From the loss of MVP superstar Mike Trout in center field to the constant shuffling of right and left fielders, it’s no secret that the Angels outfield took quite a few hits this season. Jose Rojas was another player caught in the vicious cycle of unimpressive outfield lineups.
While Rojas rounded up significantly more games with the team than other players like John Jay, his total outfield appearances only added up to 32 games out of 61 total games played during the 2021 year.
When he wasn’t starting in left field, Rojas again fell into a harsh cycle of rotations in the infield, often jumping in wherever he was needed for that specific game. He logged 2 games playing 1st base, 14 games playing 2nd and 12 games playing at 3rd, which is enough to say that he made his way around the Big A ballpark, and yet, his performances often didn’t contribute to the fire that fans were waiting to see ignite.
As part of the offensive lineup, Rojas typically remained within the middle of the team’s overall performance range, achieving a .208 batting average that yielded 35 hits, 14 doubles, 15 RBIs and 26 runs after 168 total at bats.
Rojas was picked in Round 36 of the 2016 Draft and has been making his way through the minor league system since then. He was first pulled up to the Angels in March 2018 and again in 2019. The shortened 2020 season meant that 2021 was his most recent start with the major league team, but unfortunately, his play time was often overshadowed by inconsistent lineup maneuvers and a rough season of outfield changes.
61 Games / 168 AB / .208 Avg. / .277 OBP / .399 SLG / .676 OPS / 35 H / 6 HR / 15 RBI / 26 Runs / 14 2B / 15 BB / 50 SO
Best Offensive Performance
July 5 vs. Boston Red Sox
Rojas’ best offensive performance of the year happened on July 5 when the Halos found themselves down 5-2 against the Boston Red Sox. Despite the rough score, Rojas refused to go down without a fight. The 28-year-old Anaheim native closed the score gap with a solo home run in the 7th inning and followed through with an RBI in the 9th that pushed the score to 5-4. Unfortunately, the Halos weren’t able to recover the final tying run, but it was a good night for Rojas offensively.
July 5: Solo Home Run
July 5: RBI
Best Defensive Performance
May 21 vs. Oakland Athletics
Plays at home plate coming from players in the outfield are few and far between, but when an outfielder combines speed, a quick catch and a fast throw, it’s hands down one of the most satisfying ways to eliminate an opposing run.
Rojas helped out the Angels defense on May 21 with not one, but two outs secured at the plate.
What to Expect in 2022:
At this point, it looks like Rojas needs time to learn how to capitalize on his flexibility as a player. With elevated consistency, he could be more in line with Phil Gosselin who also made his way around the baseball diamond in several different defensive positions. And it looks like he’s going to get that chance as the Angels have him listed on their 2022 payroll. If history is any indication, he might make a trip back to the Salt Lake Bees before debuting in 2022, as we’ve seen for the past few years.