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2020 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews #27: Josh Rojas

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The first piece of the Zack Greinke trade to see MLB time, Josh has left a lot to be desired.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Rating: 4.20
  • Age: 26
  • 2020 Stats: 17 G, 70 PA, .437 OPS (.180/.257/.180)
  • 2020 Salary: $575,000 (league minimum)
  • 2021 Status: Arb eligible in 2023.

Introduction

Much has been written about Josh Rojas’ homecoming to his hometown team after being acquired from the Houston Astros in the massive Zack Greinke trade which only happened 18 months ago but seems like a decade now. The short of it is, Josh grew up on the West side and after not seeing much interest by Division 1 colleges, he played 2 years at Paradise Valley Community College before transferring to the University of Hawaii. After an excellent senior season, the Astros selected Rojas in the 26th round.

As an older prospect, Josh started his minor league career at A ball and performed admirably, with an OPS just under .800. In 2018, he started the year at A and smashed his way in 20+ games, going to AA and was decent, with a .722 OPS while playing 6 positions. He replayed AA in 2019, smashed the ball (.967) and kept it up after a promotion to AAA (.987). In July, he was included in the Greinke deal and put up absurd numbers in Reno for the D-backs before being called up in August and playing in 41 games with a .624 OPS.

2020 Review

After the acquisition of both Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun in the off-season, Rojas path to playing time was in question. His Spring Training performance didn’t help, where he had a .617 OPS ballooned by 3 homers in 56ABs. Things didn’t go better for Josh in the Summer Camp, where he was hitless in 27ABs. Despite the struggles he still made the team, but never saw much time, striking out in his only at-bat before being sent down to the alternate camp.

In September he was recalled from camp, and started 16 games down the stretch for the D-backs. He definitely struggled, going 11 for 60 and with only singles, tanking his performance. He ended the season on injured list with a lower back injury.

2021 Outlook

Still only 26 years old but going on 2 subpar years after tearing up the minors, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what type of player Josh is. He’s a utility man with excellent versatility. The bat is still a large question mark, so much so that he could become more like a 25th-26ht man on the roster, shuffled between AAA and the MLB roster whenever the need arises. If the bat starts to turn around, I’m talking about just hitting at a league average level here, he should see himself starting 120 games in a year and providing excellent value across the field. Unfortunately for him, we just haven’t seen that.

Josh is still under team control until 2027, and has another option year available that the team could use to free up a roster spot in case of acquisition or something, but I have a feeling Rojas is going to see a large amount of ABs in a semi-rebuilding year to see just what exactly the D-backs have in this young player going forward.