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Ahead of the Curve: Twins sleeper prospect Taylor Rogers

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Taylor Rogers
Taylor Rogers
Brace Hemmelgarn, Getty Images

Here is an interesting sleeper prospect for your consideration today: Minnesota Twins southpaw Taylor Rogers. In his first four starts for Triple-A Rochester this spring, Rogers is 2-0, 2.00 ERA with a 23/10 K/BB in 27 innings allowing 20 hits. This is well in line with his career minor league performance: he has a career 2.87 ERA in 376 innings over parts of four seasons, with a 303/100 K/BB.

Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Jose Berrios get a lot more attention among Twins pitching prospects in the upper minors, but Rogers is worthy of attention as well. Drafted in the 11th round from the University of Kentucky in 2012, Rogers has been solidly effective at each minor league level, including a 3.29 ERA with a 110/37 K/BB in 145 innings last year in Double-A.

Some video:

A 6-3, 190 pound southpaw, Rogers presented as a classic finesse pitcher in college, working his fastball in the upper 80s and topping out at 90, which is why he lasted until the 11th round. That has changed in pro ball: his mainstream velocity has picked up a notch to 90-93 with higher peaks. The increased fastball velocity widens his margin for error and enhances the effectiveness of his secondary pitches by adding rungs on the velocity ladder.

His breaking ball and change-up are generally average on their individual merits but the package plays up (at least in the minors) due to his sharp control. He is particularly effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .217 average last year and just .118 so far this season as they have a hard time picking up his breaking ball.

Here Rogers gets Indians prospect Carlos Moncrief to chase a slider:

Rogers' ability to throttle lefties could make him a LOOGY candidate eventually, although given his proven durability he deserves a chance to start. Bullpen work can be the fallback option if he has too much trouble against right-handers in the majors.

Either way, with the potential to be a back-end starter or solid bullpen asset, Rogers was a great value in the 11th round.