Top Draft prospect Rodgers hits bomb in season opener
Players who are considered to be top-of-the-Draft candidates tend to get a great deal of attention, from the first pitch of their season all the way through Draft day.
So it came as no surprise when dozens of scouts, including several MLB teams' scouting directors, traveled to Lake Mary High School just north of Orlando, Fla., to watch senior shortstop Brendan Rodgers take his first swings in an actual game on Monday night.
Rodgers, ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's early Top 50 Draft prospects list published this past fall, didn't disappoint. With his team up, 6-2, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Rodgers drove a fastball far past the left-center-field fence for a solo home run that traveled well over 400 feet, according to some who were on hand to witness it.
"He crushed it," one scouting director said. "It was put on a tee, basically, but at least he hit it. It was an impressive home run. He should've hit a home run on that pitch, and he did."
Don't take that analysis as nitpicking, though that's what scouts are paid to do. He was giving Rodgers, who went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout against an intriguing lefty, credit for not missing a pitch -- an 82-mph fastball, according to the scout -- that he should crush. Miss a pitch like that, then scouts will be scratching their heads.
Rodgers finished off his evening by making a smooth barehanded play in the field, showing some of the all-around skills that are making him a prospect who will be discussed at the very top of the Draft all spring.