Ryan Rolison Focuses On Improving His Arsenal
Lefthander Ryan Rolison has been a quick study for the Rockies ever since they took him 22nd overall in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi.
Because Rolison was a first-round pick and a college pitcher, the Rockies were hoping he would perform well from the start. He has met those expectations and then some, showing a great feel to pitch and keep batters guessing.
On a strict pitch limit at Rookie-level Grand Junction last season, Rolison threw 29 innings in nine starts while recording a 1.86 ERA with eight walks and 34 strikeouts.
Rolison began this season at low Class A Asheville and went 2-1, 0.63 in three starts with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 14.2 innings. He moved up to high Class A Lancaster and went 2-0, 1.52 through five starts with six walks and 31 strikeouts in 29.2 innings.
Unlike his starts at Asheville, the 21-year-old Rolison had to battle through a few innings at hitter-friendly Lancaster and has done so with success.
Rolison has strong command and gets ahead of hitters regularly. He throws a 90-94 mph fastball that sits in the low 90s. His curveball sits at 75-77 mph with a big 11-to-5 break to a shorter 78-81 mph offering that is more of a slurve.
Referring to the curve’s varied shapes, farm director Zach Wilson said, "He can front-back it a little bit, but he can throw it for strikes whenever he wants. And he’s also able to bury it for a swing-and-miss pitch.”
Rolison has been focused on his 77-78 mph changeup, not just developing it but throwing it in different counts, including intently working on it as a first pitch to righthanded batters. He has used his changeup in situations where it may not be his best pitch, Wilson said, but because it will hasten his development.
"He’s not pitching to get outs right now,” Wilson said. "He’s pitching to get better. And as a young pitcher, his first (full) year in, that’s always great to see, because a lot of times they’re not as focused on that. But he is, and that’s one of the things that is going to make him very successful in the future.”
— Shortstop Brendan Rodgers, the organization's top prospect for three straight years, made his major league debut on May 17 and is expected to get considerable time at second base. Drafted third overall in 2015 and signed to a franchise-record $5.5 million bonus, Rodgers returned to Triple-A Albuquerque to begin the season and hit .356/.421/.644 in 35 games with nine home runs and 21 RBIs.
— Right fielder Niko Decolati was playing in games in extended spring training in mid-May and close to joining Asheville. He landed on his right wrist and broke it after colliding with the first baseman in a game during the final week of spring training but did not need surgery. Drafted in the sixth round last year out of Loyola Marymount, Decolati hit .327/.414/.532 in 69 games at Rookie-level Grand Junction with 11 homers, 56 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts.