Detroit Tigers: 5 underdog players coming through in 2021
Gone are the days of Wilson Ramos, Austin Romine, and Bobby Wilson. The Detroit Tigers seem to have found their backstops for the future; both of whom were once losing hope from their respective organizations.
Rogers continually got overlooked in roster decisions by the Detroit Tigers; often opting for Grayson Greiner or other journeyman backups like the aforementioned Wilson or John Hicks. He got his shot in 2019, but some uncharacteristic defense in his 35 games caused another start in Toledo to begin 2021.
Fans were continually puzzled by the organization’s handling of Rogers, but a story by Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic ($) gave some clues as to why when AJ Hinch had a frank, honest discussion about Rogers’ strengths and weaknesses as a catcher this spring–mainly his glovework and moving target for pitchers behind the plate.
Fast forward to 2021 and Rogers gets the call to replace the then-injured Grayson Greiner in May. Despite his current forearm injury that landed him on the injured list, Rogers was able to amass a 1.4 bWAR for the Detroit Tigers in just 38 games; slashing .239/.306/.496 while continuing to post one of the best pop times in the league.
Consider this my scouting apology: I missed on Eric Haase. The good news is that the Cleveland Indians/Guardians did, too, which allowed the Detroit Tigers to acquire him for cash considerations in January of 2020. To an extent, the Detroit Tigers also did by starting him in Toledo; nevertheless, he is proving his worth at the big-league level.
I got a handful of looks at Haase at the alternate site in Toledo, where his upright approach produced consistent hard contact against Cubs and Pirates pitching. I knew Haase had thump, so I didn’t think much of it and figured his contact issues throughout the minors may catch up to him.
Not as big of an issue as I thought; with a .247/.299/.543 line and 18 home runs and 2.1 bWAR across 62 games between catcher and left field. This type of power has not been present in a Detroit Tigers lineup in some time; and with his legitimate versatility, it becomes much easier to get him and Rogers both in the same lineup (assuming health).