Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

New Target field policy...no bags of any kind

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:27 PM
Thankfully we went before gates opened and were warned by a friendly security guy in advance that this year there are no bags of any kind...
Full topic ›

Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
Full topic ›

The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:58 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
Full topic ›

Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:48 AM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
Full topic ›

Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
Full topic ›

The Odd Man Out?

The Twins may have a good problem on their hands as their farm system begins to mature. As more and more players reach the Major Leagues, it’s one slugger in particular that may struggle to cement themselves into a regular role.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Brent Rooker debuted in exciting fashion for the Twins in 2020. He showed Twins territory a glimpse of the 2017 SEC Player of the Year by hitting .316 with 1 homerun and 5 RBI in 7 games before an errant fastball fractured his forearm to end his season. He got to show off why he got the call, but his season was cut short before he could force himself into the Twins future plans.



It’s never been the bat holding Rooker back, but rather his defensive ability which kept him entrenched at first base and eventually just the corner outfield. Reports warned that Rooker struggled plenty with both. There wasn’t much opportunity for his shortcomings to show up in his 25 defensive innings, but it’s safe to say that Rooker won’t be making many highlight reel plays.

The Twins outfield depth is impressive at this point, barely taking a hit even after trading away the versatile LaMonte Wade Jr. In Buxton and Kepler the Twins have two everyday starters. In Jake Cave the Twins have a capable left handed outfield option who can play all three spots. At this point star prospect Alex Kirilloff’s Opening Day designation is unknown, but it likely won’t be long until he’s handed the keys to left field. Even further complicating things is Luis Arraez taking reps and being a candidate to start in left field on Opening Day.

All of this to say the Twins have a dilemma. At 26 years old, Brent Rooker is close to a finished product. With what could turn out to be an overpowering bat, Rooker deserves to play fairly regularly. With his defensive shortcomings however, it’s hard to find that playing time in a deep pool of outfielders who can perform offensively in their own right and can better defend their positions. With these considerations, the Twins are left with a few options.

Start Him at AAA
Rooker has little to prove at this point in the minor leagues but his 2020 injury could justify a short stay in AAA to give him the regular at bats he wouldn’t get in Minneapolis and make sure he’s fully back in his groove. The issue here is that Kirilloff will be at the Major League level in short order as well and the openings in the outfield (barring injury) will be even more sparse.

Give Him an MLB Spot
The Twins could simply give Rooker a 26 man spot on Opening Day and mix and match off days for players like Cruz and Kepler with an occasional start in left field. The issue with this opportunistic approach is that the Twins will be doing the same with Luis Arraez (who at least will reportedly get most of his work in the infield). There are only so many at bats to go around. It’s also worth noting that Rooker has the advantage of being right handed but lacks the traditional otherworldly splits against left handers in his minor league career.

Make a Trade
Brent Rooker’s trade value may be at a low point following injury in 2020 and being a slugger who can only play the corners isn’t the rarest skillset in 2021. Still, Rooker’s age and years of control should be valuable on the trade market for AL teams or NL teams who are willing to give him an everyday role for a year in anticipation of the NL DH in 2022. The Twins could also shop Jake Cave whose backup center field ability can be filled by Max Kepler and whose left handed bat won’t be nearly as valuable in a few months assuming Kirilloff and Larnach make their way to Target Field. In the near future it may become apparent that one of these players will offer more value on the trade market than they do playing a day or two per week.

Brent Rooker has a bat that can change games, but his one dimensional skillset puts him in a difficult place on a team that has built itself around depth. 2021 will go a long way in determining Rooker’s career. Will he continue the breakout he showed in 2020? Will he do so wearing a Twins jersey? What do you think?

— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
— Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here

  • nclahammer, ToddlerHarmon and Heiny like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

29 Comments

Keep Rooker, shop Cave. No rush tho.... Let nature take it's course.
    • Twins33, mikelink45, Dman and 2 others like this

 

Keep Rooker, shop Cave. No rush tho.... Let nature take it's course.

 

I agree. Cave is the one they will shop.Granted he is best defender in left of the bunch but the bat is good not great and he will be arb eligible soon so why not plug in Rooker and Kirilloff on the cheap and see what they have.

 

I do agree that given the current circumstances only Rooker or Kirilloff are going to make it to the 26 man.Someone has to start in AAA who that is I guess we'll have to wait and see.I think they keep Cave this year as injury insurance but they can't carry him next year as there are too many guys who will need 40 man spots.I think this is his last year with the Twins IMO.

