5 Phillies players under the most pressure entering the 2024 season

Which Phillies players need to step up their game right from the get-go in 2024?
Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola will be under pressure to live up to his new contract
Philadelphia Phillies starter Aaron Nola will be under pressure to live up to his new contract / Elsa/GettyImages
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Johan Rojas

Last season, Johan Rojas turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Phillies when he was called up to the big leagues following the All-Star break. With the team’s outfield defense in question for much of the season, the sudden promotion of one of their top prospects quickly helped resolve that glaring issue.

Not only did Rojas help stabilize the Phillies’ defensive play substantially in the outfield, but he also led the team with 15 DRS in just 40 starts and 57 games overall. As a bonus, he performed solidly at the plate as well, compiling a .302 batting average, .771 OPS, and 111 OPS+, with 24 runs scored, nine doubles, two triples, two home runs, 23 RBI and 14 stolen bases in just 149 at-bats. Not bad for a rookie just making his MLB debut for two and a half months.

However, Rojas’ bat became exposed during the playoffs, showing that some work still needs to be done in terms of his development with his hitting. During the postseason, despite maintaining his usual elite defense in the outfield, he sputtered tremendously at the plate with an atrocious .093 batting average and .276 OPS, with just four hits and 15 strikeouts in 43 at-bats in 13 games. As a result, he needs to show he can make the right adjustments to handle MLB pitching.

Although it's expected that Rojas will have a good shot at starting the upcoming season on the major league roster, along with Brandon Marsh and Nick Castellanos in the outfield, the recent addition of Merrifield has complicated things. Since the veteran Merrifield is more than capable of playing a solid game in the outfield, along with sporting a strong bat, it has now put the pressure on Rojas to perform to his best if he wants to maintain a starting gig with the Phillies for 2024.

If he is unable to meet the expectations at the plate, he could potentially be relegated to the bench or even to the minors if his offensive deficiencies become too large that even his defensive play cannot overcome.