Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach or Brent Rooker: Which Top Prospect (if any) Should the Minnesota Twins Call Up?
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY SportsAs humans, we love to argue about things. MJ or LeBron? Which pizza spot is tastiest? Which fitness app is best? Lately, there has been chatter around Twins Territory about which top prospect the Twins should call up. In order to determine which prospect would best suit a spot on the big league roster, it should first be determined if the Minnesota Twins could stand to benefit from adding another position player to the roster.
With the news that MLB rosters would remain at 28 for the remainder of the 2020 season, the Twins were awarded a tremendous amount of roster flexibility. With 28 men, the Twins are able to have three players on their roster that they didn’t have last season (when rosters were at 25). To begin the season, the Twins have heavily weighted their roster heavily towards pitchers, with pitchers using up 16 of the 28 roster spots. As of late, though, as pitchers have become more stretched out, the Twins haven’t utilized the glut of pitchers that they possess. Meanwhile, the Twins have been stretched thin in their position player depth. With Josh Donaldson out with injury and Luis Arráez hampered by a knee, Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza have turned into everyday players. This has left the Twins bench with almost no infield depth, and only Jake Cave as depth in the outfield.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Twins announced that they had made a trade for Diamondbacks utilityman, Ildemaro Vargas. As soon as Vargas clears his physical, he will join the Twins in Minneapolis and join the bench as infield depth. While the Vargas acquisition addresses the Twins’ need for infield depth, there is still depth to be had in the outfield. With Marwin González and Ehire Adrianza playing so much in the infield, Jake Cave is really the only outfield depth that the Twins have right now. By adding another outfielder to the roster in addition to adding Vargas in the infield, the Twins will still have 14 pitchers on the roster, as well as the appropriate amount of depth in the field to spare Kepler and Rosario an off day, as well as ensuring that the Twins don’t overdo it with Byron Buxton.
Now that it’s been established that the Twins could utilize a call up from CHS Field to provide outfield depth, let’s look at three options for who that could be:
As the number two prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization, there is a lot of reason to be excited about Kirilloff. As Twins Daily writer Jeremy Nygaard put it in a recent Postgame Pint, “Kirilloff could get out of bed and hit .300 in the Major Leagues”. As a left handed hitter, Kirilloff isn’t quite as strong against lefties as he is righties, but he has more upside at the plate than any other Twins player in the farm system. Kirilloff did make a bit of a transition to first base in 2019, as he logged over 300 innings there in 2019, however most of his career he has played in the corner outfield and he should be a more than capable defender there. Kiriloff’s high ceiling and ability to play corner outfielder make him a viable option to be called up to the Big Leagues. His left handedness, though, makes him a it redundant with the likes of Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and Jake Cave all being left handed as well (Happy Left Handers Day, by the way!)
If you were to try to make a clone of Alex Kirilloff, he would like a whole lot like Trevor Larnach. Standing just 2 inches taller and 1 year older, Larnach shares a lot of the same traits as Kirilloff. Larnach has a similarly strong build and presents a lot of the same power that Kirilloff does. Blessed with better health in 2019, Larnach hit the cover off the ball at AA last season and won Minor League Player of the Year for the Twins. In calling up Larnach, the Twins would again gain someone who could give a huge spark to the Twins offense while being able to rest some of their key guys. However, similar to Kirilloff, Larnach’s left handedness doesn’t afford the Twins quite the same upside of a platoon advantage while giving one of their existing lefties an off-day.
Although Brent Rooker is the lowest ranked of the three prospects, there is an argument to be made that Rooker would make the most sense to be called up to the Major League Squad. Rooker might not have the upside that Kirilloff or Larnach have at the plate, but he can certainly rake at the plate and has experience at AAA that should allow for a quicker transition to Major League pitching. In 65 games at AAA in 2019, Rooker posted a .281 average with a sky-high OPS of .933. What Rooker has going for him most, though, is his right handedness. As was mentioned previously, the Twins don’t currently have a right handed corner outfielder on their bench. With his right handedness, Rooker would allow the Twins to rest Eddie Rosario or Max Kepler against lefties and play Brent Rooker in their place who wouldn’t present much of an offensive dropoff as he would instantly have a platoon advantage against a left handed pitcher. Brent Rooker might not be the caliber of prospect of Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach, but given the current status of the Minnesota Twins roster, he might make the most sense to join the club.
Which top prospect do you think the Minnesota Twins should call up to the Big Leagues? Or, do you not think the Twins need to call up any additional hitters? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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