In high school in Florida, Rodgers committed to Florida State. He was considered the number one high school baseball player in the country.
The Rodgers household was one of soccer players. Brendan’s dad, Greg, played and coached soccer and both of Brendan’s brothers did. But one day, Ralph Nenna, a neighbor of the Rodgers and the father of Brendan’s best friend, asked Brendan to pick up a baseball and just see if he liked the game.
Brendan was five years old. He picked up the ball and hasn’t let it go.
“We didn’t do baseball in this family; we’re a soccer family,” said Julie Rodgers, Brendan’s mother, “but we always say to Ralph, ‘If not because of you, Brendan would not have played baseball.’
“Brendan picked up the little ball and never picked up a soccer ball,” she said.
Rodgers played other sports, too, such as basketball, football, but nothing grabbed him like baseball. (December 11, 2014 -Vince Lara-Cinisom)
And in 2015, Brendan learned how to play golf. And he likes to go fishing with his father and an uncle. He also plays Ping-Pong.
The youngest of three brothers, Rodgers grew up in Florida in a family that gave soccer the most attention. Brendan, however, was drawn to baseball as soon as he began playing the game. Coincidentally, one of his early travel ball coaches was former Rockies outfielder Dante Bichette.
"I started to really love the game when I was 11 or 12 years old," said Rodgers, who picked up tips at shortstop by watching Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter on television. "That's when I knew baseball was what I wanted to do. I kept playing other sports until I was about 14, but I started focusing on baseball when I was in eighth grade. I came a long way during that time. I was very tiny, skinny, not mature at all. I knew I had to make a change and get bigger and stronger and faster. I made that change and it paid off."
Rodgers has a strong work ethic to go with his natural talent. And he has great instincts and feel for the game.
And, he's a leader who sets a very good example. His makeup is off the charts.
“He’s very unassuming and level-headed,” said Matt Gerber, Rodgers’ coach on the Orlando Scorpions travel team. “People think he would be cocky, the way he looks with the long hair. But he’s very humble. He’s handled this process tremendously. He’s one of those kids that you almost wonder if he has a heartbeat sometimes like Derek Jeter, very flat line all the time.”
Gerber said some scouts have mistaken that for being laid back or lazy. Until they watch Rodgers glide after a ground ball up the middle or drive a 93-mph fastball to the gap.
"When the ball is hit hard, he doesn’t rush,” said Gerber, who has seen Rodgers blossom since he came to the Scorpions as a talented 14-year-old. “When the ball’s hit soft he doesn’t rush. He plays the game at the same temperature every time. That’s what the great one’s do.” Rodgers said he’s always played that way. He patterns his game after Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra for their relaxed ease on the field and exemplary conduct off the diamond.
“I don’t try to attack the game,” Rodgers said. “I try to slow down the game as much as possible and make it as easy as possible. I try not to let the pressure or nervousness get to me or think about people watching me. I’m just out there having fun.” (Fall, 2014)
Brendan is low-key and humble. But in 2015, his first year in pro ball, evaluators were disappointed with his low energy level, subpar conditioning, as well as recurring foot, hip and hamstring injuries that kept him out of games. The hope is that, because he was 19 years old, maturity would take over.
Rodgers favorite player: "It has to be Derek Jeter. I have watched the Yankees play but I don’t like the Yankees. I just like Derek Jeter. I am actually a Red Sox fan, which is weird. He is a perfect example of a role model on and off the field. He signs for kids and when I met him he looked me straight in the eye and talked to me for a few minutes before his game. And he has more than 3,000 hits. He is a good role model to be inspired by."
And Brendan loves everything about the game of baseball.
"The park is my home away from home,” he said. “I live for the big moments in games where you have to figure out what a hard-throwing pitcher might do to you in a key situation. If I’m up there with the chance to get the game-winning hit, or I’m on-deck when the game’s on the line, that’s the spot I want to be in. I love those types of challenges and feel like I can succeed most of the time."
June 2015: Rodgers was the Rockies #1 pick (#3 overall), out of Lake Mary High School in Florida. He was chosen behind only Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman, both also shortstops.
And Brendan signed for a below-slot bonus of $5.5 million, with the slot being $6.2 million, via scout John Cedarburg.
Rodgers signed his contract in Denver, where he was able to meet Rockies All-Star Troy Tulowitzki. Rodgers, of course, hopes to one day occupy Tulowitzki's spot at shortstop at Coors Field.
"He gave me some pretty helpful hints," Rodgers said. "I have his phone number and we talk a little bit. He asks how I'm doing. He just gave me some helpful tips—to always have fun and to play hard. Someone is always watching.
