JASON ROGERS (3B/1B)
Profile: With outfielder Carlos Gomez landing on the disabled list on Thursday, the Brewers had an open roster spot to fill and used it to promote the 27-year-old Rogers from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .360 with a pair of home runs and seven runs batted in through his first six games. This will be Rogers second stint in the big leagues after making his debut on September 2nd of last year as one of Milwaukee’s September call-ups.
Rogers was originally drafted by Milwaukee in the 32nd round of the 2010 draft, after a standout career at Columbus State University in Georgia where he belted a school record 26 home runs in 2010. He appeared in 42 games in Maryvale that same season after signing with the Brewers and hit .281 with three home runs. That earned Rogers a promotion to Class-A Wisconsin to start the 2011 season, but a broken hamate bone in his left hand early in the season cost him roughly two months. He finished the year with a .277 average and seven home runs in 71 combined games between Wisconsin and Helena.
Rogers returned to Wisconsin to begin the 2012 season and excelled through his first 66 games, hitting .301 with 31 extra-base hits and 42 runs batted in, earning a selection to the Midwest League All-Star team and a promotion to High-A Brevard County following the break. He continued to have success at the plate after joining the Manatees, hitting an even .300 with five home runs over his final 67 games of the season.
The Brewers promoted Rogers to Double-A Huntsville in 2013 and his power numbers took off. In 133 games, he hit .270 with 25 doubles and 22 home runs en route to being named Milwaukee’s Minor League Player of the Year. Following the season, the Brewers sent Rogers to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to thrive, hitting .311 in 18 games against some of baseball’s top prospects.
Having played primarily first base with a little bit of outfield mixed in throughout his Brewers career, Milwaukee moved Rogers to third base prior to the start of the 2014 season and returned him to Double-A Huntsville to re-familiarize himself with a position he hadn’t played with any regularity since college. Rogers handled the position switch well and continued to hit, earning another promotion to Triple-A Nashville halfway through the season. In 57 games with the Sounds, he hit .316 with 11 doubles, 4 triples and 11 home runs, before getting the call to Milwaukee last September.
Strengths: Rogers’ biggest strength lies in his offense. The slugger has hit for both average and power at every level through the minor leagues, collecting career totals of 63 home runs and 188 extra-base hits. He uses all parts of the field and has good power to the opposite field. Unlike many power-hitters, Rogers doesn’t strike out a ton. He’s never reached triple digit punchouts in a single season and has enough patience to work counts and draw a walk, resulting in a .368 career on base percentage. Rogers also possesses good instincts on the bases and will steal a base from time-to-time if opposing pitchers don’t pay enough attention to him.
Weaknesses: The biggest question mark with Rogers is his defense at third base. Despite having played the position some in college, he’s still relatively new to playing the hot corner in the pros and he’ll now be doing his on-the-job training at the highest level. Rogers moves well for a big man, but his range is somewhat limited, though no more so than Ramirez. Coming off the bench will also present a challenge for Rogers who struggled in that role during his very limited opportunities with the Brewers last September.
Future: For now Rogers will likely be used as a right-handed pinch-hitter off the bench and may spell a struggling Aramis Ramirez at third base and the left-handed hitting Adam Lind at first on occasion. He doesn’t have much more to prove in the minor leagues with the bat, and would appear to be the Brewers top in-house candidate to replace Ramirez at third base when he hangs it up at the end of the season. He’ll get another chance to impress Ron Roenicke and company over the next few weeks in Milwaukee and could work his way in to the Brewers plans even after a healthy Gomez returns to the field.