It looks like Trevor Rogers really wants the job.
The frontrunner for Miami’s fifth-starter role and seventh-ranked Marlins prospect made a compelling statement with his Friday night start against Houston, piling up 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of two-hit ball. The stellar outing makes him 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA over five Grapefruit League starts — with four of those coming against the Astros.
The familiarity has bred only frustration for Houston hitters, as the 23-year-old left-hander struck out the first four hitters of the game Friday and didn’t allow a baserunner until C.J. Hinojosa lined a two-out double in the third. Rogers responded by ending the frame with another punchout.
It was the fifth before he allowed another hit, giving up a ground-rule double to Jeremy Peña. He started the sixth by recording strikeout No. 10 and getting Chas McCormack to ground out.
Rogers, who’s fanned 29 over 19 innings in camp, struggled to a 6.11 ERA over seven big league starts last year.
Elsewhere in the Grapefruit League, the Pirates’ Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Braves’ Cristian Pache each continued a trend, with each very likely headed toward a roster spot of his own.
The top Braves prospect and No. 12 overall prospect has top-notch defensive tools, but also figures to hit much better than the 5-for-29 clip he’s managed in the Grapefruit League. He played two big league games last year, earning his first hit over four at-bats, and had a .277/.340/.462 slash line with 12 homers, nine triples and 36 doubles over the two highest levels of the Minors in 2019.
Hayes, the top Pirates prospect and MLB No. 9 was held to a single over three at-bats against the Tigers. That’s quite the accomplishment for Detroit pitchers, considering how hot the 24-year-old Texan has been all spring. After rocketing a changeup from Matthew Boyd off his bat at 108.7 mph for a groundout to shortstop in the first inning, he got his knock by roping a Boyd slider into center field in the fourth. Hayes, who tore up the Majors with a 1.124 OPS and five homers in 24 games for Pittsburgh last year, has a cool .442/.478/.744 slash line with a homer, two triples and six doubles over 14 Grapefruit League games.
He also flashed a little leather Friday, making a diving stop to rob Renato Núñez of a hit in the fourth inning.
More notable performances from top prospects on Friday:
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CWS (MLB No. 14)
Vaughn was 1-for-4 at the dish, but his defense — relatively uneventful as his night was — was what mattered to the White Sox. A day after Eloy Jimenez was diagnosed with a ruptured left pectoral tendon, the 22-year-old first baseman took to the grass in left field.
“I’m certain that the worst he’ll be is a little above-average. I think he’ll be above-average,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa told MLB.com. “He can concentrate. Infielders are used to jumps. It’s not unique to him or foreign to him. He’ll be fine.”
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 Draft handled four plays ably. Gameday »
Joey Bart, C, SF (MLB No. 23)
Bart was optioned to the Minors on March 15 but continues to take advantage of Cactus League opportunities, hitting safely in each of his last four games. He dropped a double down the right-field line on Friday, giving him a two-bagger to go with a pair of homers and a .458 batting average over 13 games this spring. Bart played 33 games for the Giants last summer. Gameday »
Campusano got San Diego on the board with an RBI double to center in the second inning. The third-ranked Padres prospect was thrown out at third trying to stretch the knock to a triple, but the hit still drove in his fourth run of the spring. The knock also marked Campusano’s fifth extra-base hit in 17 Cactus League games. Gameday »
Jeter Downs, SS, BOS (MLB No. 49)
Playing a full game (all at shortstop) for the first time this spring, Downs made good use of his opportunity. The 22-year-old shortstop kicked off the day with his second homer of Grapefruit League action — a two-run dinger to left-center field on a 2-2 offering from Rays righty David Hess in the second inning. Two frames later, he worked a walk against Hunter Strickland. He’s 5-for-14 (.357) with a .500 OBP across 15 games. Downs enters the new season with 289 Minor League games under his belt — but only 12 as high as Double-A. Gameday »
Garrett Crochet, RHP, CWS (MLB No. 56)
Crochet opened his tenure by putting two straight aboard — he hit the Brewers’ Zach Green with a pitch, then walked Jacob Nottingham — but came away with a no-hit frame after getting Lorenzo Cain to bounce into a double play and seeing Garrett Mitchell fly out. The 21-year-old lefty has allowed two runs over eight appearances of an inning apiece, striking out seven. Gameday »
Garrett Mitchell, OF, MIL (MLB No. 65)
Mitchell, who came down to Earth with an 0-for-7 stretch over three games heading into Friday, delivered a two-run triple while going 1-for-2 against the White Sox. Over 20 Cactus League games, he’s put together a .379/.419/.586 slash line with a homer and three steals. The UCLA product was the 20th overall pick in last year’s Draft. Gameday »
Jazz Chisholm, SS/2B, MIA (MLB No. 66)
Chisholm smacked an RBI single in the seventh inning against the Astros, making him 1-for-2 on the night and 10-for-35 (.286) over 18 Grapefruit League games. The 23-year-old middle infielder struggled offensively across 21 Major League games last year, although among his nine hits were two homers, a triple and a double. Over five games since Sunday, he’s 5-for-9. Gameday »
Tyler Freeman, SS, CLE (MLB No. 98)
Freeman poked a two-out single through the right side to start Cleveland’s eighth-inning rally against Colorado. It was the 21-year-old’s only plate appearance after coming into the game at shortstop in the seventh, and he’s 8-for-21 (.381) over 18 games. Freeman had a .306/368/.410 slash line with 19 steals between Class A Lake County and Class A Advanced Lynchburg in 2019. Gameday »
Owen Miller, 2B/SS, CLE
Miller, who’s already been told he’s not making the big league roster, continued to impress with the time he has. The 24-year-old middle infielder slugged a three-run homer (scoring Freeman) to give Cleveland an eighth-inning lead over Colorado. It was Miller’s first home run of camp, but he’s 12-for-35 (.343). Gameday »
Colton Welker, 1B/3B, COL
Starting at the hot corner, Welker went 2-for-4 against Cleveland for his second multi-hit showing of the week — and of camp. The 2016 fourth-rounder, who tallied 34 extra-base hits over 98 games for Double-A Hartford in 2019, upped his Cactus League batting average to .366 over 24 games. Gameday »
Jonathan India, 2B/3B, CIN
India won two battles with Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner, walking in the third and roping an RBI double against him in the fourth. He’s 14-for-42 (.333) with five doubles and a couple homers over 19 games this spring. The 24-year-old Florida product reached Double-A in 2019, posting a .414 OBP over 34 games there. Gameday »
Josh Fleming, LHP, TB
Fleming fanned five while maintaining his perfect ERA over 3 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. The 24-year-old southpaw gave up one hit and the first walk he’s surrendered this spring. He’s made four Grapefruit League appearances — one start — and fanned eight over 8 2/3 frames, scattering three hits. Gameday »