Will shortstop Miguel Rojas become the leader of the Miami Marlins on the field in this shortened season?
It’s going to take a village for the Miami Marlins to make the playoffs this coming season.
Despite the shorted season with only 82-games on the schedule, the team will still need some Herculean effort from its 30-man roster to make the leap to the postseason. It’s not unheard of, with teams coming back to the ballparks, hoping the players who are still competing for roster spots are in shape and can make the adjustment to playing games that matter in a short amount of time.
When looking at all 30 rosters and who could take advantage of the changes in the Majors this season, Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated pointed to shortstop Miguel Rojas as the one player for the Miami Marlins who could benefit from the short season. The leader of the pack, the one player who will assume the leadership role on the bench and in the clubhouse will be asked to also hold things together on the field, giving manager Don Mattingly another set of eyes to help guide the ship.
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“Miguel Rojas won’t set the league ablaze, but his presence as a leader in a young Marlins clubhouse and his defensive versatility will be key in these unprecedented circumstances,” Goodman writes.
Rojas doesn’t have to hit the baseball with the intention of reaching the cheap seats with every swing, He does need to play heads-up baseball and provide solid defense at shortstop. And when it comes to playing with youngsters this season, he must act as a guide, the same what Martin Prado did when he was the most respected man in the clubhouse in South Florida.
It could be a torch-passing moment.
“Expanding rosters in ’20 means a handful of Miami’s top-ranking prospects will likely get a shot at the big-league level,” adds Goodman. “While the spotlight may shine on highly-touted phenoms, Marlins fans can count on Rojas to take care of business on both sides of the ball out of the gates.”
The connection between Rojas and second-year second baseman Isan Diaz is an example of how important relationships on the diamond are. Diaz was supposed to come in from Triple-A New Orleans after the All-Star break and light up scoreboards. Instead, the youngster struggled with the bat and in the field. Guiding Diaz toward a successful 2020 campaign will help the Miami Marlins determine if indeed he is the future at the position.
As is the case with most players Mattingly has on the roster, Rojas adds versatility that will allow the skipper to make lineup changes that will be necessary if the team plays against non-traditional opponents in 2020.
“The shortstop, who can play every position in the infield, got off to a hot start last season, including 35 hits and 12 doubles across 27 games in the month of June. In that month, the 30-year-old hit .347 and had 47 total bases.”
If Rojas can slap the ball all over the field, it could be a good sign he and others in the Miami Marlins lineup are headed in the right direction this year.