The Detroit Tigers have lots of new faces thanks to a variety of trades. “Future Friday” is a new segment where we examine the newest prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent over the past year in exchange for prospects.
While it can be hard for fans to see all-stars like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander, the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.
‘Future Fridays,’ is a new weekly column where we pick a prospect and delve into their expected impact on the team. With so many new faces, we want to help Tigers fans identify the newest wave of Tigers players as they move into rebuilding mode.
So far, we have examined two thirds of the return the Tigers got for Justin Verlander.
Thanks to our twitter followers, we will be discussing catching prospect Jake Rogers today.
Rogers was drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Astros out of Tulane.
He started out in short-season ball but was quickly promoted to Single-A after posting a 142 wRC+.
He posted ridiculous numbers in 2017 before the trade. Between Single-A and High-A, Rogers blasted 18 home runs and stole 14 bases. He added 25 doubles and four triples.
After the trade, Rogers only played two games at High-A for the Tigers.
Offensively, Rogers has showed good patience and power at the plate. His speed is a big bonus and extremely rare for a catcher. While he is unlikely to post double-digit steals for the Tigers, even the occasional stolen base would be a pleasant bonus.
Some scouts have concerns about his strikeout numbers. As long as he keeps his keen eye at the plate however, he should post league average hitting numbers in the major leagues.
League average hitting from a catcher is enough to keep a job in the major leagues. However, Rogers is not a high-profile prospect for his offense.
Prospect expert Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs sums it up pretty well, calling Rogers “the best defensive catching prospect I’ve ever seen.” Obviously that is incredibly high praise, and it doesn’t end there. From MLB.com’s prospect watch:
"Rogers’ arm strength is merely solid but plays up a full grade because he makes such quick and accurate throws. Shutting down the running game is just one facet of his defensive brilliance. His agility and soft hands make him an excellent receiver who already has good feel for framing pitches."
Rogers will make the major leagues for his defense alone. Anything the Tigers get out of him offensively is simply a bonus. The average offensive production from a catcher last season was .250/.315/.405. There is no reason Rogers cannot match that at the big league level, even if he struggles with strikeouts.
At 22, Rogers has a good chance to be the catcher of the future in Detroit. With the rebuild in full effect, the Tigers will want to have a young catcher ready to blossom when the team plans to contend in 3-5 years.
Expect him to start the season out at Double-A. He probably will not make the team until 2019 at the earliest, but once he comes up he should be in the blue and orange for years to come.
Losing Justin Verlander is a tough pill for Detroit fans to swallow. However, a future with Franklin Perez pitching to Jake Rogers (with Daz Cameron patrolling center field) will someday ease the sting.