Jump to content

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

Article: Twins Daily 2019 Top Prospects: #6 Brent Rooker

brent rooker
  • Please log in to reply
43 replies to this topic

#1 Tom Froemming

Tom Froemming

    Content Editor

  • Administrators
  • 1,892 posts

Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:16 PM

After winning the SEC triple crown and dominating the lower levels of the minor leagues in 2017, Brent Rooker was ready for a challenge. The Twins sent him straight to Double A for his first full season of pro ball. It was a tall order. Early on, it was looking as though that aggressive assignment may have been a mistake, but Rooker eventually powered through.Position: 1B/LF
Age: 24 (DOB: 11/1/1994)
2018 Stats (AA): 503 PA, .254/.333/.465, 22 HR, 79 RBI
ETA: 2020
2018 Ranking: 7

What's To Like

Power. Rooker’s strong, but it’s not like he’s biggest guy around. Still, his in-game power is drool-inducing. He tied for the Southern League lead in doubles (32) and hit 22 homers in 2018, the most of any Twins minor leaguer. Rooker also led the Southern League in line-drive rate at 26.0 percent and he had the sixth-lowest groundball rate in the league at 34.3 percent, according to FanGraphs.

The real kicker is it took him two months to really get going. Through May, Rooker was hitting just .240/.282/.411 (.693 OPS) in 49 games. He eventually found his footing. Over his final 81 games, he hit .264/.362/.498 (.860 OPS) with 15 home runs, 52 RBI and 48 runs.

The big difference as the year progressed was in Rooker’s strike zone awareness and plan of attack. This is a guy who loves to hit, and can be caught being too aggressive at times. He walked in just 4.9 percent of his plate appearances through those first two months, but from that point forward he posted an impressive 12.7 BB%.

What's Left To Work On

There’s a lot of swing and miss in Rooker’s game, which is often cited as a concern, but the bigger issue may be his defense. Trying him out in left field is a bit of a stretch, but he’s not particularly stellar at first base either. It’s not that Rooker’s some out of shape beer league softball player, he definitely has some athleticism, but there’s just a stiffness to the way he moves. The Twins have given him 77 starts in left field and 55 at first base so far, maybe he would be better off focusing on one position?

Back to the strikeouts, seeing 150 Ks on Rooker’s ledger is certainly eye-opening, but a 26.4 K% isn’t going to cripple his value. The concern, of course, is that rate will escalate as he climbs the ladder. To his credit, Rooker did cut his strikeout rate from 28.8 percent through June (313 PAs) to 23.5 percent from there forward (255 PAs), but that’s going to be an area he needs to continue to keep under control.

While he eventually heated up after a slow start, Rooker cooled off again at the end of the season. In his final 30 games, he hit just .173/.298/.264 (.561 OPS). He was slated to get some more looks in during the Arizona Fall League, but was forced to sit out due to an ankle sprain.

What's Next?

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Rooker back in Double A to start the year, but he should see plenty of time in Rochester this coming season. If all goes well and a need arises, he’s a candidate to make his major league debut sometime in 2019. There’s already a bit of a roster jam at 1B/DH on the big club, but an injury could blow the doors wide open for Rooker’s arrival.

Twins Daily 2019 Top 20 Prospects

Honorable Mentions

20. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B
19. Jorge Alcala, RHP
18. LaMonte Wade, OF
17. Zack Littell, RHP
16. Gilberto Celestino, OF
15. Yunior Severino, 2B
14. Ben Rortvedt, C
13. Ryan Jeffers, C
12. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
11. Nick Gordon, SS
10. Akil Baddoo, OF
9. Blayne Enlow, RHP
8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP
7. Jhoan Duran, RHP
6. Brent Rooker LF/1B
5. Coming soon

Learn more in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It’s available in paperback or as an eBook.

Click here to view the article
  • nicksaviking likes this

#2 HrbieFan

HrbieFan

    Elizabethton Twins

  • Members
  • 44 posts

Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:01 PM

I haven't seen Rooker play, but that K number is very alarming. For those that have seen him, is he not patient and just swings at too many bad pitches? Or does he just have too many holes in his swing?
  • mikelink45 likes this

#3 Danchat

Danchat

    Pro Bowl Armchair QB

  • Members
  • 4,221 posts

Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:17 PM

They should focus on having him learn how to play 1B, as he'll be a poor fielder in the outfield if he ends up playing there. 

  • beckmt, mikelink45, caninatl04 and 1 other like this

Check out my work at Purple Pain, a Vikings forum: 

Mock Draft 2019

Running Back Rankings - 2019 Draft Class


#4 nater79a

nater79a

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 949 posts

Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:38 PM

 

I haven't seen Rooker play, but that K number is very alarming. For those that have seen him, is he not patient and just swings at too many bad pitches? Or does he just have too many holes in his swing?

