A Twin two times over

By Mike Sorenson

together-300x123If Taylor Rogers continues to develop at the pace he’s been going, he may soon one of the only twins to play for the Twins.

Confused? Rogers is a left-handed starting pitcher who spent 2015 with the Rochester Red Wings, International League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. His identical twin, Tyler, spent 2015 as a right-handed submariner reliever with the San Jose Giants in the Class A Advanced California League.

Taylor refers to himself and his brother as “mirror images,” meaning if they were face to face and were asked to raise their pitching arms, right would align with left.
Taylor-Rogers-3-164x300The twins were born on Dec. 17, 1990 to Scott and Amy Rogers in Littleton, Colo., with Taylor the 30 seconds older than his brother. “We just came flying out of there,” as Taylor explained. As youngsters, the twins were dressed alike by their parents but that changed as soon they could dress themselves. Describing himself and his brother as “good kids,” Taylor claims that they never tried to fool teachers or friends by changing places. “Maybe we were too scared,” he offered to explain why they never got into any shenanigans.

Both boys pitched in Little League and Taylor would cover first when he wasn’t on the mound. Since the brothers both gravitated toward pitching and didn’t want to hamper the other, the time came for them to go their separate ways. Taylor attended the University of Kentucky where he pitched three seasons for the Wildcats. Tyler attended junior college at Garden City Community College in southwest Kansas before moving on to Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn.

Taylor-Rogers-2-201x300Taylor was taken by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2012 First Year Player Draft. He was one of three former Kentucky players to appear in a Rochester uniform in 2015, with teammates and fellow pitchers Logan Darnell and Alex Meyer. Taylor finished the year with 28 starts, an 11-12 record, 3.98 ERA and two complete games. In 174 innings he allowed 190 hits and 83 runs, 77 of which were earned. He struck out 128 batters while walking 44, two of which were intentional.

Taylor said he throws a two-seam fastball, curve and circle change from an over the top arm slot. Tyler on the other hand – or arm – has continued a descent in his pitching motion. “When I was in junior college the coach asked if I wanted to drop my arm slot and it has gotten progressively lower,” Tyler explained. In addition to a fastball, Tyler also has a slider, which he described as a slow sweeping slider akin to the arc of a tossed Frisbee.

Tyler wasn’t as highly recruited as his brother, but found that he enjoyed ‘being his own guy’ prior to transferring to Austin Peay. While he watched Taylor get drafted, Tyler pitched another season of college ball and was taken in the 10th round by the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 First Year Player Draft.
The draft was not without incident howevrer. Taylor, then in single A ball, received a call from the Giants informing him that he had just been selected. Realizing that their numbers were only one off and that he had called the wrong brother, Taylor let the representative know that while he was happy to hear of the draft pick, that he had the wrong Rogers. Taylor then waited to get a call from Tyler after the Giants rep reached the correct brother to congratulate him.

Tyler recorded a 5-1 mark with the San Jose Giants this season, posting a 1.47 ERA with one save. He threw 79.1 innings, giving up 57 hits and 18 runs, 13 earned. He walked 20 and struck out 86 and, like his brother, hit an identical two batters.

If it wasn’t for their deliveries the only way to tell the brothers apart would be their stature; Taylor stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 180 pounds while Tyler carries 187 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame. As they both continue to progress through the minor leagues, the thought of the brothers facing one another in the Majors may not be that far off. If that happens, let’s just hope that the refs keep which pitcher is on which side straight for the boxscore.