According to Chuck Finder, the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to sign third round pick Mel Rojas Jr. Rojas is on his way to Pittsburgh to take a tour and undergo medical examinations today, according to Finder, and will sign his contract on Thursday.
There have been various reports that Rojas was asking for seven figures, and first round money. I can’t imagine he received that amount if the deal is getting signed now, unless it’s something that will have to wait for MLB approval. Finder says that Rojas could immediately go to State College, which indicates that no delay will be present.
Rojas was the #135 prospect in Baseball America’s pre-draft rankings. He’s a five tool athlete, with good bat speed and strength. A switch hitter, Rojas sees that speed from both sides of the plate, although he doesn’t make good contact and hits a lot of grounders. Rojas stole 61 bases in JuCo last year, but only has above-average speed. He’s a plus runner once he gets underway.
Rojas might not be quick enough to be a center fielder, but does have the arm strength to play right field. The question remains as to whether he can hit for power. He had 12 homers, 17 doubles, and 7 triples in 230 at-bats in JuCo last year, but that doesn’t guarantee future success in the pros. He’ll need the power if he can’t stick in center field.
The draft pick signing tracker has been updated. The signing, when official, will give the Pirates 19 signings.