Oakland A’s: Mel Rojas Jr. could be intriguing lottery ticket
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s are in need of a corner outfielder. Korean Baseball Organization sensation Mel Rojas Jr. could be worth a look.
As the Oakland A’s look to fill numerous holes on their roster, they will need to get creative. Financial issues are always a concern, and that will definitely be the case after a 2020 season played without fans. Low cost free agents and lottery tickets will be the nature of the beast.
One potential lottery ticket is Korean Baseball Organization slugger Mel Rojas Jr. He had originally been a third round pick of the Pirates in the 2010 MLB Draft, and was later traded to the Braves for cash considerations in 2016. Rojas topped out at AAA in the Braves organization before being let go in 2017 to pursue opportunites in Korea.
Rojas became a star overseas. In his four seasons with the KT Wiz, he became one of the elite sluggers in the KBO, producing an incredible .321/.388/.594 batting line with 132 homers and 126 doubles in his 2218 plate appearances.
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He took that production to another level in 2020. Rojas became the clear frontrunner to be named the KBO’s MVP as he nearly won the league’s Triple Crown. He produced a .349/.417/.680 batting line with 47 homers and 135 RBI in his 628 plate appearances as he led the Wiz to their first ever postseason appearance.
There are concerns with how he would fare in the majors. Rojas tends to sell out to make hard contact, which could leave him vulnerable to elite velocity or breaking pitches. He does hit the ball to all fields and displayed the ability to cover the entire strike zone in the KBO, but that may not translate to the majors either.
But the upside makes Rojas intriguing. He may not be the star that he was with the Wiz, but he could still be a relatively solid corner outfielder with respectable pop and above average production at the plate. While he is mainly a corner outfielder now, he could play center if need be, with solid instincts and a strong arm. Rojas also would not cost as much as other established options, which would make him the perfect target for the A’s.
The Oakland A’s will need to be creative as they fill out the roster. Mel Rojas Jr. may be worth a gamble.