We continue our countdown of top prospects here at The Good Phight, counting backwards from 20 to our top prospect.
Johan Rojas, 21 years old, R/R
Rojas spent most of 2021 at Low-A, but was promoted for the last month of the season and improved his stats across the board at the higher level, slashing .344/.419/.563 and hitting three home runs in his 17 High-A games (he’d hit just seven in his 78 games pre-promotion). He boasts the best raw power/speed combination in the system, and some of the more exciting raw talent ingredients in pro baseball, but he has an odd swing resembling Victor Robles‘. Rojas’ confidence in his bat-to-ball skills may be partly to blame for his habit of expanding the zone, which hampers his ability to take advantage of his plus-plus max-effort bat speed. Despite this, Rojas hits the ball hard and often. His speed gives him a chance to be an impact center field defender, and if that happens, he’ll profile even if he’s a slugging center fielder with a low-OBP in the Drew Stubbs mold.
Jay: 4, Ethan: 4, Alex: 4
With Rojas, it’s all going to come down to one thing.
There is an argument that Rojas is the best defensive center fielder in the system right now. There is also an argument that he is the fastest player in the system as well, though someone like Yhoswar Garcia might have something to say about that. He’s got a ton of power that will help him leapfrog past any center field candidates the team might have, but there is still the nagging tool left.
Will Johan Rojas hit?
That’s going to be the biggest thing he has to answer and that answer will determine if the Phillies have a superstar on their hands, or merely a great defensive eighth, or ninth, hole hitter up the middle.
There may be some temptation to trade Rojas since he presents some of the highest upside in the entire system, but the Phillies have invested a lot of time in his development. There are some whispers that this is going to be the year where that time finally pays off and Rojas leapfrogs to the top of this list (something completely in the realm of possibility), but there is also something tugging at the back of all of our minds that he just may not get there. There’s always going to be pessimism surrounding hitters in the Phillies’ system until they show they can develop and produce a quality major league talent, and Rojas is subject to that pessimism. Looking at that video and reading that report, it’s so hard not to get excited about what he may turn into. It’s all there for him to succeed.
He just needs to hit.