    • mikelink45 likes this
Photo
stringer bell
Feb 27 2021 09:54 PM
Unless he gets a starting job, I don’t like Rooker as a fourth/fifth outfielder. I think it would really be tough for a guy accustomed to playing regularly to play once or twice a week. His best asset is his bat and I doubt there would be many opportunities to pinch hit. He’s not fast or a good fielder and not really versatile.
    • wsnydes likes this
Photo
Doctor Gast
Feb 28 2021 07:10 AM
With both Kiriloff and Larnach coming up(2 LH), that'd make Cave more expendable (platooning Rooker RH). But because of his glove,I'd prefer Broxton.

Nelson Cruz isn't going to play forever, and if this year is his last, Rooker would be a perfect candidate for the DH job - and the $ savings would let the Twins chase a front of the rotation guy next year. He's coming off an injury, so parking him in St. Paul until things clarify makes sense.

    • Seth Stohs, diehardtwinsfan, DocBauer and 7 others like this
Photo
Channing1964
Feb 28 2021 07:37 AM
I dont see why they didnt non tender Buxton, DFA Cave, and trade Kepler to the White Sox. With the smokin hot outfield we have in Larnach, Kiroff, Rooker, and Celestino we would march straight to the Championship for sure. Not to mention the 5 more million we could save the Pohlads. The team that Derek built is finally taking shape.
    • theJemmer likes this
Photo
Nine of twelve
Feb 28 2021 08:23 AM

 

Nelson Cruz isn't going to play forever, and if this year is his last, Rooker would be a perfect candidate for the DH job - and the $ savings would let the Twins chase a front of the rotation guy next year. He's coming off an injury, so parking him in St. Paul until things clarify makes sense.

This had better be Cruz' last year with the Twins. Now that he's on the roster I hope he has a great season but it's time to move forward with the young'uns. 

    • Dave The Dastardly likes this
Photo
Major League Ready
Feb 28 2021 08:49 AM

He will get plenty of time in LF until Kirilloff or Larnach unseats him. He is the DH next year if he proves his AAA and short MLB performance was not a fluke. 

At his age and last years success AAA would be a real set back and we know that unhappy players do not perform (think Lynn).I would like him on the bench and I am happy to see Cave move on.He performed his role, but there is no upside will other teams could see him as a real asset - maybe the A's replace Grossman with him.

 

If Buxton goes down I want Celestino in CF - not sure why all the love for Broxton.Let's look at Arraez as the left side rotation asset - he plays 2B, SS, 3B, LF.Rooker becomes the right side asset - DH, 1B, RF. This sets up two rest and refresh approaches and keeps everyone producing.Of course the third rotation is already set - Jeffers and Garver. 

    • bighat and BeatTheRich like this

I dont see why they didnt non tender Buxton, DFA Cave, and trade Kepler to the White Sox. With the smokin hot outfield we have in Larnach, Kiroff, Rooker, and Celestino we would march straight to the Championship for sure. Not to mention the 5 more million we could save the Pohlads. The team that Derek built is finally taking shape.

 

Let's slow it down a little on Celestino.Right now his minor league numbers don't translate to a major league player.....

The Twins need Cave as a backup to Buxton who always misses games due to injury. Rooker's advantage over both Laurich and Kiriloff is that he bats righty and, with Donaldson likely to also miss some games, maybe keep Rooker and send out Laurich. Or trade Laurich and get something decent. However, I think the best thing would be to send down Laurich so he can hit every day and start Kiriloff in left. Arraez can fill in almost everywhere. And why would they keep Austudillo?

 

This had better be Cruz' last year with the Twins. Now that he's on the roster I hope he has a great season but it's time to move forward with the young'uns. 

 

While Rooker performed well in a small sample last year, this isn't exactly a Favre/Rodgers situation. 

    • diehardtwinsfan, Dman, chpettit19 and 1 other like this

This is elite analysis here :^ )

 

I dont see why they didnt non tender Buxton, DFA Cave, and trade Kepler to the White Sox. With the smokin hot outfield we have in Larnach, Kiroff, Rooker, and Celestino we would march straight to the Championship for sure. Not to mention the 5 more million we could save the Pohlads. The team that Derek built is finally taking shape.

 

    • Cody Pirkl likes this

 

I dont see why they didnt non tender Buxton, DFA Cave, and trade Kepler to the White Sox. With the smokin hot outfield we have in Larnach, Kiroff, Rooker, and Celestino we would march straight to the Championship for sure. Not to mention the 5 more million we could save the Pohlads. The team that Derek built is finally taking shape.

 

Is literally anyone talking like this? Buxton is clearly still considered an important part of the present & future, a guy they just want to be healthy. Kepler is signed to a long-term deal and they're committed there too. Cave is a 4th OF who is stretched in CF. No one is talking about dumping him, but it's eminently reasonable to think that he could be surpassed, but they chose him over Wade.

