Being sidelined with a separated shoulder for a large portion of his senior season in high school didn't mean Cole Roederer was out of baseball. Sure, he was relegated to the bench, but he felt no less involved with the action on the field.
"Even though I couldn't get better physically in the game at the time, I watched baseball, I studied baseball, I talked to my coaches all the time, I hung out with my coaches. I picked the brains of any higher-level person I could," said Roederer, who was selected by the Cubs with the 77th overall pick of the 2018 Draft despite the injury. "I wanted to learn everything I could. I wanted to basically feel like I was playing, even though I couldn't. I made sure that with all the rehab I did, that I would be better than I ever thought I would be."
Roederer also made sure he kept learning from hitting guru Craig Wallenbrock. At Spring Training, his sweet left-handed swing impressed Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who told media that Roederer had one of the best swings and technical approaches he'd seen at camp. In fact, Roederer showcased his swing on the very first pitch he saw in his first Major League Spring Training game, going yard against the Mariners.
2019 MiLB include
"The way I crafted my swing, my hitting coach [Wallenbrock] and I break down my swing to every nitty-gritty detail," Roederer said. "We find videos of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton … guys who are so ahead of their time. They know their swing so well, they know their body, they know every little movement they do. We break down their swing, we break down my swing, and coalesce it. We all have our own style, but we're going to figure out what works. But it has the same intention of what they're doing. Every detail, we grind it out. The swing is so unbelievably complicated. It's trial-and-error."
Though he's off to slow start in his full-season debut with South Bend, Roederer's strong showing in the Arizona League last season -- .275 average with four doubles, four triples and five home runs -- helped skyrocket him to No. 5 on MLB.com's ranking of Cubs prospects.
South Bend hitting coach Paul McAnulty said Roederer is a remarkably mature hitter.
"Cole, being 19 years old and taking this challenge, and not shying away from everything is impressive," McAnulty said. "He's been doing a great job.
"Cole is very competitive, and he likes to learn. He asks a lot of questions. He wants to learn his swing, the swing that works for him, and an approach for being successful in the game. As far as where his head is at, it's very, very advanced. What I talk to him about is, let's see how consistent he can square up to the baseball, and that he has proven the last two weeks."
Strong-arming the competition: Kane County racked up three shutouts in five games this past week, including the 10th no-hitter in team history on April 19. In those five contests, the Cougars' starters did not allow an earned run.
Super soaked: Mississippi River flooding has forced Quad Cities to move its series opener on Thursday to Clinton. The River Bandits expect to be able to host Game 2 of the series on Friday, which will be their 2019 home opener. They've already played eight "home games" on the road this season. Quad Cities lost numerous home games in 1993 and 2001, playing them in various venues that included high school fields.
Special moment: West Michigan outfielder Parker Meadows, a second-round pick last June by the Tigers, belted an inside-the-park homer for his first professional round-tripper. Meadows hit a ball that bounced off the center field fence at Fifth Third Ballpark and then ricocheted away from the Great Lakes outfielders.
Video: Meadows' inside-the-parker for Whitecaps