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First Look at Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers made his debut as a major league starting pitcher last Friday night, and as I did with Jeffress, I'd like to get a better sense of his stuff by looking at the Pitch F/x data.

On Friday night, Rogers was on a 60-pitch limit, but because it was a start I think it's safe to assume that it would represent a somewhat typical distribution of pitches that he would throw in a normal start.

Rogers relied on his fastball heavily on Friday night, and has in his other two outings as well. 45 of his 56 pitches were fastballs. Unlike Jeffress, it appears that Rogers has a secondary fastball that comes in around 89 miles per hour and has a different movement pattern than the regular four-seamer.

Rogers's 4-seamer comes in about a mile per hour slower than Jeffress's. His average velocity in the Friday start was 94.4 miles per hour. The Rogers fastball, however, does have a more side movement in comparison to Jeffress, who throws more of a straight fastball. Generally the side movement helps to generate groundballs and weak contact, but it remains to be seen if Rogers will be able to use that skill to his advantage.

The remaining 20% of the pitches Rogers threw in his start were split between sliders and curves. The slider was generally about 84 mph and the power curve around 81 mph. The exciting thing about Rogers is that it appears that he will be able to be very deceptive. His release points are quite consistent between the fastball and slider, and they come out of his hand at a similar trajectory. The curve has the same trajectory as the slider out of the hand, but it looks like his release points were a bit more sloppy with the curve. As of now, it looks like the slider is his more effective offspeed pitch, and the very limited data indicated that he wasn't able to work his curve on Friday, none of the four he threw went for strikes.

My recommendation for Rogers is the same as my recommendation for Jeffress. I think Rogers could be an effective relief pitcher right now, simply relying on his fastball and one off-speed pitch, but I don't think that's the best use of his skills. I would start Rogers in AAA to continue his development for next season but wouldn't hesitate to call him up if he is needed in the major leagues even early in the next season.

Again thanks to the Texas Leaguers Pitch F/X Database, which makes queries for multiple games at once much easier than gathering the data by hand.