‘No, I Catch, I’m A Catcher’ | IMG Star Catcher And MLB Draft Prospect Zion Rose Has A Refined Sales Pitch From Working In The Family Business

‘No, I Catch, I’m A Catcher’ | IMG Star Catcher And MLB Draft Prospect Zion Rose Has A Refined Sales Pitch From Working In The Family Business

IMG Academy’s baseball team just secured its first-ever undefeated season. The Ascenders, 25-0 record capped off a season where they were recently named the 2023 MaxPreps national champions.


Led by star pitcher Cameron Johnson, who’s the 24th-ranked according to Prospects Live, and the 41st-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline. It’s safe to say Johnson, is a very likely first round pick in next month’s MLB Draft.


 IMG Academy Stud Pitcher And LSU Commit Cameron Johnson Just Letting The Chips Fall Where They May As MLB Draft Approaches



But what about the guy catching all that heat from Johnson, the young mound marauder?



That’s right IMG Academy star catcher, Zion Rose, is definitely a name to remember in next month’s three day festivities in Seattle, Washington at Lumen Field. The Chicago native himself is the 41st-ranked prospects by Prospects Live, and the 144th-ranked draft eligible prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s eligible draftees.




Put On: Several Young Stars Set to Flash MLBbro potential at 2023 MLB Draft Combine




Johnson Raves About 2023 Season: One For The Ages



Rose, who does all the dirty work behind the plate, was recently asked the Ascenders epic 2023 season. The Louisville commit was short and sweet in his response with this.



“It’s been an amazing year,” Rose said.


And with so much more still to unfold based on next month’s draft, Rose, just like many other prospects, will have a decision to make. If drafted, does he go to college or jump right into the professional ranks of the sport.


Rose who was a standout at the MLB Dream Series in January, used that to catapult into a great senior season. In fact, one scout mentioned that Rose is more than a catcher and can affect the game in many positions around the diamond.



“I like the swing,” the scout said. “He has bat speed, uses the whole field and he has pop. He can run and play multiple positions. I wouldn’t bet against him to catch. He has something to prove.



Rose Isn’t Moving From Behind The Plate 



“People ask me questions, ‘Do you play outfield?” Rose said. “I say, ‘No, I catch. I’m a catcher. ‘But also, I don’t take away from my ability that I can play the outfield. I can still do that. But I’m a catcher.”





Johnson Made Sure To Bring Family Business To Florida



Moving from Chicago to Bradenton, Florida was a huge change for Rose, who admitted it was a difficult being away from his family.



“Yeah, it’s been a little hard being away from my family.”



But Rose always had something with him to remind him of the “Windy City.”



Rose’s family owns a shea butter line called “Nature’s Dezzert,” and Rose reportedly brought some of that with him to Florida.



Rose has been selling the scents on campus.



“We have 12 or 13 scents and they all smell amazing.”


“I just bring down duffel bags of it and sell it here. They call me ‘Shea Butter Man’ on campus.”



Rose says the family started the business because his younger brother had really bad eczema, and over-the-counter stuff wasn’t working. He also says as a salesman is like dealing with different pitchers, can’t have the same script.



Rose is a salesman to the core pitching the product with this line.



“I’ve been full games of catching, and people are like, ‘How do you smell so good after catching a full game? I’m like it’s the product.”



Zion is set to get paid on the diamond, but we also know he’s a salesman at heart. That’s an easy sell to MLB teams looking for the first impactful catcher since Charles Johnson. 



Cincinatti Reds Catcher Chuckie Robinson Ushers In The Return Of The Black Backstop

Cincinatti Reds Catcher Chuckie Robinson Ushers In The Return Of The Black Backstop

Chuckie Robinson is the newest Black catcher in Major League Baseball.  The Danville, Illinois native and former 21st round pick now has the chance to represent a position that was once rich in our culture.

Chuckie Robinson was born to be a catcher.

His father Charles Robinson Jr. caught in the Minors for the Royals and Cubs while his grandfather spent time as a catcher in the White Sox system.



Monday night Robinson hit his first career home run after battling back from an 0-2 count.

“I hit it and I knew it was out,” Robinson told reporters after the game.  “I kinda blacked out.  I had to battle back and just got my pitch and handled it.”



A native of Robinson’s hometown which has a population around 30,000 was in the left field stands of Great American Ballpark and caught his home run ball. It turns out Robinson knew the family and they were able to get the ball to his mother who was watching her son play in the Majors for the first time.

Black people currently make up less than 8% of Major League Baseball players according to a study done in June on MLB Player Demographics.

