Miguel Rojas quietly put up an .888 OPS in 2020.
The solid number reflected Rojas’ team-second 1.7 bWAR in only 40 games. At that rate, Rojas would easily place number one on our all-time countdown if he had been creating that output through his entire career with the Marlins. As it stands, he’s number 28 on the list, with 7.4 bWAR through his first six seasons with the team.
Players are listed in ascending bWAR value divided by PA/BF. The final 128 players all collected at least 800 plate transactions with the team.
28. Miguel Rojas
Miguel Rojas, who just turned 32-years-old, signed his first professional contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, exactly half of his lifetime ago. It took him nine seasons to make the majors, with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. He hit an anemic .181/.242/.221 in 85 games, demonstrating defensive versatility but little in the way of offensive threat. After that season, they sent him with Dee Gordon (#15) (now Dee Strange-Gordon), Dan Haren (#152), and cash to the Marlins for Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher (#234), Andrew Heaney (#361), and Enrique Hernandez (#439).
Rojas’ first three seasons for the Marlins would see him slash out a .275/.331/.357 line with one homer in each season with the team. In 273 appearances, he played in 142 games at shortstop, 56 at second base, 40 at third base, and 43 at first. In 221 2⁄3 innings at second, he fielded at a 1.000 clip. That’s not even his natural position.
At times, Rojas was a spectacular defender, with middling offensive threat. Something clicked for him at the plate in 2018. Although his slash number remained essentially the same as in the prior three seasons, he clubbed 11 homers through the season. In 132 games in 2019, he improved his simple line to .284/.331/.379 with five jacks and 46 RBI. After the season, he resigned with the Marlins for two years and $10.25 million, with a $5.5 million option for 2022.
Sidelined by health and safety measures for fully a third of the abbreviated 2020 campaign, Rojas hit at a .304/.392/.496 clip in 40 games. He also drew nearly as many walks (16) as he struck out (18). In Miami’s first postseason action in 17 years, Rojas hit a Game One homer against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series.
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again. Miguel Rojas is the heart and soul of the Miami Marlins, and his value as a player cannot be accurately measured by any mathematical formula. Ranked 28th on this series, he’s a lot closer to the top when you add in his intangible value to the team. A likely future big-league manager, Rojas’ steady manner and clubhouse demeanor are worthy of a post-playing-career coaching job with the Marlins.