In 2005, Rojas signed with the Reds (see Transactions below).
In 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Miguel as the 17th-best prospect in the Reds organization.
Rojas is a very hard worker. And he is a leader on the field. He’s the one who can trot to the mound to calm down a top pitching prospect such as Nick Neidert after a spring training start (2019) begins to unravel in the first inning.
He even helped organized a clubhouse ping-pong tournament to build camaraderie during downtime as the Marlins hit the spring. That one might be working to Rojas’ advantage, though, considering he played ping-pong most of his life.
“He’s a good teammate,” third baseman Brian Anderson said. “He’s always out there talking and helping other guys out. It’s good to have a guy like that next to you.”.
Miguel Rojas had just graduated from high school in Venezuela when he approached his parents about his future.
Rojas made it clear that he wanted to play baseball. Scouts were showing interest. Rojas felt he could make it at the professional level. He just needed the opportunity to show what he could do.
The 16-year-old’s plea: Give me one year. Give me a chance to live out my dream and see if a contract comes out of it.
The plan easily could have backfired. In 12 months, if he didn’t have a contract, he very well might have given up the sport. (Jordan McPherson - Miami Herald - March 20, 2019)
Having his mother, Norma, who lives in Venezuela, with him Mother's Day weekend 2019 in New York is the biggest Mother’s Day gift Rojas could imagine.
A two-time breast cancer survivor, Norma, now cancer free, remains her son’s biggest fan. A doctor, Norma, took her son everywhere to put him in position to be a ballplayer.
“It means everything, [to have her here today]” said Miguel. “It's like the gratification of everything she did when I was younger, helping me live this dream. I feel the dream for me, and my whole family, was for me to play in the big leagues. It wasn't just for me to say, 'Oh, what's your goal, what's your dream—to be in the big leagues?' It was more than that. It was like the whole family's dream was for me to play in the big leagues. And, of course, by now she has seen me pitch.” (Frisaro - mlb.com - 5/12/19)
July 16, 2019: Rojas received the MLB Players Alumni Association "Heart and Hustle" award for the Marlins. This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.
April 17, 2020: The Venezuela native is a natural leader, who has embraced being a veteran on a youthful Marlins squad. Rojas is accountable, and to the media, he is self-critical and speaks up when his club isn't meeting expectations. Rojas speaks Spanish and English fluently, and he is the top trash-talker on the Marlins, yet he's all business when it's time to play. He represents his organization and MLB at the highest level, and he is the unofficial captain of the Marlins. (Joe Frisaro - MLB.com - April 17, 2020)
April 29, 2020: By his own admission, Rojas is the biggest trash-talker on the Marlins. Most of his chirping is directed at his teammates, with Rojas saying most of his smack talk is centered around fantasy football, the training room or Ping Pong.
“It’s definitely me," Rojas said. "I’m always trash-talking to the boys on my team, but sometimes I use that as motivation for a lot of them. A lot of young guys need confidence in themselves.”
An avid basketball and Michael Jordan fan, Rojas also happens to have an expensive sneaker collection, which is largely filled with Nike's Air Jordan kicks. Rojas started his collection in 2013, and since then, he has accumulated more than 120 pairs of sneakers. He estimates between 60-80 pairs are from the Air Jordan brand.
“I really connected with Jordan and what Jordan did for the game of basketball,” Rojas said. “I think he was the best player to ever play the game.”
A native of Venezuela, Rojas has long been a basketball fan. Aside from baseball, it is his favorite sport. As a child, he envisioned playing in the NBA, but instead, his baseball career took off. (Joe Frisaro - May 5, 2020)
May 9, 2020: Miguel on his mom, Norma, on Mothers Day:
Miguel’s mother, Norma, is a doctor in Venezuela. Growing up, Norma was usually working when Miguel was playing baseball, and his grandmother regularly took him to practices and games. Norma first saw Miguel play in the big leagues in late May 2017. She was in the United States for her birthday, which is May 28.
“It was at Marlins Park,” Rojas said. “It was pretty special. It was the first time she was in the United States watching me play in the big leagues. For me, I was really excited. But at the same time, I felt the pressure that I needed to do something for her. I remember the first couple of games she was here, I didn't do so well in the games. I was putting pressure on myself because I wanted to do good. We had a conversation after one of the games. I was kind of upset because I wasn't playing good baseball at the time. I was putting too much pressure on myself, and she could feel that. She said, 'You know what? I don't need for you to show me what you can do. I know what you can do. Just go out there and play for joy, and have fun.'"