"I don't really feel much pressure or nervousness really at all. When I'm in the batter's box, I don't hear anything. I just see the pitcher. People are yelling, talking good or bad about you, but I don't even hear my parents cheering. I'm in a tunnel, basically—just me and the pitcher. That's an advantage."
In 2016, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Rodgers as the 3rd-best prospect in the Rockies organization. They moved him up to the #1 prospect in the Rockies organization in the winter before 2017 spring training. He remained at #1 in 2018. And for the third year in a row, Brendan was at #1 in 2019. And for a record fourth year in a row, Rodgers was the #1 Rockies prospect in the spring of 2020.
Brendan broke his own record before 2021 spring camps opened—the Rockies #1 prospect for five straight years!
Just a week into 2016 spring training, Brendan cut his hair. After sporting long, flowing hair since before his signing with the Rockies in 2015, Rodgers decided to go with a different look shortly after his arrival in Arizona.
"It was super weird," Rodgers said of his closely cropped hair. "I had some bad tan lines back there because it hasn't been really cut since about sixth grade. It's always been longish with the flow out the back. I woke up the next morning and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what did I just do?' It definitely feels better on my head, but I'll probably wind up growing it back out."
August 31, 2016: Rockies 2015 draftee Brendan Rodgers received high praise for his first full season in the South Atlantic League. Rodgers was selected as the Most Outstanding MLB Prospect and also named the league's top shortstop.
Rodgers represented the Rookies in the 2017 and 2018 All-Star Futures games.
2018 season: Brendan was promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque towards the end of the season last year after hitting .275/.342/.493 in 93 games in Double-A Hartford. However, in Triple-A, Rodgers struggled in 19 games, as he hit .232/.264/.290.
Dec 11, 2019: If top Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers is not ready for the start of Spring Training and not available to start the regular season because of the right shoulder labrum surgery that ended his 2019 campaign, it's not the end of the world. The warning on the back side is clear: Rushing back could have extreme consequences.
Rodgers, the team's No. 1 prospect and the overall No. 14 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, debuted May 17 after standout work at Triple-A Albuquerque and hit .224 with no home runs and seven RBIs in 25 Major League games over two stints. However, he attempted to play through shoulder pain that materialized after his debut. On June 24, Rodgers felt pain in the shoulder while making a throw during a game at Dodger Stadium, and after attempting rehab, he underwent surgery on July 16.
"We're hopeful that he's ready to go but it was a pretty legitimate shoulder surgery, so we're not going to act irresponsibly," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said at the Winter Meetings. "We're going to make sure that he's healthy. It's too early to tell right now. To answer that question, I think both of the scenarios are possibilities. We have to let some more rehab time pass here."
Mainly because of the injury, Rodgers was never able to show the electric bat that produced a .350 batting average, .413 on-base percentage, nine home runs and 21 RBIs in his 37 Triple-A games. He started slowly—.245 with two homers in his first 14 games—before catching fire and earning his promotion.
Having seen what a healthy Rodgers can do, the Rockies don't want to see the compromised version.
"He has listened to our medical folks in that, 'Look, if you screw this up, and are rash in your thinking and your actions on this, there's a chance that you don't recover well,'" Bridich said. "So setbacks due to poor decision making are unacceptable.
"He's been great. To this point, Doogie [head athletic trainer Keith Dugger] and the guys have said he's been exactly the type of patient and rehabber that they're looking for, which is great. You know, young guy, a lot of times, you get impatient." (T Harding - MLB.com - Dec 11, 2019)
Brendan hit the weight room during the coronavirus 2020 shutdown and emerged with bigger muscles—to match big dreams that weren’t daunted by his unsuccessful and painful Major League debut in 2019.
In 2019, Rodgers appeared in 25 games over two callups, but he managed just a .224 average and saw his year end with surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. But a determined 2019 offseason, and good use of shutdown time, has made Rodgers a likely presence on the Rockies roster, with opportunities dependent on his early production as a role player.
“The overall goal is not to prove, but to show, what I’m capable of, and that’s helping this team win,” said Rodgers.
Rodgers was already in fighting-back shape when he arrived at Spring Training 2020. He was a month ahead of projections and had made himself a candidate for the Opening Day roster. When camp in Scottsdale, AZ, was halted, he went home to Orlando, FL, where he joined Rockies catcher Drew Butera for workouts, with strength coach Jeff Higuera, and helped mentor Zac Veen, an outfielder.
