2012 Draft: Interview with two-way high school star Rock Rucker

Rock Rucker is projected as a possible first-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. (Joe Paull/Ledger-Enquirer)

Rock Rucker is a 6’-5”, 220-pound left-hander from Russell County HS in Alabama. He is one of the top prep players in the country and is projected as a possible first-round draft pick in the 2012 MLB amateur draft to be held June 4-6. A two-way player, he is 7-0 on the mound with a 0.76 ERA and 70 strikeouts over 36.2 innings, while allowing just eight hits. At the plate, he is hitting .382 with 13 doubles, eight home runs, 41 RBI and a 1.177 OPS over 40 games. His fastball touches 95 mph and his overall athleticism makes him one of the better long-term prospects with a very high ceiling. He is also a very intelligent young man as he has a 3.5 GPA. I had a chance to bounce some questions off of Rock and would like to thank him for his time and wish him the best of luck in the draft!

You are one of the better two-way players in the country. What do you enjoy more, pitching or hitting?

I really don’t mind doing both but I would love to be a hitter at the next level. As a hitter, you get to relax more and let the game come to you.

For people who don’t know, tell us about your pitching arsenal.

I took the role to be a pitcher this year because I knew with my height and arm strength that scouts would love me. My fastball sits 91-94 mph, touches 95 and my curveball is my go-to secondary pitch. I also throw a splitter at times to mix it up.

What have you worked on the most this season?

I worked on hitting for average and my stamina on the mound.

Where did the name Rock come from?

The name Rock came from my grandmother. When I was younger, I was hardheaded and wouldn’t listen to her.

You have a commitment to Auburn. Why did you choose Auburn, and what impressed you most about the university?

I chose Auburn because of the academic view of being a student-athlete, and they compete in the best conference in the nation, the SEC.

You transferred to Russell County HS in Alabama from Redan HS in Georgia after your junior season. What has been the biggest challenge of switching schools and states?

Getting used to Alabama itself was probably the hardest thing. Being a city kid, I wasn’t used to seeing cows and horses every other turn, ha!

At Russell County, you played for Tony Rasmus, father of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, and former first-round pick Colby Rasmus. What kind of influence did he have on you, and has he given you any advice on the draft?

Coach Tony has given me great advice on the draft and basically told me to go with my heart because it’s my life and my decision.

You have participated in numerous events for Perfect Game Baseball — 17 I believe — including the annual Pre-Draft Showcase held last week. How has playing against the other elite players in the country bettered your game, and what have you taken from it?

Playing against other elite kids in the country can only better you, and I love that. At RC, we played a 54-game schedule, and I can honestly say it’s prepared me for a college season or the MLB.

What would you tell the fans of the team who drafts you what they are getting with Rock Rucker?

They are getting an all-around kid with a great personality who has a serious passion for the game!

Where did you pick up the love for the game?

My grandmother and mother; I’ve been playing since I was three.

You are known for your outgoing personality. How do make that work to your advantage on the baseball field?

I’m always talking, knowing the situations and encouraging my teammates as much as I can.

Last question, and it’s hypothetical. Would you rather hit the game-winning home run in game seven of the World Series or pitch a shutout to win it?

Game-winning home run. There’s more at stake!

Thanks again Rock, and best of luck with the draft!

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