Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Cubs Prospect Sits Down To Chat With Sports Mockery

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If you haven’t heard of Cubs prospect Cole Roederer, now you have.



I called Cole up last night before his South Bend Cubs took on West Michigan to see how life has been since being selected with the 77th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He currently sits as the Cubs fifth best prospect according to MLB.com and has gotten some high remarks early in his career.

“He might have the highest offensive ceiling of any position player in the system.”

With a swing like this, I can see why they are so high on him.

Growing up in the rural part of southern California (yes, there is a rural part of southern California), Roederer spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house because both of his parents worked crazy hours. As most young boys do, Roederer was looking for something to throw and instead of yelling at him, his grandmother went to the front yard to play catch with him which is where his love for the game was born.

A shoulder injury impacted his draft status but it was a blessing for the Cubs organization who took him with pick number 77 in the 2018 draft. Roederer got right to work last season in the Arizona Fall League where he played in 36 games with the rookie-level Arizona Cubs. He hit .275 (39-of-142) with five home runs, four triples, four doubles and 24 runs batted in.

The stats are great but when I asked him what he remembered about 2018, he told me it was when he got a phone call telling him that he’d be taking live BP off former Cubs (now Texas Rangers) pitcher, Drew Smyly, while rehabbing his shoulder.

“Taking live BP off of Smyly was definitely a cool moment. His stuff was so nasty but it showed me the quality of pitching that I’d be up against.”

While taking live BP off great pitching was a highlight, he said it didn’t even come close to what he remembers most about 2018 — hitting a home run in the first game that his entire family came to see him play.

I asked him how difficult it’s been being away from his family for this amount of time and he told me at first he struggled but has adjusted nicely since then.

“I got homesick at first but then I met a great group of friends in Arizona and we became really close during that time. Now I live in a house with six other guys so it’s been great so far.”

Now in Class A South Bend, he shared that life as a minor leaguer has taken some getting used to but kept it in perspective when he told me that he’s just happy he gets to play the game that he loves. Roederer said minor leaguers don’t play the game for money (thank God) and if the money side works out for them, it’s an added bonus. He raved about how great everyone in the Cubs organization has been thus far and was truly grateful for how nice everyone has been.

“It’s been great. The Cubs organization and everyone from the staff, to the players, to the fans have been nothing but nice to me. They are always reaching out to me to see if I need anything or if there is anything they can do for me. You never feel alone when you’re here and people actually care about you as a person. There’s so much history with the Cubs and I’m lucky to be a part of it.

Roederer took part in his first big league Spring Training in 2019 and opened it up with the best way possible — going deep in his first at-bat.

Pretty nice start to your big league career.

Seeing that it was his first time on the big stage, I asked him if he had any funny stories to share and without hesitation, he delivered a gem.

“Me and (Charcer) Burks were sitting on the bench during one of the Spring Training games and Kris Bryant had some of his bats sitting in between us. He walks up and asks us both what bat he should use and we just kind of looked at each other. We each picked a different bat so he decided to settle it by using the “Eenie Meenie Miny Mo” approach. It was really cool to see someone like Kris Bryant was so laid back.”

So with 2019 fully underway, what is he looking forward to in 2019?

“My goal in 2019 is not to give away any at-bats. I got tired at the end of 2018 and ended up giving away at-bats. It’s something every baseball player does at some point in their career so my goal in 2019 is to try to limit the number of at-bats I give away.”

He told me he modeled his game off of Joey Votto and has drawn comparisons to Cody Bellinger so I’m sure if he stays on the path of those two players, he’ll be just fine.

Before he got off the phone, he wanted to genuinely thank all the fans for their support and well wishes and he looks forward to a great 2019.

 

 

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