By Eric Huysmam courtesy of Climbing Tal’s Hill.
Full article can be read here.
Houston Astros Prospect Improves with Extra Help This Off season.
The Houston Astros have several top pitching prospects in the minors, such as Francis Martes, David Paulino, and Joseph Musgrove. Someone that people may not know that much about is Brady Rodgers, who isn’t even in the Top-30 Astros Prospect list by MLB Pipeline. Rodgers is a former third-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Astros. Rodgers wasn’t happy with the way he was pitching in 2015, so he sought out a former scout for help.
This former scout was Jeremy Booth, who has started a training program for high school through minor league players called Program 15. It’s a Houston based training program that could be branching out nationwide soon, but they offer training that is unique. Each player who enrolls in the program gets a detailed scouting report and plan on how to improve.
Another plus for training with Program 15 is that they get to work with former major leaguers such as Chuck McElroy along with Booth. I had the privilege to get to watch them in action this off season, which Rodgers was a part of. Rodgers was not asked by the Astros to get the extra help in the off season, but he wanted to learn how to make himself the Astros wanted on the 25-man roster.
Booth identified what Rodgers’ strengths were and what role he could fit with the Astros and help him capitalize on his talent. While some prospects practice with family during the off season, Rodgers worked with Program 15. Last season in Triple-A, Rodgers went 9-7/ 4.51 ERA/ 89 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings. An improved pitching style was starting to pay off in 2016, as his strikeouts are on the rise while his ERA was lowering.
In 60 1/3 innings this season, Rodgers has reasserted himself into the Astros plans with 58 strikeouts and a 3.28 ERA, which is much lower than his career 4.29 ERA. Rodgers is a local kid, so he grew up watching the Astros play baseball. His dreams are becoming more of a reality with his performance this year.
This season, Rodgers spun an 86 pitch shutout with only four hits on the night. As we see Astros pitchers not be able to go too deep at times from a high pitch count, that effort by Rodgers is very appealing to the Astros. However, finding a rotation spot could be tricky with the arms the Astros have with Doug Fister and Mike Fiers holding the 4th and 5th spot. Rodgers understands the situation, and will help the Astros when he can. Rotation or bullpen, he will be ready.
This is what Program 15 offers to Houston area prospects as well as College and high school players get is the extra edge they need to make the next step. Besides McElroy being on the Program 15 team, there are also Ken Harvey, and Trent Hubbard (Trenidad). The knowledge that these guys have is amazing, but they all know what it takes to reach the next level.
Rodgers is not currently on the 40-man roster, and he is approaching his first year of being Rule 5 eligible, so the Astros will have to make a decision at some point with him. If he plays the whole year in Triple-A this season, it will mark his second full season at Triple-A. One thing that he has going against him is that Brad Peacock and Musgrove are on the 40-man roster.
His hard work this offseason could prove valuable soon as the Astros will want to see what they have in Rodgers this year. If he continues to impress this year, he could find himself a target by teams at the trade deadline or in the offseason. Good luck to Brady and Program 15.