Jose Rojas (1B/2B/3B)
As good as Matt Thaiss was this Spring many believe that Jose Rojas deserved the Fred Haney Award. Rojas is a majorly under-the-radar prospect who shined in Spring with a .412/.474/.765 slash in 38 PA’s. Rojas seemingly came out of nowhere this Spring, but the fact is this is exactly what Rojas has been doing within the Angels organization since 2016. One of the reasons he’s stayed so low-key is due to his age; Jose Rojas is 26 and a bit of late bloomer as his first professional MiLB season came at the age of 23.
Rojas has shown great talent and development despite being “older” than one would expect from a prospect. In 2018 he slashed .289/.355/.501 with 17 HR’s and 24 Doubles en route to 71 RBI’s in 425 Plate Appearances. He competed for an Opening Day roster spot all Spring and made a strong case for manning 3B for the Angels. At this point in time Zack Cozart is the man for the Angels despite coming off a down year that ended early to injury. One has to wonder how well he’ll hold up this season.
It feels a bit like the Angels are waiting to see if the vets break down before bringing up prospects like Rojas and Thaiss. You can’t blame them too much as their hands are a bit tied with Cozart and Pujols. The reality is that Rojas will be taking his big league experiences to Triple A where he can simmer a bit before getting the opportunity he deserves in the big leagues.
I know the Angels are trying to be smart by employing a few “sure-fire” veterans like Cozart and Pujols, but at this point you just gotta let the kids play. I’d hate to see a month or two of guys like Rojas because we had to wait for the vets to break down as they have before.