The Red Sox have promoted pitching prospect Dalton Rogers from Low-A Salem to High-A Greenville, per the club’s minor-league transactions log.
In six starts for Salem to begin the 2023 season, Rogers posted a 2.49 ERA and 2.18 FIP with 38 strikeouts to 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings of work in which he held opposing hitters to a .139 batting average against.
Among 84 Carolina League pitchers who have accrued at least 20 innings coming into play on Wednesday, Rogers ranks first in strikeouts per nine innings (15.78), first in strikeout rate (41.3 percent), third in opponents’ batting average, 22nd in WHIP (1.11), 30th in swinging-strike rate (13.6 percent), 20th in ERA, second in FIP, and seventh in xFIP (2.83), per FanGraphs.
As is the case with most young hurlers, though, Rogers has proven to be vulnerable to ball four at times. The 22-year-old averaged more than five walks per nine innings in his six starts with Salem, which is certainly suboptimal. Still, he managed to avoid any serious damage thanks to his ability to miss bats.
Rogers is in the midst of his first full professional season after being selected by Boston in the third round (99th overall pick) of last year’s draft out of Southern Mississippi. The Brandon, Miss. native, who spent part of his summer pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, signed with the club for $447,500 and made two relief appearances for the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in his pro debut.
Coming into the 2023 campaign, Rogers was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The publication noted that the 5-foot-11, 172-pound lefty “hides the ball well while driving down the mound to create good extension and a low release height. That combination, along with the ride and arm-side run on his 93-94 mph fastball (which tops out at 96), has given hitters fits at the top of the zone. He’s leaned heavily on his fastball to this point, though he has two secondaries — a low-80s changeup and low-80s slider — with the shape to develop into weapons if he can control them.”
As things stand now, Rogers is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the Red Sox’ No. 37 prospect, which ranks 11th among pitchers in the organization. Like Baseball America, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall notes that the southpaw possesses a deceptive delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that is headlined by a mid-90s heater that has the potential to be a “plus pitch.”
Both Baseball America and SoxProspects.com are relatively high on Rogers, which likely reflects how the Red Sox feel about him. With that being said, though, Rogers will need to continue improving his control and command if he intends on developing as a starter. If not, he could eventually head to the bullpen as a multi-inning threat.
Rogers, who does not turn 23 until next January, becomes the second member of Boston’s 2022 draft class to make the jump from Salem to Greenville this season. Fellow lefty Nathan Landry, who was taken in the 15th round out of Missouri, was promoted earlier this month.
(Picture of Dalton Rogers: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)