Braves' Rohrbough Aims To Keep Things Simple
KISSIMMEE, FLA.—Cole Rohrbough has been a classic dichotomy over the past three years.
At times, most notably the 2007 campaign, the lefthander has shown signs of becoming one of the top hurlers in the minors. Injuries sidetracked his progress in 2008, and then inconsistency limited his development last season.
Despite the ups and downs, Rohrbough believes he can jump back on the road to Atlanta this spring by displaying his electric stuff while employing a more consistent mindset.
"The biggest thing I learned last year that I'm going to be able to use this season is taking a much simpler approach to the mound," Rohrbough said. "I was really comfortable over my last seven or eight starts with my game approach. I wasn't thinking about so many different things. Earlier in the season I was always searching for answers instead of going pitch by pitch."
The Braves' final draft-and-follow sign before the process was eliminated, Rohrbough, 22, was the top pitcher in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2007 prior to battling an ankle injury that led to shoulder problems a year later between stops at low Class A Rome and high Class A Myrtle Beach. He returned to the Carolina League last season and went 6-8, 5.77 in 177 innings.
Rohrbough says he was healthy most of last season, adding that his mental approach was his albatross. He was dominant at times, posting eight outings in which he allowed one or no earned runs. The southpaw also had six starts when he surrendered five earned runs or more. On those latter occasions, Rohrbough focused too much on what had happened instead of limiting the damage.
"The lack of consistency I displayed was extremely frustrating," Rohrbough said. "On the positive side, the velocity of my fastball was harder late in the year than it was all season. My body felt strong from start to finish."
At his best, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Rohrbough has a 92-94 mph fastball with excellent movement and a power curveball with a hard, sharp break. His changeup has shown signs of becoming a solid offering. When he has the feel of all three pitches and is mixing them the way he is capable, Rohrbough can be dominant.
• The Braves made a splash on the international market by signing Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo. The 18-year-old's signing bonus was reported as $1.6 million.
• Atlanta signed former Pirates prospect J.R. House to a minor league deal just prior to the start of spring training. The 30-year-old catcher spent last season with Triple-A Omaha in the Royals organization.