The Athletic tabs intriguing Blue Jays prospect as one you need to know

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Add another entry to the list of exciting left-handed arms in the Toronto Blue Jays system. Kendry Rojas is a name that Jim Bowden of The Athletic thinks that Blue Jays fans should know but probably don't (subscription required).

So, who is Kendry Rojas?

Rojas, who signed out of Cuba as a 17-year-old in 2020, showed off his pitching talent in the Florida Complex League in 2021. Through 23 2/3 innings, he overwhelmed hitters with a 2.28 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and a 44.8% strikeout rate, logging 39 punch-outs. Despite the dominant performance, scouts described him as raw, per FanGraphs.

The lefty earned a promotion to Single-A Dunedin last season, where he made 12 appearances (10 starts) and pitched to a 4.08 ERA, 1.39 WHIP with 43 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings.

Some of the prospect shine had worn off coming into 2023, with FanGraphs dropping Rojas out of their Top-40 Blue Jays prospect rankings. Things are looking up for the 20-year-old, however. With a 2.49 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 25 1/3 innings, Rojas has seemingly matured and settled into Single-A.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins agrees. "He's off to a nice start (this season)," Atkins tells Bowden. "And the stuff has ticked up a bit."

Bowden grades the youngster's fastball as an average pitch that ranges from "90 to 93 mph with solid four-seam life that plays off his lower arm angle and is more effective on his glove side." FanGraphs scouting gives the four-seamer an above-average 60 future grade.

The slider is Rojas' best secondary pitch, which Bowden grades as a slightly above-average 55. His third pitch, the changeup, grades out as another average offering and Bowden clarifies that the offspeed pitch "needs to be softer to create more sink and separation in velocity from his fastball."

Like all prospects, Rojas is a work in progress. Even though his strikeout rate of 28.7% is up from last year's 24.7% mark, and he has dropped his walk rate from 10.9% to 8.9%, the young southpaw is still learning and growing as a professional pitcher.

As for the prospect's future, Bowden is optimistic, projecting a high ceiling "as his fastball command and pitch mix continue to develop."

Despite the need for further refinement, it looks like Kendry Rojas' solid start to 2023 has raised his stock in the Blue Jays system and around baseball and is a name that fans should know.