Detroit Tigers: Jake Rogers is in the hot seat after Dillon Dingler selected

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers selected catcher Dillon Dingler in the 2020 MLB Draft, putting Jake Rogers in the hot seat.

To kick off day two of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers scooped up Dillon Dingler, a backstop with some versatility from the Ohio State University. Dingler is one of the players that makes up this 2020 Tigers draft class and was a part of the splendid day two of selections.

The Tigers already have their “catcher for the future” in Jake Rogers, but some questions around his viability for the long term may have led the Tigers to pursue Dingler as another option. The 2020 MLB Draft class had a lot of catchers, especially high schoolers, so Dingler managed to fall.

Rogers has worked his way into the big leagues already and would be poised to compete for the starting job this year between Austin Romine and Grayson Greiner. It would seem that Rogers would eventually earn his way into the lineup for a chance to prove he belongs.

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Given that the signing of Romine could be considered null if the 2020 season fails to get underway, Rogers would be left to compete with Greiner in 2021.

This year would have been a bit of a fight between the three backstops but Rogers would have earned a shot in the bigs sooner or later, possibly out of the gates.

Rogers has become defensively savvy, but his offense needs to be refined before he is awarded an everyday role unless Dingler has anything to say about it.

The Detroit Tigers brought in Jake Rogers in the Justin Verlander trade, a bit of an investment into Rogers.

Back in 2017, the Detroit Tigers shipped out Justin Verlander in a trade that would bring them Daz Cameron, Franklin Perez, and Jake Rogers. Rogers was already touted for his abilities behind the dish, so the investment was that it would pan out during his rise to the big leagues.

Rather than excelling, Rogers would seem to hit a wall, especially with the Double-A Erie Seawolves, where he spent all of the 2018 season. Rogers has never struggled in the defensive aspect of the game while with the Tigers, rather seeing his struggles at the plate.

The former third-round pick out of Tulane University would make his way into the big leagues during 2019, where he played in thirty-five games, totaling 128 plate appearances. Rogers would hit .125/.222/.259 at the big league level, striking out 51 times.

Rogers has not found his legs in the big league yet, 2020 was going to be the chance for Rogers to make a jump and show his development at the plate. However, the lack of output so far leads me to believe that he may be a temporary fix to a long-term problem.

The Tigers brought in Dingler, a second-rounder who looks to have an impressive set of tools. Now, his college days versus how he will fare in affiliated ball are two different things, but hope can be high for both Rogers and Dingler.

However, if I were Jake Rogers, I would see what just happened and realize that I need to get my development on track. This does not mean that Dingler was solely drafted to replace Rogers’s hype, but Rogers needs to prove that he will be able to be serviceable at the plate.

Having Rogers stick around as a defensive catcher is fine, but the bat still needs to be serviceable. It sure seems that Rogers’ defense, whether it be blocking, receiving, or throwing, is big-league ready.

If Rogers can get his hitting to a point where he becomes similar to, say, Martin Maldonado, then it is considered a win. If things do not work out with Rogers, Dingler provides insurance as a catcher with versatility.

The Detroit Tigers selecting Dillon Dingler is not the demise of Jake Rogers hype, rather an insurance policy on Rogers.

Frankly, Rogers is still the guy until he proves otherwise, a tough thirty-five game start to his big league career does not mean he cannot turn things around. However, the “best talent available” strategy led the Tigers into selecting Dillon Dingler, which really is not a bad thing.

As has been alluded to earlier, Dingler is a versatile prospect who is not just confined to playing behind the dish. Dingler was taken as a catcher, which is his home position, but he could find a home out in the outfield if it came down to it. He is the perfect insurance policy for Rogers.

Dingler is a catcher who stands 6-foot-3, 210-pounds that is aggressive in the box and early in the count. Dingler was deprived of a 2020 collegiate season as were all collegiate baseball players, but he seemed to have tapped into some power that was exploited even in the small sample of play.

In 2020, Dingler only played in thirteen games, but he hit .340/.404/.760 with five home runs and 14 RBI on the year. Dingler had more home runs than both of the previous years already, where he played forty-nine and fifty-three games, respectively.

He may not be as hyped up as Rogers defensively, but Dingler does have the tools to make clean and crisp, on the money, throws from behind the dish. Dingler is known to have excellent defense between blocking, receiving, and throwing. His ability to call a game is also among a skill he has.

Dingler’s at the plate skills appeared to be blossoming during the 2020 shortened season, and he may have ended up slumping or surging; no one will know. Looking at the stats that are in the books, he was poised for quite the developmental season the Buckeyes.

It sure seems like Dingler could be a real asset for the Tigers, whether it is behind the dish or in the outfield where he played during some of his sophomore season. Rogers is still going to get his chances behind the plate and in the big leagues while Dingler works his way up.

If Rogers fails to become the catcher the Tigers are looking for, Dingler will be next in line to give it a go. If Rogers is successful behind the dish, even as a defensive catcher, Dingler could be thrown into a flurry of outfield prospects, all looking to find a home in the Tigers outfield.

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It will be interesting to see how the future of Detroit Tigers catching pans out, but Jake Rogers has to feel some sort of pressure after the selection of Dingler in the 2020 MLB Draft.