TigsTown Q&A: LHP Joe Rogers

The Detroit Tigers selected left-hander Joe Rogers in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Recently, Rogers was kind enough to check in with us to discuss draft day and his experience with the Connecticut Tigers in short-season ball.

TigsTown: Talk to me a bit about how everything felt on draft day. Did you know the Tigers were a potential suitor?

Joe Rogers: I knew the Tigers were interested in me at the time, but still did not know if they liked me enough to select me on draft day. Couldn't be happier the way everything worked out.

TigsTown: A native of Winter Haven (Florida), how special will it be to train and eventually compete in nearby Lakeland?

Joe Rogers: Very special. The Tigers facility is about 20 minutes away from my house. As a kid I would go to spring training games in Lakeland, so it's even more special to soon be able to play in front of friends and family.

TigsTown: After an amazing year, you were eligible for one more season at UCF. How difficult of a decision was it to sign with Detroit and forgo your remaining year?

Joe Rogers: The decision was a very difficult one for me and my family because I had such an amazing experience at UCF, and I learned a lot from Coach Rooney and the staff at UCF, but I knew it was the best decision for me to go out and play professionally.

TigsTown: You were one of 15 Tigers draft picks that signed almost immediately. How important was it for you to make your decision and sign so you could get your professional career started?

Joe Rogers: That was very important to me to start immediately because I wanted to be able to get pro ball experience under my belt as soon as I could, knowing it would be a lot different from playing in college.

TigsTown: You were a closer for the Knights, but there's been discussion of a possible move to the rotation as a pro. Has this been discussed yet? What role do you (and the Tigers) see yourself in down the road?

Joe Rogers: We have talked about it a little bit, and I believe they ultimately want me to become a starter, but then again whatever I can do to help better the organization, whether its starting, closing, or relief, I will do.

TigsTown: You broke the all-time saves record at UCF this past season. How special was that for you?

Joe Rogers: It was something I wasn't really focused on during my junior year because I was mainly concerned with our team winning and getting a shot to the postseason Regionals, and didn't want any other individual accolades to get in the way, but now that my college career is over, it is very special to me to be able to leave a mark at UCF.

TigsTown: Can you please give us a brief scouting report? What's in your repertoire?

Joe Rogers: I throw a fastball, a curveball and a circle change-up. I usually throw around the high 80's and low 90's.

TigsTown: What would you say is your best attribute from a scouting perspective? And, on the flip side, what's an area of your game that might need some work at the next level?

Joe Rogers: I would have to say that I'm a big competitor when I'm on the mound and I'm working on being able to command my change-up and curveball and have the ability to throw them in any count for strikes.

TigsTown: You posted a 2.28 ERA over 23 2/3 innings of relief for Connecticut--including an impressive 14 1/3 innings of shutout ball to finish the season. What did you learn from your time in Connecticut this past season?

Joe Rogers: I learned that although it is different from college ball, I still have to go out there and trust my stuff. It took a little time to get used to, but I'm pleased with the way it ended and I have a lot better understanding at what I need to do, to get better at in the offseason.

TigsTown: You recently participated in instructs and the scrimmages with the Detroit Tigers prior to their World Series appearance. Talk to me a bit about those experiences.

Joe Rogers: It was an unbelievable experience to be able to meet and talk to a lot of the big league staff, players, and trainers, and to have an opportunity to meet Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski. I am very humbled and blessed to have that opportunity and it's something I think myself and all the guys will never forget.

TigsTown: What have you been up to this off-season? Do you have any plans to play winter ball or are you working on anything in particular?

Joe Rogers: I have been visiting family and friends the past week or two, but am now working out and training up at the Tiger Town facility with a few guys in the organization. Right now I am just trying to build back up get in shape, and get stronger, won't be throwing for another month.

TigsTown: As we close this out, is there anything you'd like to say to Tigers fans?

Joe Rogers: See you guys at Comerica and go Tigers!

James R. Chipman is the Lakeland Flying Tigers correspondent for TigsTown. Be sure to follow him on twitter @JAYRC_TigsTown.

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