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Player Profile: Colorado Rockies Top Prospect Brendan Rodgers

Photo by Tony Capobianco

One of the most interesting aspects of the All-Star Futures Game is when the host team’s all-time fan favorite shows up as a manager of one of the teams in a game that involves some of the minor leagues’ top young talent and is surprised by how much the game and its players has evolved after a mere decade. 

“You’re talking about a bunch of guys, and almost everybody is throwing over 95,” Charles Johnson, Team USA manager and former catcher who led the Florida Marlins to the 1997 World Series, told MLB.com “It’s hard to believe that this many young kids can throw that hard. Back when I came in the league, in the Minor Leagues, you didn’t see guys, all of them, throwing more than 95. It’s a different evolution of baseball I’ve seen over the years. It’s very exciting to watch.”

This year’s Futures Game showcased the cream of the Colorado Rockies’ crop in top prospect Brendan Rodgers and No. 3 prospect Ryan McMahon. While the two were members of the Hartford Yard Goats at some point in time during the season, it wasn’t until the Futures Game that they got to play together as teammates. 

The duo got to show off their gilded glove work. In the third inning, a 100-MPH fastball by Chicago White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech was hit towards Rodgers by San Diego Padres first base prospect Josh Naylor at an exit velocity of 108 mph. Somehow, Rodgers made the slick backhand play at second base, to the amazement of his teammates.

“I was going to get in front of it, but I really had no chance,” Rodgers told MLB.com after the game. “I didn’t have much time to react to that one.”

“He’s got nasty hands,” McMahon said about Rodgers.

Rodgers’ potential was noticed from the beginning. His pro baseball career started as the first high school player selected in the 2015 MLB Draft, going third overall behind fellow infielders Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros.

Rodgers signed for a Rockies-record $5.5 million, but the adversity came swiftly soon after. He battled leg injuries during a respectable rookie ball season at Grand Junction, hitting a slash line of .273/.340/.420. After focusing on his strength and conditioning during his first off-season as a pro, he was well prepared for his first full season at Asheville and finished the 2016 season fourth in the South Atlantic League in homers (19), extra-base hits (50) and slugging (.480) as a 19-year-old.

This season, the 20-year-old Rodgers took his game to a whole new level by hitting a California League leading .400 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. Now as one of the youngest players in Double-A, Rodgers is going to have to adapt to the Eastern League competition quickly in order to help the Yard Goats make a second half run.

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