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Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster


Some of the comments about Astudillo and Rooker here are totally absurd. Rooker struck out at a 36% clip in AAA. Can anyone give me even one example of a player that struck out that much at AAA and then ended up being a decent MLB player? I watched him drop a routine fly ball a few games ago, and he has no speed or athleticism. He was given every chance to win the open LF position and blew it in spring training. Regarding Astudillo, this is what Rays manager Kevin Cash recently said to Fangraphs: “It’s always in the back of our minds,”said Cash. “If we hit for Mike Zunino, or he comes out of the game early for whatever reason, we’re down to one catcher. Then, [if] something goes sideways, there’s that fear of who goes back here in an emergency… I look at a guy like Willians Astudillo, with the Twins. That’s a very valuable player to be able to stick him at third base, put him in right field, and catch him in the back half of the game.”

Rooker is not a top prospect. He has a grooved swing that will not translate to MLB. Astudillo helps immensely with depth and in-game strategy and has absolutely raked this spring. Lots of people outed themselves as knowing next to nothing about the game on this thread.

 

 

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1) Astudillo is versatile and has spent most of a season as a bench player for the Twins. He has elite ability to make contact and his presence will allow more ready substitution between Garver and Jeffers. IMHO, I would rate the Turtle's defensive skills as below average everywhere including the defense-oriented position of catcher. For Astudillo to fill in occasionally at first, third, left and right probably wouldn't do much harm. Certainly, he wouldn't be a choice to step in as a regular. 

The last time we saw him in that type of role he posted a .678 OPS, and despite the contact skills he's never really hit for a high average either. He plays multiple defensive positions at a below average level, he doesn't draw walks to get on base, and he doesn't hit for extra bases. If he's playing 1/3 of the time then I think it actually does do some harm. 

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Explain this versatility to me. He can't actually play ANY position at a big league level. Occupying space in the vicinity of a position is not being versatile. 

 

It has worked for Sano as evidenced by his -4.6 career dWAR.

 

Long term I'm hopeful that Rooker, AK, Larnach etc force their way onto this team.

 

That said, I don't mind seeing Astudillo (shouldn't his nickname be Armadillo instead of Turtle given the spelling of his last name?) and Garlick get a shot. 

 

With a deader ball, the Twins are going to need players who make more contact to score runs this season. 

 

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Rooker has some exciting skills, but also some serious weaknesses. Let's not forget he had a 34.7% K rate at AAA in 2019. Yes, some hitters can still do some damage even with a high K rate in the modern game -- but others can get carved up too. I had expected Rooker to get an opportunity to sink or swim, but I guess if he looked bad enough at the end of the spring, maybe all signs were pointing to "sink" and there wasn't much point to it.

 

Garlick doesn't do much for me either, but I suppose he could wind up an average-ish stop gap / placeholder.

 

Hopefully we can use LF to get Arraez's bat in the lineup (maybe even at the top of the lineup), while our starting infielders are healthy and productive too.

Yeah, I think all of this, plus the reality that he's a liability in the field, not just a little worse than, say, Garlick. My guess is that Cave and Garlick are viewed by the FO as half-season 2021 placeholders for Kirilloff and/or Larnach/Celestino. Rooker is probably mostly regarded as an injury replacement for Cruz in 2021, maybe his permanent replacement beyond this year if he can cut down a little on the K's.

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There is a lot of movement between the big leagues and AAA, so i am not overly concerned about the 25th and 26th guys on the roster.  Not sure why Law didn't make the 5-man taxi squad though.  I would hope once AAA starts up, Rooker will go down and play heavy innings in AAA rather than watching games on the taxi squad.

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I probably would have kept Rooker over Garlick, but we'll see how it goes. I like Rooker, but I'm not blind to the fact that he can really struggle against breaking stuff and MLB pitching is going to figure that out quickly. But Garlick seems to be just another guy to me, whereas Rooker does have an elite skill in terms of his power. But it's a move that can be fixed easily if it goes sideways, so not a huge deal and maybe the team sees something I'm not (other than the spring training performance)

 

Astudillo is a really fun player. But he really doesn't have a defensive position; there's about 6 spots you can put him, but he's bad defensively at all of them. But as a 26th man...maybe you can accept that? I do think he's got real value as a pinch hitter in that he's a guy you can count on to put a ball in play. That can be very useful. But he hasn't shown that he can hit consistently in MLB, and needs to show that he can take some pitches. Is it better to have him on the bench or Rooker/Blankenhorn/*insert random SS who can't hit here*?