“That extra time worked out in my favor,” said Rodgers, who weighed in at 210 pounds after the added muscle and the subtracted bad weight were assessed. “I really got to it in the gym on my shoulder—anything upper body, obviously, trying to strengthen my shoulder, get it as strong as it was pre-surgery. I just had fun lifting weights. At the end of the day, I came out of it a lot stronger than usual.”
Manager Bud Black has commented on Rodgers’ off-the-field maturity. There also isn’t the overswinging that can come with a player trying to make an impression.
“With Brendan, he’s swinging the bat great,” Black said. “He got into some games in Spring Training 1 as DH, while his arm was coming around. So now the three months of off-time, he was able to get his arm into position where he is able to play the field on a regular basis.”
Rodgers said the personal goals he came into 2020 with were rendered moot after the coronavirus reduced the season from 162 games to 60. All that’s left is an attitude he hopes will lead to impact when his opportunities come. “The motto I’ve kind of been living by is: Don’t get ready; I stay ready,” Rodgers said. “I learned that during the quarantine. I was working five or six days a week on baseball and weight training. I think it’s all going to pay off.” (Harding - mlb.com - 7/19/2020)
- 2020 season: -0.5 rWAR
The short season treated Rodgers much like the previous year where his opportunity to break out was stalled by a crowded infield and a significant injury. The Rockies’ number one prospect entering 2020, many hoped this would be the season that he would break out. The front office and Bud Black, however, chose to keep him bottled up at the alternate training site to begin the season until he was called up to the big leagues on August 19.
On the field performance
It’s almost unfair to grade Rodgers’ performance in 2020. With a mere 21 plate appearances, he had no real opportunity to get comfortable. His first appearance was as a mid-game substitution on August 19 against the Houston Astros where he belted a two-run single, notching his only RBIs on the season. He ended the season going 2-for-21 with one double.
Again, there’s nothing conclusive that can come from such a small sample, but it’s encouraging that Rodgers reached a maximum exit velocity of 112.8 miles per hour according to Statcast, which ranked him 56th among all hitters in 2020 for maximum exit velocity. On the downside, the small sample was really bad. Despite the raw tools, he’s been unable to show he can contribute at the major league level. Now, with a total of 102 plate appearances over the last two seasons, he has a grand total of three doubles, zero homers and an OPS of .462.
Rodgers’ departure from this season was hastened by a trip to the injured list on August 31 with a right shoulder capsular strain. Although not considered a serious injury, it did sideline Rodgers for the remainder of the 2020 season. It’s also the same shoulder that required surgery last offseason. This, along with his performance in the majors so far, brings a lot of concern to his future outlook.
Where to go from here
Nothing has really changed for Rodgers from a year ago. He is still looking at a crowded infield that includes Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Garrett Hampson, and Ryan McMahon. He finished the year as a big leaguer and will be expected to start next year in the MLB ranks. As long as he’s able to get to and through spring training healthy, he will likely be a bench bat and backup to McMahon at second base and Story at shortstop. He remains a breakout candidate at age 24, and the possibility that he could rake in a Rockies uniform the same way he has in the minor leagues is something to hope for in 2021. (Chet Gutwein@cgutwein - Oct 7, 2020)
- 2021 Season: The 25 year-old Rodgers slashed .284/.328/.470 with 15 home runs, 51 RBI, and 49 runs scored. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they were greatly diminished due to Rodgers spending the first eight weeks of the season on the injured list, cutting his games down to only 102 games and 415 plate appearances.
Injuries have been a major cause for concern for Rodgers during his time in a Rockies uniform. He has found himself on the injured list during parts of all three of his seasons in the Majors. (Aaron Hurt - Oct. 10, 2021)
|Birth City:||Lake Mary, FL|
|Draft:||Rockies #1 - 2015 - Out of high school (FL)|
Rodgers has an advanced approach as a hitter, displaying strength and elite bat speed, giving him rare power and the ability to hit for a good batting average, and possibly 25 home runs/season when he matures. The ball flies off his bat. Brendan has a 60 grade for his Hit tool, and 55 for his above-average power.
There is little doubt he can be an above-average hitter if he stays healthy. Rodgers’ quick wrists, bat speed and ability to make consistent hard contact earn high marks, and he projects to have above-average power.
Historically, the knock on Rodgers has been his lack of walks and a strikeout rate that has ballooned in his small big league sample. At present, he can hit any fastball but struggles with big league-caliber breaking balls. While his pitch recognition and patience will continue to be question marks until he proves otherwise, they have been an area of focus over the last two years, and he has shown progress.
