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Josh Rojas: Eight Games in Reno

Rojas Reflects on the Torrid Stretch that Sent Him to the Big Leagues in 2019
March 3, 2020

On July 31, 2019, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros in exchange for prospects INFSeth Beer, RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas and INF Josh Rojas. On August 2, Josh Rojas arrived in the Biggest Little City.

On July 31, 2019, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros in exchange for prospects INFSeth Beer, RHP Corbin Martin, RHP J.B. Bukauskas and INF Josh Rojas.

On August 2, Josh Rojas arrived in the Biggest Little City.

"When I got traded, it's like the next day you have to pack up your entire house and all the stuff you have. There was a lot of stuff I had to leave behind and give away, to move that fast…it was crazy," Rojas said.

The sweet-swinging lefty spent just eight games with the Aces in 2019, but left an impression that will last a lifetime.

Rojas hit .514 (18-for-35) with three home runs, four doubles, a triple, 14 RBIs, and 11 runs scored while playing games at shortstop, third base, left field, and right field. The Aces went 6-2 during the eight-game time frame.

"What I really felt like was…before that…I was a 26th round pick," Rojas said on if he felt like he had something to prove after the trade. "I was the guy at the bottom of the list just working my way up, then when that trade happened, you're kind of put on the big screen and the spotlight is on you. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I got traded. I said, 'Alright, the spotlight is on you, let's see what you can do.'"

While he may have put a lot of pressure on himself, he thrived in the spotlight and the D-backs couldn't help but notice his torrid stretch. Rojas was called up to the Major Leagues on August 12, just 10 days after arriving in Reno. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored against the Rockies that day and spent the remainder of the 2019 season with the Diamondbacks.

While the organization was new, Rojas felt right at home in Arizona…literally.

Born in Glendale, AZ Rojas was a 2013 graduate out of Millennium High School in Goodyear, AZ. He spent his first two collegiate seasons at Paradise Valley CC in nearby Phoenix. After finding success on the junior college level, Rojas found himself out of the desert…and onto the beach.

Rojas enrolled at the University of Hawaii for his final two prep seasons where he played in 98 games for the Rainbow Warriors batting .268 (87-for-325) with five home runs, 20 doubles, seven triples, 41 RBIs, and 48 runs scored to go with a .367 OBP and .418 SLG%. The two-year stretch was good enough to catch the Astros' attention as he was drafted in 2017 after his senior year.

After spending two years on the island and his first two professional seasons in the Astros' organization, he's excited to play in front of his family once again.

"I got my parents, grandparents, and my uncle that have never missed a game whether it's on their phone on the MiLB app or however they have to do it…they are usually watching my games," Rojas said on his support system. "Now that they have a chance to come watch me play close, they don't miss it."

And within the D-backs clubhouse, he's been getting support from a seasoned veteran.

"(Eduardo) Escobar is the man, I call him 'Jefe,' that guy is unbelievable," Rojas said. He's a great player but on top of that he's super humble and willing to take anyone under his wing. Just because he's a veteran and I'm a rookie, he doesn't separate himself. He's been a huge help just showing me how to be a professional and go about my day and prepare for games so he's been awesome."

Josh Rojas has a real chance to break camp with the Diamondbacks out of Spring Training. His left-handed bat and ability to play many different positions will be valuable no matter what level he's assigned to in 2020. If he's in Reno, enjoy watching him play while you can.

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