Many Mariners fans felt devastated when the organization traded Paul Sewald to the Diamondbacks. Truthfully, some of us are still in mourning.
Josh Rojas and Dominic Canzone have made multiple contributions to the team. Ryan Bliss, the third player to relocate, has played very well in AAA Tacoma and is now making a statement in the Arizona Fall League.
Josh Rojas is an Arizona native, going to high school in Goodyear, a town west of Phoenix. He chose the University of Hawaii at Manoa for college – perhaps to escape the dry desert and find some water! Houston drafted him in the 2017 June Amateur Draft. He played in the Astros’ minor league teams and then in 2019, was traded and played in the Arizona minor leagues before debuting in August of 2019 with the Diamondbacks at the MLB level. He remained with the Diamondbacks until his arrival in Seattle this past August.
Rojas Played Better in Seattle Than in Arizona
Even though Rojas was in Seattle for about one-third of the season, he was stronger offensively. In Arizona, he was at bat 189 times while in Seattle, he was only at bat 125 times. He had one more run with the Mariners, 21 fewer strikeouts, and the same number of stolen bases. His slash line was .228/.292/.296 and an OPS of .588 in Arizona. In Seattle, his slash line was .272/ .321/.393 with an OPS of .721. In addition, he batted 1.000 when runners were at second and third and .708 when bases were loaded.
Rojas Has Made Significant Contributions to Batting and 2nd Base
Using some FanGraphs statistics, I compared Josh’s numbers to Jose Caballero and Adam Frazier’s 2023 Orioles numbers as he played 2nd base regularly for Seattle in 2022. Did you notice sometimes Rojas hit when other players were struggling at the plate? (Though he had his own drought in September.) His percentage when batting with balls in play was .330, higher than both Cabby and Frazier. His batting average was also higher. Defensively, Rojas was much stronger than Frazier though Cabby had a higher number in this area. Both Rojas and Caballero were awarded a fWar of 2.2.
Some of Rojas’ most important contributions came in Seattle’s final series with Houston and Texas. In the first game against Houston, Rojas hit a double in the ninth inning and made it home with a sacrifice fly from Julio Rodriguez. Thus, the Astros did not get a shoutout. In the second Houston game, Rojas hit a lineout to right field that allowed Mike Ford to score. He scored a home run in the second game against the Rangers. In the fourth inning of that game, he hit a ground ball that allowed Teo Hernandez to score and he was then sent home after J.P. Crawford’s Grand Slam. Sometimes, Rojas' bat is magical!
I Award Josh Rojas a B
I give Josh Rojas a B for the contributions he made to the Mariners in his two months with the team. He was a reliable hitter and an experienced second baseman. I look forward to seeing what he does in the coming season.