During the regular season, most of the talk about the Philadelphia Phillies revolved around their awful outfield defense. With Bryce Harper unable to play right field, this had to be expected. Nick Castellanos took over as the full-time left fielder, and Kyle Schwarber was forced to play every day.
This fueled rumors that the Phillies’ front management might make a deadline deal for an outfielder. Instead, they promoted their prized prospect Johan Rojas from Double-A, who went on to become one of the finest defensive players in MLB.
He had 15 defensive runs saved and was three outs better than average in center, making Philadelphia’s outfield defensive troubles an irrelevance. However, throughout the postseason, Rojas struggled terribly at the plate. This has forced Dave Dombrowski to reconsider his future plans for the young athlete.
“So I’m not going to anoint him a position with our big league club next year. He has to be able to contribute some offensively or else then he has to go down and continue to develop. [That] doesn’t mean we don’t love him, we think he’s a really good player. But we do need more offense than that out of a position,” he said.
Given that Rojas had never played at the Triple-A level before being called up, it wouldn’t be a horrible move for his career. After hitting.302/.342/.430 in 149 regular-season at-bats, he was limited to a.093 batting average with 15 strikeouts in 43 postseason at-bats.
Dombrowski confessed that their offense was able to conceal most of Rojas’ troubles at the bat during the regular season, but that this did not carry over to the playoffs.
“And we really did that until we got to the postseason. And they really went after him and he scuffled at that point,” he said. There appears to be a serious likelihood that the great defensive outfielder will begin the season in Triple-A.