The 2022 MLB Draft concluded on Tuesday afternoon with rounds 11 through 20. In round three at pick 99, the Boston Red Sox selected left-handed pitcher Dalton Rogers out of Southern Mississippi. The left-hander saw his draft stock rise this past season, with a strong performance for the Golden Eagles. He recorded a 1.95 ERA, six saves, a .128 average against, and 57 strikeouts in 37 innings. Rogers stands at just 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds but has a solid three-pitch mix consisting of a fastball, slider, and changeup.
“[My thought process] changed a couple of times,” Rogers said. “Going into the season, I knew talking to my advisor – we were thinking – just try to get in the top 10 [rounds]. Obviously, the higher, the better, but then after going through the season a little bit, halfway through, he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re getting yourself up, kind of in the seven to eight rounds’, and then I had a really good playoff, going all the way to the super regionals and performing really well.
“I ended up getting to go to the Cape this summer and had two starts up there,” Rogers continued. “About a week or two before this draft started, he said, ‘Hey, you’re probably gonna go in the top five [rounds]. He said that’s where we’re looking at. So I knew top five, but I was thinking in my head probably four or five, not necessarily third round. So that definitely caught me off guard for sure. But it was definitely exciting.”
Southern Mississippi was the southpaw’s third college in three years after starting at Southeastern Louisiana the first year. That first year was 2020, which was obviously when COVID hit so he had to go through some adversity. He was able to learn what type of pitcher he could be in the appearances he did make against some strong competition.
“The first year, everybody is going from high school to college in general and it was a Division I,” Rogers said. “So, it’s already a step up, but it was COVID year. That was kind of a bummer, but I got to throw against the University of Lafayette team, which was top 25 my first start and game two of our season.”
“So that was a great learning lesson and then got to throw at LSU that year before COVID hit,” he said. “So it was just a good, I’d say blueprint, of seeing where I stand up against decent competition and seeing where I really stand in that spot. I was a two-way actually at Southeastern Louisiana my first year. I just kind of thought the pitching route was the best way to go, and if I wanted to play baseball as long as possible, I felt like pitching was the thing. So I told them going into the spring that I just wanted to focus on pitching.”
For his second season, Rogers decided to move down to the Junior College level, transferring to Jones County JC in Mississippi. He did this to really focus on pitching without the extra pressure of DI ball which was a big benefit in him finding success. In 12 starts, the Mississippi native posted a 2.91 ERA, .177 batting average against, 103/33 K/BB, in 65 innings while pitching two complete games.
“When COVID hit, I told them, I was like, ‘Hey, I feel like I should, you know, kind of step down from the Division I level, go Juco for my first year of focusing on pitching,'” Rogers said. “So I can just really kind of ramp up and just don’t let the game speed me up too much. Being in the Juco level and just getting my feet underneath me. Just becoming a better pitcher and starter, which ended up being the best decision for me. I ended up making good friends there and good teammates that I’ll have memories for the rest of my life. The pitching coach there that I got to work with, Larry Knight, did a really good job with me and I couldn’t ask for a better experience there.”
The final stop in his college career was of course at Southern Mississippi where he put up his best numbers to date. He pitched exclusively out of the bullpen and made 23 appearances over the course of the entire season, including the postseason.
“Then obviously got the opportunity to go to Southern Miss this past year and went just straight back to Division I level,” Rogers said. “I could not complain about the pitching coach I got with Coach Ostrander. He did a great job with me and the rest of our pitching staff and got the opportunity to be in a big position for a really good pitching staff this past season. Obviously got to run to the super regionals and be in spots that the program really hadn’t been in a lot of times. So it definitely was a fun road to ride and couldn’t ask for a better season.”
Alex Kielar – What’s one thing you’re looking forward to as you go pro and what will you work on most?
“I mean really just keep fine-tuning,” Rogers said.” You can always grow in the sport and that’s what is so awesome about it. I really [want to] get to work more on my off-speed pitches and just kind of keep fine-tuning those things. Hopefully, maybe add a pitch here and there, and just kind of keep performing from there.”
“I mean my whole career I’ve had a slider, but this past season I kind of got rid of it,” Rogers said about a new pitch he would add. “I just wanted to focus on having three pitches being out of the bullpen. I feel like I didn’t have to have four pitches to keep batters off balance this year. But I feel like being back in that possibly in the starting role, I would like to add another pitch. I would feel like the slider would be it.”
AK – Growing up was there anybody you looked up to and tried to mold your game after?
“I really liked watching David Price,” Rogers said. “I enjoyed watching him pitch when he was on the Rays and the Tigers. I mean just the way he went about his business and I just enjoyed really watching him and the way he did his thing.”
Rogers is looking forward to joining the Red Sox organization and getting to build relationships with some of the guys. I asked him about who he is most looking forward to joining the Boston farm system. I am sure he will fit right into the culture.
“I threw against Blaise Jordan all through high school,” he said. “So he texted me right when I got drafted and said welcome to the family. So that’ll be kind of cool to actually hang out and get to build that relationship with him a little bit.”
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Main Image Credit: From MLB Network