Coming into the 2012 season, there were two things most people knew about Chad Rogers: He was once bitten by a shark and that he was a solid relief prospect. After 2012 he was still once bitten by a shark, but he was now an intriguing pitching prospect with a chance to start.
The Reds sent Rogers to Bakersfield and the starting rotation for the Blaze. He made his first start of the year in the second game of the season. He lasted just 2.2 innings without allowing a run, walking three and striking out two batters. Over the final four starts of the month he would last at least 5 innings for each, throwing 21.1 innings to finish out April with 24 inning, just 5 walks and he struck out 22 batters. Rogers didn’t walk a batter in his final three starts of the month.His ERA stood at 2.63 as the calendar flipped.
April was a strong start to the season and May, in some senses, kept it rolling forward. In his first start of May he walked 3 batters in four innings, but didn’t allow a run. In the next start on the 10th the right hander threw 8 shutout innings with a walk and 3 strikeouts. He would go on to finish up May with 5 starts combining for 30.2 innings, a 1.01 WHIP, 1.76 ERA, 8 walks and 16 strikeouts. The strikeout rate was a tad low, but he began to show some stamina and was still showing off good control.
June started off strong with three starts combining for 18.2 innings, 17 strikeouts and just one walk before the workload for Rogers began to be slowed down some as he was limited to just 12 innings over his next three starts. He finished the month with 30.2 innings pitched, a 1.30 WHIP, 3.52 ERA with 6 walks and 23 strikeouts. Once again Rogers showed off strong control and was able to post a strong ERA.
July was an up and down month for Rogers, his first real struggles of the season. He posted a 4.50 ERA on the month with a 1.62 WHIP. His walk rate was high as he walked 10 hitters in 26 innings, though half of those came in a 5 inning shutout performance. He struck out 27 on the month, his season high for any month. The highest walk and strikeout rates of the year led to the highest WHIP and ERA month totals.
August got off to a good start for Rogers as he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola to pitch for the Blue Wahoos. Things went well for Rogers in his 6 starts to end the season. In August and one start in September Rogers combined for 31.2 innings with a 1.99 ERA and 1.04 WHIP for Pensacola while striking out 23 batters and walking just 6.
Chad Rogers lifted his prospect value quite a bit with his 2012 campaign. While there are still questions about whether or not he can remain as a starter due to a lack of a third pitch, developing a change up has generally been easier than developing a breaking ball. If Rogers winds up in the bullpen, his fastball and slider combination will play very well and if his step forward in the control department can stay with that move, he could be a very valuable reliever as well.
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