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2021 Marlins Season Review: Miguel Rojas

With the news of his contract extension, we review Miggy Ro’s 2021 season.

Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas (19) throws to second base and takes out Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (not pictured) during the seventh inning at loanDepot Park.  Photo by Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports

In his seventh season in Miami, Miguel Rojas continued to mentor the young players around him and lay the groundwork for what he and the organization hope are a championship winning team. After a productive start, a finger injury forced Rojas to miss a few weeks of the season. He didn’t finish the season as strong as we would have hoped, but he continued to improve important aspects of his game and solidify himself as the leader of the Miami Marlins franchise.

2021 Timeline

  • April 1-May 27: .274/.355/.429, 117 wRC+, 9.1 BB%, 14.7 K%, 37.7 HardHit% in 48 games.
  • May 27: Rojas dislocated and fractured his left pointer finger diving back to first base while getting picked off. The team placed him on the injured list the next day.
  • June 18: Rojas was activated from the injured list. The fracture in his finger was not fully healed, but he could manage playing with the discomfort.

  • June 18-End of season: .259/.302/.372, 86 wRC+, 5.6 BB%, 13.2 K%, 30.3 HardHit% in 84 games.

By The Numbers

Losing Rojas at the end of May hurt the Marlins, who had a 24-27 record at the time. The division was still very much up for grabs and, even though they were in fourth place, they were only four games back in the NL East. Rojas was off to a fantastic start, his 117 wRC+ much better than league average (100 wRC+). When he was placed on the injured list, Rojas was the Marlins’ most valuable player by fWAR up to that point.

Miguel Rojas offensive splits from 2021 vs career totals FanGraphs

In his absence, the Marlins lost 13 of their 19 games and occupied last place in their division. Miggy Ro, playing through a fractured finger, struggled to get going when he returned in June, going 7-for-41 in 10 games. By the end of July, he found a groove and looked more like the player he was before the finger injury. It was during this time that the Marlins moved Rojas from the fifth spot in the batting order and into the leadoff spot. He thrived with this change. Since he began leading off on July 10, Rojas slashed .278/.323/.403 with 14 doubles, one triple, and five home runs. In addition to the more consistent production, the Marlins enjoyed the lower strikeout rate (13.7%) Rojas brought to the leadoff spot. Jazz Chisholm Jr., who was regularly leading off for the first half of the season, struck out 31.9% of the time.

By the end of the season, Rojas was hitting and getting on base right around his career average. His 30 doubles were a career-high and his nine home runs were the most he’s hit since 2018. The 32-year-old also stole 13 bases.

I wrote about Rojas for Pitcher List in September, looking at the player he’s become over the last few years. The defense has always been there, but he’s worked hard to transform himself into a more complete player and person. The off-the-field aspect of that was stepping up in the clubhouse and in the community. On the field, Rojas worked on his approach at the plate in a few areas, mainly having better plate discipline and making harder contact.

The improvements were tangible. His 13.7% strikeout rate was among the best in the league and way above the 23.2% league average. Rojas continued to improve upon the contact he was making. His 32.9 HardHit% was the highest in his career. He also put the ball in the air more often, leading to the most “barrels” in his career. (Barrels are batted balls that are well-hit in terms of ideal exit velocity and launch angle.)


The Best Highlight of Them All: Miguel Rojas Will Be Back

The Marlins announced a 2-year/$10 million extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas yesterday. General manager Kim Ng said extending Rojas was an easy decision for the team to make because he “embodies a lot of the things that we want as Marlins.” This keeps the team’s unofficial captain in Miami through 2023, but Rojas is adamant about his desire to finish his career with the Marlins. Rojas loves Miami and Miami loves him back.