It’s advice that has helped motivate him. –Joe Frisaro
Dec 16, 2020: Sporting a mask, Miguel provided service with a smile for families in need at Marlins Park.
At an annual food distribution, the Marlins shortstop placed bags of food in the backs of cars while wishing all a “happy holidays.”
“I think, especially this year, when we dealt with a lot of uncertainties and things that kept the community kind of away from us, we continue to do stuff like this,” Rojas said. “We continue to show up, and we’re telling them that they’re part of our organization. They’re a big part of what we’re trying to do, which is building an organization that cares about people, not just on the field, but off the field as well.”
A Venezuelan native, Rojas makes South Florida his year-round home. The veteran has become the Marlins’ unofficial team captain, and he prides himself in leading by example. (J Frisaro - MLB.com - Dec 16, 2020)
2020 Season: 20 R, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 5 SB, .304/.392/.496
One of the biggest individual surprises in baseball in 2020 was the elevated play of Rojas. Prior to the year, Rojas was viewed as a slick-fielding shortstop without much upside in the bat. While his offensive performance last season was quite outstanding considering the track record, not much of it looks all that legit. There are some bright spots including career-highs in launch angle and hard-hit rate. But his 0.9% barrel rate is probably the biggest hurdle in the way of him repeating or coming close to his offensive output from 2020. (Matt Wallach - Jan. 20, 2021)
Miguel wore cleats gifted to him earlier in the weekend by Mets righthander Marcus Stroman, whose SHUGO brand intends on selling them in 2022. Stroman, who retired Rojas all three times they faced each other on May 21, left a personal message and autograph on the shoes. "To Miggy. Keep climbing through all adversity!" (De Nicola - mlb.com - 5/23/2021)
2021 Season: Holding a team option for the 2022 season, it makes sense for Rojas to return for year eight with the Marlins after slashing .265/.322/.392 a year ago. However, with multiple top shortstops available in free agency, don’t be surprised if one ends-up with the Marlins next season, moving Rojas to a bench role. (Matt Melton - Oct. 21, 2021)
Feb. 2022: Posting a written message in both English and Spanish and a brief video with his son, Aarón, Miguel Rojas announced Wednesday night on Instagram that he will switch uniform numbers this season, from No. 19 to No. 11. The English version below has been lightly edited for clarity:
It has been (a) hard and different start of the year so far for me and my whole family. Losing my Grandpa and mom during the same week made me think about all the amazing memories I have with them while I was growing up, (especially because) a lot of them were in a baseball field. This off season I spend a lot of time back home in Venezuela where this family dream started, I got to sit and look back (at) everything that I had to overcome to be who I’m right now. That’s why today I’m telling all my fans that I will be honoring my grandpa this season and I’ll change my number to number 11, a number that my superhero “Rafael” got to coach me when I took my first steps and got (in love) with the game of Baseball ❤️ (Ely Sussman@RealEly Feb 3, 2022)
November 25, 2005: Rojas signed with the Reds scouts Luis Baez and Maximo Rombley, out of Venezuela.
November 16, 2012: Miguel signed with the Dodgers organization.
December 11, 2014: The Dodgers traded 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Dan Haren, SS Miguel Rojas and cash to the Marlins. In return, the Dodgers received LHP Andrew Heaney, RHP Chris Hatcher, 2B Enrique Hernandez and C Austin Barnes.
Jan 12, 2018: Rojas and the Marlins avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million.
Jan 11, 2019: Miguel and the Marlins avoided arbitration, signing a one-year, $3.1 million contract.
Sept 20, 2019: The Marlins and Rojas agreed to a two-year contract extension for $10.2 million. It includes an option for 2022.
- Oct. 27, 2021: The Marlins and Rojas have agreed to an extension that will keep him with the club through 2023. Rojas, whose $5.5 million vesting option for 2022 was activated when he reached 500 plate appearances in 2021, will make $10 million total on the deal.
- March 16, 2022: An annual tradition inside the clubhouse every Spring Training is observing who changed his number from the previous season.
On this day, Miguel Rojas walked in full uniform to the covered batting cages at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex wearing his No. 11 jersey for the first time for photo day. Rojas switched from No. 19 to pay tribute to his grandfather Rafael and his mother, Norma Naidenoff, who died within a week of each other in January.
"It's a lot of feelings, a lot of emotions for me," Rojas said. "That's why I posted a little something today [on my Instagram story], because they're always going to be in my mind and in my heart. I really want to express my gratitude to my family for what they did for me, and this is something that I was thinking about for a long time. Going back to my No. 11 for one year in my career, and what happened earlier this year with my family and losing two of my biggest inspirations in life, it was kind of the breaking point for me to actually take the step and go towards that direction.
"They were the ones taking me to the field and doing everything for me to be able to be in this position. I will always be grateful for what they did for me, and I just want to do a little something back for them. I know that they're watching from a better place. I just want to make my family proud." (CD Nikola - MLB.com - March 16, 2022)
|Birth City:||Municipio Guaicapuro, Venez.|
|Draft:||2005 - Reds - Free agent|
|2007||DSL||VSL and DSL-Red|
Rojas' bat is a question mark, but his glove should get him time in the big leagues. And he wants more.
"I am going to bring the whole game, because I am not just a defensive shortstop or a utility guy, a defensive assignment,” he said. “I worked really hard in the winter and this spring (2014) has been great for me to be around (hitting coaches) John Valentin and Mark McGwire.”
Miguel is showing he can make adjustments at the plate. He handles the bat well, but has very little power.
He makes good contact, but pitchers don't fear him enough to walk him very often.
2020 Season: Rojas is the undisputed leader of the team and the glue that has kept the Marlins together in this 2020 season. The 31-year-old shortstop is in his sixth year with Miami and had a .304/.392/.496 slash line, with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 40 games.
- 2021 Season: Rojas, who will turn 33 on Feb. 24, is Miami’s longest-tenured player and unofficial captain. In seven seasons with the Marlins, he has slashed .271/.325/.375 with 32 homers and 37 stolen bases in 730 games.
- As of the start of the 2021 season, Rojas's career Major League stats were: .266 batting average, 24 home runs with 185 RBI in 1,853 at-bats.
- Miguel Rojas has some outstanding hands. They were the best in the Reds' organization in 2009 and 2010.
- Rojas has drawn comparisons to Omar Vizquel because of his superb defense. He manages to scoop and throw in one easy motion with a fluidity rarely seen.
- Miguel's arm is just a bit below average, but that does not stop him from making all the plays.
The slick-gloved Rojas worked at second base a lot during 2014 Spring Training by the Dodgers. That position was somewhat up for grabs at the time.
"They (the Dodgers) like the way I come to the park every day and play hard," Rojas said he's been told by club officials. "They compare my defense to Vizquel, who's my idol in Venezuela. I definitely want to be like him."
Rojas said he's spent enough time with Vizquel in their native country that he appreciates the similarity in their games. He credits Vizquel for helping him "know who I am as a hitter. I don't have to hit for power, but I can help the team defensively and get on base and run the bases."
"He told me he learned to hit lefthanded late," Rojas said. "He had to understand what kind of hitter he was. That was big advice he gave to me. Playing in Venezuela the last three winters brings my confidence up, and I think I can do it in the States."
Like so many of his baseball-playing countrymen, Rojas grew up idolizing Vizquel and Reds great Dave Concepcion, Venezuelan shortstops renowned for their defensive wizardry.
"You watch him take groundballs, it’s like watching Vizquel and some guys like that take them,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Rojas in 2014. “It’s just another level.”
"Oh my God. For me, that’s everything,” Rojas said of Mattingly’s comment. “That’s what I’ve been working for my whole career—to be a good shortstop, a special defender guy.”
In 2016, his first full Major League season, Rojas played 123 games—45 at second base, 41 at first base, 33 at shortstop, and 16 at third base.
May 2020: Who has the best glove on the Marlins? Miguel Rojas. Before becoming the Marlins' regular shortstop last year, Rojas was used in a utility role. And for the last couple of seasons, Rojas has widely been regarded as the club's best defensive player. The past few seasons, it was common to see him switch from shortstop to first base in the late innings as a defensive replacement.
