Former Destrehan High School star Randy Roth has been turning heads in the minors.
He learned the essential skills needed for a potential big league career growing up in the parish. Recently, at the Midwest League All-Star game, Roth won the home run derby.
Roth, who is known for his power as a hitter, went into the sudden-death round in the derby, eventually out-hitting Jordan Benz of Cedar Rapids.
"I had a real good first half of a season; 13 homeruns, 50 RBI and 19 doubles. I've just been swinging the bat real well," said Roth. In addition to seeing the ball and swinging the bat well, Roth credits his teammates in the lineup before and after him as being a great help.
What was his prize for showing a powerful prowess at the all-star game? $100.
While he enjoyed the win, Roth said that the minors are not the place to a make fortune, saying that the lifestyle and financial compensation is very similar to "Bull Durham."
Even with a little bit of money, Roth loves the game and the big dream, the dream of becoming a major leaguer. "Minor league baseball is great. Everybody is trying to get to the majors, playing really hard. We are trying to make that big paycheck," said Roth.
The big difference, according to Roth, is the grind. "It's hard to stay focused sometimes. You play everyday. It's like a job. It is very mental," said Roth, adding that he is playing 142 games a season, opposed to the 70 he played in college.
After high school he played for Southeastern. Now Roth plays for the Quad-Cities Swing in Davenport, Iowa. The Swing is the minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. With his steady bat, Roth has led the league most of the first half of the season in homers and runs batted in.
On the defense, Roth plays first, third and right field, but he is making a name for himself with his bat, as he has only been with the Swing for three months and already made the all-star team.
While possibly on his way to fame and fortune in the majors, Roth has not forgotten his roots: "It was great playing in the parish. The fans were wonderful; it was just a great place to play."
"It was fun to have the River Parishes battles with Hahnville. You remember that for the rest of your life," Roth said over the phone.
Roth credits the hard-fought battles vital to his career development. "The recreation department (in the parish) was great. We competed everyday and in every aspect of the game. It was good baseball."
Each and everyday, Roth has had to learn to become a better baseball player. In the off-season, he studied under David Dullucci, a Baton Rouge native who plays currently for the Philadelphia Phillies. "I worked out with him through the winter," said Roth, adding Dullucci taught him a lot about what it takes to be professional.
Growing up, Roth was an Atlanta Braves fan. Like most kids in the South that didn't have a local major league team to root for, Roth watched and cheered for the Braves with his grandfather, seeing them broadcasted on TBS throughout the South.
Keeping his eye on the prize, Roth may one day get to play with those idols in the big leagues.
|Randy Roth is off to a bang in the minors with 13 homers, 50 RBIs and 19 doubles.|