Baseball America Has Added Another Chicago Cubs Prospect to Their Top-100 List

Jefferson Rojas of the South Bend Cubs

If you have been paying attention at all, I think it’s going to be very easy for you to fill in these blanks:

Yes, that’d be Jefferson Rojas, the still-18-year-old shortstop for the High-A South Bend Cubs, currently hitting .325/.357/.525/154 wRC+ on the year through his first 42 plate appearances. Given what he did last year in his first taste of stateside ball – hitting quite well and taking over shortstop for the Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, despite having just turned 18 – all it was going to take was a decent start to the 2024 season for Rojas to leap into everyone’s top-100. Er, well, personally I think he already should’ve been there, but if he keeps this up into May, any re-ranks are going to have him on there. It’d be professional negligence otherwise.

Here’s Baseball America on its newest top-100 prospect (coming in at 99, thanks to multiple graduations), Jefferson Rojas:

“After skipping the Arizona Complex League almost entirely in 2023, Rojas held his own against much older competition in the Carolina League. The multi-talented infielder is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League and early on has proved up to the challenge against exclusively older competition thanks to a tool set that is either average or above-average across the board.”

We have long talked about when the Cubs were going to have one of “those” prospects – you know, the type that rockets up prospect lists and to the upper minors with such pace that you wonder if he’s going to play in the big leagues as a teenager or shortly after turning 20. Such prospects are extremely rare, of course, but we do see them around the league every other year or so. Rojas has a chance to be that kind of prospect if the defensive ability continues to hold steady at shortstop, while the bat continues to out-hit much older, more experienced competition. That trajectory would require a midseason promotion to Double-A for Rojas, and then it would require him continuing to rake there (after his 19th birthday). That’s when he could be one of “those” prospects, leading to “those” conversations in Spring Training next year, as crazy as that sounds. But that’s the kind of prospect I’m talking about.

Now, let me be clear: I’m not saying Rojas *is* one of “those” prospects just yet. The strong odds are that he won’t become one, and instead will simply progress up the ladder at a more typical rate from here, though always being quite young for his level, and producing difficult big league conversations for the Cubs in two or three years. That’d still be a heckuva prospect – he’d stay in the top-100 throughout – and I’ll be thrilled if that’s how this goes. Injury and regression are always risks, so Rojas being where he is now is already a huge win.

I’m just saying that the ceiling here for Jefferson Rojas is much more considerable than the 99th best prospect in baseball when he’s just shy of 19 at High-A. (Note: for right now, new prospects on the list just slide in at the back. This is not a full re-rank. My guess is that when the first re-rank happens, Rojas might be about 10 spots higher.)

Zooming back out, Rojas keeps the Cubs at five top-100 prospects over at Baseball America (they haven’t graduated Michael Busch yet, so there are technically six Cubs on there, but Busch will be removed any day).

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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