per hour when recording infield put outs.
Rodgers was not supposed to be a baseball player. He grew up in a soccer family. His father, Greg, played and coached soccer and both of Rodgers’ brothers played as well. He was supposed to play soccer.
That was, until, he picked up a baseball. As the story goes, Rodgers was just five years old when a neighbor offered him the chance to play a pick-up baseball game. He never stopped.
Rodgers’ mother, Julie, told Baseball America:
We didn’t do baseball in this family; we’re a soccer family. Bu we always say (to our neighbor) Ralph, ‘If not because of you, Brendan would not have played baseball.’ Brendan picked up the little ball and never picked up a soccer ball.
Rodgers started playing baseball competitively, joining his high school team’s squad as well as travel teams that competed throughout Florida. That was where he first drew attention from scouts; both from the Division-I and professional level.
He committed to Florida State after his sophomore year of high school and he’s keeping his college options open no matter what happens with the Draft or when his name is called.
Although most tend to agree that Rodgers strength lies in his fielding abilities, there are some who are just a bit more confident in his bat. When he’s able to put bat on ball, something that Rodgers has admittedly struggled with in his senior season, he’s got the kind of power few high school kids can even consider mustering.
An MLB scouting director told USA Today, he believed Rodgers had the chance to stay at short if drafted and could certainly occupy “a significant place in your lineup,” adding that he thought he could hit double-digit home runs.
Still, high school power does not equal big-league results and that potential transition has some scouts and pro teams a bit wary of calling Rodgers’ name on Monday night.