The callup of Johan Rojas
At the 2023 trade deadline for the Phillies, many expected the ballclub to add an outfield power bat to the lineup after they decided to move Bryce Harper to first base and Kyle Schwarber into the DH role long-term. However, they failed to do so, as their only trade involved the addition of Michael Lorenzen to their starting rotation. As a result, the Phillies needed to resort to one of their internal options to fill the void in the outfield.
Among the candidates, rookie Johan Rojas has certainly risen to the occasion since his call-up back in July following the All-Star break. As one of the top outfield prospects in the organization, Rojas did not disappoint as he provided valuable contributions to the ballclub both in the field and at the plate. In the field, he showed off his elite defense with numerous spectacular plays, and in just 56 games, he compiled a 13 DRS, three outfield assists and only two errors for a .986 fielding percentage. At the plate, he has put together a solid campaign, with a .303 batting average, a .765 OPS, 23 runs scored, nine doubles, two home runs, 22 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 58 games.
Rojas is perhaps still in the raw stage, as his 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio means he still needs some time to develop some good plate discipline and contact, but there’s no doubt his potential could be limitless down the road. Despite having limited playing time down the stretch in September, he still contributed enough for the Phillies over the second half of the season to help them clinch their second consecutive playoff berth in two years. Even though he may not be a starter heading into the playoffs, with his superb defense and speed, he will be the Phillies’ ideal player coming off the bench for critical pinch-running duties and defensive replacements late in games.