‘Home Run #3 – $100,000’ to the second team… The betrayal of a trusted contact, Seung-yeop Lee’s ‘Rojas Dilemma’
A spray heater, a leadoff man, a long hitter, and defense. These were the reasons the Doosan Bears brought in Jose Rojas (30) to replace four-year “filial piety” Jose Miguel Fernandez (35). The one-hit wonders and defense have been proven to some extent. The problem is that the technical batting based on the forethought is not there at all.
Doosan removed Rojas from the first-team roster ahead of its game against the KIA Tigers on Nov. 11 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. “He’ll go to the Futures (second team) to make adjustments, and when he’s fully ready, we’ll move him up if we think he can start,” manager Lee Seung-yeop said.
Rojas has 10 home runs, the most on the team and tied for third in the league. Defensively, Rojas has played 286⅔ innings in the outfield, second only to Jeong. It’s hard to say that he’s exceptional, but with Kim In-tae’s injury, Kim Jae-hwan’s struggles, and Kim Dae-hyun’s late arrival, it’s nice to have a corner outfield spot to fall back on.
The problem is that aside from the occasional cannonball, he hasn’t lived up to expectations at the plate. His .205 batting average ranks 54th, third from the back among hitters with regular at-bats. His walks (15) are also half as many as his strikeouts (35).
The pioneering idea of not swinging the bat at bad pitches, and the precise hitting based on it, is nowhere to be found. His inability to hit the ball out of the park has led to his nickname as a “spray heater” who can hit from any position.
Manager Lee Seung-yeop kept the faith in Rojas from the beginning of the season, saying he would “get better.” At times, he couldn’t hide his sighs, but he gave him plenty of chances and hoped he would come alive. He started 49 of the team’s 55 games. That’s why he was able to get at-bats in regulation.
But now, Lee’s patience is running out. When Kim Dae-hyun returned from a hand injury sustained in an exhibition game, his role diminished further and he was eventually sent to the second team.
“We have Kim Jae-hwan and Jeong Soo-bin, so it’s actually a bit difficult if a foreign batsman doesn’t start,” Lee said, explaining the reason behind Rojas’ move to the second team. 토토사이트
“First of all, I’m not a pioneer. You’re getting your hands on bad pitches, and when you get good pitches, they’re not infield hits, they’re foul pitches, so you’re working the count, and then of course, psychologically, it’s hard. And then you become passive in your swing,” he said.
It’s still too early to write him off as a player with a lot of upside. He could be a great addition to the team if he develops some of the things he was initially judged for. In the exhibition games, Rojas had an outstanding performance with a batting average of 0.400, an on-base percentage of 0.486, and a slugging percentage of 0.667.
Manager Lee Seung-yeop made a call to Rojas heading into the Icheon secondary camp. “I told him that I wanted him to find the feeling he had when he played in the U.S. before and during the exhibition games this year,” Lee said. “His high fastball is a little weak, so I think he needs to work on that. I thought it would be better for him to go to Futures and practice a lot to get back to his original form rather than pinch-hitting here.”
Doosan is in fifth place with 28 wins, 26 losses and one tie. They rank eighth in team batting average (.248) and seventh in team ERA (4.11), which is good considering their pitching has been shaky. The mound is hopeful. Kwak Bin is back in the starting rotation, and Jang Won-jun is showing signs of life. A replacement foreign pitcher is on the way. In the bullpen, Lee Young-ha, who was acquitted in an assault trial, is a big help, and Chung Chul-won, the set-up man who caused a drinking scandal, is back after being disciplined. Kim Min-kyu will also be available to help out.
The problem is the batting. Outside of Yang Ji and Yang Suk-hwan, no one is performing as well as expected. The batting lineup needs to be revitalized across the board, but Rojas’ shoulders are particularly heavy as he signed with Doosan for $1 million (KRW 1.289 billion), the highest amount a first-year foreign player can receive.
That’s why there’s a hint of bitterness in Lee’s comments about sending his $1 million hitter down to the second team. There’s nothing Doosan can do but wait for Rojas to wake up. Perhaps they won’t be able to give him as much time as they’ve been patient so far.
A spray heater, a leadoff man, a long hitter, and defense. These were the reasons the Doosan Bears brought in Jose Rojas (30) to replace four-year “filial piety” Jose Miguel Fernandez (35). The one-hit wonders and defense have been proven to some extent. The problem is that the technical batting based on the forethought is…