 

As Tom said, Rooker is agressive at the plate so I think it's more that he swings at pitches he shouldn't.  


#5 nater79a

nater79a

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 949 posts

Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:46 PM

If a player's Twitter game was considered a 6th tool, Rooker would easily be the #1 prospect for the Twins! Highly enjoyable social media follow for those that are into that sort of thing.

  • Mike Sixel, Twins33, ChrisKnutson and 1 other like this

#6 JLease

JLease

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Members
  • 423 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:15 AM

The K rate on Rooker makes me nervous. He seems to have no defensive instincts, and he needs to be a much much better hitter to be a primary DH IMHO. But here's the thing that really worries me: his first 50 games were a little rough. His last 30 games were awful. So he's really staking last season on 50 games in the middle? Hmm.

 

I'd start him back in AA. Not sure he deserves to be ranked this high without better contact rates or more defensive utility.

  • bluechipper, mikelink45, chpettit19 and 3 others like this

#7 rdehring

rdehring

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 930 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:17 AM

Will Rooker be in spring training with the Twins?If so, get him working with Tom Kelly at first base.This kid looks to be somewhat athletic, gotta be able to get him to be at least an acceptable first baseman.


#8 2wins87

2wins87

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 399 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:18 AM

I've learned to be skeptical of high strikeout power bats in the minors.It seems very tough to make the jump to the majors without a bit better contact rate.

 

That said, I like the reports that I've heard on how much effort he puts into studying and improving his swing, and he seems to be a guy who can make adjustments.There's a pretty good optimistic case to be made, but I expect the adjustment period to the majors to be rough.Hopefully he makes it through.

  • DocBauer and DannySD like this

#9 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 16,944 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:30 AM

 

Will Rooker be in spring training with the Twins?If so, get him working with Tom Kelly at first base.This kid looks to be somewhat athletic, gotta be able to get him to be at least an acceptable first baseman.

 

Rooker was a non-roster invite to spring training.

 

Tom Kelly hasn't traveled to spring training in 3-4 years. 

  • Thrylos, caninatl04 and Respy like this

#10 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Billy G.O.A.T

  • Twins Mods
  • 13,542 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:47 AM

 

The K rate on Rooker makes me nervous. He seems to have no defensive instincts, and he needs to be a much much better hitter to be a primary DH IMHO. But here's the thing that really worries me: his first 50 games were a little rough. His last 30 games were awful. So he's really staking last season on 50 games in the middle? Hmm.

 

I'd start him back in AA. Not sure he deserves to be ranked this high without better contact rates or more defensive utility.

 

I know I've posted this before, but Rooker improved each month:

 

K%

April - 29.6

May - 28.6

June - 28.0

July - 24.2

August/Sept - 22.8

 

BB%

April - 2.2

May - 7.0

June - 11.2

July - 13.3

August/Sept - 13.4

 

Heading into the draft Rooker was known to be obsessive about crafting his hitting technique, he's a great candidate to always be able to adjust. And his last month isn't much to be worried about, his strikeout and walk rates were peaking at that time but he had insanely bad luck with a .210 BABIP.

  • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, scottz and 12 others like this

#11 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 2,291 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 08:55 AM

I am disappointed in Rooker.I looked for a quicker rise and more consistency.His age is becoming a question too.He is 24 according to the article and if the prognosis and the roster keep him in the minors for two more years he will be almost at that magic peak period of 27 - 31.The really good ones are up much earlier and the trend - Soto, Acuna, and many more is to be up closer to 20 than to 27.That does not mean he will not eventually have value, but one of the reasons to draft college players is their quick movement to the majors.Look at this list of 25 and younger players!

https://sportsnaut.c...s-25-and-under/  

  • h2oface and Tomj14 like this

#12 2wins87

2wins87

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 399 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:02 AM

 

I am disappointed in Rooker.I looked for a quicker rise and more consistency.His age is becoming a question too.He is 24 according to the article and if the prognosis and the roster keep him in the minors for two more years he will be almost at that magic peak period of 27 - 31.The really good ones are up much earlier and the trend - Soto, Acuna, and many more is to be up closer to 20 than to 27.That does not mean he will not eventually have value, but one of the reasons to draft college players is their quick movement to the majors.Look at this list of 25 and younger players!

https://sportsnaut.c...s-25-and-under/  

 

Pretty unfair to be comparing him to Acuña and Soto.That was never even close to the expectation for Rooker (or it never should have been).I don't know what you were expecting from a college senior drafted 35th overall, but so far he's progressed pretty well, though the question marks that were always there haven't magically disappeared either.

