For my debut piece at MillerParkProspects.com, I get to kick off a new series today, where we’ll be taking a look at some of the Brewers prospects that we have seen play and offering up some scouting notes on them. Of course, with such small sample sizes, things should always be taken with a grain of salt. But hopefully this will give you a quick snapshot of the players we see in action.
I’m beyond excited to be joining the MPP team. As a transplanted Brewers fan living far from Milwaukee, it’s not always easy to find coverage, especially when it comes to the Minor Leagues. I’ve been reading MPP since the site launched and have tremendous respect for the job that Brad, Marcus, and the rest of the staff do here, and want to thank them for the opportunity to be a part of this.
So without further ado, here’s a look at Milwaukee’s 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, Jason Rogers.
BACKGROUND: The Brewers selected Rogers in the 32nd round of the 2010 MLB draft out of Columbus State University. After playing 42 games in Arizona in 2010, Rogers moved to Wisconsin to begin 2011, but missed about two months of the season after breaking his hamate bone in his left hand. He returned to Wisconsin to start 2012, and hit .301 in 66 games before being promoted to Brevard County. He finished the season with Brevard, batting .300 in 67 games. Rogers breakout season came in 2013 at Double-A Huntsville. In 133 games, he hit .270 with 47 extra-base hits – including 22 home runs – and a Southern League leading 87 runs batted in.
GAMES SCOUTED: April 6th-7th at Jacksonville
April 6th Game One – Rogers was the Stars cleanup hitter in game one of their doubleheader and played third base. Offensively he had one hit in four trips to the plate. His first time up, he put a good swing on a 2-2 pitch but flied out to the opposite field. His next at bat was to lead off the fourth inning and he pulled a single to left. Rogers best at bat of the game may have come in the fifth, when he crushed a ball to left field that looked like it was gone off the bat, but it got knocked down by a strong wind blowing in and was caught on the warning track for an out. In his fourth at bat, Rogers worked the count full, fighting off several pitches, but wound up tapping back to the pitcher.
Defensively he didn’t see a ton of action. He had three pop ups come his way and made all three plays. The only ground ball hit to Rogers came off the bat of Joe Benson to lead off the bottom of the first. He played the ball going towards the foul line and showed a surprisingly strong arm on the throw to first, but Benson beat it out for an infield single.
April 6th Game Two – Rogers again played third and batted fourth in game two. He went 2-for-3 with a triple. With two outs in the first, Rogers ripped a shot to right-center that carried over the head of the center fielder. Mitch Haniger scored easily from second and Rogers cruised in to third with a triple. His second time up resulted in a single back up the middle, and his third at bat was another deep fly ball that was caught short of the track in center.
Defensively he fielded both balls hit to him cleanly, with a 5-4 putout in the third and a nice play in the fourth where he charged the ball and threw on to first for the out.
April 7th – As the #4 hitter and third baseman once again, Rogers went 0-for-4 with a walk. In his first at bat, Rogers chased a low fastball on a 1-2 count and struck out. His second time up, with two on and one out, Rogers hit the ball sharply but it was picked by the third baseman and turned in to a double play. In his third at bat, Rogers battled back from an 0-2 count to work a walk in a long at bat. To lead off the top of the seventh inning, Rogers swung at the first pitch and grounded out to short. His last at bat came in the ninth inning, when he again went after the first pitch and lofted a fly ball to short center field.
In the bottom of the first, Rogers ranged to his left on a ground ball, but bobbled and then threw wide of the base. It could have easily been ruled an error but the hometown scorer gave the Jacksonville batter a hit on the play. Rogers was tested twice in the second inning and made both plays – one a hard hit grounder and the other a chopper – cleanly. He had another easy tapper hit his way to start the bottom of the fifth. The throw was a bit low, but Nick Ramirez was able to dig it out. Rogers had another chance in the sixth on a bouncer to third which he played easily, throwing out the runner at first. In the eight inning, Rogers had a bouncer to his backhand which he played cleanly and made a strong throw across the diamond for the out. Rogers would get two more chances in the ninth as he recorded the game’s last two outs on a pair of routine grounders.
THE SCOUTING REPORT: Rogers best attribute is his power bat. He has an easy, fluid swing, and the power numbers have increased steadily throughout his minor league career. He doesn’t sell out for power however, as he doesn’t strike out excessively, will draw his share of walks, and has hit for a solid average throughout his career as well. He keeps his hands low at the plate and does a good job of using all fields. Despite his soft body, the 26-year-old Rogers is surprising quick and athletic, as witnessed by his 30 career stolen bases. His defensive value is dependent upon the position he plays. At first base, his defense would qualify as at least average. At third base, or in the outfield, he would classify as below average, but serviceable, defensively.
PROJECTION: His 2013 performance should have earned Rogers a promotion to Triple-A Nashville, but when the Brewers decided to move him to third base, they also decided to send him back to Huntsville to work at his new position. His bat should get him to the Major Leagues regardless of what position he plays. Already on the Brewers 40-man roster, a season similar to last year should, at the very least, earn Rogers a September call-up. If he can show improvement at the hot corner, his future in Milwaukee could come as early as next year.