© Stan Szeto | 2019 Aug 27
For a lifetime minor leaguer, Tyler Rogers didn’t blink in his MLB debut on Tuesday night. The 28-year-old rookie pitched a one-two-three eighth against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
His unusual submarine delivery is designed to make it hard for opposing hitters — mostly righties — to pick up the ball. Rogers hasn’t always had the same delivery, however. As his baseball career evolved, so did his pitching motion. Until junior college, it was overhand; originally after the change, it was more sidearm than underhand. Today, the pitcher’s hand almost touches the ground when he throws the ball.
“It started out higher than what it was at Austin Peay,” Rogers told KNBR before the Giants’ game Thursday night at Oracle Park against San Diego. “I don’t know, it just kind of progressively kept getting lower and lower. Two years ago I saw a video of it, and it was that low. It doesn’t even feel that low in my mind. It just happened over time.”
Rogers credited a coach, Chris Finnegan, at Garden City Community College in Kansas as the one who got him to start experimenting with his motion.
“My freshman year of junior college. My coach just came to me — he had a few side-armers before me — I was struggling over the top with command. We tried it one day. It felt really natural from the beginning. I think that’s why I stuck with it because it did feel natural, and then it progressed into this.”
The submariner said he reached out to Finnegan after getting the call on Tuesday, saying the coach “was fired up” to hear his former player was finally getting his shot in the big leagues.
Rogers, who has been in the Giants farm system since 2013, said he has been able to calm down a bit since the debut.
“Having an off-day yesterday was a blessing in disguise,” Rogers said. “Got to decompress and take it all in.”
If he has relaxed, his phone has not.
“I’ve had over 200 texts, we’ll just go with that,” the 28-year-old said.