It was little over a month ago that former University of Hawaii third baseman Josh Rojas suited up in the green and white at Les Murakami Stadium for the final time.
Rojas, who was picked in the 26th round by the Houston Astros in June’s Major League Baseball Draft, has been lighting up Minor League Baseball like birthday candles. In fact, his first hit was a home run on June 30th, his birthday.
“At the time the first thing I thought was that was pretty cool to get my first hit as a home run.” Rojas said.
“But after the game it got to really settle in. I got to do it on my birthday, my first hit, just I know it shows that I have quite a few home runs so far but there’s still quite a bit of adjustments I make day-to-day with our hitting coaches here. I have a lot of improvement to go to get to where I want to go but I feel like I have the right people around me and the right coaching staff around me to make those adjustments and help me get better every day.”
That blast started a powerful trot into pro ball. Rojas has clubbed 5 home runs in his first 13 games playing for the Class-A Quad Cities River Bandits.
It’s a stunning contrast to the 95 games in his All-Big West career with the Rainbow Warriors, where Rojas hit 5 home runs.
Quad Cities was formerly the Class-A affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals, and are no stranger to the ‘Bows in the pros.
Current Major Leaguers Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia both played for the River Bandits on their road to the show. Rojas’ fast start gives him confidence he can join his fellow Hawaii alumnus in baseball’s highest level.
“Especially after that first game I was pressing a little bit.” Rojas added. “Trying to come out and telling myself that I have to prove myself and these other guys that I belong. In reality you just have to keep playing the game the way that you’ve been playing your whole life. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
As of this publishing, Rojas is hitting .235 with 5 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, and an .904 OPS.