Counting Down the Top 30: No. 1 Brendan Rodgers
1 Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B
Born: Aug. 6, 1996. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. Drafted: HS_Lake Mary, Fla., 2015 (1st round). Signed by: John Cedarburg..
Track Record: Rodgers was not only the third player taken in the 2015 draft, but he was the third shortstop. The other two, Dansby Swanson, who went to the Padres No. 1 and was later traded to the Braves, and Alex Bregman, who went No. 2 to the Astros, are both in the big leagues, but then they were both college drafts. Rodgers signed out of high school, continuing his goal from kindergarten of being a big-league ballplayer. Having worked with former big-leaguers Dante Bichette and Tom Gordon during his high school days, Rodgers is at ease in the professional environment, and is the game’s top ranked American-born prospect. Signed to a Rockies-record $5.5 million bonus, Rodgers opened his second full professional season at High-A Lancaster and finished it with Double-A Hartford.
Scouting Report: Rodgers has the bat speed to handle high velocity pitchers. He has middle of the lineup power potential that will play exceptionally well at Coors Field. He has a controlled swing that bodes well for him to hit for power and average. Rodgers has a tendency to become too focused on pulling pitches, which creates problems for him in handling the pitch away. He has the bat speed and strength to drive the ball the other way so that is an adjustment that he should be able to make. With the Rockies approach to having players work at multiple positions in the minor leagues Rodgers has had time at second base and third base as well as shortstop. He has shown the ability to handle all three spots. He has the quick release and arm strength to play shortstop but the range could be a deciding factor in an eventual move to second base, where he could become the impact player along the lines of a Bobby Grich or Ryne Sandberg. He had leg injuries that limited his playing time that first summer after he signed and again last year when he was limited to 89 games between Double-A Hartford and High-A Lancaster.
The Future: The idea of having a hitter with Rodgers middle-of-lineup bat in the middle of the infield is exciting, which is why it isn’t likely he will wind up at third base. How Rodgers body changes will determine whether it winds up at second base or shortstop. He has enough arm for either position, soft hands and good anticipation which makes up for average speed at shortstop. Wherever he plays in the field he will hit in the middle of the lineup. The Rockies have brought him along slowly, but it is not out of the question that he will be in the big leagues at some point after the All-Star Break.