2004 MLB Draft Preview: RHP, Mark Rogers

<br><center><b>Potential Phillies Pick</b></center><br> The day on which Major League teams will draft amateur players to help solidify the future of their organizations is a little over a week away now. It is a pitching-heavy draft and that means there will be plenty of that pitching to go around when draft day comes. College pitchers will be easy to come by with some highly-talented high-schoolers as well. Now, let's take look at one of these high school phenoms, pitcher Mark Rogers.

 

Vital Statistics  
Name:
Mark Rogers 
Age:
18 
Height:
6' 2" 
Weight:
205 
Bats:
Right 
Throws:
Right 
Place of Residence:
Mt. Ararat, Maine 
High School:
Mt. Ararat High School   

For good reason, Mark Rogers has drawn a lot of attention from several Major League teams over the past year and has dozens of scouts attend every game that he starts for Mt. Ararat High School. Mark has shot up the prospect charts and is expected to go near the middle of the first round in the 2004 Amateur Draft. As a senior in his high school, Rogers has had a lot of options opened up to him including elite college offers from Cal State Fullerton, the University of Miami and he has received 30 scholarships from Division-I colleges. In November of 2003, Rogers formally accepted an offer to attend college at the University of Miami. However, it is not believed around baseball that Rogers would pass up being signed by an MLB team if the opportunity arose. Even in cold Orr's Island in Maine, where Hockey is king, scouts have made their way to see what this young man was all about. Needless to say, they were not disappointed.   

Throughout his high school career, Rogers has been nothing short of spectacular.  He has dominated any and all of his opposition. In his final season at Mt. Ararat High School, Rogers has tossed 42 2/3 innings and has not yet yielded a run. His domination is such that he has only allowed only four hits and ten walks and has struck out 111 batters over the entire season. In his first start of 2004, Rogers tossed a no-hitter and gained steam for his draft push. Rogers and his family are very strong on education and Rogers holds a 3.9 GPA, but even he realizes that if the opportunity is presented to him, baseball will become the priority. In regards to this, Rogers told MLB.com, "The way I look at it is you only get the opportunity to play professional baseball once and I want to make the most of it if the opportunity does come. I think that's everybody's dream who puts on a glove when they're four or five years old, to play professional baseball. If I get the opportunity, I don't want to let it slip by."    

Mark Rogers understands that, as a high school pitcher, despite his talent, he will be passed up by some teams in favor of college pitchers. The Maine native told MLB.com, "I think a lot of draft status has to do with maturity level". But Rogers also says, "I think I'm at the level of maturity where I think I can play right now. If I can prove that to them, then hopefully they will be able to see that and it will enhance my draft status."  As of now, he has done all he can to make it difficult on teams to take these more mature college pitchers over him. Either way, everyone near the situation believes that Rogers is a sure-fire mid-first rounder in 2004. According to many sources, including Baseball America, Mark Rogers is the number 13 overall prospect in this year's draft class.   

Rogers is pitching about as well as he possibly could in his campaign leading towards the upcoming draft. In front of dozens of scouts, Rogers had back-to-back 20-strikeout performances back in April. With his 95 MPH smoke, diving forkball, hard breaking curveball and a vastly improving changeup, the young right-hander has made himself into a true strikeout pitcher and an intelligent one at that. Even as a junior last season, Rogers baffled hitters with his electric stuff. Last season, one opposing coach remarked on Rogers' feat of three-straight double-digit strikeout performances. "The guys were coming back to the dugout saying they couldn't even see (the ball). Rogers is the real deal. Holy Cow. I can't believe he's only a junior," the coach told The Kennebec Journal.  Well, he is a senior now and he is just as overwhelming on the mound as he was last year and even more so. At the beginning of this 2004 season, scouts had asked Rogers to throw more changeups and add it to his repertoire. He was successful and scouts say it will greatly add to his already high draft stock. He has also become the main man for obvious reasons at his high school. His coach and father at Mt. Ararat, speaking of a past game, told the Bangor Daily News, "I just knew with Mark on the mound, we were the team to beat".   

Mark Rogers will be one of the biggest prizes in this year's MLB Draft and will be scooped up fairly quickly by a pitching-hungry team. For any high-schooler entering the draft, maturity is always a question but it even seems that he has that on his side as well. With the great stuff, composure, extreme intelligence and overall savvy, the fact that he is only 18 years old will be overlooked pretty quickly. Rogers is clearly excited about his big moment that will come on June 7th-8th. "It's entirely in their hands and how they see the situation, so I try not to think about it and control the aspect of the game I can control, which is throwing a baseball."  

2004 Pitching

ERA

IP

R

ER

H

BB

K

Season Totals:

0.00

42.2

0

0

4

10

111

Repertoire: Fastball, Forkball, Curveball, Changeup   

Fastball: While his fastball is not the pitch that he uses to dominate the game, Rogers can get it up there in the 92-96 MPH range and can top it out at 99 MPH on rare occasions.  Rogers throws it with good movement and hits his spots with the heater extremely well for a young man. Can locate it on the corners and go up in the zone with it. All his other pitches work very well of of his good fastball.   

Other Pitches: Rogers has had a deep repertoire throughout his amateur career with three pitches including a curveball and a forkball. Then, scouts began asking for a changeup out of him. Rogers came through with flying colors and, starting this 2004 season, he had developed a very solid changeup to add to his already deep repertoire. Rogers has a devastating forkball that is thrown more as an off speed pitch but really drops off the table. That, along with a his sharp-breaking, hammer-type curveball present a nasty one-two strikeout punch that is set up by the fastball. Although he appears to be overpowering at the high school level and the statistics may looked skewed, he should remain a strikeout pitcher throughout his career because of the multiple pitches that he has in his repertoire. He can throw them all for strikes which will keep hitters of balance at any level of play.   

Pitching: A benefit of his great intelligence for Rogers is that it makes for an excellent pitcher, not just a thrower. Even though most would characterize Rogers as more of a power pitcher, his savvy and brains while on the mound is perhaps his most unique quality and is what sets him apart from most pitchers of his age and level of play. Rogers is a rare case in that, as a high school pitcher, he has combined the nasty stuff in his repertoire with excellent control and command within the strike zone. Walks are becoming rarer as he gets better with age. Barring any injuries, Mark Rogers should remain as a power, strikeout pitcher at any level he plays at.   

Projection: At this point, for any pitcher of this age and at the high school level, it is hard to project his long term future. But, for Rogers it is clear that he will always remain a starting pitcher due to his very deep repertoire which is quite rare. Rogers should be able to become, at worst, a solid power pitcher in the big leagues but could very well be a future ace.   

Comparison: Mike Mussina. Rogers is not an easily comparable pitcher but if there was a choice to be made, it would be Mussina. Because of his intelligence and superb control to go along with top notch stuff in his arsenal, Mussina shares a similar pitching style with Mark Rogers. While they both rely on location and command, at their best, they are good strikeout pitchers with solid power stuff.   

Draft Possibilities. For a pitcher of this caliber at this very young age, teams will be crawling all over him but, by June 8th, he will be the property one happy MLB organization. He is widely considered to be a top-five high-school prospect and is expected to be selected anywhere between 10th and 25th in the first round. There are a lot of possible landing points for him including the Kansas City Royals, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, and the Philadelphia Phillies. The New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals are also possible destinations for the young right-hander. Of course, sleeper teams could also make a run at Mark Rogers as well.


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