One of the lesser-known prospects in the Justin Verlander trade is poised for a big season. Catcher Jake Rogers was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2016 out of Tulane University and was immediately tagged as their catcher of the future. It was tough for the Astros to part with him, but their loss could turn out to be a big gain for the Tigers.
Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow has had nothing but compliments for the young catcher:
“He has the ability in my opinion to be a frontline, everyday catcher in the big leagues, and I think that opinion is shared by the Tigers’ evaluators. We did not take it lightly, trading our catcher of the future. That was a difficult pill to swallow. But that was what it was going to take to get Justin Verlander, so we had to do it.”
“But I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s not going to be a catch-and-throw guy only; he’s going to hit. He receives well, he blocks, he frames. He has a chance to be a very complete catcher.”
Rogers is in his first Spring Training with the Tigers and so far he’s impressed. According to Jason Beck, he’s jumped into working with the pitchers early in camp, and pitching coach Chris Bosio expects all of the catchers to help the staff progress:
“You cannot win without good catchers,” Bosio said. “They’re the guys that I rely on, probably more than the pitching staff, to help these guys. They’re not a catch-net. They’re a guide. They’re a leader. They’re the only player on the field with everybody in front of them.”
Rogers is currently the 5th ranked catching prospect according to MLB.com. He’s also considered by many to be the best defensive prospect in all of baseball. Rogers had a very productive year in 2017 throwing out 46 percent of runners. He was more than respectable at the plate too, hitting .261 with 25 doubles, 18 homers, 70 RBIs in A-ball.
As he takes in the invite to major league camp, he’s trying to meet everyone and learn as much as he can from James McCann and other veteran players:
“I’ve met a lot of guys over these past couple days,” Rogers said. “Just trying to get to know everybody, know their strengths, know their weaknesses and pick some brains and get after it.”
It should be exciting to watch as he progresses this year in the minors. All indications are that the Tigers might have gotten a steal in Jake Rogers.