Embed from Getty Images What is the old saying? Two is better than one, that is exactly what the Detroit Tigers are hoping in the case of catcher Jake Rogers. Tigers hitting coach Joe Vavra and renowned hitting instructor Doug Latta are trying to get the top catching prospect in all of baseball to hit better.
Jake Rogers, behind the plate, behind the catching gear is the best rated defensive catcher in the minor leagues. The only thing that is keeping him from full-time catching duties with the Detroit Tigers is Rogers does not hit that well.
Jake Rogers sought the help of Doug Latta who has helped a who’s who of college, minor and major league baseball players and has had good results. So off to Ball Yard Hitting Academy in Northridge, California Rogers went this past offseason.
Meanwhile, Tigers hitting coach Joe Vavra kept in contact with Rogers and Latta. No ego’s got in the way. The focus was getting a top prospect to perform a well rounded game.
After hitting sessions Doug Latta would send video to Joe Vavra. The two coach’s would compare notes. The end goal is to greatly reduces the big leg kick and change the posture Jake Rogers used while taking at bats. The leg kicks lead to many foul balls as well as many strike outs. Too many for the Detroit Tigers liking.
With 51 strike outs in 128 plate appearances in 112 games played, last season Rogers worked many hours with then Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. Rogers sought out advice from veteran Tigers players as well. Even talking to Detroit baseball legends Al Kaline and Willie Horton.
One problem. Jake Rogers was hearing too many voices in his head. While Rogers did say he enjoyed talking to and getting advice from multiple people, it was simply too much.
Working with Doug Latta, Rogers has changed his posture at the plate. Gone are breaking his upper body over the plate which caused a lot of swing and miss at bats.
Now Jake Rogers has a plane swing that is much more level which will allow the young catcher to swing through the strike-zone longer. The Detroit Tigers front office and Rogers teammates got a first hand look at his new swing this past week as spring training opened.
Jake Rogers was sending baseballs over the fence into the bullpen behind Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland Florida, long time spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.
As for Rogers he is focused on what is ahead and does not look back at last season. Time will tell. But it looks like the work of the two coach’s and Jake Rogers just may net positive results.