That percentage has climbed a little over recent years, although not by much. Despite the low numbers, our culture has had a profound impact on the sport particularly during this season where we are witnesses to Aaron Judge’s chase of the home run record, pitcher Triston McKenzie dominating the Majors top offensive lineups and even the All-Star Game where Giancarlo Stanton and Byron Buxton carried the American League to victory with game winning homers.

However, it has been almost 20 years since we have seen a productive Black catcher in the Majors.

Charles Johnson Is The Last Notable Black Catcher, But He Wasn’t The First


The most recent was Charles Johnson who was drafted in the first round by the then Florida Marlins in 1992. He won four consecutive Gold Gloves from 1995-1998. When the Marlins won the World Series in 1997, Johnson had a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000.

Other historic Black catchers include Hall of Famer and three-time National League MVP Roy Campanella who was the first Black catcher in Major League Baseball’s modern era and 12-time All-Star Elston Howard who was the first MLBbro in Yankees history. 

The catcher position is a lot like the quarterback in football: You have to control the game and fight harder on the mental side a bit more than the physical.

It is enjoyable watching players run down fly balls and make spectacular grabs, or even dominate in the infield like recent Gold Glove winners J.P. Crawford and Marcus Semien, but it is refreshing to finally see a MLBbro behind the plate.

This weekend Robinson and his Reds welcome the Colorado Rockies to Cincinnati for a three-game series.

Charles Johnson Is The Last Notable Black Catcher, But He Wasn’t The First

Charles Johnson Is The Last Notable Black Catcher, But He Wasn’t The First

Charles Johnson isn’t the first Black catcher, but he’s the last one to have an impactful career behind the dish.

The MLB has seen many Black and brown players have success playing different positions. From pitcher Bob Gibson to outfielder Mookie Betts, the brothers have done their thing on the baseball diamond and have received recognition for it.

Let it be known that our MLB bros know how to play this game and succeed at a high level. 

One position that the MLB has not seen many Black and brown athletes play is the catcher position. 

If you were to ask a young baseball fan if they could name a Black catcher, they would struggle to give that answer because there have not been many.

In 2020, The Undefeated published an article about the disappearance of the African American catcher.

Chip Lawrence, a graduate of Southern University, a national cross-checker for the San Diego Padres, and a scout, gave his take on the shortage of Black catchers in the league.

“It is not a glorified position,” Lawrence said in The Undefeated article. “Catching takes commitment and a high tolerance for pain. You have to have a special makeup to be a catcher.”

Lawrence did notice that there are more Black catchers at the collegiate level.

“Most colleges want a player that can receive and be athletic behind the plate, with the ability to hit being a bonus. If anything, we are seeing more college African American catchers now than we have seen in the past few years,” Lawrence said.

That’s a good sign to see more Black college athletes stepping into the catching role. Just like any other position, our brothers can be successful behind the plate.

Now there have been a few Black catchers who had success in the league. Many moons ago, there was Roy Campanella, who played for the old Brooklyn Dodgers, and Elston Howard, who caught for the New York Yankees. Both were stars in the 50s and 60s.



More recently, the biggest catching star was Charles Johnson. For those who aren’t familiar with Johnson, let’s start out with some of his accomplishments during his career.



Johnson played from 1994 to 2005 and during that time he was a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and a World Series champion.

That’s an impressive resume right there and the brother accomplished all that while playing catcher.

He spent time playing with six different teams and finished with a .275 career batting average, 167 home runs, and 570 RBI. Behind the plate, he had a .993 fielding percentage.

When Johnson was playing, there weren’t too many Black players playing the same position he was.

“There were only two other black catchers that I knew of: Terry McGriff and Lenny Webster,” Johnson said in the article from The Undefeated.

Johnson knew he wanted to play catcher at a young age and his father wasted no time putting him to work. 



“My dad had a wooden tool shed I’d squat in front of. I missed a whole lot of balls. Eventually, those balls tore a big old hole in that shed,” Johnson said. “After a while, my goal became not to let the ball get through that hole.”

That hard work that Johnson put in at a young age allowed him to play collegiately at the University of Miami and he went on to be drafted by the Florida Marlins in the first round of the 1992 MLB draft.

During his first full season in 1995, he won a Gold Glove award and went on to win the award the next three seasons. 

He had one of his best seasons statistically in 2001 hitting .259 with 18 home runs and 75 RBI. This MLB bro could get the job done at the plate and behind the plate. 

While there weren’t many Blacks behind the dish when Johnson was playing, he made sure to make a name for himself and give inspiration to others who want to play the same position.

Though the MLB has seen a lack of Black catchers, former players like Johnson have paved the way for generations to come.