Detroit Tigers: Interview with catching prospect Jake Rogers

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 7: A general view of Comerica Park prior to the start of the opening day game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers on April 7, 2017 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 7: A general view of Comerica Park prior to the start of the opening day game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers on April 7, 2017 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers catching prospect Jake Rogers was one of three minor leaguers acquired for Justin Verlander. He’s one of baseball’s best catching prospects. He also took the time to answer some questions.

Detroit Tigers fans saw the team trade away Justin Verlander in late August.

The move kick-started a rebuild for the franchise and netted three exciting prospects in the trade.

Among the trio were starting pitcher Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron and catcher Jake Rogers.

Each comes with plenty of potential. Perez could very well step into the rotation in the next season or two, while Cameron figures to slot in alongside Christin Stewart, Mike Gerber and Derek Hill in Detroit’s long-term outfield picture.

Meanwhile, Rogers looks like the heir-apparent to James McCann behind the dish.

The 22-year-old checks in at eighth on a list compiled by’s Pipeline of the top backstop prospects.

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In fact, you could probably make the argument that Rogers may be the best defensive catching prospect in the minor leagues.

The future

Rogers turned in a strong season split between Houston’s Single-A and Advanced-A clubs, as well as a two-game stint with Advanced-A Lakeland after the trade.

Overall, he hit .261 with a .350 on-base percentage, a .467 slugging percentage and an .817 OPS.

The catcher also turned in 70 RBI, 60 runs scored, 54 walks, 25 doubles, 18 home runs, 14 stolen bases and four triples in 491 plate appearances. He also threw out 46% of would-be base stealers.

It’s very likely that you’ll see Rogers in a Detroit Tigers uniform at Comerica Park in the coming seasons.

He took the time to answer some questions from Motor City Bengals.

You can follow him on Twitter at @_JROG_.

The Interview

Q: What was your initial reaction to the trade, and what are your thoughts on the potential opportunity in Detroit?

"“My initial reactions were just about all you can expect: surprised, shocked, excited, etc. It was late at night and it just surprised me. I was actually sitting watching a movie when it happened and got a phone call from my brother saying he saw it happen on live TV.  A couple of my current teammates were sitting around and I was just like… I’m a Tiger now. And everyone was just kind of shocked and excited for me at the same time because it happened with just seconds left before the deadline.I’m just excited to be a part of this Tigers organization where they have great history and leadership and looking forward to the future.”"

Q: How would you describe yourself as a player to Tigers fans?

"“A player that enjoys to come to the field every day and win. It’s a fun game and I like to have some fun while also working hard to win every day.  I’m just a baseball player that can play anywhere and loves the game.”"

Q: Were you always a catcher growing up, or did you try other positions, or even pitching?

"“I played all positions growing up and even played multiple positions in college. I’ve always been a player where if you need me at any position, you can stick me there and I could play it. I started catching some when I was twelve, but it wasn’t up until high school/college until I knew that catching was my niche. From that point on I worked hard on perfecting my craft.”"

Q: You’ve always been known for your defense, but you had a breakout year across the board at the plate in 2017. What do you attribute the successful season to?

"“Just hard work. I had a lot of great baseball minds work with me through a little bit of last year and last offseason. They just helped me work on making my swing feel good to me. And also working on swinging at my pitch and hitting it hard. Swinging at strikes and hitting it hard equals more success.”"

Q: Are there any catchers that you watch who you try to model your game, or parts of your game, after? In a similar vein, are there any hitters you watch and try and pick things up from in terms of a swing standpoint? Why them?

"“As far as catchers go I watched everybody in the big leagues. They are the catchers that are at the highest level and that’s where I wanted to be so I knew I had to watch them and learn some tricks. If I had to pick, I kind of leaned towards the Molina brothers growing up. I really liked how Jose Molina received the baseball. He made it look easy. So that’s who I watched and studied and kind of put a little of his game into mine. As far as hitting goes, it’s kind of one and the same. I look at a lot of people’s swings and see what I like or kind of how that could play into mine and see how it feels.”"

Q: Have the Tigers let you know yet which minor league affiliate you’ll be starting next season with?

"“They have not!”"

Q: You caught fellow Tigers prospect Franklin Perez with both Buies Creek and Quad Cities. Is he one of the more advanced pitchers you’ve caught so far?

"“Yes he is. He’s one of the better arms I’ve caught in my career. He has really good feel for his pitches at his age, and his stuff is electric too. I’m glad the Tigers got him as well!”"


Q: Favorite player growing up?

"“This is always tough. But probably Ken Griffey Jr. I didn’t get to see him play much but just knowing my brothers loved him made me pay attention to him when he did.”"

Q: Which manager or coach has had the biggest impact on your career so far?

"“I’d have to say David Pierce at Tulane University, who is now at the University of Texas. He really put me over the edge when it came to me growing as a player and getting ready for pro ball. I’ve worked with so many great coaches throughout my career it’s hard to choose just one. Rick Jones, Ron Polk, plus so many others along the way.”"

Next: Why a Jordan Zimmermann bounce-back is key

Q: Most memorable/favorite minor league stop so far and why?

"“Of the teams I’ve played with, Quad cities just because I’ve spent some time there and became familiar with it. It sits on the Mississippi River and has a ferris wheel in the outfield. It’s a good spot.From the places I have played there are a bunch that have great venues, Winston-Salem, Myrtle Beach, and Dayton just to name a few.”"