What a surprise for this team and the city of Philadelphia as a whole. Johan Rojas is the new guy in town who's impossible not to like.
The 23-year-old's call-up came off the back of injuries to outfielder Cristian Pache, a player of the same archetype, and Brandon Marsh. What no one knew, however, was the things that this young man was capable of. Every night, he made incredible plays look routine, ran down balls that no one had business getting to, and did it all with a smile from ear to ear.
With every love story, there's going to be a downside. While the defensive wizard's .302 average during the regular season might point toward a borderline elite hitter, he was far from it. Rojas' 25.6 percent strikeout rate was too high for the type of hitter he is. Like Brandon Marsh last year, Rojas chased too many fastballs up in the zone and, overall, didn't take enough pitches.
In the postseason, Rojas' struggles at the plate were even more apparent. He had a .093 average in the playoffs, collecting only four hits and not recording one hit through 15 at-bats during the NLDS. The concept of "his defense is too good not to have out there" came to a crashing halt when he was finally pinch-hit for in the last at-bat of the Phillies season by Jake Cave.
The young center fielder has a bright future ahead of him if he can compose himself at the plate and add any value on that side of the ball. This offseason will be a big one for the youngster, and his determination and hard work will help determine his role in 2024