When the Miami Marlins traded shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, they put the position in the hands of two players. One of them is due back soon.
When Miguel Rojas is done with his rehab starts in the minor leagues, there is a job waiting for him with the Miami Marlins. The team will be thrilled to get Rojas back. He was in the midst of a breakout season as a pro before suffering a thumb injury.
His injury was part of a snowball effect that saw Rojas, third baseman Martin Prado, and departed Adeiny Hechavarria all go down within a matter of days. That cleared the way for Kentucky native JT Riddle‘s second call up of the season. He’d stick around for good this time around.
The team dealt Hechavarria to the
Devil Rays, and will likely platoon Rojas and Riddle at shortstop for the rest of the season.
Rojas has played well in his rehab starts. More importantly, he’s played without pain or discomfort in his thumb.
In five games spread across A+ and AA, Rojas has logged 18 at bats, and 39 innings in the field. He scraped his knee and appeared to be fiddling with his thumb recently in a AA start. It was enough to prompt trainers to take a look at him. He was fine, and would finish out his start.
For all intents and purposes, it seems like Rojas will be able to continue his rehab without a hitch. It’s possible that he’ll be with the team when they make their return from the All-Star break, but that appears unlikely.
The Marlins appear to want him to make a few more starts, maybe even move him up to AAA before bringing him all the way back.
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Rojas not promised anything upon returning
Whenever Rojas makes his return, he has the a competition waiting for him. JT Riddle convinced the Miami Marlins he was the real deal, and they shipped Adeiny Hechavarria off to Tampa Bay in exchange for middling prospects.
The two will likely engage in an August-through-September audition for the job in 2018. Rojas’ versatility to play any position creates an interesting wrinkle in the competition. Riddle is able to play third base as well, but he is yet to do so as a Major League player.
Conventional wisdom would look to platoon them for the rest of the season. Rojas’ lefty vs. righty splits are drastic, but not the way you think. His approach at the plate against righties has resulted in a squeaky clean .409 batting average. Meanwhile, he’s looked lost against lefties, hitting below the Mendoza line at .190.
Riddle has had equal success regardless of who is on the mound, with a slight boost against left-handed batters. .250 vs. RHP, .268 vs. LHP.
So then what to do? A final decision will be largely based on what the Marlins do ahead of the trade deadline. If Martin Prado is traded, that would open up a spot for Rojas to get starting time. Same goes in a scenario where Dee Gordon is traded.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the Miami Marlins immediate future, it’s difficult to say exactly what situation Miguel Rojas will be stepping into. But as it stands, he should be gearing up for a positional battle with JT Riddle.