06/05/12 8:32 PM ET
Astros draft local product Rodgers on Day 2
'Dream come true' for right-hander to join hometown team
By Clark Goble / MLB.com
But after being picked by the Astros in the third round of Tuesday's First-Year Player Draft, Rodgers, a right-handed pitcher from Arizona State University, may have a reason to refresh his Astros attire.
Rodgers said that his eyes started to well up after finding out the Astros took him.
"It was just a dream come true," Rodgers said.
Rodgers graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg in 2009, when the Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the 39th round. He opted to go to Arizona State, though, and wound up a third-round pick.
A few hours after watching the Draft with friends and family in Richmond, Rodgers reflected on being selected by his hometown team. He was actually a little surprised by the selection. He had talked with the Astros, but didn't know when they were thinking about picking him.
"It was just kind of jaw-dropping when they did take me, but it was also really exciting," Rodgers said.
Rodgers doesn't have jaw-dropping stuff, relying on a 90-92 mph fastball and three secondary pitches -- a slider, a curveball and a changeup. He's comfortable using any of those pitches at any time during a count, though, and has great command.
Last season at Arizona State, Rodgers had a 2.11 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. He held opponents to a .202 batting average and walked just 11 batters. The Sun Devils' season ended on May 27 with a loss to Arizona.
Rodgers was named to the Pac-12 First Team All-Conference and Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger All-America Second Team.
Bobby Heck, the Astros' assistant general manager/scouting director, said Rodgers' command and ability to win in the Pac-12, a historically tough baseball conference, attracted the Astros.
"He's a four-pitch strike thrower," Heck said. "It is a command fastball, but it's also an average Major League fastball. There's a lot to be said for that, for someone with his experience."
The Astros also anticipate that Rodgers' fastball might pick up velocity as he develops.
"He was a very easy one to select," Heck said.
The young hurler has modeled his game after Braves great Greg Maddux, who also didn't have incredible stuff but had impeccable command.
As a kid, Rodgers would log onto MLB.com after a day Maddux threw and watch every single pitch, noting just how well Maddux spotted his pitches.
"I could watch video of him pitch for days at a time," Rodgers said.
Rodgers has another reason to be excited about potentially joining the Astros -- his teammate, center fielder Andrew Aplin, was taken by the Astros in the fifth round.
"He's one of the best outfielders I've ever had behind me," Rodgers said. "It's exciting for him, too."
For now, Rodgers will stay in Houston and try to work out a deal with the Astros, which the two sides have until July 13 to finalize. Hendricks Sports Management is advising Rodgers. The slot value of the 96th pick is $495,200.
Rodgers said the two sides are in the process of making a deal, but there's no doubt that he's excited about the possibility of becoming an Astro.
"It was just one of those things where your dream finally came true," Rodgers said. "It's something you worked hard for. All that work paid off."
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.