Mel Rojas Jr. Sent to Altoona as Disappointing Season Continues

After the announcement on Monday that Willy Garcia would be joining Indianapolis, the corresponding move was sending Mel Rojas, Jr. back to Altoona.

Following a strong season in Indianapolis last season, where he hit .277 with a .768 OPS, Rojas had trouble breaking through a deep outfield corp in Indianapolis in 2015.

While Rojas hit .268 this season, his OPS had dropped all the way to .608 with Indianapolis. In 155 at bats, Rojas had just six extra base hits and 37 strikeouts.

In speaking with Rojas on Saturday, he admitted that he was having a tough time adjusting to the new role.

“I feel pretty good, it is just about getting adapted to my new role as basically being the fourth outfielder,” Rojas said. “I have been in and out of the lineup, but I just have to stay positive and take advantage of every opportunity they give to me.”

While April and May were not the strongest for Rojas, he did show some promise in June, going 9-for-31 with three doubles.

For Rojas, there were some lofty expectations in 2015, including possibly making a run for a September call-up with his play last season. However, the adjustment has not been smooth for him, and as a result his disappointing season has resulted in going back to Altoona. The positive is that it will allow Rojas to be some at bats and try to get some rhythm back to salvage the campaign.

  • Much like the middle infield the pirates are deeeep in the outfield, so if one don’t work move onto the next guy.

  • I think this is another case of really bad Asset Management by the BMTIBB. Rojas earned the right last year to play every day and get his at bats – forcing him into a fourth outfielder role was STUPID. Now they have a guy they don’t want – and has little or no value as a trade chip – way to go NH!

    • His ceiling was as a 4th OFer. Garcia’s ceiling is much, much higher. Rojas’ trade value wasn’t that high to begin with.

      I have no problem with this move.

      They may not be the BMTIB, but they are pretty darn good.

      • This. As nice as it was to see Rojas break through somewhat and hold his own in AAA last year, he’s clearly got a lower ceiling than Broxton, Garcia and even Decker – who, it should be pointed out, is the same age as Rojas and has a longer track record of hitting in the upper minors. You could quibble with whether Rojas has more upside than Gorkys Hernandez, I suppose, but that still only gets you to 4th best outfielder at Indy.

        As for Rojas’s trade value…please recall that he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft this past winter and was not selected. 29 other GMs passed on the opportunity to have him for nothing but cash. Hard to think then that one of those GMs would have parted with an asset of any value to bring him in.

    • I never thought Rojas had much trade value at all. He was always a developmental guy that never developed into anything. He never had a breakout season even with the tools everyone said he had back when he was drafted. Garcia on the other hand could be a huge power bat and deserves to see the AAA pitching!

      • Bet the house Willy is a Sept callup. Thinking back to Hurdle’s comments from PirateFest, he loves this guy.

        I hope he’s capable of learning 1b by next year.

        As far as Rojas’ diminishing trade value, it’s a cold business. But if he can get back on track, someone might want him, or he’ll have value in a package sweetener. I don’t think you can really say that because he wasn’t picked as a Rule 5 that nobody wanted him. There were no pure OFs picked last year. Other than one catcher, everyone selected was either a pitcher or a utility guy – teams looking for the sleeper JHay/Holt guy.

        • With the way the current first baseman is treated in Pittsburgh, I couldn’t possibly imagine a worse replacement than Willy Garcia.

        • I wouldn’t bet the house of I were you. As much as I like certain aspects of Garcia’s game, that BABIP he had in Altoona will be pretty difficult to maintain in AAA let alone in MLB. And, no contender is going to use an untried rookie in the last month of a Division or WC race when they have other players with much more experience in the system.

        • The way Garcia throws, there is 0 chance he becomes a 1st baseman, that would be like making roberto clemente a 1st baseman, pure lunacy

    • Bruce, you definitely can make some pretty poor judgement statements. Rojas was barely a 4th outfield prospect at best. Try leaving assessments for the professionals, they have a much better view than you.

      • Pirates are sometimes bad at managing assets- given. This is not one of those times. Each player whom has been playing above him has a higher ceiling and more value in a trade