Two years after being selected by the Houston Astros in the 26th-round of the Major League Baseball Draft, former University of Hawaii standout Josh Rojas is knocking on the door of the big leagues.
24-year-old infielder who received an invitation to Houston’s Major League Spring Training Camp earlier this season, hit .322 with eight home runs and 13 stolen bases at Double-A Corpus Christi, earning Texas League Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks before receiving a promotion on Wednesday night to Triple-A.
In his debut with the Round Rock Express, Rojas remained red-hot going 3-for-4 with a single, double, triple, and an RBI finishing a home run shy of the cycle in Nashville.
Following his unforgettable debut KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello caught up with the former Rainbows fan favorite via FaceTime from his team hotel.
“That was a lot of fun. I traveled all day and was told that since I haven’t had a day off in a while and was traveling up until the arrival at the stadium that I would have the day off. Our third baseman though got dinged up and I got thrown in. The adrenaline took over. It was all about getting that first good hit out of the way. A triple in my first at-bat just set the tone and it was just fun from there,” said Rojas.
Over the last 15-games spanning AA and AAA Rojas has been of the best players in the Astros organization, hitting .444 with 14 extra base hits and 14 runs scored.
According to AstrosFuture.com Rojas is ranked as the club’s 24th best prospect overall and the third highest-ranked infielder.
“Getting invited to the big league camp was huge and I got to talk to those guys, not really about mechanics but more about approach and how to approach each at bat and I think I changed, that’s what changed the most. My swing hasn’t changed all that much this year, it’s more that my approach has changed a lot,” Rojas told DeMello.
“You got to credit the Astros organization a lot in how much homegrown guys they get to the big leagues and you just see that when you work hard and you have success that you get to the big leagues.”
Just two years removed from playing games at Les Murakami Stadium , Rojas says that being a Rainbow Warrior comes up quite a bit on the road in the Minor Leagues, and he takes great pride in representing his ‘home away from home’.
“I love it when people ask me where I went to college and I get to tell them Hawaii, and they always give me the same look, like, oh wow, that’s awesome, how was it? I always have to tell them it’s exactly what you think it is. It was the best two years of baseball. The most fun I’ve ever had and it was a great time. The fans there were awesome, everything about it. I met a couple of my best friends there, so the University of Hawaii was awesome and I can’t thank everybody there enough,” said Rojas.
Roja, who has certainly moved up the Astros system quickly remains just one step away from reaching the Major Leagues. If Rojas does don the blue and orange at the big league level, he would become just the second former UH baseball player to do so, joining Chuck Jackson who played for Houston in 1987 and 1988.