Gathered at his sister’s house, cooking up some chicken and waffles and some carne asada, recent Hart graduate Cole Roederer sat huddled in the corner anxiously awaiting the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft with his friends, family and loved ones.
Then, the Chicago Cubs made his dream come true.
The Cubs selected Roederer, an outfielder, with the 77th overall pick.
“I don’t think words can describe it,” Roederer said. “This is something that every little kid dreams of. To actually hear your name called and have all my family freak out with me meant so much.”
Roederer had an inclination that he was going to get drafted, thanks to his mother’s “premonition,” which indicated that he was going to go 77th to the Cubs (Roederer’s favorite number is 7).
“I had a strong feeling that they wanted to make it happen,” Roederer said. “Then I got the call from the advisor and my mom couldn’t help but to smile and yell out, ‘I called it.’”
To celebrate, Roederer packed six of his friends and baseball buddies into a car to get some ice cream at the local parlor.
“We were all overwhelmed with emotion and I thought to myself, ‘I really want some ice cream.’ And then I find out that Paul got drafted right after me. It was unreal.”
With the 78th selection and final pick of the draft’s first day, the Cubs took fellow Hart alum and Roederer’s one-time mentor, Paul Richan, who recently concluded his junior season at the University of San Diego.
“We are actually very good friends and he kind of served as my mentor and a big impact in my life. He text me and said, ‘good job’. Then I ended up calling him once I heard his name and we just stayed on the phone kind of astonished that this actually happened.
“It kind of shows you that the (Hart) program is historical and is producing.”
In his junior season with the Toreros, Richan posted a 4.62 ERA, with a record of 4-6 in 13 starts and an impressive 101:13 strikeout to walk ratio.
With the Indians, he reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 finals in 2015.
“He was a great role model for the younger guys and still is today since he’s in San Diego,” said Hart coach Jim Ozella. “He comes around a lot and serves as a role model and is highly respected by all players and coaches alike.”
Roederer, who signed on to play college ball at UCLA, is confident in his decision after he got the call and talked it over with his family.
“I will be signing with the Chicago Cubs and not be attending UCLA,” Roederer said. “I had a bottom dollar and they put their money in the price range that I wanted and when I heard my name, it was a done deal.
”If I had to pick a team, the Cubs would be my first choice.”
Playing through adversity in his last season at Hart due to injury, Roederer has since fully recovered and has put it behind him.
“It’s a thing of the past. I’m 100 percent ready to go thanks to all the workout and physical therapy that I did,” Roederer said.
“I actually think I’m hitting harder because of all the therapy.”
Making sure he’s ready to go when he does sign, Roederer, a three-year varsity starter, even showed up to summer practice on Tuesday.
“He’s always done a great job of showing teammates how to do certain skills,” Ozella said. “He even came out to workout this morning, just to make sure that he’s ready to go when he’s signed.”
Thanking the Hart community, coaching staff, his family, friends and loved ones Roederer is like a kid an ice cream shop, excited and thankful as ever.
“My time at Hart transformed me to be a man. The grind of the game prepared me for the passion that I now have. I want to thank everyone that went on this ride with me,” he said.