- Full name Esmil Antonio Rogers
- Born 08/14/1985 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/12/2009
Organization Prospect Rankings
Originally signed as a shortstop, Rogers hit .209 in three years in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before moving to the mound in 2006. He dominated Double-A hitters in the first half of 2009 before getting knocked around in Triple-A and making his big league debut in September. Rogers made the transition to pitching more easily than most former position players, quickly developing smooth mechanics. His fastball ranges from 92-95 mph and features good life, and he can rack up strikeouts with his hard curveball. Until he got to Triple-A, he did a good job of challenging hitters. Rogers seemed intimidated when he got to Colorado Springs, consistently fell behind in the count and got hit harder than ever before. He just has to trust his power stuff. Lefthanders batted .367/.453/.608 against him in Triple-A, reinforcing his need to develop a changeup. Though he's a good athlete, he's still learning how to control the running game and has committed 18 errors the last three years. Rogers will return to Colorado Springs and try to conquer Triple-A to start 2010. If he can clean up his changeup, he'll be a starter. If not, his fastball and curveball are more than enough for him to succeed in a late-inning relief role.
Signed as a shortstop, Rogers struggled with the bat. After hitting .209 in three years in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, he agreed to give up hitting in 2006 and has made a solid adjustment to the mound. For a converted player, Rogers has adapted well to the craft of pitching. He has a solid delivery and good arm action, producing a 92-94 mph fastball with late life. The curveball came quickly. It has a hard break and can be a strikeout pitch. He has shown solid control. Rogers' inexperience with pitching shows in nuances such as defense and holding runners. The only below-average pitch in his arsenal is a changeup, which lacks consistency. Rogers was protected in his workload the first two years he pitched, but last season he took his regular turn all year in the California League. He is ready for the move to Double-A, and the Rockies believe he can be in the rotation by 2010. If his changeup doesn't make progress, his two-pitch arsenal and live arm should allow him to be an effective reliever quickly.
Of the top eight pitchers on this list, Rogers is the fourth who began his pro career as a position player, and that doesn't include Brandon Hynick, a two-way star in college. Originally a shortstop, Rogers hit just .209 in three years in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before moving to the mound in 2006. He advanced to low Class A in 2007 and established himself as a legitimate pitching candidate. For a converted infielder, Rogers has a surprisingly solid delivery and startling command of a curveball. He also showcases his arm strength with a 92-94 mph fastball that has late life. The Rockies kept him in extended spring training last year to keep his innings down, and he's still working on building his durability. He also has to develop a changeup if he's to remain in the rotation. Though he was placed on the 40-man roster, Rogers doesn't project to be in Colorado's big league plans until 2010. He'll move up to high Class A this year.
Minor League Top Prospects
Rogers tore through the Texas League, going 8-2, 2.48 before being promoted to Colorado Springs in early July. He found the going much tougher in the PCL, but still impressed observers with his lively 92-95 mph fastball. He also can spin a plus curveball with good velocity and two-plane break. A converted shortstop, Rogers has a clean delivery and is plenty athletic on the mound, but he's still learning the mental side of pitching. There were times where he appeared to get rattled easily, and he still has to understand that he can trust his stuff and doesn't have to try to overpower every hitter. His changeup is still a work in progress as well.
In just his third full season on the mound after converting from shortstop, Rogers made his major league debut and spent most of the second half in Triple-A. Rogers brings a power arsenal to the mound, with a fastball that touches 94-95 mph--though his velocity usually falls off during games--and a power curveball in the low 80s. He has easy mechanics and gets good life on his pitches, and he shows a willingness to go after hitters as well as advanced command for his level of experience. Rogers' changeup, like many of the subtle aspects of pitching, is a work in progress. He's still learning his craft as well as improving the way he handles himself on the mound.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Texas League in 2009