There is news that Mel Rojas Jr. (33, USA), former KBO League MVP, succeeded in making a complete comeback in the Dominican League, although he failed in Japan.
Japanese baseball media Full Count reported on the 25th, “Mel Rojas Jr., former KBO league MVP, is showing signs of revival in the Dominican Republic baseball league.”굿모닝토토 도메인
Rojas is a player that is also familiar to KBO League fans. He joined KT Wiz as a substitute foreign player in the 2017 season and stayed with Suwon fans for four years. He played in 83 games in the 2017 season with a batting average of 0.301, 18 home runs, and 56 RBIs, and then played in all games (144 games) in the 2018 season, playing very well with a batting average of 0.305, 43 home runs, 114 RBI, and 18 stolen bases.
After recording a batting average of 0.322, 24 home runs, and 104 RBI in 142 games in the 2019 season, he played in 142 games in the 2020 season and won four batting crowns with a batting average of 0.349, 47 home runs, and 135 RBI. He ranked first in home runs, RBIs, runs scored (116), and slugging percentage (0.680). The honor of the 2019 season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) also went to Rojas.
Rojas, who had a career batting average of 0.321, 132 home runs, and 409 RBIs in four seasons in the KBO League, headed to Japan with better financial treatment ahead of the 2021 season. The destination was Hanshin Tigers. At the time, KT offered an amount equivalent to the highest level of foreign hitters in history, but a contract was not signed. Rojas also took on another challenge, saying, “I wanted to play on a bigger stage.”
Rojas during his KT Wiz days. /Photo = News 1
Rojas during his time with the Hanshin Tigers. /Photo = Hanshin Tigers team SNS
However, LOHAS failed to leave any notable achievements on the Japanese stage. In the 2021 season, he only had a batting average of 0.217, 8 home runs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.663 in 60 games. He also suffered the humiliation of being sent to the second division. In the 2022 season, he appeared in 89 games and posted a batting average of 0.224, 9 home runs, and an OPS of 0.732. Ultimately, he left the Japanese league as his contract expired ahead of this season.
Rojas has continued his career as a baseball player in the Dominican Winter League and Mexican League since the beginning of this year. In the Mexican League, he seemed to find his old form, hitting 11 home runs in 66 games.
And this time, he is continuing his best performance with Tigres del Riese of the Dominican Winter Baseball League. In 5 games this season (as of October 25th), Rojas had a batting average of 0.533 (8 hits in 15 at-bats), 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 3 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout, on-base percentage of 0.600, slugging percentage of 0.933, and OPS of 1.533. is producing monster-like results. Although the number of games is still small, it can be said that it is a record that can be called a major turnaround. Full Count said, “Rojas is off to a rocket-like start in the winter league.”