Johan Rojas
Johan Rojas made the Opening Day roster. | PHOTO: Jen Sigel
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski left no doubt about the benefits of having Johan Rojas in the Majors, both for the Phillies and Rojas himself, as he addressed reporters at BayCare Ballpark on Monday. 
This declaration came hot on the heels of the club's announcement of Rojas as its Opening Day center fielder, despite a rough Grapefruit League campaign at the plate. 
Skipping Triple-A entirely, the 23-year-old made his Major League debut on July 14 last season after an impressive showing at Double-A Reading, where he boasted a .306 batting average with an .845 OPS. 
While his defensive prowess initially caught the Phillies' attention and remained consistent, his offensive contributions, though promising, saw a downturn in the postseason.
Rojas' outstanding fielding, underscored by his nine Outs Above Average last season, played a crucial role in securing his roster spot. 
Manager Rob Thomson echoed the sentiment, affirming the team's enhanced performance with Rojas on board, particularly due to his defensive excellence. "As long as he doesn’t get buried, we’re a better team with him on the club," Thomson emphasized to reporters this week. "Just because of the defense.” Projected to bat ninth for the Phillies, 
While he may not be expected to maintain a .300 batting average or deliver power numbers, Rojas can still contribute significantly by utilizing his speed and putting the ball in play, posing a threat on the basepaths. 
"Any way he can get on base is great," Thomson stressed. "And if he can chew up pitches, he’s really good in that nine spot.” 
It's one of several storylines to keep an eye on throughout the early part of the season. 

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