How many times have you seen Johan Rojas come up to the plate and just knew that nothing was going to happen?
The answer is most likely too many times to even count.

Rojas made his major league debut with the Phillies last July

and has since become the starting center fielder. The main reason he’s found a place in the Phillies’ lineup is because of his elite defense and speed. The speed is something that can be dangerous when on the base paths, but there hasn’t always been the opportunity for him to use that speed.

In 59 games last season after being called up, the 23-year-old batted .302 with a .342 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases. The batting numbers don’t seem that bad, but it was a small sample size, as Rojas only had 164 plate appearances.

During the 2023 postseason, Rojas batted .093 with a .114 on-base percentage in 45 plate appearances and didn’t record any stolen bases.

Fast forward to this season in which the center fielder started off slow at the plate. He didn’t record a hit until his sixth game of the year, and he carries a .234 batting average through June 5.

If you look at the second-year player’s last eight games, all hope is not lost for Rojas at the plate.

In that span, he’s batting .360 with only two strikeouts while also swiping three bags. He’s also proven to come up clutch, as he drove in five of his 19 RBIs on the year.

The key to success for the Phillies’ young outfielder is to keep the ball on the ground, which he’s done a nice job with recently.

With Rojas’ speed, any ball on the ground has the chance to be a base hit. The Phillies are a much better team when Rojas is getting on base and making defenses have to worry about his ability on the base paths.

Can the Phillies go out and make an upgrade to the center field position? Absolutely. Does it make sense to invest valuable resources to do so?
That’s still up in the air, but if Rojas can continue his recent success at the plate, then the Phillies can be even more dangerous than they’ve already proven to be.

PHOTO: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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