With the No. 20 pick overall in the Rule 5 Draft the Seattle Mariners selected David Rollins from the Houston Astros. The soon-to-be 25-year old left-hander spent the majority of the 2014 campaign with Houston’s Double-A affiliate but got a handful of innings at the Triple-A level before the season was complete.
As a Rule 5 selectee, Rollins will have to spend the entirety of the 2015 season on the Mariners active roster or be sent back to the Astros organization.
The left-hander was kind enough to talk with Prospect Insider and answer some questions about the upcoming season.
In 2014 you reach the Triple-A level. What do you feel is the next step to take on your path to the majors?
I feel like I need to continue mixing my pitches to keep hitters off my fastball. Mainly be consistent with the off-speed.
Pitching in the bullpen and rotation require mindsets. Do you do anything different to prepare for whichever role you are in?
It was a big transition going from a starter to a reliever. When I was starting I had all day to clear everything and get in my “zone”. As a reliever I come in [to] situations where it’s a must needed out or critical situation. So I go out with the mind set of “you’re not beating me”. I mean, don’t get me wrong, baseball is all about thriving to be better. I have failed coming out of the pen, but that’s what keeps us so humble.
This will be the first big league spring training you’ll have attended. What do you expect to take away from the experience?
It’ll be a major stepping stone. I’ll be able to take what I learn and experience with me for the rest of my life. So if anything I’ll take with me what it takes to be a big leaguer, and know what it takes to make it to the next level.
The M’s had drafted you twice (23rd-round, 2009; 46th-round, 2010) before you were drafted and signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. What was your motivation for sticking it out in college instead of signing previously?
Well I didn’t feel I was ready for pro ball. I felt I needed to mature a lot and didn’t hurt to get some school out of the way. I respect the M’s for having so much faith in me for the 2 years in a row and who would have thought couple years later I’d be with them. And I’m more than excited about the opportunity they are giving me.
What should Seattle know about David Rollins?
I’d say I’m down to earth [and] humble. I appreciate everybody that are fans of mine and everyone else that are fans.
At first glance the fit for Rollins on the major league roster would be in the left-handed relief role vacated by free agent Joe Biemel. It’s worth noting too that at age 25 another left-hander, Roenis Elias, managed to crack the Mariners rotation this past spring without pitching an inning above the Double-A level.
This marks the third time during the Jack Zduriencik regime that Rollins has been drafted by the club. It’s obvious that this is a guy Jack wants in the organization.