Organization’s prospect depth helps to keep team’s competitive window open as long as possible. Minnesota has built up a strong farm system but that means the team hasn’t been able to hang on to some of their depth in recent years. Players like Akil Baddoo and LaMonte Wade have gone on to find success with other organizations because the Twins didn’t project them as part of the long-term plan.
Brent Rooker seems like another player that doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plan. During the 2020 season, he impressed during his big- league debut although it was limited to seven games and 21 plate appearances. During that time, he hit .316/.381/.579 with three extra-base hits and five strikeouts. His season was cut short due to a fractured forearm, but it wasn’t hard to envision him fitting on the team’s roster moving forward.
Entering the 2021 season, Rooker was fighting for a roster spot. However, it became clear that the team wasn’t keen to use him as a defensive outfielder, because he is below average in a corner outfield spot. First base is a position where he is not as much of a defensive liability, but the team has other options at that position. Minnesota was forced to make a choice and Kyle Garlick earned the final roster spot. Rooker was going to have to slug his way back to the Twins.
Rooker has certainly been making his presence known in the Saints roster this season. His season started on a slow note as he was limited to a .375 OPS during the team’s eight April games. He posted an .836 OPS in May, but June was when he really turned it on as he hit .275/.420/.675 (1.095) with nine home runs. He was one of the best hitters in the minors and the Twins didn’t have a roster spot for him even though they were struggling.
One of the biggest reasons the Twins didn’t give Rooker the call was because two other outfield prospects have passed him up on the depth chart. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach are considered better prospects than Rooker, but he has always been playing at a higher level in Minnesota’s farm system. Losing the 2020 minor league season likely cost Rooker a chance to play his way into the team’s long-term plans.
Kirilloff went on the IL earlier this week, but Rooker still wasn’t called up to take his spot. Now Nelson Cruz has been traded, so Rooker might get an opportunity to slide into a DH role with the Twins. However, trading him to another organization might be his best chance at finding a permanent big-league role.
Because of his college experience, he is already 26-years old. He has dominated Triple-A pitching in parts of two different seasons and the Twins don’t seem to have a spot for him. Like Badoo and Wade, he may find success in another organization, but he at least deserves to have a chance to prove he belongs at the MLB level.
Do you think the Twins should trade Rooker? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.