Mark LoMoglio

Josh Rogers is off to a strong start and a lot of it has to do with his great command.

TAMPA, FL - Josh Rogers is quickly moving up the minor league ranks after dominating in low-A Charleston earlier this season and following it up with a strong Florida State League start in his Tampa Yankees debut recently. While a lot of it has to do with his polished stuff and pitch-ability, even more has to do with his uncanny ability to hit his spots.

As the 11th round draft pick last year, left-hander Josh Rogers is back at again, this time in the Florida State League with the Tampa Yankees. Earlier this year playing in Charleston with the RiverDogs he threw 22.2 innings with a 1.59 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP, ranking him third in the league.

During Spring Training, Rogers worked on his mechanics and tuning up his game. He got there a month early to get into a workout routine, and he said that helped to get him acclimated for his first ever Spring Training camp. Before the season started he said he was able to gain some muscle too and gear up for the upcoming games.

Rogers only allowed one home run so far this season and none last season. He backs his stats up with pinpoint control as attested by his three walks in 29.2 innings this season including his Tampa debut, compared to three walks in 13.1 innings and had a 4.05 ERA with 16 K while he was in Charleston and Staten Island in 2015.

“I feel like I’ve grown a lot on the mound from college to now,” Rogers said. “I feel like the competition is a similar level to playing college baseball, but since last season I’ve become more mature off the field with work ethic, and what I need to do to prepare for the mound.”

Rogers was able to get his feet wet in Charleston, and in Staten Island a year ago, in preparation for his big debut with the Tampa Yankees a few days ago. He said he was surprised by the promotion but up for the challenge.

Rogers started his Florida State League stint off strong with with seven strikeouts in seven inning. He had a great game with the Tampa Yankees and looks forward to the rest of the season with his new team.

“I’ve been off to a good start commanding both sides of the zone, throwing lots of strikes,” Rogers said. “That’s what gets people to the big leagues is just being consistent.”

Rogers had a solid sophomore season in 2015 with Louisville. He pitched 93.2 innings and had a 3.36 ERA with an 82/25 K/BB ratio. Rogers has a fastball that sits around 88-91 MPH, but continues to work on his velocity. His other pitches include a slider and a changeup that Rogers is currently focusing on sharpening.

In 2015, the 6-foot-3 starting pitcher spent the season with the single-A Charleston RiverDogs and the Staten Island Yankees and started to get some attention.

“There’s always something to improve on,” Rogers said. “Getting stronger with all three pitches. Giving my team a chance to win, going into the game.”

Not exactly a power arm, Rogers really excels in his consistency and control. He’s a confident guy who can work hard and goes after hitters. Throughout his game he locates all of his pitches well, and backs it up with solid stuff.  Tampa pitching coach Tim Norton has been working with him to sharpen his command on both sides of the plate and pull his slider in for strikes.

“He’s got an experienced arm on him for 21-years old,” Norton said. “You’re in a good position when you have the ability to move the fastball in and out, with the other two pitches. He looks good to me.”

Manager Patrick Osborne didn’t see much of Rogers in spring but said he quickly noticed that Rogers is very competitive and he liked what he has seen so far. If Rogers continues to work on his game and improving some minor details he should be very successful according to Osborn.

“He’s a pretty polished pitcher,” Osborne said. “He’s a strike-thrower that works both sides of the plate. The command of all his pitches is what really works for him.”

He likes Rogers’ stuff, but It’s his make up that Osborne loves. He has faith that Rogers will work hard in the future and continue to do well given the opportunity.

“Whether you start or relieve, you’re going to have to believe that you’re going to dominate,” Osborne said. “It’s in his DNA, it’s just him. I like his stuff too, but I really like the way he carries himself.”

Norton thinks Rogers is an essential asset for the rotation because of his incredible command on the ball. Norton said he was a good, solid and consistent pitcher that’s been looking strong.

“Whenever you have that combination, confidence and stuff, you can go a long way in this game,” Osborne said. “As a pitcher you have to have that.”

“If he didn’t have the command that he does, maybe his velocity would come into play,” Osborne concluded. “When a guy is able to throw his fastball and hit his spots at 90-91 [then] he’s fine with me.”

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