Rookie Lefty Trevor Rogers Gives Miami Marlins A Building Block

The Miami Marlins have taken a step back this season after taking a significant step forward during last year’s pandemic-shortened season.

The Marlins are last in the National League East with a 29-37 record. That comes a year after making the postseason for the first time since 2003 and two years after losing 105 games.

However, amid the disappointment so far in 2021, a potential ace is emerging. Left-hander Trevor Rogers, just 23 years old, was named the National League’s Rookie Pitcher of the month in both April and May and shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s all pretty amazing stuff to a guy who just graduated from high school in Carlsbad, N.M., barely more than four years ago and was the Marlins’ first-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft.

“I’m playing against the best players in the world and for me to get honored for having success as this level in back-to-back months is a real honor,” Rogers said. “It really means a lot to me.”

Rogers is certainly deserving of the accolades this season as he has a 7-3 record and a 2.02 ERA in 13 starts. He has allowed just 55 hits in 75 2/3 innings while striking out 89 and walking 25.

Rogers is fourth in the NL in ERA and sixth in wins.

What makes Rogers’ success especially impressive is that he struggled last season with the Marlins He made seven starts in 2020 but pitched a total of 28 innings – an average of just four per outing – while going 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA.

Though the Marlins’ pitching staff skews young, Rogers was not a lock to make the opening day roster.

“My only goal going to into spring training was my making the team,” Rogers said.

However, Rogers has thrived in his second taste of the big league.

His coming out party came April 10 in a start against the Mets and Jacob deGrom at Citi Field in New York. Rogers pitched six shutout innings for the win while allowing just three hits and two walks and striking out 10.

“I’m facing deGrom, who had his A-plus stuff and then some,” Rogers said. “I’m facing a lineup that’s no easy walk in the ballpark for any pitcher. Going six scoreless innings against one of the best teams in baseball and the best pitcher on the planet really opened my eyes. It really let me believe that I can be a successful pitcher at this level and can do this up here for a long time.”

In an era in which starting pitchers are used in shorter stints than ever, Rogers has shown durability. He has worked at least five innings in 12 of his 13 starts and at least six innings on eight occasions.

The most earned runs Rogers has allowed in any outing this season is three and that has only happened one time. He has given up zero or one earned run in seven starts.

However, Rogers does not have a secret formula for his success — other than being blessed with a strong left arm.

“I try to keep things very simple,” Rogers said. “In between starts, I get locked in, I see what hitters are doing and just try to execute the gameplan. Just keep it simple.”

There are plenty of stories of young pitchers who had outstanding starts to their careers only to flame out. However, Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes Rogers has staying power.

“This has obviously been impressive,” Mattingly said. “I’ve been talking about Trevor so much from spring on, and just the whole package of what he’s doing. You feel comfortable that he’s just not going to all of a sudden relax and quit working. He just kind of stays down the road, he’s pretty even-keeled, he’s never really too excitable.

“Over the long haul, I hope it’s great. Obviously, the start’s good, but it’s one of those things — some guys you may worry that they’re going to take their foot off the gas — but you don’t feel like that way with Trevor. We’ll just have to let him keep rolling and see what he does the rest of the year.”

Despite a disappointing first 2 ½ months of the season, the Marlins believe they are positioned for long-term success because of their young starting pitching. Right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez are both 25 and lefty Braxton Garrett is 23.

The best of the bunch could be 22-year-old rookie right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who has been sidelined all season with a shoulder injury. Sanchez pitched five scoreless innings to beat the Chicago Cubs last October in his playoff debut.

“We definitely have a group of young guys who are all super talented,” Rogers said. “Each time out, we have a really good chance to win. We’re always pushing each other every day. If Pablo goes out and has a good start, then the next guy wants to have a good start and so on and so forth. It definitely pushes us to do well.”

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