MARCH 31: The Angels announced they’ve selected the contracts of Rojas and outfielder Juan Lagares. To create 40-man roster space, right-hander Kyle Keller was designated for assignment, while Barreto was placed on the 60-day injured list.
MARCH 27: The Angels have informed José Rojas that he’ll make the Opening Day roster, manager Joe Maddon announced to reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). The club will need to formally select him to the 40-man but has an available roster spot to do so. The 28-year-old is now in line to make his major league debut.
Rojas has made a rather remarkable ascent over the past few weeks. A former 36th-round draft pick, the left-handed hitting infielder only once made Baseball America’s ranking of Los Angeles’ top 30 prospects (coming in at 28th entering 2019). The Anaheim native earned himself a Spring Training invitation this year with strong career numbers at both Double-A (.277/.339/.486) and Triple-A (.284/.347/.539).
He has absolutely torn the cover off the ball this spring. Over 41 plate appearances, Rojas has mashed at a .333/.488/.667 clip. Spring Training statistics aren’t always reliable indicators of a player’s true talent, but Rojas apparently impressed Angels’ brass on an everyday basis. Franklin Barreto’s season-opening injured list stint partially opened the door for Rojas to claim a utility job, but he also simply outplayed Luis Rengifo. Rojas will now back up the Angels’ infield group of Anthony Rendon, José Iglesias, David Fletcher and Jared Walsh/Albert Pujols.