Phillies’ Nick Castellanos on Johan Rojas: ‘He has a very bright baseball future’

Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies’ Johan Rojas, right, scores past Chicago White Sox catcher Martin Maldonado on a single by Trea Turner during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Prior to their opener to the Padres series on Monday, the Phillies chose to send young centerfielder Johan Rojas down to Triple-A. They were forced to make a move as star shortstop Trea Turner was ready to return from his hamstring injury.

Phillies forced to make difficulty decision on Johan Rojas

The Phillies had a tough decision to make. It was either to send Rojas down to work on some things or designate one of Chrisitan Pache or David Dahl for assignment and risk losing them to another team. They went with the path of least resistance.

Rojas first came up towards the end of the season in 2023. He was genuinely liked by his teammates. One of the most public relationships that he had built was with fellow outfielder Nick Castellanos.

From unbuttoning Rojas’ top jersey button (because he wasn’t sure it was acceptable in the majors) to toning Rojas down from wearing 6 chains to 2, Castellanos had been right there for the young outfielder.

Nick Castellanos on Johan Rojas:

“I think he’s a fantastic athlete,” were the first words that came out of Castellanos’ mouth when speaking about Johan Rojas.

Phillies Johan rojas
Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber (12) is congratulated by Nick Castellanos after his solo home run against the Boston Red Sox during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

“I think it’s just one of those circumstances that he didn’t have the strongest start,” he said on the reason for Johan Rojas being sent down. He also brought up the business side of Rojas still having options.

Rojas was slashing .235/.271/.295 at the time of his demotion. He had an OPS+ of just 62. More notably, he had recorded just 1 bunt hit in the first 58 games of his season after working relentlessly on the skill in Spring Training.

Castellanos was totally complimentary of the 23-year-old, stating “[he’s]definitely an extremely promising prospect and has a very bright baseball future.” He continued, “Everything that an organization and a team would want as far as talent and tools, he possesses.”

When asked if he thought Rojas would be back soon, Castellanos admitted he’s no soothsayer. “I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t guarantee anything.”

Johan Rojas can now start every day in Lehigh Valley and make the adjustments he’ll need to get the call again. It might be a rough spot in Rojas’ burgeoning career but Castellanos offered a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Who knows? Him getting sent down could be the best thing for him 10 years from now.”

AP Photo/Matt Slocum