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Los Angeles Angels: Why Jose Rojas did not get the call to Anaheim this week

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Putting up one of the most impressive offensive Triple-A seasons in recent memory apparently is not enough for Rojas to earn a September call-up. 

Jose Rojas started this year with the Angels in Spring Training, giving them a sneak peek of what was to come this season. Rojas tore up the Cactus League with a .412 average, six doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI. The 36th-round pick in the 2016 draft out of Vanguard University has been a solid contact hitter at every level while improving his power every year. 

After playing most of the 2018 season at Double-A Mobile where he hit .304 with 17 home runs, he was promoted to Triple-A Salt Lake to finish the season. Rojas developed more power in the second half of last season, accumulating 11 of his 17 homers in the second half of last year.   

Rojas carried that power surge into his first full season with Salt Lake this year crushing a Triple-A-best 78 extra-base hits and 297 total bases, plus 31 home runs. The versatile Rojas split his time in the field between second base, third base, first base, and left field and seemed a logical asset to Angels big league club.

That’s why it came as a huge surprise to many Angels fans to learn Rojas wasn’t added to the Angels 40-man roster last week. 

As the Angels’ roster expanded Sept. 1 and the Bees’ season ended earlier this week, the call from Anaheim offering him a promotion never came.

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The biggest reason for Rojas’s exclusion from September call-up is most likely tied to a numbers game on the Angels’ roster. The Angels are currently giving playing time to fellow prospects Matt Thaiss, Luis Rengifo, David Fletcher, Taylor Ward, and Jared Walsh in many of Rojas’s playing positions. Even if added to the September roster, Rojas’s playing time might be limited due to the other competition on the Angels’ roster.  

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There is still a very good chance Rojas will be added to the 40-man roster after the season. The Angels currently feature several depth players on their roster who will likely find themselves designated for assignment. Other players like Rojas who the Angels would risk losing to other teams in December’s Rule V draft will be added to the roster. 

The Angels currently are faced with a 40-man roster that does not include Zack Cozart and Felix Pena, who are currently on the 60-day injured list. At the conclusion of this season later this month, both Cozart an Pena will need to be added back to the 40-man roster. Trevor Cahill is the only impending free agent at the conclusion of the season, but he could be joined by Kole Calhoun if the Halos decline to pick up his team option for next season. 

The decision to leave Rojas off the Angels’ roster should not be viewed as if he’s not in the Angels future plans. Anything is possible heading into this off-season for many young Angels. The Angels have a lot of MLB-ready talent that would seem to be desirable my other clubs in trade conversations this coming off-season. Rojas, along with Fletcher, Rengifo, Thaiss, Ward, and Walsh, will surely be names bandied about during the coming offseason. 

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One way or another, Jose Rojas will surely be trying to crack a major league roster next spring. Angels fans have good reason to hope Rojas is a part of the Angels plans going into next year. 

This Week 

The Angels return home after completing last week’s road trip to Oakland and Chicago.  They will try to play spoilers this week as they host the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays for a pair of three games series. 

Although official starters have not been announced for all this week’s games, I would expect the Angels to see the following match-ups this coming week: 

7:07 PM (PT) Monday host Cleveland: Patrick Sandoval versus Shane Bieber 

7:07 PM (PT) Tuesday host Cleveland: Jose Suarez versus Zach Plesac 

5:07 PM (PT) Wednesday host Cleveland: Dillon Peters versus Adam Plutko 

7:07 PM (PT) Friday host Tampa BayAndrew Heaney versus Charlie Morton 

6:07PM (PT) Saturday host Tampa Bay: Jaime Barria versus Tyler Glasnow 

1:07 PM (PT) Sunday host Tampa Bay: Patrick Sandoval versus Ryan Yarbrough 

Angels Down in The Farm 

Jeremiah Jackson completed his record-setting Pioneer League season at Orem Saturday.  The nineteen-year-old 2018 second-round selection completed this season tying the league’s single-season record for home runs. Jackson also earned the MVP award in the Pioneer League All-Star game in early August in which he hit a grand slam. Jackson finished his successful season hitting .260 with 39 extra base hits including 23 home runs for short-season Orem.   

Jackson and Orem teammate Will Wilson give the Angels two young middle infield prospects to follow at Single-A next season. Wilson was the Angels’ first-round selection in this past June’s MLB draft. Wilson finished his first professional season hitting .275 with 18 extra base hits for the Orem Owlz 

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