The Rockies have signed Josh Rogers to a new minor league deal, according to Rogers’ MLB.com profile page. The left-hander has now signed minors contracts with the Rox in each of the last two offseasons.
Even though Colorado was beset by pitching injuries in 2023, Rogers didn’t get any big league action during his first year in the organization. Rogers had his own struggles to worry about, as he posted an 8.02 ERA over 104 1/3 innings (starting 13 of 30 games) for Triple-A Albuquerque. The southpaw had only a 13.1% strikeout rate, and opposing batters had a whopping 22.8% homer-to-fly ball rate.
Even accounting for the hitter-friendly nature of the Pacific Coast League, Rogers’ 31 home runs allowed is an eye-popping number, and it continues the extreme homer problems that have plagued Rogers for the better part of five years. Rogers underwent a Tommy John surgery in 2019 that sidelined him for most of that season and all of the 2020 season, and he simply hasn’t been able to keep the ball in the park since his return.
Since his fastball barely cracks the 90mph threshold, Rogers doesn’t have much margin for error with his pitches, leaving him susceptible to heavy damage if a batter guesses correctly. The introduction of the three-batter rule may have also cursed Rogers’ career — left-handed batters have a .411 OPS over 121 plate appearances against Rogers in the majors, while right-handed hitters have an absurd 1.048 OPS against Rogers in 268 PA.
An 11th-round pick for the Yankees in the 2015 draft, Rogers was dealt to the Orioles as part of the Zack Britton trade in July 2018, and Rogers ended up making his MLB debut with Baltimore about a month later. Rogers has a 5.42 ERA over 88 career innings with the Orioles and Nationals at the big league level, with 22 homers surrendered in that pretty brief sample size. His last MLB appearance came on June 2, 2022 with Washington, and after being released by the Nats, Rogers didn’t get a call-up during a brief stint in the Marlins’ minor league system.
The PCL isn’t exactly the best place for a homer-prone pitcher to find his form, but Rogers will return for another season as a depth option for Colorado. Rogers has started 12 of his 30 career Major League games and 117 of his 142 minor league games, though his extreme splits suggest that a relief role might be best so Rogers’ team can shield him as best they can from right-handed batters.