When the Cubs were evaluating where to assign Jefferson Rojas this season, the organization did not shy away from challenging the 18-year-old Dominican shortstop.
Rojas spent his 2022 pro debut playing in the Dominican Summer League. After making a one-game pit stop in the Arizona Complex League this season, Rojas joined Low-A Myrtle Beach on June 7.
The Cubs’ aggressive placement for Rojas—who is one of about a dozen 18-year-old regulars in full-season ball—was rooted in the mature approach he has displayed.
They felt Low-A represented the best developmental environment for Rojas.
“It’s the advanced approach to the game, both on and off the field,” Cubs vice president of player development Jared Banner said. “You have to be a pretty special kid to make the leap that he made and be able to keep your wits about you and and make all the right decisions on and off the field with the kind of freedom that he now has at the full-season level.
“He’s done a great job so far and we expect that to continue.”
Through 41 games, Rojas hit .267/.349/.427 with four home runs, two of them grand slams. The Cubs believe Rojas will tap into more power as he continues to mature. He was one of just five 18-year-olds in full-season ball to top a .400 slugging percentage.
“He doesn’t chase a ton,” Banner said. “He has good pitch recognition and he makes a lot of contact, so he avoids getting himself out. He avoids strikeouts, and when you have a quality swing with the bat speed he has and the ability to to make contact with the baseball, good things happen.”
“It’s really all about finding the right pitches to hit that he can drive. He has such good contact ability that he’s able to put a lot of different balls in play, but we want him to be selective and swing at pitches he can do damage on.”