BRADENTON, Fla. – Mel Rojas Jr. is a 23-year-old outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, looking to follow in his father’s footsteps all the way to the big leagues.
The young outfielder was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2010 draft, 84th overall. Now in his fifth season in the minors, Rojas Jr. is working hard to make it into the big leagues, the ultimate goal that was realized by his father.
A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Rojas Jr. credits his father for raising him in the game when asked about his early life in baseball.
“Well it was a long time ago, and my dad used to play professional baseball too, so baseball was always in my life,” the young outfielder said. “Ever since I was like three or four years old I’ve been playing baseball.”
Pretty much, Rojas Jr. was born into a baseball environment.
Malquiadas Rojas Medrano, his father, was a major league pitcher for several teams from 1990 to 1999. The teams he played for included the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Detroit Tigers.
“It’s been great,” says Rojas Jr. “Just also being a professional baseball player I can always use my dad for advice on how the game goes, and how everything goes so he’s been a big influence.”
For about a month, the younger Rojas has been in Bradenton, Florida at Pirate City, the designated spring training camp for the Pittsburgh minor leaguers, working hard to improve his skills and getting ready for the upcoming season.
“Right now I feel defensively, it’s my strongest [skill] definitely, but offensively, I think [hitting] was my weakness but now it’s not anymore,” he said. “I’ve been working hard on it. I think baserunning is my weakness as of right now.”
Developing as a player is a constant, and working hard during spring training with the other players, trainers, and coaches will definitely improve his abilities, which is what the young player is looking to do.
As for his future plans?
“Well, [to play for] the Pirates in the big leagues,” Rojas Jr. said. “I hope I get a spot of any of the outfielders one day but it is what it is. If I have to go to another team to play, if that’s what it takes I’ll do that too.”