|Report Date:||February 20th, 2018|
The draft-eligible sophomore dominated in his first outing of 2018, striking out a career-high 12 hitters through five shutout innings in a win against Winthrop on two walks and a hit. Rolison recorded six straight whiffs at one point in the game, doing nothing to change his status as one of the top southpaws in the 2018 Draft.
He worked between 90-to-94 mph on Friday, settling in around 91-to-92 mph. The fastball gets on hitters very quickly thanks to a deceptive delivery and closed front-side. Rolison will get more bad swings on his low-90s heater than most, as his tough angle and late riding life make it hard for hitters to barrel up. He worked with a two-pitch mix on Friday, throwing just his fastball and a long-tilted slider in the low-80s that projects as a solid-average breaking ball. Rolison showed a veteran’s feel for his slider, able to vary its shape and pitch both in and outside the zone with intent. While his raw stuff is nothing to sneeze at, that level of present pitchability—along with his control and command—is what I came away most impressed with. Rolison’s fastball command within the strike zone is up there with any pitcher in this draft class; he started pitching backwards with his slider later in the outing, and landed the breaking ball for a strike at will throughout all five of his innings pitched.
Rolison’s best-case ceiling is lower than some other top arms in the class, but he requires less projection and is seen across the industry as a fairly safe pick. The way he looked on Friday, he could pitch against Double-A hitters with his fastball and slider right now, though scouts will want to see more of a full three-pitch mix given his back-rotation profile. Rolison has the ceiling of a reliable, strike-throwing lefty starter, and has the polish to move through the low-minors quickly.