After an All-Star season in which he finished 2nd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, Trevor Rogers was projected to take over the 2nd spot of the Miami Marlins starting rotation behind Sandy Alcantara. However, there was a big drop-off in his performance.
- July 29: Placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to July 26. Back spasms.
- August 9: Sent on a rehab assignment to Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
- August 19: Sent on a rehab assignment to Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
- August 31: Activated from the 15-day injured list.
- September 22: Placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to September 19. Left lat strain.
An Up-and-Down Rollercoaster
When you look at Trevor Rogers and his game logs, you will notice that there was inconsistency from start to start. He was at the top of his game against the Brewers on May 14 (5.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 SO), against the Rays on August 31 (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 SO), and against the Texas Rangers on September 12 (6.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 SO) in what was his final normal start of 2022.
Unfortunately, there were a lot struggles in between. Even within games themselves, he would undo his hard work by failing to execute in the most important situations.
One example that comes to mind is July 6 against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Rogers had no issues during the early innings and took a shutout into the top of 5th, but lost control from there. He hit former Marlin Monte Harrison with a pitch and did the same to Mike Trout to force in a run, then Ohtani’s bases-loaded single put the Angels ahead and forced the Marlins to go to the bullpen.
For the season, Rogers averaged only 4.65 innings per start (he was at 5.32 the year before).
Rogers made changes to his pitch usage. He went from throwing the 4-seam fastball 57.7% of the time in 2021 to only using it 52.7% of the time in 2022, increasing the frequency of his secondary pitches. Many hitters had more success against Rogers’ fastball than they did in 2021—the opponents’ batting average on the pitch jumped from .222 to .312 while his fastball strikeouts were cut in half from 99 to 54.
Rogers returned from his back injury with a better mental approach and it seemed like he was having a lot of fun out there. The Marlins lost all of his starts from August 31 onward, but not because of him. Rogers showed that he was capable of consistently working deep into games while keeping his pitch count in good shape.
The lat injury that Rogers suffered in mid-September won’t affect him entering spring training.
Miami has a good situation with their pitching staff and will have opportunities to make offseason trades to improve their lineup. Rogers is valuable to them but not untouchable when you consider that they have other lefty rotation options like Jesús Luzardo, Braxton Garrett and Jake Eder who could debut at some point in 2023 if healthy.
If Rogers is still a Marlin in 2023, it is because the team believes in the adjustments he made late in the season. It may be unfair to expect him to bounce back as an All-Star, but if he can replicate Pablo López’s 2022 season statistically, that would be very encouraging.