Rolette released by Akron, but picked up by Kane County

Brian Johnson
The Shawnee News-Star
Josh Rolette

Sometimes an unfortunate situation can turn into a potential blessing.

That's what former Shawnee High School baseball standout Josh Rolette is in the midst of experiencing.

On July 1, the 2015 SHS grad was released by the Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. That came just about 10 days or so after Rolette hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the 12th inning of Akron's 5-1 victory over the Bowie Baysox.

The next night, he followed that up with a key double off the wall to tie the game at 5-5 as the RubberDucks went on to a 17-9 rout of Bowie.

Rolette, who was listed as catcher on the Akron roster, had been playing first base on several occasions before being released.

But it appears Rolette won't be out of action long. He was picked up by the Kane County Cougars (in Geneva, Illinois) of the American Association. Kane County was formerly an affiliated team before joining the American Association in February. The Cougars' new league is now under the umbrella of Major League Baseball.

The American Association was part of the MLB restructuring of the minor leagues which took place last winter. Most of the players in the American Association have played in Double-A, Triple-A and even the major leagues and players in the league can be picked up by any Major League squad.

“This will be a better situation for him as he will catch more and hit every day,” said David Rolette, Josh's father, Shawnee High School pitching coach and former SHS head softball coach. “Plus, he is actually making more money than he did with the RubberDucks.”

Josh made his first appearance with Kane County Tuesday night as he went 2-for-3 with a a pair of doubles and a run scored in the Cougars' 3-0 decision over the Houston Apollos.

“He should be playing every day as opposed to two or three times a week,” David said.

Josh hit .495 with nine home runs, 16 doubles and 54 runs batted as a senior in helping the Wolves to a 2015 state championship.

He went on to play two seasons at Kansas State University where he was selected as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2016, All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2016, All-Big 12 Freshman Team in 2016 and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for March 14, 2016. He also made the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Rolls in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017 for academics.

He was drafted out of high school by the St. Louis Cardinals but did not sign. After two years at K-State, Rolette was picked up by Cleveland in the 39th round (1,182 overall) in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.