Esmil Rogers – Starting Arsenal

Looking into Esmil Rogers as a starter.

Let’s jump right into this…

Comparing Rate Stats, SP vs RP 

Type FB CU SL 2 Strike FB 2 Strike SL
SP 62 9.2 26.2 52.3 47.7
RP 57.6 6.2 35.4 43.8 51.7

As expected, Rogers has increased his overall fastball usage since joining the rotation. With two strikes he’s also increased his  FB usage, although his slider is still his #1 strikeout pitch as a starter (15K with SL vs 9K with FB).

SP 6 131 18.3 6.9 0.67 0.295 0.258
RP 23 119 11.8 7.6 0.737 0.325 0.304

Likely an unsustainable BABIP rate as a starter. But check out the drastic increase in K%, up to a spectacular 18.3% from his previous 11.8% level.

Whiff rate is the roughly the same as SP & RP, however chase rate has increased from 23.1% in the pen to 27.5% in the rotation.

The Fastball as SP

For a pitcher slowing regaining SP arm strength, Rogers does an excellent job maintaining his velocity deep into outings. Taking into account lower overall pitch counts, I selected an arbitrary pitch point of 70 pitches to gauge Rogers overall FB velocity:

Pitches Velocity
1 to 35 94.2
35 to 68 92.8
70 to 100 92.4

Rogers ranks 17th overall – just ahead of Matt Moore & Clayton Kershaw – in fastball velocity after 70 pitches – 100 pitches. Of course Rogers has left games while in the 90 ‘s pitch count range, but nonetheless this is an impressive stat.

But not as impressive as his fastball movement late in games. Using the same 70 – 100 pitch criteria, Rogers fastball sinking action – on a pitch f/x basis – is top notch, ranking him 3rd overall, in the company of noted sinker ballers and practitioners of the cutter:

Name PVZ
Doug Fister -14.7
Scott Feldman -14.3
Esmil Rogers -14.2
Bronson Arroyo -14.2
Paul Maholm -14.2
Jhoulys Chacin -14.1
Roberto Hernandez -14.1
Rick Porcello -14
Wily Peralta -13.9
Mat Latos -13.9
Felix Hernandez -13.6

This has led to a drastic increase in ground balls.

Hit Type GB FB LD
SP 50 24 22
RP 34 37 21

Statistically, I expect Rogers to regress a tad. His splits on linedrives are well below league average ; .591 BA & .682 SLG when lg avg is .715 BA & .980 SLG. His BABIP is artificially low and of course sample size rears its ugly head.

Yet, if he can continue maintain an effective fastball late into ballgames, I don’t see any reason to remove Rogers from the starting rotation during the 2013 season.

Question: Does Rogers sudden success make Josh Johnson an expendable asset at the trade deadline?  Sources: ESPN True Media, B-Ref, Fan Graphs, MLB Pitch F/X data, Front image via Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

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