Cam Roegner Turns Stellar First Half Into All-Star Starting Nod
ZEBULON, N.C. — There have been plenty of standout pitchers in the Carolina League this year.
Down East’s Jonathan Hernandez rung up 77 strikeouts in 59.1 innings before getting the call to Double-A. Winston-Salem’s Dylan Cease has carried an upper-90s fastball into the late innings all year long, and his 80 whiffs lead the league at the season’s midpoint. And Myrtle Beach’s Keegan Thompson carried a perfect game into the ninth inning of a recent start.
None of them, however, can lay claim to the league’s lowest ERA. That distinction belongs to Carolina’s Cam Roegner, a lefthander who turned 25 on Tuesday and celebrated by starting the league’s all-star game at his home park.
Roegner, a 22nd-round selection in 2016 out of Bradley, is 6-3, 1.65 this year with 53 strikeouts against 17 walks in 76.1 innings with the Mudcats.
“He fearlessly attacks hitters,” Carolina manager Joe Ayrault said. “He fills the zone with all three of his pitches. He’s competitive. He does a really good job of retaining information as far as after he’s pitched to a guy and the scouting reports beforehand. He trusts his stuff and just goes out there and competes.”
On Tuesday, Roegner worked with a fastball that sat between 89-91 mph and coupled the pitch with a changeup and a slider that both parked themselves in the mid-80s. He got in trouble early and allowed three runs in his only inning.
Still, the improvements he’s made this season have helped him dominate the Carolina League. Specifically, Roegner has worked to take more advantage of his 6-foot-6 frame.
“I’m just trying to stay down the slope (of the mound) a little bit longer and not fall off,” he explained. “That helps me kind of work around my head and I think it just gets me in a better position.”
Roegner has four pitches at his disposal and, as his manager said, is aggressive in the strike zone with all of them. He’s thrown 1,100 pitches this season, 693 of which went for strikes. That’s a 63-percent clip. He strikes out 18 percent of hitters while walking just 5.8 percent.
“That helps everywhere. It allows you to pitch to scouting reports a little better,” he said. “If I know this guy can’t hit breaking balls and you’re able to throw those for strikes, then you don’t have to throw the heaters to guys who can only hit heaters, so that’s important.”
So far, pounding the zone has helped him dominate in his first turn at high Class A and earned him a memorable night for his 25th birthday.