Jefferson Rojas – Picture by Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Get ready for some serious content the next three days. This is the first of 11 prospect profiles that will be released over the next three days. Every day at 5:30 AM, Noon, 3 PM, and 5 PM CDST, we will be publishing profiles and updates on several players. We will also have some draft content today, Friday, and Saturday. You will have your hands full as a reader catching up on a lot of new players who are flashing in the system along with the draft. Enjoy!!!
The 2022 international free agent class signed on January 15 of that year. The big-name sign for the Cubs was catcher Adan Sanchez, and the Cubs also signed Alexis Hernandez, the younger brother of Cristian. Both of them were listed in MLB Pipeline’s top 50 international prospects. The one shortstop signed that day that wasn’t, that was Jefferson Rojas.
Weight – 150 at signing
Bats – Right
Throws – Right
Age – 18 (4/25)
From – Puerto Plata in the DR
Signed as an IFA January 15, 2022
Rojas debuted last summer in the Dominican Summer League where he he had an up-and-down season. He came out strong in the month of June and hit .327 with a .438 on base percentage. He didn’t hit any home runs, but he did drive in six in three weeks of action. July, on the other hand, did not go well as Rojas struggled. He only hit .208 that month. Thankfully, Rojas turned it around in August hitting .400 with a .455 on base percentage and OPS of .980. For the year, he hit .303, with a .393 on base percentage. In 44 games, he had one home run and drove in 19.
At the time, Rojas was only 17-years-old. He was given the opportunity to come stateside for fall instructs, and that’s where the buzz began throughout the course of November and December. From Arizona Phil to Jared Banner to Bryan Smith, people began talking behind the scenes about the tool set and strength of Rojas.
I was really looking forward to seeing him play in the Arizona Complex League this summer. That was the expectation by many but Rojas continued to dazzle the Cubs throughout extended spring training. In some unofficial stats by Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter, Rojas slashed .299/.381/.505 with an .886 OPS. He had 8 doubles, 4 HRs, 18 RBI and 11 SB in 36 EXST games. In addition, he had an 11% walk-rate and just a 17% K-rate. Those are some gaudy numbers!
When the Arizona Complex League began, there was Rojas in the opening day lineup, as expected, and he went 0-for-3. The next day, he was promoted to Myrtle Beach. And since then, he has not stopped dazzling us with his offensive skills.
In 17 games in June, Rojas hit .322 with a .388 OBP, 1 HR, 4 RBI, and a .846 OPS. Just on the first day of July, he had 3 RBI and was hitting in the 3 spot. The stats by the end of July ought to far surpass his June numbers in terms of run production.
As a defender, here is what Dai Dai Otaka, the Cubs roving infield instructor, had to say of his play in the field.
He moves really well. For his body, he’s really strong even with his age. Again, he’s another guy that has pretty good instincts defensively, we’re working on reading hops and getting him more comfortable playing short. He played a little bit more second base in the DR. With his abilities and arm strength, we’ll see what happens if he sticks it short or moves around. At the moment, he can stay at second and short in Myrtle and see how he does, and gets his feet wet.
Let’s go to the video experience!
What Rojas definitely has shown is the ability to turn on a baseball and do a lot of different things with his bat. He’s not a one dimensional hitter. He can hit for power, he’s hitting for average, and he’s playing shortstop almost every night.
We don’t need to compare him to any other shortstops in the system because he’s kind of his own thing right now. In fact, by the end of July, we could be comparing the other shortstop to him in the lower parts of the system.
I ranked him at number 13 on my recent prospect list and that’s probably way too low. He should be a little bit higher and he probably will be by the end of the summer.
But here’s the thing I want you to take away from this, he did not turn 18 until the end of April. Comparatively, he basically just finished high school and is dominating at Low-A baseball. Next April, he could be 18 and in South Bend. Think about that today. And you’re welcome.