What a rollercoaster ride it must have been for Mark Rogers over the last several years. After being drafted 5th overall in the 2004 amateur draft the sky was the limit for the big 6’3″ right hander. Once Rogers began his pro career things did not go exactly as planned for the young man from Brunswick, Maine. At the age of 18 he started off in rookie ball and it became evident early on that he was no longer pitching to high schoolers in the great northwest. His first year at the rookie level he went 0-3 with a 4.72 era and things did not get much better the following year at low A when he went 2-9 and a 5.11 era. I would imagine at this point he began to wonder if he would ever make it to the show. It was a little over a year later in 2006 when things went from bad to worse as Rogers injured his right shoulder and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. In June 2007, he had scar tissue removed as a result of the first surgery.
No longer on the radar as a prospect and labeled as a bust by many Brewer fans, Rogers had 2 ways to go. The first was to do what the average, ordinary person would do and that is take his big signing bonus check and call it a career. Hell, he was a millionaire and at 23 why not just go and enjoy yourself? But there was to much competitive spirit in Rogers and for the love of the game he began his comeback.
After rehabbing for the entire 2008 season, Rogers returned to the field for Brevard County in 2009. He pitched well that year giving up only 12 runs over 64.2 innings of work for an ERA of 1.67, he also had 67 k’s to boot. Rogers played the majority of the 2010 season with the Double-A Huntsville Stars, but also played one game for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. On September 10 the long journey back finally was completed as he was called up by the Brewers, making his major league debut in that evening’s game.
For many people that is a heart warming story with a fantastic ending but for Rogers that’s just the first chapter. He wants to be the pitcher that made him the 5th overall pick, he wants to help the Brewers reach there first world series in 29 years. He expects alot out of himself and that is how someone who missed two fulls seasons of baseball and never made it past High A in the minors can be pitching in the show 2 years later.
Rogers doesn’t quite touch 100 mph like he used to, but he still has plenty of fastball. He regularly operates in the mid-90s and touches 97 at times. He throws both two-seamers and four-seamers, generating a lot of life on his fastball. His command has improved from earlier in his pro career, but it’s still erratic. He’s difficult to hit but issues too many walks and runs up high pitch counts quickly, preventing him from working deep into games. He has averaged just four innings per start since returning. When Rogers throws his 12-to-6 curveballfor strikes, he can be devastating. He also has a hard slider with good bite, but his changeup remains below average.