Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr. of Kt Wiz bats in the top of ninth inning during the KBO League game between Kt Wiz and SK Wyverns at the Incheon SK Happy Dream Park on June 16, 2020 in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr., 33, signed with the Guerreros de Oaxaca Tuesday and made his debut that night, going 1-for-4 with a solo home run against the Toros de Tijuana in a 7-3 loss.
Rojas Jr. is no stranger to the Mexican league, having already appeared with two teams this season. He hit one home run and drove in two runs in seven games with Toros de Tijuana, and has spent most of this season playing with Acereros de Monclova. In 32 games with Acereros de Monclova, his stats were five home runs, 20 RBI, with an OPS of .836.
Rojas Jr. is Dominican and represented the Dominican Republic with the Tigres del Licey in the Caribbean Series. Rojas hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning against Estrellas Orientales pitcher Ronel Blanco to win game five of the LIDOM championship series and send the Tigres to the Caribbean Series.
Rojas Jr. played in the Caribbean Series and helped the Dominican Republic win the Championship 3-0 over host nation Venezuela in Caracas. The win was the 11th title for Tigers del Licey, which is the most all-time in the Caribbean Series.
Drafted in the third round of the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010 when he was 20, Rojas was in the Pirates system for six years, but he never made it to the Major Leagues, rising to their Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. His father, Mel Rojas, also played for the Indianapolis Indians.
Mel Rojas Jr. is also part of the Alou family and is a cousin to Felipe and Moises Alou. He is also related to current New York Yankees third base coach and former New York Mets manager Luis Rojas.
Rojas Jr. was traded to the Atlanta Braves in the 2016 season for cash considerations. He was sent to the Braves Double-A affiliate, the Mississippi Braves. He was promoted to their Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves, seven weeks later. After 2017, Rojas signed with the KT Wiz of the KBO Leaguer for $400,000.
Rojas Jr.’s career Minor League stats in eight seasons are 43 home runs, 325 RBI, 93 stolen bases, and an OPS of .701.
He played in the KBO for four seasons and won the KBO League MVP in 2020. He led the league in home runs with 47 and RBI with 135 and was third in batting average, hitting. 349 that year. He signed a two-year deal in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball.
Rojas played in Japan for two seasons and signed with Tigres de Licey in 2022.
Wednesday night, Rojas Jr. will play his second game for Guerreros de Oaxaca (25-39) against Toros de Tijuana (41-26) at 9:30 p.m. All Liga Mexican de Beisbol games are streamed on Jonron.tv.