Any Detroit Tigers fan should know who prospect catcher Jake Rogers is from his appearance with the big league club in 2019, but 2020 will sing a different tune. The Tigers offseason moves are going to make it a bit more complicated for Rogers to get his second stint with the big league club.
In 2019, Detroit Tigers fans finally started to see General Manager Al Avila call up some of the youngsters, giving them their first opportunities in the big leagues.
Jake Rogers was one of the young prospects who finally got his chance to stick with the big league team for more than a few games, but 2020 is most likely going to see a different result to start the season off. With the addition of free-agent catcher Austin Romine this offseason, Rogers moves from second to third on the depth chart, most likely meaning he slides to the Triple-A roster when it’s all said and done.
Currently, going into Spring Training, Romine will win the “starting job” as a catcher, leaving Grayson Greiner and Jake Rogers to battle it out for the backup role. Now, fans know how much Avila likes to keep his prospects in the minors, so it seems more than likely that Rogers will head back to Triple-A to begin the season.
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Greiner hit .202/.251/.308 with five home runs and nineteen RBI over fifty-eight games in 2019 for the Tigers, which was not great. In thirty-five games for the Tigers in 2019, Rogers produced a .125/.222/.259 slash line with four home runs and eight RBI. He did not impress a ton of people with his bat in his first stint with the big league club, another reason why Rogers may get caught in a logjam.
With it being established that Romine and Greiner will occupy the big league catching jobs, that leaves Rogers getting assigned Triple-A as the most likely possibility. With the Triple-A Toledo squad, Rogers will duel with Eric Haase, who was also acquired this offseason.
Haase is a nine-year veteran of minor leagues, spending 2019 with the Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate, cracking the big league roster for ten games. In 102 games at the Triple-A level, Haase posted a .226/.315/.517 slash line, with twenty-eight home runs, and sixty RBI on the season.
Looking at Rogers, his defensive skill set is his most significant advantage considering all of his defense tools are “MLB ready,” but his hitting is holding him back on top of the lack of roster space. Haase will provide some competition and platooning for Rogers at the Triple-A level.
Still, frankly, Haase will have to severely outplay Rogers to be considered for a call-up before Rogers, in my opinion. Rogers will get his second stint with the big league club at some point in 2020; the question is going to be is, will it be permanent?