How Giants plan to build on pitcher Tyler Rogers' intriguing debut


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- You don’t have to stand around the clubhouse long to find a player who mentions the Giants’ new commitment to biomechanics and body movement. But sometimes you don’t need expensive cameras or a new generation of coaches to see how a player might be different than the others. 

If you stand behind Tyler Rogers, as Gabe Kapler did for a while Friday morning, you’re in for a whole different kind of experience. Kapler came away raving about the submariner, comparing him to former A’s reliever Chad Bradford and insisting Rogers is “going to be an important part of our bullpen.”

Rogers already has once benefited from all the fresh eyes in the organization. Repeatedly passed over in previous years, he was one of Farhan Zaidi’s September call-ups. The 29-year-old took full advantage, allowing just two earned runs in 17 appearances. Rogers struck out 16 and walked three in 17 2/3 innings. 

Traditionally, pitchers who throw like Rogers have had a tough time against left-handed batters, but he had success against them in limited time as a rookie, allowing just three hits in 22 at-bats. 

The three batter minimum is coming, though, and the Giants want to make sure Rogers continues to be more than a potential matchup play. The focus Friday was on throwing the ball in an area that would be in on left-handed hitters. 

"We see that up-and-in location to left-handed hitters as a place that he can go safely," Kapler said. "And I don't think it's just about safety. It's about getting poor swings and in some cases inducing weak contact. We can see him go up there with his fastball and his slider combination and I think that will strike some fear into the heart of left-handed hitters."

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The new group of pitching coaches is looking for new areas of the strike zone that can become strengths for young pitchers. That up-and-in one is the clear emphasis for Rogers, and Kapler said a lot of his bullpen work this spring will revolve around consistently hitting that spot. 

"We're making a conscious effort for him to go after that location," Kapler said.  We're going to look at it from a pitch grip standpoint and a pitch selection standpoint, but also from a practicing the location standpoint to get the most out of Tyler."

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