Ober has surpassed Lewis Thorpe as a possible back of the rotation option for 2022 in my eyes. He’s dominated the Minors at every stop including AAA this year where he’s posted a 2.81 ERA and 20% K rate. He doesn’t have ace level stuff but he does have a high spin fastball that appears to play up higher than the 90-92 you see on the radar gun, and his control has been nothing short of impeccable.
Ober has gotten just the one start for the Twins so far, but that should change. Happ and Shoemaker are arguably not even eating innings at this point and Ober could emerge as a back of the rotation arm for next season which would be incredibly valuable. The 6 foot 9 righty doesn’t have much left to prove in the Minor Leagues. It’s time for the Twins to see what they have.
Gordon’s main issue the last few years has been health, as he’s flashed his first round upside whenever he’s been able to stay on the field. Gordon absolutely dominated AAA slashing .393/.469/.571 and it appears there just isn’t much more for him to prove there. In the Majors he’s been far from overmatched, as he’s been 73% better than a league average hitter according to wRC+
Gordon’s staying power is a bit murkier, as he’s essentially up due to an injury to Arraez. The Twins are sure to find a team in need of a boost on defense to take Andrelton Simmons at the deadline however which would open a spot for Gordon for the rest of the season. The Twins have also discussed working on Gordon becoming more familiar with the outfield which would make him a much more valuable player. At 25 years old, Nick Gordon should finally get a chance to make good on his first round selection.
Rooker looked like a revelation when he was brought up in 2020 slashing .316/.381/.579 before a broken forearm on a hit by pitch derailed his and the Twins plans. He was quickly brought up in 2021 after failing to make the Opening Day roster but struggled to find his stride, slashing .103/.133/.241 with a 43.3% K rate. Rooker’s approach at the plate makes him a streaky hitter but his offensive profile makes him arguably the best pure power hitter in the Twins system.
Rooker has no defensive position you feel good about, but we’re likely watching the last of Nelson Cruz in a Twins uniform this season. At the age of 26, it’s time to see if Rooker can approach anywhere near that magical 2020 debut which would put him in the running to at least mix into the DH spot in 2022.
Like it or not, several veterans are likely on their way out in the coming months which creates plenty of opportunity. These three may be the first to get their shot but there are certainly several other young players who will be fighting for a look at the MLB level. Are there any you’re looking forward to?
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