The Rockies come to town to finish up the slate of Cubs/Rockies games for the year. The Cubs will avoid Ubaldo Jimenez once again. They'll finish the series Wednesday in a rematch against Jhoulys Chacin. Jorge de la Rosa gets the middle game with Esmil Rogers kicking things off tonight.
That's two new starters for the Cubs after seeing Chacin, Jason Hammel and Alan Johnson in Denver.
Mr. Rogers has a live arm despite average size. At 6'1" and less than 200 lbs., the 25-year old righty from the Dominican averages 94.5 mph with his fastball when starting a game. He's capable of hitting 98 out of the bullpen on a warm summer night.
Plenty of dark orange up there. Rogers' curve and slider tend to bleed together, but they can be distinguished. Once you separate them out (note: I do note use MLBAM's pitch classifications, these are all by yours truly), an interesting pattern emerges: Rogers throws curveballs to both left- and right-handed batters, but the slider-to-the-righty is the cousin of his change-to-the-lefty with neither being shown much to the other side of the family.
Rogers has the stuff to attack the plate against right-handed hitters. Click-thru and look at the zoomed flight paths and you'll notice how his average pitches (with a notable exception) cross the meat of the plate. Even when facing lefties, Rogers will not nibble away at his hand-side corner, he goes after them.
These plate location heat/density maps hammer home the willingness of Rogers to throw strikes.
Despite the lack of two-seam fastballs, Rogers is a ground ball pitcher. He has swing-and-miss stuff against righties, but isn't quite the bat misser against lefties. Actually, Rogers throws a change-up that doesn't miss bats, but the slider and curve are tough to hit.
I imagine a platoon approach to creating an opposing line-up would be very effective on days when Rogers doesn't have his good curveball. Considering the viciousness of Rogers' slider, today may be a good day to put Tyler Colvin in for Alfonso Soriano.