Today is Wednesday, January 29th and we sit 61 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park.
By now, you probably know how this works, but just in case…
In my “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” countdown to Opening Day I profile players who will be along the way who are either new to the organization or have a reasonable expectation to impact the 25-man roster during the upcoming season. I only preview players who will be in big league camp because I do my countdown by way of the uniform number which the player will be wearing while in big league camp.
Therefore, today we will preview another one of the newest 40-man roster protectees, and a man who had a longer baseball “season” than most in 2013…
Jason Rogers is a 6’2″, 260 lb first baseman by trade. He spent a little time in 2013 in left field and was even supposed to take a number of innings at third base during the extended part of his 2013 baseball “season”, a situation that didn’t come to pass. More on that in a bit.
Undrafted out of high school in Georgia, Rogers attended Southern Union State Community College before transferring to Columbus State University. The Brewers selected him in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He’s already a success story to a degree, given how late he was drafted. In fact, should Rogers make the big league roster at any point, he would be the second-latest Brewers draft pick ever to make the majors with Milwaukee after signing with Milwaukee. That would certainly be a testament to the scouting department as well as a little bit of good fortune. (Trivia: Who was the latest? Answer down the page.)
Throughout his minor-league career, Rogers has hit. He’s never had an OPS under .761 which was in his rookie year of 2010. He signed early in 2010 and played in 42 games before the end of Arizona Rookie League season. He technically split 2011 between rookie-level Helena, and Class-A Wisconsin but played the vast majority of games as a Wisconsin Timber Rattler (64 games) as opposed to with Helena (just seven games). He started 2012 in Wisconsin again and played 67 games there before his mid-season promotion to Class-A Advanced Brevard County. Finally in 2013, Rogers started in Class-AA Huntsville and played there the whole season.
Here are his statistical lines over his career:
- 2010: .281/.368/.394, 185 PA, 3 HR, 20 BB, 32 K
- 2011: .277/.337/.431, 299 PA, 7 HR, 24 BB, 53 K
- 2012: .301/.405/.449, 588 PA, 11 HR, 11/12 SB, 79 BB, 88 K
- 2013: .270/.346/.468, 549 PA, 22 HR, 7/9 SB, 59 BB, 86 K
Rogers hadn’t ever been viewed as much of a prospect throughout his career despite those results. A key reason? He’s been considered “old” for the levels. He’ll be 26 by Opening Day and is about to embark on his maiden voyage through the waters of Triple-A, after all. As he’s advanced up the organizational ladder, he played nearly as many games in left field as at first base up until last year when he was nearly exclusively at first. Then the off-season came.
Rogers played in both the Arizona Fall League in the Dominican winter league. He played a lot of left field in Arizona and then hit the Dominican with the idea that he’d play a lot of third base to see if it was a job he could handle, thereby increasing his positional flexibility. Instead, he played first base again for Los Toros del Este.
All told, the last couple of seasons have put Rogers on the map to the point where the Brewers felt it worthwhile to protect him on the 40-man roster. They did that after the 2013 season and as a result Rogers will attend his first big league spring training. His odds of making the 25-man this year are nil, but if he can perform in his first Triple-A campaign he could possibly earn a late call up or put himself into consideration for a bench spot in 2015.
He’s certainly worth paying attention to this spring a little bit and it’ll be useful to keep an eye on Rogers during 2014 wherever he’s playing.
Trivia answer: Tim Dillard – 2001 draft – 34th round