The quick emergence from Brent Rooker last season before the season ending injury was a ton of fun. He finally made it to the majors and was displaying the power we had all heard so much about. It looked like he may finally have a future on the Twins big league club. Fast forward to Opening Day, 2021 and once again he is stuck in the minor leagues.
The thought throughout most of the spring was Kirilloff would have a chance to take a spot from Rooker on the team, but even without Kirilloff the Twins still opted against keeping Rooker on the team. Instead, Kyle Garlick is the fourth or fifth outfielder.
Garlick is a 29 year old player who has played 42 career MLB games with a career .691 OPS. He has had some success in the minors, but not enough to ever keep him on a team. The Twins brought him in this spring and he showed off what he can do, hitting .293/.304/.683 (.987) with five homers in 18 games. He was impressive enough to make the opening day team over the 26 year old prospect Brent Rooker.
Rooker had a rough spring statistically, hitting .237/.250/.395 (.645) with just one homer in 18 games. The Twins seemed to take spring performance as an actual measuring stick for who makes the team, which is something a lot of people no longer like to do. This was the case for Kirilloff who didn't make it and Astudillo who did make it. Performance mattered more than potential this spring.
Garlick may very well be off the roster in a month, but it's interesting to see the Twins reward him for playing well this spring. They obviously saw something in Garlick when they claimed him, and now they could see him work well on the roster.
So what's the plan for Rooker? I think he has the potential to be the future designated hitter and fourth outfielder on this Twins team. Hopefully he is just going down to the minors for a short stint because the Twins may need his powerful bat on the bench ready to go.
What did you think of the decision to keep Garlick over Rooker? Was it a mistake? Let me know down below in the comments!
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