Detroit Tigers: Jake Rogers vying for more time behind the dish early on
By Tyler Kotila
Detroit Tigers catcher Jake Rogers is trying to earn more playing time.
The Detroit Tigers have been putrid to start the season. It's a long summer, and it's not to say they'll snap into shape and become a competitor, but there's still hope this level of play improves, at least a touch above where it is now.
There are still plenty of players vying for positional battles in-season and trying to show out. Jake Rogers is one of the players who has seemingly started out 2023 strong. Sure, the statistics have not been the most pretty, but his defense has shown that it never left.
I'll be the first to admit that I have written Rogers off. I thought for sure he would end up being relegated to Triple-A, and it would be the Eric Haase show behind the dish. Things have not gone well for Haase behind the plate, and Rogers has looked serviceable and been reliable with the gear on.
The future of Tigers catching is not Rogers; it's not Haase. I'm not sold that it's Dillon Dingler (who's on the Injured List after undergoing surgery) or Donny Sands (who was acquired this off-season and has that grit/grinder playstyle).
But, for the time being, Rogers has certainly done well behind the dish and handling the Tigers' pitching staff. After all, someone's gotta be back there for the 162 games the Tigers play this year, even if it's not the catcher of the future. With that in mind, Rogers continues to pave the way to earn more playing time.
Through the first six games that Rogers has played, he's 3-for-15 with two home runs and five RBI for the Tigers. But then again, the bat was never the carrying tool with Rogers. He was always a defense-first backstop; even deeper was more of a throwing-first backstop.
But after Tommy John surgery, it looks like Rogers has found ways to make himself valuable to the team with his performance behind the dish. Being able to receive well, call games smoothly via PitchCom, and keep the ball in front of him, are just a few ways he's executed on that so far.
The arm looks healthy too. After a lengthy rehab period, he is looking strong behind the dish, cutting down runners on the bases and controlling the opposing run game. It's early, and the product in the batters' box is nothing super exciting, but Rogers is continuing to lock things down behind the plate.