Miguel Rojas was practically born playing shortstop. His idols growing up in Venezuela were Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel — both Venezuelan, both shortstops. Until a year ago, shortstop was as much his identity as his job description.
That changed when the Dodgers grabbed Rojas in 2013. With Hanley Ramirez entrenched at shortstop and Mark Ellis‘ contract expiring at the end of the season, Rojas became a second baseman in Double-A. The transition was practically non-existent; he is already regarded as one of the best defenders at his position in camp, if not the best outright.
“For me that was overnight,” Rojas said. “That’s no trouble, to play second because I’ve been playing short my whole life. Second is nothing different. It’s just a different angle. I’ve been playing there before. I’ve practiced there before.”
I asked Rojas what that means for Alex Guerrero, who is also trying to convert from shortstop to second base in his first year with the Dodgers.
“The second baseman, when you turn the double plays, that’s different because you’ve got the runner behind you,” Rojas said. “That’s a little difficult because you don’t know where the runner is coming. The shortstop can see. Second base, you’ve got to catch the ball first and throw to turn the double play. It’s difficult, but it’s nothing you can’t do if you do your work every day, your routine.”
If Rojas’ journey is any indication, Guerrero won’t take long to master the position.