2024 Phillies Player Spotlight: Johan Rojas

With the 2024 MLB season bearing down on us. We here at EOP will spotlight a Phillies player every week until the start of the 2024 season. We will highlight their 2023 season, strengths, weaknesses, and 2024 projections. This week we will highlight centerfielder Johan Rojas.      

2023 Season

Rojas brought an elite glove to the Phillies centerfield position in 2023. What he didn’t bring was offense or did he? Rojas’s offense is truly a story of 2 seasons the regular season and the postseason. Rojas, who was the 4th, ranked Phillies prospect in 2023 made his MLB debut on July 15, 2023.  

 Rojas’ talent made the club better defensively in center field, with another good player in outfielder Brandon Marsh. The Dominican finished with a .986 fielding percentage, two errors, three assists, and 135 putouts in 57 regular season contests. In 13 postseason games, he had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and 29 putouts.

Offensively, he was solid during the regular season. He posted a .302/.342/.430 slash line with an OPS of .772, 24 runs, 23 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 59 contests. But as I said his offensive story in 2023 was layered. In the postseason he showed he needs to improve at the plate. In 13 games and 43 at-bats, he had 15 strikeouts and a .093/.114/—163 line with a .277 OPS.

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Strengths

The defense and the speed are what separates Rojas from all other Phillies centerfield candidates. Even though he struggled offensively, he proved how important those attributes are with receiving playing time in the postseason.   

In the regular season, he demonstrated plate discipline, outstanding pitch recognition, and patience at the plate. He struck out only eight times. He accepted eight walks. Rojas isn’t a free-swinging hitter. His approach is rather measured, and his hands are good through the ball. He doesn’t have the fastest bat speed, but he makes contact and finds the barrel.

Weakness

Let’s face it, the glaring weakness was his lack of offense in the postseason. Maybe the moment was too big for him, maybe Rob Thompson missed using him in those high-pressure situations, something that has been kind of a theme for Topper in evaluating his managing the 2023 postseason. A full season should help greatly in his development.  

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2024 Projection

Phillies manager Rob Thompson has said numerous times that Rojas is not a lock to make the 2024 squad. But barring anything catastrophic I don’t see how the Phillies can live without his speed and defense. Justin Crawford is about two years away from challenging Rojas for the centerfield job. If he can find balance at the plate and a full regular season can help Rojas seems to be a lock at 9 in the Phillies batting order. Not bad for a player that went from double-A straight to the Majors.        

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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