Dylan Rogers has known for a while that he’d continue his baseball career with Spartanburg Methodist College, but it wasn’t until last week that the right handed hurler made it official.
Rogers, who will be used primarily as a pitcher for the Pioneers, finished his high school campaign at Union County with a 2.26 ERA while posting a 6-3 record.
While the velocity of his fast ball is well above average, occasionally touching 90 mph, Rogers’ slider is his most dangerous pitch and is particularly effective in deceiving hitters because of its delivery.
“I can throw it from the same arm slot as my fast ball,” said Rogers. “That throws them off. It also breaks a lot and keeps batters off balance.”
UCHS teammate Jake Walton signed with SMC earlier this year and looks forward to having a fellow Jackets product in the dugout, especially one as capable as Rogers.
“We’ve played together for a long time and he’s the type of player you want on your team,” said Walton. “He never complains, he just does his job.”
A student of the game, Rogers began playing baseball at a young age, honing in on his skills and developing his talents.
Union Junior Legion Coach Craig King worked with Rogers during 11-12 Dixie Boys and has continued to follow him throughout his high school career.
“In the time I’ve coached there’s not been one player who understands the game and cares about the game as much as Dylan,” said King. “As a pitcher, he’s dangerous. If he makes a mistake on a batter, then the next time around, that kid’s not going to see that same pitch again.”
Rogers believes in studying the game and acknowledges that baseball is a thinking sport.
“It’s more of a head game than other sports. You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time and know what you’re going to do with the ball before it’s hit,” he said. “Maybe every once in a while you can luck into something, but most of time you don’t. You’ve got to have skills to play this game.”
Coming off a Junior College World Series appearance, SMC is an attractive landing spot for young athletes. With standards that are set particularly high, Rogers knows he’ll have to work for a starting role on the Pioneers’ roster and is eager to prove himself.
“They have great expectations for that team after last year,” he said. “They want to go back (to the JCWS) and they’re not going to let people just lay down — if you want to play, you’re going to have to work.”
King agreed that his former student will be expected to log the man hours but has no doubt that Rogers will shine at SMC.
“He wants to become a better ball player each and every time he’s out there,” said King. “He’s got the discipline and the desire to improve and it’ll only make him a better ball player. Dylan is that type of player that’ll do well at the next level.”