LONG BEACH, Calif.—The 2016 Area Code Games opened on Saturday, with four teams taking batting practice before three seven-inning games. The Area Code Games provide an opportunity for lesser-known prospects to shine, and lefthander Trevor Rogers (Carlsbad (N.M.) High) rose to the occasion.
Rogers had one of the most intriguing performances of the day. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, Rogers has a wide-shouldered frame with sculpted shoulders and a high waist. He has the look of an innings-eating major leaguer. Baseball America first learned about Rogers in early June, and we heard high praise, with some even comparing him to Randy Johnson.
It is important to understand that Rogers is by no means a carbon copy of Johnson. The Big Unit was 6-foot-10 and struggled with his command for most of his 20s; it was not until Johnson’s age-29 season that he walked fewer than four batters per nine innings. Rogers is 6-foot-6 and showed present command on Saturday night. Rogers also showed a slider, but his offspeed stuff is still very much in its nascent stages.
The last major league player to emerge from Carlsbad High was Rogers’ cousin, Cody Ross, who played more than a thousand big league games and had a career OPS+ of 104. Rogers said that Ross has been one of his biggest influences.
Rogers cruised through an inning of work on Saturday night. His delivery was effortless and absurdly athletic. He starts with a hand pump to his front hip, then brings his front leg high and back, staying balanced on his back ankle despite holding all of his weight. He breaks his hands at the apex of his leg kick, and drops down slightly as he fires his hip open and strides out front. As he front side drives forward, Rogers takes a deep plunge in the back of his arm action, but his long levers allowed him to consistently land online. When he had his timing right, Rogers generated excellent hip-shoulder separation. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that portends east-to-west control, and his athleticism on the mound give him a chance to move the ball up and down.
The lefthander filled the zone with easy velocity. Some radar guns had him touching as high as 95 mph with his fastball, though many others had 94 as his top velocity. FlightScope tracked his highest velocity as 94 mph. Rogers mixed in a short, late breaking slider that he was able to locate for strikes, and the pitch showed the ability to compete in the strike zone. Rogers struck out the first tow batters he faced, then allowed a ground ball up the middle for a single against Spencer Torkelson (Casa Grande High, Petaluma, Calif.). Torkelson was caught stealing during the next at-bat.
Rogers had not previously pitched at a national showcase, and described the outing as “a new experience” for him, noting that he hadn’t played much club baseball, or competed much away from high school competition.
Rogers will be heavily monitored through next June’s draft. He is expected to pitch again at the Area Code Games this week and he said that he is considering playing for the Yankees Scout team that will participate in the Arizona Senior Fall Classic in October. Rogers is older for the class, and will turn 19 in November.