In 2021, Brendan will get another chance to entrench himself with Trevor Story in Colorado. Rodgers might still be the franchise’s shortstop of the future, but with Story there for at least another year, Brendan's best path to playing time will be at second base. (Joe Healy - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring 2021)
A torn labrum shut down his 2019 season early, but Rodgers still very much has the elite bat speed that made him the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft. He hit at pretty much every stop in the Minors, including .350 over 37 Triple-A games before his callup, leading to a robust .296/.352/.503 career line. (Spring 2020)
He doesn't have to sell-out to drive the ball, as strong as he is. And he hits it hard to all parts of the yard. With his impressive bat to ball skills, he hits for both average and power.
Brendan consistently barrels the and can drive the ball hard the other way, an approach that works well with the large outfield at Coors Field. Rodgers rarely walks and needs to control his aggression, which he has worked on at higher levels, where experienced pitchers will exploit a free-swinger. (Tracy Ringolsby - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2020)
Brendan has a smooth, controlled righthanded swing—a compact stroke—and he can turn around velocity. He loves seeing the fastball, but he is challenged to hit the breaking ball away, and the changeup. Rodgers has worked to maintain consistency with the lower half of his body when he is hitting, helping him improve his ability to stay on breaking pitches, which at each level become more challenging because the pitchers are more refined.
He is an active hitter, who is in attack mode, and his brief time in Triple-A underscored to him that veteran pitchers will exploit that aggressiveness with their mixture of pitches. Still, he shows the potential to be a plus hitter with above-average power.
Rodgers has a 60 grade for both his hit tool and his power. (Tracy Ringolsby - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring 2019)
He gets impressive power from a relatively short stroke. He whips the barrel through the zone with elite bat speed, displaying good feel for the barrel and for hitting, overall.
Brendan has excellent hand-eye coordination, approach, pitch recognition and ability to drive the ball to all fields. He stays balanced in the box and is quick and controlled with his hands, resulting in a smooth swing that packs thump. (Baseball America - Spring, 2018)
Rodgers is a premium hitter. He is very controlled at the plate, but when he gets a pitch to hit, he unloads. He has excellent bat speed and makes solid contact. He has a good approach with solid plate discipline that leads to quality at-bats just about every time he goes up to the plate.
Brendan tends to be a little overaggressive in his approach and often leans out over the plate, making him susceptible to inside pitches. (Spring, 2018)
Brendan will have to make adjustments against quality sliders and other off-speed pitches. And he's already made great strides. He rarely walks, but he knows how to work a count and he doesn't miss HIS pitch, when he gets it.
MLB debut (May 17, 2019): A simplified offensive approach earned Brendan Rodgers a promotion to the Majors, as well as the start at second base and the seventh spot in the batting order in Philadelphia.
Rodgers wasted no time adding to his stat sheet, recording the first RBI of his Major League career with a fielder's-choice grounder to first base in the top of the second inning.
2019 Season: If it hadn’t been for a torn labrum, Rodgers would have graduated off of prospect lists during the 2019 season. All reports have been that his rehab is going well and he plans to be ready and raring to go this spring. If he breaks camp as the club’s starting second baseman, he could put up some huge numbers in Coors Field.
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Brendan had a career batting average of .196 with 0 home runs and 9 RBI in 97 at-bats.
Brendan is impressive at shortstop, displaying quick actions and fine body control, soft hands, athletic actions and an above-average arm. He looks to be all-star caliber in the majors.
Rodgers gets a 55 grade for his defense and a 60 arm from shortstop.
Brendan is still a work in progress defensively at second base. He has more than enough arm strength and athleticism for the position and has spent time working on the finer points of the keystone, including his angles to the ball, moving better to his left and working to soften his hands. There is confidence he can be an above-average defender at second base if he winds up there. (Spring, 2021)
A shortstop out of high school, the Rockies are confident Rodgers could play the position in the big leagues. With Trevor Story entrenched there, however, second base is likely to be Rodgers’ long-term position. Rodgers played an increasing amount of second base in the minor leagues last year and during his brief big league exposure.
He is still working on going to his left and adjusting to a different angle for the throw to first base, and his hands have been a little stiff in his initial move to the right side of the infield, but he should become an above-average defender at the keystone in time as he gets more reps and experience.
