Tag Archives: Jason Rogers

Brewers find their center fielder, trade Jason Rogers

David Stearns is staying busy this winter as he continues to reconstruct the Milwaukee Brewers roster. Late Thursday night, the Brewers sent 1B/3B Jason Rogers (0.7 WAR in ’15) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for CF Keon Broxton and RHP Trey Supak.

To some, this move may come as somewhat of a shocker. The Brewers, now without Adam Lind, are in need of a first baseman, and Rogers was one of the few in-house options to take over that position. That is now no longer an option, which makes me think that another move could be in the works.

Milwaukee has also coveted a center fielder this offseason. Domingo Santana is more suited for a corner outfield position, and neither Ryan Braun or Khris Davis have the defensive skills to play there. Hence trading for Keon Broxton, a player who could make an impact in 2016.

Broxton, an above-average defender who can play all three outfield spots, has the speed to perform well in center while also not being a chum at the plate. In 367 Triple-A plate appearances last season, the 25 year old boasted a .352 on-base percentage and a 126 wRC+. He has some raw power which could translate into him being a doubles machine in the big leagues. He’ll need to work on his pitch selection and plate discipline, however. He struck nearly 30% of the time. Broxton is also a beast on the base paths, snagging 28 stolen bases on 37 attempts.

He’ll most likely provide more value on the defensive side, but nonetheless, Stearns said Broxton has a shot at making the Opening Day roster.

As for Trey Supak, he’s another unknown teenage arm that Stearns seems to be so fond of. Supak is the fourth teenage pitcher the Brewers have acquired this offseason. Supak, 19, has spent two seasons in Rookie Ball and hasn’t exactly impressed so far. He hasn’t shown much strikeout potential, but his command did drastically improve from 2014. Supak has an above-average curveball with a fastball that can reach 94 mph. Former FanGraphs prospect writer Kiley McDaniel ranked Supak as Pittsburgh’s 15th-best prospect entering the 2015 season.

Unlike Broxton, it’ll be years before Supak makes an impact on the major-league team, if ever. But Stearns continues to stockpile young pitching, and like I’ve said before, a team can never have enough pitching depth.

Jason Rogers will have a chance to start at first for the Pirates, who were also in need of a first baseman after non-tendering Pedro Alvarez. Rogers was very good for the Brewers in 2015. His wOBA (.354) and wRC+ (121) were superb for his first real shot at big-league action. But before Pirates’ fans get too excited, he was very much helped by a .360 BABIP, including a .328 BABIP on ground balls. I’ll be very surprised if Rogers can repeat what he accomplished with Milwaukee.

Getting two young players in return for Rogers is an excellent move from a Brewers standpoint. They may have found their 2016 center fielder, and it cost them very little.

 

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We need to talk about Jason Rogers

When Jason Rogers was coming up through the minor leagues, I barely paid any attention to him. As far as I was concerned, he was a non-prospect. At best, I thought, he was a poor defensive third and first baseman who had occasional pop in his bat.

Because I never really cared about how Rogers was performing down on the farm, I didn’t realize his very solid on-base numbers. That is, until last season when he started with the Double-A squad. 2014 was the first time Rogers piqued my interest. Here’s why:

Year Level OBP wRC+
2014 AA .355 121
2014 AAA .379 142

That’s not too shabby at all. His OBP was great in Double-A and even better when he moved up a level. His performance caused me to dig deep — and by dig deep I mean go to his FanGraphs player page — into his minor league statistics. I was very pleased with what I found, and it made me question why Rogers wasn’t talked about more.

Here are is complete minor league stats, combining every level of every season:

OBP wOBA wRC+
.382 .387 136

It’s fair to say Rogers enjoyed much success throughout his career in the minors. For a player with average power at best (just two seasons with 10+ home runs), those numbers are especially brilliant.

And yet, the Milwaukee Brewers organization never gave him a chance until this season, just after he turned 27. The Brewers employed Aramis Ramirez at third base for the last two and a half years, so it makes sense why Rogers wasn’t needed there. But first base is more of a question mark. In lieu of Rogers, Milwaukee chose to go with old veterans like Yuniesky Betancourt, Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds. Rogers saw just 10 plate appearances in 2014, while fellow minor-league first baseman Matt Clark nabbed 31.

For all of Rogers’ career, he’s been the prospect nobody talks about. His performance this year may have changed people’s perceptions of him, though.

In 169 plate appearances, Rogers put up the third-highest wRC+ (121) and wOBA (.354), the second-highest OBP (.367) and sixth-best walk rate (8.9%) among Brewers who hit the century mark at the plate. Surely those numbers are inflated by a .360 batting average on balls in play, but nonetheless, they’re still top-notch for a 27-year-old rookie.

There is some unfortunate news regarding Rogers’ star-like numbers, however. They’re superficial, and he is unlikely to repeat them as a starter or off the bench in 2016.

When Rogers put a ball in play, it was on the ground 54.2% of the time, and for a player with no speed, that’s usually not going to lead to success. Yet somehow, Rogers defied the baseball gods and put up an insane .328 batting average on ground balls. League average was just .236. So yeah, Rogers got more lucky than I did on my high school prom night. This is reason enough alone to believe his performance is not sustainable going forward. Sad, I know.

There’s no doubt Rogers put up an unbelievable season, and it wouldn’t surprise me or probably anyone else to see him make the Brewers’ major-league roster out of spring training. Especially since the team is in the midst of a massive rebuild. There is doubt, however, about the hitter Rogers is. He needs more time and more at-bats for us to get a clearer picture of who he is. But unless he’s the luckiest player since, well, ever, it’s reasonable to think his numbers will decline next year.