Detroit Tigers: 3 under-the-radar players who will help most in 2024

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Jake Rogers

You might not think of Jake Rogers as someone who is under the radar. After all, he should be the starting catcher for this team. But what he showed from about June onward last season was quietly very impressive.

Rogers slashed .221/.286/.444 with 21 homers and a 97 wRC+ in 365 plate appearances. He also struck out 32.3 % of the time, but he offset that with a .224 ISO. The strikeout rate was actually 4% lower than 2021. This cumulated into a 2.2 fWAR, which was 10th in baseball among catchers with at leasr 350 PAs. ahead of names such as Alejandro Kirk, Gabriel Moreno, and J.T. Realmuto.

Rogers should get more playing time in 2024, so he should be even better. Rogers is who he is as a hitter. He's going to swing and miss. He's going to strike out a ton. But he's also going to take his fair share of walks, and hit at least 20 bombs because of his classic uppercut swing.

Defensively and receiving wise, he's one of the best in the game. He was in the 90th percentle in blocks above average and 80th percentile in framing according to Baseball Savant. Basically, he's borderline elite at blocking pitches in the dirt and great at framing pitches.

One area where he surprisingly struggled last season was throwing out runners. He caught just 16% of would-be basestealers in 2023. This is strange, because he was usually upwards of 60% in the minor leagues, which is absurd. The league average is 31%, so he's going to have to be better in that area. But last year was also his first season back from Tommy John surgery, so there was an adjustment period. It was also the first season with the new rules that encourage stealing bases (pitch clock, two pickoff attempts, etc.).

Rogers now has his first full MLB season under his belt. He did a lot of things well. This could be the year he enters that upper echelon of major league catchers.