Rodgers has shown an aptitude for all three thanks to above-average range and a plus arm. Crucially, he has recognized the importance of defense, which wasn’t as big an issue in high school when he was such a dominant hitter. There is a growing feeling that he could wind up being a shortstop, though second or third base could provide a quick promotion in light of the losses of 2B DJ LeMahieu and perhaps 3B Nolan Arenado. (Spring, 2019)
Rodgers is smooth, fluid and well-coordinated. He charges the ball well, displaying mature footwork. He makes the routine play look so easy that he may give some the appearance of playing with a low-energy motor, but he makes that approach work. While Rodgers does not have the speed of a player who would be considered a base-stealing threat, but his athletic ability and instincts give him surprising range.
He's from the J.J. Hardy school, with a strong arm, impressive body control, and a good internal clock. He positions himself well, possesses sure hands and has a plus, accurate arm. He covers more ground than expected because of advanced instincts. And he positions himself well. (Spring, 2018)
Brendan has a very strong arm and gets good carry. He does tend to throw with a long arm action, though. (October 2016)
There is no reason to move Rodgers off of shortstop. Yes, he has a thicker lower half than most shortstops, but his defense is better than average (55 grade) with improvement expected. He has quick actions. He needs to improve his lateral quickness. (Spring, 2017)
Rodgers is not speedy, but it doesn't hinder him in the field in any way. His athleticism allows him to make difficult plays look effortless.
How Rodgers' body changes over time, particularly if he gets bigger and loses a step, will determine whether he stays at shortstop or makes the move to second base. Even if he does end up at second, he can be an impact player along the lines of Bobby Grich or Ryne Sandberg.
During 2018 spring training, Brendan worked at third base. Farm director Zach Wilson said Rodgers would work at third base, a position he has never played professionally. Wilson said Rodgers, 21, would play second base and shortstop this spring in both Cactus League and minor league games.
By the end of the season, Wilson said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw kind of an equal split” for Rodgers between the three positions. The intent, Wilson said, is to make Rodgers more versatile “so that when his bat is big league ready, wherever that opportunity ends up,” he’s confident at any of those three positions.
Wilson likened this developmental approach to that of Trevor Story. Before reaching the majors on Opening Day in 2016, Story played 29 games at second base, 73 at third base and 409 at shortstop. Rodgers has played 34 games at second base and 165 at shortstop.
- In 2018, Rodgers improved greatly at shortstop, showing range to both sides and on slow rollers, with a strong enough arm to stick at the position. He also started 17 games apiece at second base and third base, increasing his versatility and avenues to break into the big league lineup.
In 2014, Brendan was clocked at 6.77 seconds in the 60.
- Rodgers has 50 grade speed.
August 2015: Rodgers was nagged by hamstring, foot and hip injuries.
May 10-26, 2016: Brendan was on the DL while battling nagging foot, hamstring and hip injuries. He also experienced a dead arm period.
April 2017: Brendan was on the DL with a hand injury.
- July-Aug 29, 2017: Brendan was on the DL with a quad strain.
June 25-Nov 4, 2019: Brendan was on the IL with right shoulder impingement.
July 16, 2019: Brendan underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn right labrum. The surgery, conducted in New York by noted surgeon David Altchek, came as a surprise.
Aug 31-Sept 28, 2020: Rodgers was on the Il with a tweaked hamstring that he suffered at the alternate sight.
March 16, 2021: Though Rodgers remained out of the lineup, Rockies manager Bud Black expressed optimism that the right hamstring injury Rodgers suffered last weekend is mild.
“He feels good and confident that this is not a long-term thing,” Black said. “All indications are that our training staff is encouraged.”
March 19-May 21, 2021: Rodgers was on the IL. He was having a productive Spring Training, looked like he was going to win the job as the Rockies' starting second baseman. Unfortunately, he will instead begin the season on the injured list because of a right hamstring strain.
Rodgers, 24, sustained the injury against the Mariners when he tried to steal a base. Rodgers was 8-for-23 with two home runs and five RBIs before the setback.
Sept 27, 2021: Rockies rookie Brendan Rodgers passed all initial concussion protocols after being hit in the head by a pitch from Josiah Gray during the first inning of the Rockies' 5-4 loss to the Nationals at Coors Field. Gray’s fastball traveled at 92.2 mph and bounced hard off the upper left side of Rodgers’ helmet. Rodgers was attended to on the field, and removed from the game for observation. He was able to walk off the field.
Although he passed the initial protocols, the Rockies said they would continue to monitor his injury. “He obviously was a little bit scared when he was down on the ground, but he got up and I took him out of the game for precautionary reasons,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I was informed shortly thereafter that he was doing fine and I just checked on him.”
- April 27, 2022: Rodgers came down with back soreness during practtice.