 

I'll be honest: I'm just happy they didn't carry 14 %$@&%*#%$& pitchers...

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Yeah, I think all of this, plus the reality that he's a liability in the field, not just a little worse than, say, Garlick. My guess is that Cave and Garlick are viewed by the FO as half-season 2021 placeholders for Kirilloff and/or Larnach/Celestino. Rooker is probably mostly regarded as an injury replacement for Cruz in 2021, maybe his permanent replacement beyond this year if he can cut down a little on the K's.

 

This has been my take as well. They can take this approach and the worst case is they use Rooker to transition to KIrilloff/Larnach. Best case scenario is we come up with our own Justin Turner / Max Muncy. Garlick's history reminds me quite a bit of Turner. His breakout year was his age 29 season. He went from below average to posting a wRC+ of 123-158 over 7 seasons with 3 years in the 150s. You can't come up with these guys if you never give them a chance. 

 

BTW ... I was pulling for Rooker but I saw this one coming. I am guessing Rooker's homework assignment is going to be Taxi squad pitchers throwing him breaking balls.

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Does a platoon of Garlick and Cave in LF sound like a part of a championship team?  If not Kiriloff, if not Rooker, then Larnach.  Upside and youth.  Now if Kepler does not produce, if Buxton gets injured the OF suddenly looks subpar.  The BP has some very shaky vets.  Lets hope that everyone finds their stroke, rises to the challenges and all ST worries disappear. 

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So, let's say Astudillo (or anyone, really) hits a solo homer, but also has a throwing error that gives up an unearned run (as happened in one ST game). Would that be scored costing us or helping the team, or a nothing burger? And if it is a nothing burger, is it beneficial to the team?

Astudillo has exactly _one_ error over 86 innings at different positions in 14 games this springs training. His offensive output over the same period offset that damage many, many times over. He has earned a spot on the club until someone outplays him or he's plays himself off it.
 

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Rooker to the taxi squad for now will do zero to hurt this team.

 

Astidillo can mash and is a great team guy by all accounts. Great 25/26th guy.

 

Lots of anxiety here over basically nothing.

I understand some of the confusion and questioning the moves but people tend to talk with way more certainty about these kinds of moves than is warranted. Ultimately, it’s unlikely either decision makes much of a difference to W/L in the grand scheme of things.

 

Though I’m a bit bummed for Rooker in the short term.

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My two cents here is I'd rather have Rooker playing everyday in AAA than one or two times a week in the majors. Also makes more sense to keep Willians on the roster because he could go a week without getting into a game and be fine. Not sure you could say that about Rooker or Kiriloff.

I’d also prefer to see Rooker play every day but the AAA season doesn’t start for over a month. And unlike Kirilloff, Rooker doesn’t really have any development and/or service time questions. He’s already 26 and has hit quite well in the upper minors.
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I'm not an Austidillo guy, but I recognize that he had a pretty good spring. He's also basically the 26th man on the roster, which he is perfectly suited for. I don't want a Rooker or other prospect eating that bench time. This move is no surprise to me.

 

Don't really understand the Garlick over Rooker, but he did finish stronger than Rooker. Rooker will still have his chance. Garlick is hardly an established player and an easy DFA candidate should he not continue his good spring.

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I think Rooker should start looking around for another organization. This will be a big set back for him mentally. This demotion tells him what the Twins think of his future.

That’s a stretch without any evidence to back it up. The Twins may have bungled this decision but it’s equally possible Rooker is satisfied with and understands the decision. We literally have *zero* information about the conversations that happen around these kinds of promotions and demotions.
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I'm tired of us not giving our own developed minor leaguers a chance and playing waiver wire pickups that we keep for a month and then send away.  I would think it would be really discouraging to the players developing in our system.  As for Astudillo, sure he looks good in spring training when guys are trying to throw strikes, but when the season starts major league pitchers will just throw him balls and let him hit his way into soft contact outs.  

