A look back at 2014, the first major league season for premiere glove man Miguel Rojas.
What went right
Manager Don Mattingly and then general manager Ned Colletti praised Rojas for his defense in each of the last two springs, and Rojas earned his first major league call-up in June.
Rojas made his major league debut on June 6 at Coors Field in Colorado and his first start two days later, at third base. Rojas played most of his time on the left side of the infield, playing 283⅔ innings at shortstop and 105⅔ innings at third base. He also saw time at second base (three games) and even left field (two innings).
The defense was as advertised. With such a small sample size his defensive numbers need to be taken with a big grain of salt, but he proved to be well above average in his limited playing time. Rojas at shortstop was 10 runs above average via both defensive runs saved and total zone rating, and +5.8 runs in ultimate zone rating. At third base, he was +4 at both total zone rating and defensive runs saved, and +2.1 runs in UZR. Baseball Prospectus rated Rojas as 3.5 runs above average in total.
That defense earned Rojas a roster spot for most of the final four months of the season, largely as the defensive fill-in for Hanley Ramirez at shortstop in the later innings. Rojas started 25 games for the Dodgers but appeared in 60 more as a reserve. His 21 games without a plate appearance were the second-most by a Dodger since 2000, behind only the 32 games by outfielder Jason Repko in 2005.
What went wrong
At the plate though ... did I mention Rojas is really good on defense?
Rojas hit just .181/.242/.221 in 162 plate appearances with the Dodgers, with a high-water mark of a .667 OPS after both his second and fifth major league games. Rojas had just four extra-base hits on the season with Los Angeles, and ended his year in an 11-for-80 (.138) slump.
Game of the year
Rojas is still under team control, and has all three option years remaining. Look for him to ride the Los Angeles-to-Oklahoma City shuffle for the next few years.