by Kevin Kimmes
When I joined Cream City Cables in January of 2012, one of the first things I chose to undertake was expanding our coverage of The Brewers’ minor league affiliates, specifically the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. That dream became a reality that spring affording me the opportunity to cover the Rattlers as they went on to win the Midwest League Championship and along the way I got to sit down and talk with many great players. The first of those players was Jason Rogers.
Since I initially talked to Jason , he has gone on to accomplish much in his young career including a promotion to Double-A Huntsville. It was at Double-A in 2013 that Jason would show what he was capable of, and in the process be named The Brewers 2013 Minor League Player of the Year.
I recently caught up with Jason to discuss his 2013 campaign, his off-season plans, and his goals going forward.
CCC: This season with Double-A Huntsville, you led the Southern League in RBIs, ranked 2nd in home runs, third in total bases and fourth in extra-base hits. Additionally, you played in nearly every game this season (133 total). What do you attribute this season’s success to? Was there one aspect of your game that you focused on in the offseason to prepare you for this season?
JR: I changed my offseason workout this year. In the past I worked out to stay healthy and flexible. This year I did a lot more running and strength workouts. Experience played a big part too. It helped get me out of that slump I was in during the month of June.
CCC: Receiving the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year Award is a huge honor, with all but one of it’s recipients (2012 winner Hunter Morris) eventually playing in the majors. What went through your mind when you first heard that you were going to be receiving the award? Additionally, what was it like stepping on to the field at Miller Park to receive the award?
JR: I was happy to see that my hard work and dedication was finally paying off. I knew if I stayed healthy this year and changed my in-season workouts that I would have a dominant year. Receiving the award on the field was a great experience for me. It shows you how you’re not that far away from the big leagues.
CCC: Your primary position is 1B. Word is that the team is looking to expand your range and will be working you out at 3B and OF. What do you see as your biggest challenges in relation to these new assignments? Is there any apprehension to playing other positions after seeing so much success at your current position?
JR: A challenge for me at 3B would be my lateral movement, because it’s been a few years since I’ve played 3B. I played 3B in college, so just getting that confidence and footwork back will be the only challenges to me. I just need a lot of reps with OF.
CCC: Your offseason is shaping up to be anything but time off. You are currently working on instructionals and will also be participating in the Arizona Fall League. How are you approaching this as opposed to offseasons past? Do you find that the more structured environment helps you to focus and hone in more on individual aspects of the game?
JR: I will treat this offseason like I did last year. I am doing the same workouts as I was this time last year. With my body type I can’t afford to sit around and do nothing. I have to stay active and get my rest when needed. Being here until mid-November helps me keep my baseball skills sharp longer which will help in the future.
CCC: Finally, what will be the biggest thing that you take away from this season? Is there a certain moment or memory that will stick with you for the rest of your life?
JR: My three homer game was a special moment for me. I’ve hit a lot of two homer games in my career but never a three homer. Not many people can say they did that in their career so I think it’s a special moment when it happens.
I’d like to thank Jason for taking time out of his busy schedule to make this interview possible, and to wish him all the best as he continues his quest to make the Brewers roster.
Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com and an MLB Fan Cave Top 52 Finalist. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes.