#41: Luis Rojas Scouting Report

Rojas is one of the system's hardest throwers

While other prospects on this list have many skills worthy of excitement, sometimes a prospect is simply a promising project. Luis Rojas is one of those projects. His game isn't well-formed and his numbers aren't pretty, but Rojas has a rare tool for this organization that is worth focusing on. Check out his scouting report to learn more about the young right-hander.

Vital Statistics
Name: Luis Rojas
DOB: July 29, 1989
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 185
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (12/13/2006)

Sometimes a prospect is not blessed with a compliment of tools that will allow him to garner a large amount of attention. Sometimes that prospect simply has one stand out tool that could be enough to carry him all the way. Savannah right-hander Luis Rojas is one of those prospects.

Rojas, a winter free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, took some time to get to the South Atlantic League where he pitched in 2010. However, a power arm and plus fastball velocity – if properly harnessed – could be enough to lead him up the ladder.

Rojas' numbers were solid. He posted a 2-0 record and 3.58 ERA in 23 relief appearances (37.2 innings) with 21 strikeouts and 21 walks. He showed good consistency keeping the ball down and that was one of the biggest pluses of his season, according to Savannah pitching coach Marc Valdes.

"We knew this season would be a learning experience for him," Valdes told InsidePitchMagazine.com earlier in the season. "But he took some important steps during the season. He can throw hard, really hard, but he does good job hitting his spots and keeping the ball down."

His season was the end result of a methodical climb up the organization ladder which included three seasons in rookie ball. It was a strong showing in the organization's Dominican Instructional League in 2009 that boosted his stock and landed him in the Savannah bullpen.

"He had a real good showing in the Dominican and that's why we thought he was ready to make that jump," said Rick Waits, the organization's former pitching coordinator told Inside Pitch during a mid-season interview. "He throws hard and was getting to an age where we wanted to see what he could give us."

What Rojas provided was a glimpse at a power arm that is a rare commodity in a system in need of more hard throwers. The next step is Rojas continuing that success against higher level hitters. 2011 will offer a glimpse at whether Rojas is just all arm or can be a legitimate commodity in the near future.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2010

Savannah

2-0

1

37.2

37

21

21

3.58

2009

Kingsport

6.1

0

6.1

13

13

7

21.32

2009

Gulf Coast League

3-1

0

23.1

17

16

20

3.09

2008

Gulf Coast League

3-2

1

24.2

16

18

24

2.19

2007

Gulf Coast League

1-2

0

11.1

12

20

15

13.50



Repertoire: Fastball, Slider

Fastball: As mentioned, Rojas has some of the best velocity in the system. His heater ranged 93-98 MPH and shows good run in on right-handed hitters. More importantly, for a pitcher of relatively smaller size (5-10, 185 pounds), Rojas generates the velocity without displaying max effort. It is a free and easy velocity which should help prevent wear and tear on his arm. However, there is very little deception with his fastball. He doesn't hide the ball well, thus giving hitters a good, long look at the ball and allowing them to get strong rips on him despite his velocity.

Other Pitches: There is not much to Rojas' other pitches. He flashes a slider, but it is a very limited pitch with shallow movement in the mid-80s. It can come out looking like a shallow cut fastball. Getting a consistent release point and more tilt from his release point should sharpen the pitch, but for now it remains very much a secondary option.

Pitching: It is an easy formula for Rojas. He attacks with the fastball. He is a dominant fastball pitcher who attacks with his number one and does not deviate far from that plan. Keeping the ball down in the zone is pivotal to his success because of lack of deception. When the ball stays up, his velocity dips a bit and he is subjected to contact. When he is at his peak velocity down in the zone, hitters have a harder time lifting and driving the ball.

Projection: Being mostly a one-pitch pitcher has Rojas pegged in the bullpen. Concern about the lack of a true second pitch is valid as it could ultimately stall his progress toward New York. Nevertheless, his fastball velocity is special enough for the organization that it should continue to get him looks. The development of his slider will spell the difference between becoming a big league asset and just a hard-throwing minor league organizational pitcher.

ETA: 2013. Rojas should be off to St. Lucie to begin next season. How his slider develops should determine if he has the chance to pitch at two levels during the upcoming season. If he does not, the best estimate is that he spends two more full years on the farm before the organization takes advantage of his velocity during the 2013 season.

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