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I'm tired of us not giving our own developed minor leaguers a chance and playing waiver wire pickups that we keep for a month and then send away.  I would think it would be really discouraging to the players developing in our system.  As for Astudillo, sure he looks good in spring training when guys are trying to throw strikes, but when the season starts major league pitchers will just throw him balls and let him hit his way into soft contact outs.  

 

Even the Dodgers with their enormous revenue look for these types of players. Max Muncy was released by the A’s and Justin Turner was released by the Mets. Muncy produced a OPS+ of 161 his 1st year with the Dodgers. Justin Turner’s low OPS+ was 121 over the next 7 years with 3 years above 150. Finding these diamonds in the ruff is an enormous boost to any team. That's why smart teams give these guys a shot.

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That’s a stretch without any evidence to back it up. The Twins may have bungled this decision but it’s equally possible Rooker is satisfied with and understands the decision. We literally have *zero* information about the conversations that happen around these kinds of promotions and demotions.

 

I recall the same rhetoric with Berrios. Many here insisted he was ready or even that he would immediately be as good as anyone in the rotation. Of course, he struggled even after being held back longer than many here suggested was needed.

 

We are 1700 miles away seeing a few Abs on TV. We have no knowledge of what is going on in workouts. The team is gathering information from the entire staff and spending hours contemplating their options. So, when you said early in this thread,  "people tend to talk with way more certainty about these kinds of moves than is warranted", I thought to myself ... that's an understatement.

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I recall the same rhetoric with Berrios. We are 1700 miles away seeing a few Abs on TV. We have no knowledge of what is going on in workouts. The team is gathering information from the entire staff and spending hours contemplating their options.

Though at least with the previous regime, there was a lengthy track record of being absurdly cautious with pitching prospects despite the MLB team being awful. The situation is quite different now.
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I'm excited for the team this year and hope we don't hit any speed bumps on the way to full vaccination status in the state and country. I've been waiting for Hulu and Sinclair to make a deal, but it looks like tomorrow I'll drop Hulu for AT&T live tv or tune in on the radio, which would be a neat throwback. Play ball!

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That’s a stretch without any evidence to back it up. The Twins may have bungled this decision but it’s equally possible Rooker is satisfied with and understands the decision. We literally have *zero* information about the conversations that happen around these kinds of promotions and demotions.

I'm not sure how he be "satisfied" with this decision. The A goes has a weak Spring Training, the job appeared to have been his, at least out of the gate. Suddenly it's not. (I think, if I were him, I'd be pretty dissatisfied.)

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I'm not sure how he be "satisfied" with this decision. The A goes has a weak Spring Training, the job appeared to have been his, at least out of the gate. Suddenly it's not. (I think, if I were him, I'd be pretty dissatisfied.)

I'd be disappointed, too, if I were Rooker. Heck, I'm disappointed for him. But to call it a big set back mentally? Not sure I'd go that far. We don't know what was said, how things were explained, how he took it, but I would hope, despite the disappointed, he comes out more determined. And I don't expect this roster to stand pat beyond a month, maybe up to 6 weeks. Things always change.

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I'd be disappointed, too, if I were Rooker. Heck, I'm disappointed for him. But to call it a big set back mentally? Not sure I'd go that far. We don't know what was said, how things were explained, how he took it, but I would hope, despite the disappointed, he comes out more determined. And I don't expect this roster to stand pat beyond a month, maybe up to 6 weeks. Things always change.

Rocco had a comment and it was complementary to Rooker and indicated that he was in the Twins' plans. That might all be posturing, but I suspect Rooker is currently looked at as the next position player up unless there is an injury to an infielder. 

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Astudillo is a great fit for the 26th roster spot. The only alternative use of it that would make sense would be adding another platoon bat, but aside from kinda-sorta Kepler, there's no need for it.

 

With respect to Rooker . . . it seems like maybe he's just not that good, despite having posted good top-line stats in his career-to-date. The projection systems generally have him as a tick above replacement level, and as he gets older his defense will only get worse. He needs a major hitting breakthrough to hold down an MLB roster spot, and the Twins evidently want to work on that at the alternate site/minor league level. 

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