The Colorado Rockies first round draft pick -- and third overall pick of the 2015 MLB Draft -- shortstop Brendan Rodgers is young.
There was no shortage of nonsense about how his selection affects Troy Tulowitzki (hint: Drafting Brendan Rodgers doesn't affect Troy Tulowitzki any more than my beard does), but the reality is that for all the talent, for all the hype, and for all the polish this 18-year old has, the road ahead of him is long and winding.
And that is saying something considering the rollercoaster ride he has been on just to get where he is now.
"It has, it has," Rodgers says about the emotional ride, "it was all worth it." "All the time, effort, and waiting ... it was tough but it was all worth it. Now I'm here, and I'm enjoying every moment of it."
Going back a calendar year, Rodgers' name was the first one I could recall being a consensus No. 1 talent, which remained the case until the final few weeks leading up to the draft, when it started to become clear that the Rockies had a legitimate shot at landing consensus the highest ceiling player available.
If it is possible to get a steal in the draft with the third pick, that is what the Rockies did, but I couldn't help but wonder if the player himself was a bit disappointed after spending nearly a year at the very top of almost everyone's lists.
"No, not at all," he says. "It was two college guys ahead of me that got to play -- one is still playing right now -- I mean, my season ended very, very early ... earlier than expected. So I didn't really have any time to still show what I have. But things worked out. I got picked up by the team who wanted me the most and I couldn't be happier."
And with that selection, Rodgers morphed from high-school kid to professional baseball player, punching his ticket from his home in Florida to Denver to meet a few of his new teammates, sign the contract, and get some advice from one of the best in the game at his position.
"I was very fortunate to have gotten to talk to [Troy Tulowitzki] and get a few pointers. He told me to always have fun, always give it your all, never go out there and not give 110 percent. Enjoy the game. You are getting paid to play the game you love and that's what it's all about. Hopefully in spring training this upcoming year I'll get some more tips from him and I'll learn and hopefully just get to work with him."
After a whirlwind in Denver, Rodgers was off to Grand Junction, Colorado -- a place where baseball dreams are fed miracle grow.
"It's awesome here," Rodgers opines on the dusty western Colorado town. "I'm loving the weather. It's better than 102 and humid Florida. But the atmosphere, my host family is great, my roommates are awesome ... things couldn't be any better for me right now."
Among the things coming up Rodgers right now is his blossoming relationship with the Rockies second pick in the draft, pitcher Mike Nikorak.
"I've gotten to know Mike over the course of the summer. I actually played behind him at two showcases. He throws hard, he throws strikes and he gets a lot of ground balls, which is what I'm looking for at shortstop. He's a great kid and I look forward to us growing together."
Rodgers already has a mentor from inside the Rockies minor league system as well.
"A good buddy of mine -- Forrest Wall who was in my shoes last year -- he gave me some pointers about the system and how it works and what kind of arms and teams we face and stuff like that. Just some tips to help me not be so nervous and just be able to play the game."