Groves-bred Grant Rogers ready for professional baseball; shares draft excitement

Published 12:34 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

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It may have taken a day longer than he hoped, but Grant Rogers finally heard his name called by a Major League team.

Rogers, the ace of McNeese State’s pitching staff, was selected Tuesday afternoon by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th round.

Rogers previously starred for Port Neches-Groves High School.

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At 6-feet 7-inches and 230 pounds, the red-shirt junior was the 334th player selected in this year’s draft after an All-American season with the Cowboys.

Rogers, the two-time Southland Pitcher of the Year, finished 12-1 with a 1.82 earned run average. He ended the year with 103 ⅔ innings of work, striking out 88 while walking just 18.

Rogers gave up just four home runs and opponents hit only .213 against him as he finished the season with four complete games.

Still, he had to wait that extra day before being selected.

“It was eating me alive (Monday),” Rogers said. “I could not relax. You hear from teams and then you wait and hear again. But it is worth it.”

Rogers said he heard from four or five teams on Monday as rounds 3-10 were taking place. Some reports had him going as high as the sixth round.

Grant Rogers pitched a complete game Friday in the first game of a Southland Conference doubleheader. McNeese State beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christian 8-3. (Rodrick Anderson / American Press)

Rogers made five All-American teams this postseason but said nothing compares to getting drafted.

“This is the best feeling I have ever had,” said Rogers. “It’s good to be over but it’s also good to know all the hard work paid off. Now more hard work begins. I’m just so excited. I’m ready.”

Rogers became the McNeese ace during the 2022 spring and improved from there.

“I can’t say enough about what he did,” McNeese head coach Justin Hill said. “What he did every night on the mound was something special and we just sat back and enjoyed it.”

Rogers said the Blue Jays were the first team to talk to him during his 2022 season and he is set to go.

“I just started throwing again after taking a break from baseball and I feel good,” said Rogers. “I can’t wait to get started with them.”

As for his future, Hill expects his former ace to get even better.

“The sky is the limit for him,” Hill said. “He is a professional now and he will get paid to play baseball. Nothing better than that. Can he make it? Absolutely. It will come down to staying healthy and how hard he works. We have seen the last two years how hard he worked here.”

For Rogers, the work paid off Tuesday.

He becomes the third McNeese pitcher to be drafted in the past three years.

Rogers joins Will Dion (Cleveland ’21) and Cameron Foster (New York Mets ’22) as pro baseball selections. Dion was a ninth-round selection at No. 279 overall while Foster went in the 14th round at 419.

The Groves native and Panola JC transfer graduated from Port Neches-Groves High School in 2019.

Written by Jim Gazzolo of the American Press in Lake Charles, Louisiana.