Grayson Rodriguez dominates for Orioles, while Nolan McLean garners national headlines

April 29, 2024

Another week, another stretch of games for New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series alumni where it’s nearly impossible to narrow down all the big performances.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP — Baltimore Orioles (MLB)

Rodriguez is finally putting it all together at the big league level, showing he still has the potential to be at the top end of the Baltimore Orioles rotation. On Monday night, he put together one of his best starts in his second season in the big leagues, holding the New York Yankees without a run in 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing just three walks and five hits while striking out three.

The No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft less than a year after his showing at 2017 International Week, Rodriguez was a consensus top pitching prospect in the game prior to his MLB debut, and is 11-5 with a 4.21 ERA in his first 29 career big league starts.

Nic Kent, INF — Colorado Rockies (AA)

Not long after speaking to FSS Plus for a story on his path from the Future Stars Series to pro ball, Kent smacked a walk-off homer for the Hartford Yard Goats in their Saturday win over the Portland Sea Dogs. A teammate of Rodriguez at the inaugural 2017 International Week event as well as a standout of that year’s national tournaments, Kent has made a slow, but steady climb through the Rockies since his 11th round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft after a standout career at Virginia.

Drew Romo, C — Colorado Rockies (AAA)

Romo is on the cusp of the big leagues just five years after standing out on a loaded Scorpions team at the 2019 national tournaments that also included Dylan Crews and Zac Veen. The 22-year-old backstop is hitting .329 with Triple-A Albuquerque and is riding a current 15-game hitting streak that includes five multi-hit games over his last six contests.

Cam Collier, INF — Cincinnati Reds (A+)

A two-time Main Event star, Collier is back to being one of the hottest prospects in all of baseball after some foolishly dismissed him after a sluggish year in Low-A last year. At 18 years old. Seems unwise. Anyway, now in High-A Dayton, the now-19-year-old is thriving, with seven home runs in his first 81 at-bats of the 2024 season.

Nolan McLean, DH/P — New York Mets (A+)

You’ve probably heard about Nolan McLean by now. If you missed this FSS Plus story, the rest of the baseball world has done a great job in catching you up to the former Dirtbags standout, who has emerged as a legitimate two-way threat in the New York Mets organization. .267 with two homers and six RBI at the plate, 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and 14 K’s in 14 innings on the mound. He showed you he could do it at the 2019 national tournaments, and not much has changed since.

Termarr Johnson, OF — Pittsburgh Pirates (A+)

One of the hottest prospects on the amateur circuit at the time, Johnson came through the Future Stars Series at a regional combine, and went on to go No. 4 overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022. Like Collier, he’s 19 years old at High-A and there’s still plenty of development left, but he’s shown signs of breaking through, including his first homer of the year on Sunday for Greensboro.

Zac Veen, OF — Colorado Rockies (AA)

Veen is another player frequently written about in this space, and is also another who had many sleeping on him after a poor 2023 campaign that, it turns out, was directly hampered by what turned into a season-ending injury. The ninth overall pick back in 2020, the speedy outfielder seems to be back and better than other, and is knocking on the door of a call-up to Triple-A to once again join his travel ball teammate Romo.

Nazzan Zanetello, INF — Boston Red Sox (A)

Boston’s second rounder at No. 50 overall last year, Zanetello is off to a hot start to his first full professional season, which has started at Low-A Salem. Four hits in his first eight at-bats, including a solo homer, have helped contributed to a sporty 1.431 OPS next to his name.

Mike Ashmore
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