 

I get there's hyperbole going on here, but I don't understand at all what the point is to it in an article about Brent Rooker who might get squeezed out of consistent MLB ABs because of his defensive limitations and quality players ahead of him.

 

I like Rooker's RH bat on the bench, but I think it's fair to think they'll want/need a player with more positional flexibility coming out of camp. Seems most likely that he starts in AAA and comes up if/when there's an injury, but it's still possible that he could win an OF job in spring training, if he shows he can lay off breaking pitches sailing out of the zone. I'd give him as many ABs in spring training as I could against guys who throw that junk to see if he can handle it.

 

I also hope the Twins don't go with 14 #@$*&$^% pitchers out of camp too; having a 3 man bench is stupid and even if starters are going 5 innings there's still not going to be enough innings for 9 flippin' relievers. Keep an extra bench spot, maybe Rooker can win it with that RH power swing.

I think Rooker will see a lot of time with the Twins this year. Expect the Twins will use the year to evaluate whether or not Rooker is the player to step in as main DH and backup first base/left field after Cruz is gone. 

 

If it looks like he isn't that player, they can always trade him next winter or spring.

    • wabene and Heiny like this

 

 

If Buxton goes down I want Celestino in CF - not sure why all the love for Broxton.Let's look at Arraez as the left side rotation asset - he plays 2B, SS, 3B, LF.Rooker becomes the right side asset - DH, 1B, RF. This sets up two rest and refresh approaches and keeps everyone producing.Of course the third rotation is already set - Jeffers and Garver. 

 

 

I think we all want to see Celestino but his bat is still questionable so not likely to start the season with the big club.If he isn't hitting that well at the higher minor league levels why would he hit at the major league level?Why burn an option just for his defense when we can use Broxton to do the same thing?Broxton is likely not the long term solution but if he can at least make contact with the ball he can be Buxton insurance for this year.  

 

If Celestino is lighting up the minors then I am sure the Twins would gladly bring him up if needed it just seems like odds are he will need another year or two before he is ready.Thus the Broxton talk.Also I doubt the Twins would have brought Broxton in if they thought Celestino was in any way a certainty to be ready this year.

    • wabene and bobs like this

People are talking about Cave being the Buxton backup.I don't see it.I think the Keon Broxton signing is an underrated one and that he's the guy they go to if Buck gets hurt.Let's be honest, Cave really isn't great in LF either.And he doesn't hit consistently.I would not be against moving on from him in favor of Rooker.Don't think it'll happen, but I wouldn't mind it.

Rooker was a 3B in college....thought they might move him to 1B.

 

I agree. Cave is the one they will shop.Granted he is best defender in left of the bunch but the bat is good not great and he will be arb eligible soon so why not plug in Rooker and Kirilloff on the cheap and see what they have.

 

I do agree that given the current circumstances only Rooker or Kirilloff are going to make it to the 26 man.Someone has to start in AAA who that is I guess we'll have to wait and see.I think they keep Cave this year as injury insurance but they can't carry him next year as there are too many guys who will need 40 man spots.I think this is his last year with the Twins IMO.

 

 

I agree. Cave is the one they will shop.Granted he is best defender in left of the bunch but the bat is good not great and he will be arb eligible soon so why not plug in Rooker and Kirilloff on the cheap and see what they have.

 

I do agree that given the current circumstances only Rooker or Kirilloff are going to make it to the 26 man.Someone has to start in AAA who that is I guess we'll have to wait and see.I think they keep Cave this year as injury insurance but they can't carry him next year as there are too many guys who will need 40 man spots.I think this is his last year with the Twins IMO.

I don't care if Cave is the best defender on the planet in left.If they have to use him it won't be enough.

 

I think we all want to see Celestino but his bat is still questionable so not likely to start the season with the big club.If he isn't hitting that well at the higher minor league levels why would he hit at the major league level?Why burn an option just for his defense when we can use Broxton to do the same thing?Broxton is likely not the long term solution but if he can at least make contact with the ball he can be Buxton insurance for this year.  

 

If Celestino is lighting up the minors then I am sure the Twins would gladly bring him up if needed it just seems like odds are he will need another year or two before he is ready.Thus the Broxton talk.Also I doubt the Twins would have brought Broxton in if they thought Celestino was in any way a certainty to be ready this year.

I do not want Celestino to start the season - I want him if Byron takes another extended injury vacation.I am not excited about Broxton, he is not our future.Celestino gives us defense and most of the value of Buxton has been defense.His WAR todate is 6.4 offense and 6.6 defense (BR) - give me Celestinos defense. 

