Tyler Rogers was sitting on the couch in his brother’s apartment in Fort Myers, Fla., watching the webcast of the annual Major League Baseball amateur draft. It was late on June 7, with just a handful of picks left in the 10th round and his name yet to be called.
Rogers, who had watched the broadcast all day, shut his computer down but still had it up on the TV. He didn’t think he would be drafted, at least not on this night. Then the 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-handed reliever heard his name called as the 312th selection overall by the San Francisco Giants.
“I jumped up and started celebrating. It was pretty cool,” said the 22-year-old 2009 Chatfield Senior High graduate.
Rogers joins twin brother Taylor, who was drafted a year ago in the 11th round by the Minnesota Twins and is now a member of the Class A Fort Myers Miracle, as a professional baseball player.
A sidearm-slinging closer at Austin Peay University, Rogers led Division I baseball with 23 saves, tying an NCAA single-season record in 2013. He went 7-2 with a 1.63 earned-run average en route to being selected the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. He was also named All-America twice, including a second-team selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
The fact that the self-described Colorado Rockies fan was drafted by the archrival Giants was a little surprising, especially because, in the weeks leading up to the draft, they were not one of the teams on his radar. Instead it was the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres who showed the most interest in Rogers. But now he finds himself having to pull a little more for San Francisco than he used to.
In the days leading up to the draft, Rogers sensed the reality of being drafted coming true.
“Taylor kept telling me that I was going to get drafted and that I just need to be patient. It all worked out,” Rogers said.
Rogers, who pitched at Garden City (Kan.) Community College before transferring to Austin Peay, drove back to Denver just days after the draft before flying to the Giants’ Scottsdale, Ariz., facility to join his fellow rookies. The team will decide by June 20 where to send this year’s crop of first-year players. No matter where Rogers ends up, he has already taken the first step to living out a dream that started many years ago.
“Yeah, obviously every kid dreams to play professional baseball. It never came to be a reality for me until about two years ago. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to play,” Rogers said. “It’s pretty cool to keep playing baseball. Not too many people get a job right out of college. Fortunately for me I’m playing baseball.”
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.