Today’s special prospect watch is going to be about Josh Rodgers, who is a southpaw pitching in advanced Single-A. He is in the Yankees’ minor league system, which their high Single-A team is called the Tampa Yankees where I went to see this talented player. Rodgers has been a surprise for the coaching staff and scouts, as he has pitched at a high consistent level for majority of the season. Rodgers is not listed on the Yankees top 30 prospect list, but he has made a strong case to join that list soon.
In addition to the long season, Rodgers (21) has earned himself a record that consist of four wins and three losses. In eight starts, the Louisville product has a 3.80 ERA, which is high, but he has pitched better than displayed lately. I attended his only complete game shutout in his minor league career, and he was brilliant holding the St. Lucie Mets to three hits, while striking out four batters. He was pitching smartly by producing tons of fly outs and ground outs to last the whole game instead of punching out every batter. It was game one of the doubleheader that night, so it was only a seven inning game. After that start, Rodgers improves his strikeout totals to 29 and innings totals to 45 on the season. If you combine Rodgers stats from both Single-A’s, his record comes out to six wins and four losses that is paired with a 3.06 ERA in 67.2 innings pitched, plus he punched out 54 batters while owning a 1.12 WHIP.
Interestingly, the 6’3″, 185 pound lefty has worked quickly throughout the minors, as he was drafted last year in the 11th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. His play has progress quickly and so has his pitches. He seems to consist three pitches in his arsenal. Those three pitches include a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His fastball can rise quickly and sink faster than quick sand, but it only sits around 90 mph to 92 mph. As he progresses down there and at the next level, he will get stronger, which will allow him to reach 92 mph to 95 mph. If he can get his fastball up there, he will set up his other pitches for success. Next, his curveball is on and off most of the time. It can break with an incredible amount of depth that leaves hitters dazed with them freezing their trigger to swing. It sits around the low 70’s. His changeup is actually a plus pitch for him. It sits in the low to mid 80’s, but it also confuses hitters, as Rodgers has the same arm action that allows him to fool hitters. Nice depth and sink to the changeup. The one thing that makes Rodgers shine other than his pitches is the ability to repeat his mechanics, which allows him to throw strikes at a high consistent level. He can get any hitter out by producing ground outs, fly outs, pop outs, and strikeouts. Lastly, Rodgers has a great pickoff move to first base. This helps him to get outs and to scare the runner by making their first move back to first every time.
Finally, Rodgers has a bright future ahead of him. I could see him being a starter in his minor league career, but when he does make the show, he would be most likely coming from the bullpen and eventually making a start every five days.