  • birdwatcher, Ben Noble, dbminn and 6 others like this

#13 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 16,944 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:03 AM

Our rankings:

 

Seth (7), Nick (5), Tom (5), Cody (8)

  • gman and caninatl04 like this

#14 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Billy G.O.A.T

  • Twins Mods
  • 13,542 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:08 AM

 

I am disappointed in Rooker.I looked for a quicker rise and more consistency.His age is becoming a question too.He is 24 according to the article and if the prognosis and the roster keep him in the minors for two more years he will be almost at that magic peak period of 27 - 31.The really good ones are up much earlier and the trend - Soto, Acuna, and many more is to be up closer to 20 than to 27.That does not mean he will not eventually have value, but one of the reasons to draft college players is their quick movement to the majors.Look at this list of 25 and younger players!

https://sportsnaut.c...s-25-and-under/  

 

Getting called up after only one full season in the minors seems like pretty unrealistic expectations. There has been one player from the 2017 draft who has gotten called up to the majors, Kyle Wright. He went 4th overall and has pitched a total of 6 innings. By these standards Keston Hiura and Brendan McKay are failures as well.

 

Had the Twins not signed both Nelson Cruz and CJ Cron, I'd be pretty confident that the Twins would give Rooker every chance to earn a spot on the team out of spring training. Or if they were doing the service time bit, call him up a couple of weeks after the season started.

  • birdwatcher, Twins33, 70charger and 6 others like this

#15 SF Twins Fan

SF Twins Fan

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 597 posts
  • LocationNew York City, NY

Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:18 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts in AA for a month or so and then moves up to AAA if he’s doing well. I’d stick him at one position (1st) and let him learn and get as many reps as he can.
  • Twins33, beckmt, DocBauer and 1 other like this

#16 beckmt

beckmt

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,372 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:45 AM

I also think he needs a month or two in AA.Then see what happens.


#17 jkcarew

jkcarew

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Members
  • 897 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:01 AM

Tom and I went back and forth a bit on the phrase 'make-or-break year' in regards to another prospect. IMO, if there's such a thing...Rooker in 2019 would be it.

 

He's a bad corner outfielder or (maybe) an average first-baseman. He's 24. The bat needs to go from good/promising to leaderboard quality...fast.

  • birdwatcher and h2oface like this

#18 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    G.O.A.T.

  • Twins Mods
  • 13,046 posts
  • Locationthe charred ruins of BYTO

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:02 AM

 

I know I've posted this before, but Rooker improved each month:

 

K%

April - 29.6

May - 28.6

June - 28.0

July - 24.2

August/Sept - 22.8

 

BB%

April - 2.2

May - 7.0

June - 11.2

July - 13.3

August/Sept - 13.4

 

Heading into the draft Rooker was known to be obsessive about crafting his hitting technique, he's a great candidate to always be able to adjust. And his last month isn't much to be worried about, his strikeout and walk rates were peaking at that time but he had insanely bad luck with a .210 BABIP.

 

This is why I'm not too worried about him. He does seem like a guy that needs to swing and miss a lot in order to get a feel for what to not swing at, but he certainly adjusts. 

 

What I like is that he's probably faced some of the best stuff in AA, and the AAA adjustment shouldn't be that bad. I suspect however, that his first go in MLB will not be pretty. 

  • Twins33, nicksaviking, 70charger and 3 others like this

#19 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Twins World Champions in 2019

  • Members
  • 9,949 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:03 AM

I think that it will serve the Twins to give Rooker more time in the outfield.The reason?

 

If you exclude Rooker, other than 19 year old DSL league Frankie Martinez who is a switch hitter, the top 13 OFs in OPS in all levels of the organization are LHH and many LH throwers as well.

 

Also, other than maybe Chris Williams (8th round pick in 2018) Rooker is pretty much it as far as right hand power prospects go.

 

As a fielder, he is better at the OF than Wilingham, Arcia, and Grossman, and the Twins have trotted all of those out there before...

  • scottz, diehardtwinsfan, h2oface and 4 others like this
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#20 SomeGuy

SomeGuy

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Members
  • 219 posts

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:30 AM

 

I am disappointed in Rooker.I looked for a quicker rise and more consistency.His age is becoming a question too.He is 24 according to the article and if the prognosis and the roster keep him in the minors for two more years he will be almost at that magic peak period of 27 - 31.The really good ones are up much earlier and the trend - Soto, Acuna, and many more is to be up closer to 20 than to 27.That does not mean he will not eventually have value, but one of the reasons to draft college players is their quick movement to the majors.Look at this list of 25 and younger players!

https://sportsnaut.c...s-25-and-under/  

He has already played at 3 levels and skipped Single A all together.Last year was his first full season.He is moving quickly.

 

At the very least, he should get a Sept call up this season.

 

I don't think he should be considered an elite prospect like many of the under 25 players. 

  • Twins33, SF Twins Fan and caninatl04 like this



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: brent rooker