Minnesota Twins Top 20 Prospects: #14 Taylor Rogers
Puckett’s Pond presents our Top 20 Minnesota Twins prospects. At #14 is Taylor Rogers
#20: Travis Blankenhorn #19: Wander Javier #18: Stuart Turner
#17: Jermaine Palacios #16: Mason Melatokis #15: Jake Reed
Taylor Rogers was initially drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 37th round of the 2009 Amateur Draft as a high schooler out of Colorado. He decided to forgo professional baseball to pursue pitching for the University of Kentucky. The Twins drafted him in 2012 as an 11th rounder.
Name: Taylor Rogers
Position: Left-Handed Pitcher Age: 25
Height: 6’3” Weight: 180 lbs.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Acquired: 2012 Amateur Draft, 11th round
Through four levels of minor league pitching Rogers has put together the type of consistent number worthy of a shot at the major league level. In 523 minor league innings he put together a 3.29 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and struck out 406. Hardly mind-blowing numbers, but he’s also left-handed. Rogers works in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball, occasionally being able to hit 94mph. He also has an average curveball and improving changeup. His calling card to date has been his control, with a walk rate of 2.25 BB/9 throughout his minor league career.
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In 2015, Rogers pitched the entire season at AAA Rochester. Between stints with the Red Wings and the Arizona Fall League, he pitched a career high 201 innings. He faltered down the stretch, giving up at least 4 ER in 7 of his last 11 starts, after an opening to the season in which he had just 4 such starts in his first 17. His early to mid-season form earned him serious consideration for a callup to the Twins. Instead Terry Ryan turned to Tyler Duffey, who after recovering from a waxing at the hands of the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre, put together a remarkable run of start to end the season as perhaps the Twins most reliable starting pitcher.
Rogers has back-end-of-the-rotation potential for the Twins. With the rotation logjam featuring Nolasco, Duffey, May, Berrios, and Milone, his immediate future and impact may more likely be made in the bullpen. After an aggressive start to the off-season, in which the Minnesota Twins traded Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy and acquired Byung-Ho Park from Korea, Minnesota has been extremely reticent to rectify their obvious deficiency in left-handed relief pitching.
Next: Top 20 Prospects: Mason Melotakis
In 2015, the Twins had left-handed reliever Neal Cotts, Ryan O’Rourke, and Brian Duensing post FIPs of 5.99, 4.77, and 5.02 respectively. Despite this need, Terry Ryan balked at adding a more expensive left-handed reliever such as Tony Sipp or Antonio Bastardo, perhaps with an eye to bullpen prospects such as Mason Melatokis, who the Twins deem close to major league ready. Rogers may well provide a bridge to a more traditional power late-inning lefty. If he has a strong spring, don’t be shocked if he travels north with the major league club, to get his first opportunity as a lefty matchup reliever in early 2016.