Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 152 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
In 2018, Miguel Rojas ranked fourth on the Miami Marlins with 2.4 Wins Above Replacement. Part of his value was due to the priorly unknown power he displayed. He ranked tied for fifth on the team with 11 home runs, more than tripling his first four seasons in the majors combined. It may be fools gold, though. He also ranked in the bottom four percent of the National League with an average exit velocity of 84.1 MPH. You can follow Rojas on Twitter @MRojasOfficial.
Miguel Elias Rojas is a 5’11”, 195 lb. shortstop from Las Teques, Venezuela. The township has only produced one major leaguer before Rojas came along, pitcher Victor Zambrano.
Rojas signed through free agency with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, while still just 16-years-old. He worked his way up through their system for the next five seasons, peaking at the triple-A level in 2012 with the Louisville Bats, in the International League. He declared his free agency after the season, and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers just days later.
After another season-and-a-half in the minor leagues, Rojas made his major league debut with the Dodgers on June 6th. He played in 85 games for Los Angeles, spending his rookie eligibility with a .181/.242/.221 slashline. After that season, the Dodgers traded Rojas with Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, and cash to the Miami Marlins for Chris Hatcher, Austin Barnes, Andrew Heaney, and Enrique Hernandez.
Through Rojas’ first three seasons with the Marlins, he appeared in 273 games playing at every infield position (not at the same time, that would be a record). Defensively, a lot is made of Rojas’ versatility, and it’s not a claim without merit. He’s a better-than-average fielder at all four infield positions through his career, by Defensive Runs Saved Above Average. Of course, his wheelhouse will always be shortstop.
Between 2015 and 2017, Rojas put together a .273/.331/.357 line, with three home runs (one per year) in 677 plate appearances. Although he appeared in 123 games in 2016, mostly at second base, he wasn’t considered a “starter” until 2018.
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This season, Rojas set career-highs in nearly every category offensively. His career-best numbers include 153 games, 44 runs, 123 hits, 11 home runs, 53 RBI, six stolen bases, and, um, an NL-leading 23 GIDP. So at least he’s got some “Black Ink.”
Rojas slashed .252/.297/.346 in 528 plate appearances, striking out 69 times. It’s hardly remarkable, but the resultant 13.9 percent whiff rate was the best on the team save Martin Prado.
In Miami’s second game of the season, on March 30th, the Marlins took the Chicago Cubs to 17 innings tied at one. Rojas served them a walkoff for a 2-1 Marlins victory (see video below).
On April 25th, in an 8-6 Miami Marlins win against the Dodgers, Rojas earned his highest individual-game Wins Probability Added of the season with a fifth-inning three-run homer to give Miami a 3-0 lead. In a 9-3 victory against the New York Yankees on August 22nd, he hit a sixth-inning, three-run shot to put the Fish up, 4-2.
The Miami Marlins have control over Rojas for another two seasons, and will be able to test free agency in 2021. He’s arbitration eligible for the second time this season, and is estimated to be worth in the neighborhood of $2.6 million, per Baseball Reference.
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