Rolison Making Noise After Strong Summer
Oct. 5, 2017
By Davis McCool, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. – Sophomore phenom and Rebel standout Ryan Rolison is steadily working his way up prospect lists across the country, and his draft stock has many in the Ole Miss Baseball clubhouse excited for his second year in a Rebel uniform.
Rolison is currently ranked as high as the No. 3 overall prospect for the 2018 MLB Draft by Perfect Game, and falls between picks 11 and 23 in other early mock drafts.
“It’s cool to see yourself getting publicity for your hard work, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what I’m doing every day to make myself a better baseball player and help my team out,” Rolison said. “I can’t let it get to my head. If I come out here and be the best player and teammate that I can be, the rest will come with that.”
Rolison was highly touted as a senior out of the University School of Jackson (Tenn.), where he was ranked as high as the No. 51 overall draft prospect. The southpaw was eventually drafted as a senior in the 37th round, but chose to become a Rebel and honored his commitment. As a freshman, Rolison quickly elevated from a reliever to a weekend starter, and finished his first year 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 61.2 IP, good enough for an SEC All-Freshman Team bid and Freshman All-America honors.
Rolison, though satisfied with his debut season, knows he can offer more.
“I think there’s a lot more in the tank,” Rolison said. “It took a little experience for me to get used to the college game rather than high school. The biggest thing for me was taking my mental game to the next level, and that’s what separates the good from the great.”
Where Rolison really earned high praise, however, was his performance in the summer league of Cape Cod. He was selected as a league all-star after going 4-0 with a 1.92 ERA and only seven runs allowed all summer. The lefty, after earning the Thomas Yankus Pitching Award with Orleans, was named the No. 3 overall prospect in the entire Cape Cod League upon the season’s end.
“We talk a lot about visualizing success when you go out on the mound, and I definitely think I took that to the next level this summer,” Rolison added. “I also worked on some mechanical things, moving my arm slot down a little bit and making my slider a little bit harder to pick up, just to name a few tweaks.”
As for improving his game for the 2018 season, head coach Mike Bianco believes Rolison’s biggest task this year will be making the leap from having a varied role last year to being in the mix for the Rebel ace this coming season.
“Certainly, Ryan came out of high school as a high profile pitcher, so I think nobody was surprised last year that he was a weekend starter by the middle of the SEC season and ended up being a Freshman All-American,” Bianco said. “But, there’s a difference between pitching on Saturday or Sunday, and pitching on a Friday night. Can you, week in and week out, give your team the best opportunity to win and take a series early? That’s what we’re asking from Ryan.”
Rolison’s teammates have high praise for the sophomore as well, and they are no strangers to the talent that he possesses.
“He’s locked into the team,” closer Dallas Woolfolk said. “He’s a special kid and doesn’t let anything hold him back. His work ethic is as good as it gets, and he’s one of the best teammates you could ever ask for.”
For now, however, Rolison is simply using the fall to gear up for the 2018 season and is preparing to live up to the hype that surrounds his name in the college baseball world right now.
“Everybody’s looking forward to the season,” Rolison said. “I’m looking forward to getting out here in front of the best atmosphere in college baseball. We’re definitely excited for the season, and I think we’re going to do something special this year.”
For all Ole Miss Baseball news and information, visit the official athletics site OleMissSports.com. For more social media updates, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissBSB, on Facebook at Ole Miss Baseball and on Instagram at olemissbsb.
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