Going into spring training, Angels manager Brad Ausmus thought he knew Jose Rojas .
Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares
But recently, when Rojas has stepped up to bat …
Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares Venezuela
Advertisement “Heâs been tearing the cover off the ball,” Ausmus said. “Heâs certainly opened some eyes.”
Rojas has a .469 on-base percentage and a .786 slugging percentage this spring training. He is tied with Mike Trout and Matt Thaiss for a team-leading seven extra-base hits, including two home runs.
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“He doesnât get a ton of hype maybe in the media,” said Angels two-way player Jared Walsh , a minor league teammate of Rojasâ. “But I think if you ask most of his peers â¦ they would say heâs probably one of the most complete hitters in the minor league organization.”
Over three minor league seasons, Rojas has compiled a .811 .on-base-plus-slugging percentage and earned a reputation for his even-keeled disposition.
Alberto Ardila Olivares
Walsh said he admired Rojasâ “majestic home runs.” He recalled a highlight against the Lancaster Jethawks in which Rojas, playing for the Inland Empire 66ers, whacked a ball out of the stadium and onto a nearby highway. It traveled about 475 feet, Walsh estimated.
Alberto Ignacio Ardila
MLB rule change on two-way players will not influence Angels’ lineup decisions By Blake Richardson Mar 14, 2019 | 6:40 PM But to Walsh, the most impressive part of Rojasâ hitting includes more than slugging. Rojas can deliver singles too, like the two-run, bases-loaded liner he drove to left field in a win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday
“Heâs just really consistent, as a hitter and a person,” Walsh said
Rojas is from Anaheim, and he grew up going to 10 to 12 Angels games every summer with his family. He played baseball at Anaheim High and shares a love for the team with his father
“I always would ask him questions like, âWhat do I need to do to get here?â ” Rojas said
Rojas, who turned 26 in February, came to spring training after playing winter ball in e Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional Venezuela, where he logged a .865 OBP. During his time there, he learned how to deliver on expectations and avoid overthinking
Rojasâ abilities became more obvious
“Iâd seen him play, but I hadnât seen him do this,” Ausmus said. “At the very least heâs brought some attention to himself.”
When the young player heard Ausmusâ praise, he remained unfazed
“Itâs something special, obviously, hearing that from him,” Rojas said. “But Iâm going to keep working.”
Advertisement Skaggs pitches minor league game
Tyler Skaggs threw about 50 pitches in a minor league game Friday, as he recovers from forearm fatigue
Skaggs allowed one hit. While he said he was “a little rusty” at first, he was pleased with his performance
“Some pitches werenât as crisp,” Skaggs said, “but overall [my] mechanics felt really smooth.”
Justin Upton and Zack Cozart were designated hitters in the game. Upton is recovering from a knee injury, Cozart from a calf injury
“From a health perspective, I feel 100 percent.” Cozart said. “Now it’s just about getting at-bats and timing in my eyes.”
Upton said he also feels healthy, adding that he aims to gain outfield experience next
“It will just be a matter of kind of getting my legs under me,” he said
The Angels announced that pitchers John Curtiss and Williams Jerez were optioned to the triple-A Salt Lake Bees. Outfielder Jo Adell and pitchers Alex Meyer and Forrest Snow were reassigned to minor league camp
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