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Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker

The Twins drafted Brent Rooker in the 38th round of the 2016 draft following this third year at Mississippi State. He chose to go back to school for another year. It was a great decision. He his .397/.495/.810 (1.305) with 30 doubles, 23 home runs and 82 RBI. He won the SEC’s Triple Crown, the first to do that since Rafael Palmiero over 30 years earlier. Following the season, the Twins made him the 35th overall pick in the 2017 draft and signed him to a $1,935,300 signing bonus.

Brent Rooker bet on himself and it paid off. The Twins are betting that his advanced bat can quickly contribute at the big league level. That could happen as soon as later in the 2018 season.
Age: 23 (DOB: 11/1/1994)
2017 Stats (Rookie): .281/.364/.566 (.930), 11-2B, 18-HR
ETA: 2019
2017 Ranking: NA

National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 92 | MLB: NA | ESPN: NA | BP: NA
What’s To Like?
As Twins scouting director Sean Johnson told Fox Sports North after the draft, “We like his power potential, obviously… We thought he had one of the best bats left on the board, and we’re glad we got him.

After that historic SEC season, the Twins sent Rooker to Elizabethton for about a month just to get back into the baseball-playing groove. It didn’t take long. In 22 games in the Appy League, he hit .282/.364/.588 (.952) with five doubles and seven home runs. As promised, he was quickly promoted to Ft. Myers. Again, it didn’t take him long to adjust to the league. In 40 games with the Miracle, he hit .280/.364/.552 (.917) with six doubles and 11 home runs. The 11 home runs were one more than Todd Walker hit in 46 games for the Miracle during his draft season of 1994. His 18 combined home runs was the most by a Twins minor leaguer in his draft season since Paul Russo hit 22 for Elizabethton in 1990.

Not only does he have power, but he’s also got a great approach and is willing to take his walks. With Elizabethton, he walked in 11.1% of his plate appearances. After moving up to Ft. Myers, he still walked 9.9% of the time.


What’s Left To Work On?
While Rooker is a guy who could fly through the minor leagues because of his bat, that doesn’t mean he’s a finished product. There are some question marks.

Offensively, he’ll likely have to make some strides in terms of contact. In his 162 plate appearances, he struck out 29.0% of the time. That percentage is fine when providing the kind of power that Rooker is capable of, but it’s something that should be watched as he continues to move up that ladder.

Defensively, he played in the corner outfield spots at Mississippi State as a sophomore, and then spent time at first base. Defense isn’t going to be his strong suit, but he can provide adequate defense at both spots. He’ll continue to work to improve at both spots to be able to be ready when he’s needed.


What’s Next?
Considering he was just drafted last June, it’s strange to think that he could appear in a big league uniform in 2018. He’s played just 40 games in Ft. Myers, so it’s possible that he could start the season in the Florida State League. But don’t be surprised if he is in Chattanooga early in the season. And, once a player finds success at AA, it’s about opportunity. If not in 2018, he is a candidate to be in the big leagues early in 2019.

The Twins struggled against left-handed pitching at times in 2017. Throughout the offseason, we have heard that the Twins needed a right-handed power bat. While it won’t likely be in the first half of 2018, at some point in the near future, Rooker will be able to help fill that void. At some point in the not-too-distant future, Rooker could join the likes of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton as right-handed power bats.


TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo
TD Top Prospect: #9 Brusdar Graterol
TD Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow
TD Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker
TD Top Prospects: #6 (Coming Soon!)

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29 Comments

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Bob Sacamento
Feb 13 2018 05:26 PM

 

Hey Bob, Thanks for all you do.First hand info from Ft. Myers is appreciated.

No problem but you'll be seeing alot less videos as I moved to Portland, Oregon back in November.I'll be back in Ft. Myers in late March and early April, see those of you out there then.

 

I disagree with one comment, Seth.And that's about his moving up the ladder.You see I want to see him take another step in April and then jump off that bloody ladder.

 

Who was that kid that the Cubs drafted real high a few years ago and jumped right to the majors a few weeks into his second season?Rooker had to have as good of numbers as he did in college.Why can't it happen for the Twins?

 

If you're alluding to #2 overall pick, ROY, MVP Bryant, he was drafted in '13, then spent all of '14 in the minors, and was finally called up after about 10 games in '15 @ well over .300/.400/.600 until that call-up.

 

I might be high, but I would think Rooker needs more than 1/3 of the minor league PAs that Bryant got before he gets his ROY followed by his MVP in year 2.

 

Not to mention, that ROY will be harder to achieve than Bryant's, since some on this board appear to have Gonsalves and Romero penciled in for 150+ innings of sub-4.00 FIP ball.

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Original Whizzinator
Feb 13 2018 06:16 PM
Not to mention, that ROY will be harder to achieve than Bryant's, since some on this board appear to have Gonsalves and Romero penciled in for 150+ innings of sub-4.00 FIP ball.[/quote] Ah the sweet optimism of spring! The Twins have 3 ROY candidates!
    • Mike Sixel and TL like this

 

I don’t mean to throw cold water on the hype but Walker and Palka had similar (slightly better?) strikeout rates at A+. If he can bring that down to ~25% as he advances to double and triple A I’ll be more excited. Otherwise, we can probably anticipate the MLB strikeout rate being in the high 30s, which will be problematic.

It is not his strikeout rate that is impressing us.That can be corrected if he is willing (as I hope Sano will be too).


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