Cougars Insider: Jacob Rogers a steady force amid shifting roster

In a season filled with roster moves, Cougars manager Mark Johnson realizes how important a guy like first baseman Jacob Rogers is, both on and off the field.

Eleven players have been promoted to high-Class A Daytona from the Cougars’ roster this season, and there are some others who are no longer around for various reasons. One of the few constants has been the 6-foot-5 lefty from St. Petersburg.

Rogers leads the Cougars with 13 home runs, 49 RBI and an .822 OPS, also flashing a slick glove at first. But he’s also a leader in other ways.

“He handles the clubhouse extremely well, and he doesn’t need to be loud or anything like that,” Johnson said. “It’s just the way the guys look at the way he goes about his business and how he prepares. He brings it all to the field every day. It’s extremely important that these guys see that. I’m just grateful to have guys like him and Ben (Carhart) here to help those guys out and show them how to do their jobs.”

Rogers said that he has always been that kind of player, from high school all the way through his time at Division II Mt. Olive College to the Cubs organization.

“It’s nice that MJ considers me one of the leaders,” said Rogers, who was drafted by the Cubs in the 40th, and final, round of the 2012 draft. “I strive to be one of those guys. I pride myself on knowing the game of baseball really well. I like being one of the guys that guys know they can always come up to.”

With Yasiel Balaguert’s long disabled list stint and 2014 first-round pick Kyle Schwarber’s brief 23-game stay with the Cougars, Rogers has had to anchor the middle of the lineup, as well.

Rogers has responded after a slow start. Since the Midwest League All-Star break in mid-June, he is hitting .318 in 38 games with seven home runs. Prior to that, he hit only six bombs in 65 games.

Rogers, along with most of the rest of the Cougars’ roster, figure that adjusting to a new climate had something to do with the sluggish start offensively.

“It was a big grind when we first got here weather-wise,” Rogers said. “Not many of us played in cold weather, but we grinded through it. Not everybody was hitting well. We got some timely hitting and the pitching staff was great. That gave us time to come back and work through it, so that was big in the first half.”

The mix was good enough to be the runaway winner for the MWL Western Division first-half title. Now, despite welcoming new players to the team seemingly every day, Rogers has a big goal in mind.

“We always have the same team goals,” Rogers said. “We want to win that ring. We already have a place in the playoffs. We just want to build on that. We want to go into the playoffs on a good note.”

0 Comments




Modal