    • Channing1964 likes this

 

I don't care if Cave is the best defender on the planet in left.If they have to use him it won't be enough.

 

I'm not sure why Cave gets such a bad rap.in 2019 he OPS'd 805 and Eddie Rosario 803.Granted Rosario's slugging % was slightly better but he also made more outs.Also Caves sample size is small but he has never gotten consistent playing time so it is the best data we have.The thing is though he is not a "bad" offensive player and that is why the Twins have chosen him as the 4th outfielder the last three years.

 

Cave does have the stiffest competition for his spot he has ever had in Kirilloff, Rooker, Arraez, Broxton and maybe even Garlick.So his odds of being the choice are not that great IMO. The Twins, however, might not feel the same way.They know what Cave and Arraez will give them but everyone else is a wild card at this point.I wouldn't be surprised if they kept him around just in case those guys are not up to the task and struggle or as injury insurance to start the year.I also wouldn't be surprised if they worked out a trade as well. I think we will just have to wait and see.

Again, let's slow it down on Celestino.....he is at least 2 years away from being in the conversation.....

    • Channing1964 likes this
Photo
stringer bell
Mar 01 2021 07:59 AM

 

I'm not sure why Cave gets such a bad rap.in 2019 he OPS'd 805 and Eddie Rosario 803.Granted Rosario's slugging % was slightly better but he also made more outs.Also Caves sample size is small but he has never gotten consistent playing time so it is the best data we have.The thing is though he is not a "bad" offensive player and that is why the Twins have chosen him as the 4th outfielder the last three years.

 

Cave does have the stiffest competition for his spot he has ever had in Kirilloff, Rooker, Arraez, Broxton and maybe even Garlick.So his odds of being the choice are not that great IMO. The Twins, however, might not feel the same way.They know what Cave and Arraez will give them but everyone else is a wild card at this point.I wouldn't be surprised if they kept him around just in case those guys are not up to the task and struggle or as injury insurance to start the year.I also wouldn't be surprised if they worked out a trade as well. I think we will just have to wait and see.

With a 26-man roster, there is room for five outfielders IMHO and I think Cave is pretty close to a lock to make the team. The question is whether he's third (starting left fielder), fourth or fifth. I suspect both Arraez and Kirilloff are ahead of Cave to be the "everyday" left fielder, with Cave a lock and then a competition for fifth OF, which would include Garlick, Broxton, Rooker or none of these. 

 

I don't see Rooker as a great fit to be a fifth OF, particularly since he hasn't played first base in years and the Twins have a full-time DH. Of course, this is presuming health and we know that injuries will happen. 

    • Dman likes this

I dont see why they didnt non tender Buxton, DFA Cave, and trade Kepler to the White Sox. With the smokin hot outfield we have in Larnach, Kiroff, Rooker, and Celestino we would march straight to the Championship for sure. Not to mention the 5 more million we could save the Pohlads. The team that Derek built is finally taking shape.
 
Let's slow it down a little on Celestino.Right now his minor league numbers don't translate to a major league player.....

That was sarcasm
    • Channing1964 and dex8425 like this

 

With a 26-man roster, there is room for five outfielders IMHO and I think Cave is pretty close to a lock to make the team. The question is whether he's third (starting left fielder), fourth or fifth. I suspect both Arraez and Kirilloff are ahead of Cave to be the "everyday" left fielder, with Cave a lock and then a competition for fifth OF, which would include Garlick, Broxton, Rooker or none of these. 

 

I don't see Rooker as a great fit to be a fifth OF, particularly since he hasn't played first base in years and the Twins have a full-time DH. Of course, this is presuming health and we know that injuries will happen. 

 

Nicely stated.I think it depends on how the Twins feel about matchups. Rooker in the field is no picnic but he is a right handed power bat in the midst of mostly lefties.Garlick is Rooker light and seems less likely to make it and or even stay on 40 man IMO but if he has a big spring who knows. Broxton they have on a Minor league deal so unless they decide to swap Garlick for Broxton then he most likely starts in AAA waiting for an injury to be added to the 40 man or playing so well they add him later.His odds of starting with the team are very, very slim IMO.

 

In the end I tend to agree with you though.Kirilloff seems the most likely to start there if he looks good this spring. Arraez will likely get a few days there every now and then and Cave can back everything else up as needed.I don't believe Cave has options left so they essentially need to keep him, trade him or DFA him.Would be a waste to DFA him IMO.So yeah your scenario seems the most likely to me as well.I think they wait for injuries to determine the next guy up for the outfield.