In 2019, Rojas became Miami's regular shortstop, and he ranked among the best in the NL at his position. Advanced metrics back that up. His UZR and UZR/150 were either at or near the top among all shortstops last year. UZR puts a run value on defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up. And UZR/150 scales an average number of chances for a season. In 2019, Rojas had a 7.3 UZR, fourth among MLB shortstops, and his 12.8 UZR/150 mark was the best. What all this simply means is Rojas stands among the best of his peers in making the plays that should be made. –Joe Frisaro
- In 2020, Rojas was an NL Gold Glove Award finalist.
- In 2021, Rojas ranked third among MLB shortstops with 10.3 Defensive Runs Above Average per FanGraphs.
Miguel is an average runner, not a threat to steal bases very often.
Miguel might not have elite sprint speed; he ranks in the 42nd percentile. But that hasn't deterred him from making a difference on the basepaths in 2021. Rojas entered August 10, 2021's game with a career-high 11 stolen bases, with just one caught stealing.
Rojas, who had just 24 career steals before this season, credits his preparation with first-base coach Keith Johnson. That includes identifying barely recognizable patterns—like a pitcher moving his elbow or his back knee. Or running on certain pitches—like Joe Musgrove's breaking ball, which he turns to in specific counts. Rojas relies on checking video, then seeing the pitcher's pickoff move or delivery from the first-base angle when he reaches. Being a middle infielder also helps, particularly on delayed steals because the shortstop or second baseman might not be paying attention.
"I can't really go to second if the guy's going 1.4 seconds and under because I'm not that fast," Rojas said. "I'm going to have to get a good jump. But if I find something that I can take a couple milliseconds before he starts his move to the plate, I think I'm going to have a good chance. I've been able to focus on that and know who I can go against." Rojas, who is playing through a fracture in his left index finger, can only slide feet first. With Starling Marte and Adam Duvall no longer on the team, runs have been harder to come by. Since the start of July 2021, the Marlins have an MLB-high 27 steals. (De Nicola - mlb.com - 8/10/2021)
June-Aug 2010: Rojas was on the D.L. until early in August.
April 2011: Miguel spent the first couple of weeks of the season on the D.L.
June 2-24, 2011: Rojas was on the D.L. with a right rotator cuff injury.
August 3-11: Miguel was back on the D.L.
May 8-July 18, 2017: Miguel was placed on the 60-day DL with a right thumb fracture.
July 21, 2019: Miguel was out of the lineup for the Marlins’ series finale at Dodger Stadium. He exited in the fifth inning of the 10-6 loss to the Dodgers with a right shoulder strain. He is considered day-to-day.
Aug 1, 2019: Rojas left the game after three innings with right hip tightness sustained while running the bases and is day-to-day.
"In the popup that [Anderson] hit to center field, trying to come back to the base and trying to tag up to second base," Rojas said. "And something grabbed on my hamstring, I thought it was my hamstring. I didn't want to run 100 percent in case it was my hamstring."
Aug 7-Sept 1, 2019: Rojas was on the IL with a right hammy strain.
“I felt something in my leg that I never felt before,” Rojas said. “I was running down the first-base line and I felt a pop right behind my knee. For a second, I thought it was my knee and then the doctor said it looked like the hamstring.”
Rojas was on the ground for several minutes before he was helped off the field by manager Don Mattingly and the Marlins' training staff.
Aug 4-20, 2020: Rojas was on the IL after testing positive for Covid-19.
May 28-June 18, 2021: Rojas was on the IL with left index finger fracture.
- Sept 18, 2021: Rojas hit a ball off the knee, then aggravated it later on a play. Manager Don Mattingly said the bruise was bigger than a golf ball. The club is being cautious since Rojas was pretty sore, though he could be available off the bench.
Sept 25, 2021: Rojas irritated his left ring toe on a stretch while catching Lewin Díaz's throw to second base in the first inning, but he didn’t exit the game until the bottom of the eighth. Rojas said he hurt the toe on Sept. 21 when Juan Soto slid head-first into second on a stolen-base attempt.
"Like I always say, I'm never going to put the team in a bad spot if I don't feel good, and I don't feel that I'm going to do the best that I can do to help the team," Rojas said. "So that's why I came out of the game. And sometimes [manager Don Mattingly] gives you a day to figure things out. I'm trying something right now on my shoe to try to keep that toe from moving side to side, so hopefully I can finish the season and play."