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  • One Fan's Opinion: Rooker is Ready


    Sherry Cerny

    As the offseason begins, Brent Rooker is certainly a candidate for the Twins DH job in 2022. He can also play in the corner outfield spots and first base in a pinch. Kyle Garlick made the 2021 Opening Day roster, but he's been almost forgotten since he didn't play in a game after June 8th due to injury. 

    Image courtesy of Dan Hamilton, USA TODAY Sports

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    The Twins have not been afraid of change. They have not been afraid to move guys up and down from Triple-A St. Paul with regularity. There were copious amounts of injuries and other ailments. There were also a couple of trades. Following the trade deadline trade of Nelson Cruz, Brent Rooker was recalled. 

    The Twins have depth in the outfield still. Kyle Garlick did what he was asked to do, which his produce against left-handed pitching. Rooker provided some power. It was a question last year at spring training, and again it doesn't make sense for both to be on the roster in 2022. There will be some tough decisions and this may be another one. 

    Kyle Garlick came into the season securing a spot on the 26-man roster. He made the Opening Day roster. In April, he landed on the COVID-IL. That was just the start of the issues for the outfielder and pinch hitter. At the beginning of June, Garlick left with a groin injury and eventually needing surgery to repair a hernia and left him out for the remainder of the season. It is unfortunate for him because in his 99 at-bats with the Twins in 2021, he had eight doubles and five home runs. In 63 plate appearances against southpaws in 2021, he hit .271/.302/.576 (.878) with six doubles and four homers. 

     

    By spring training, Garlick’s injury will presumably be better, but will he still be on the 40-man roster? He will turn 30 in January, but still can provide strong offense against left-handed pitching. That may be important with lefties like Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Max Kepler in the outfield rotation. Garlick still has one option year remaining since he did not use one in 2021, so he could be stashed in St. Paul for additional depth. 

    Brent Rooker's value to the team comes in the form of power and production and the plate. He has shown the power. Now he just needs an opportunity for regular playing time. At each minor league level, he initially struggled and within a couple of months he becomes incredibly productive. Can he do that at the big-league level? Rooker will be 27-years-old in 2022, not young, but certainly with room to continue growing. 

    While Rooker is not a good defensive outfielder, his ability to play in the corners, and some first base, does give him value to the team. That said, Rooker has never had the typical lefty-righty splits. However, in 189 at-bats in 2021, he had 10 doubles and nine home runs. That is after he hit 20 homers in 62 games for the Saints. 

     

    Versatility 
     In March, Do-Hyoung Park wrote an article showing that Rooker may have already been preferred by management. While the two players have similar offensive productivity, Rooker stood out as the younger, more potentially dominant player:

    Quote

    "Rooker and Garlick both have right-handed power bats, but the president of baseball operations, Derek Falvey, noted that Garlick has historically shown strength for hitting left-handed pitching, while Rooker is more power-oriented with less pronounced lefty-righty splits. Rooker is homegrown, having been selected No. 35 overall in the 2017 Draft, while Garlick is a 29-year-old who was claimed off waivers from the Braves.” 

    Indeed, one option, and the option I think would make sense, would be to try to trade Garlick, if there is any market for him. From a business standpoint (and yes, personal standpoint as a fan), there are better options with younger players who are ready for the big leagues. Rooker is more than able and prepared to remain on the 26-man roster. 

    What do you think? Is Rooker ready, and should he remain on the big-league roster? What should the team do with Kyle Garlick? Could he have a role going forward? Leave a comment. 

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    It could be a roll of the dice to know if/when makes the big league roster. Kiriloff and Sano will likely be at 1b, and we have much better OF options defensively. He is going to have to hit his way onto any roster with OPS. I see him most likely on the 40 man to start 2022 at St Paul, if our core is healthy. 

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    Thanks for the write up Sherry.

    Honestly, I'm not sure what direction the Twins and the FO will go in the spring.  However, I've always liked Rooker and will continue to pull for him.

    Funny story though... We were at a game in Jacksonville when Chattanooga (AA) came to town and my kids were at the Lookouts dugout getting autographs from the players, when my son spotted Rooker walking by.  So he calls out super loud "Hey Rook! Sign my ball!"  The look on Rooker's face was hilarious.  You could see the wheels going in his head and he seemed to be thinking "Did this kid just call me a Rookie or was he using a short form of my name?", but he just shrugged, smiled and grabbed the ball to sign it.   

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    Don’t have a clue how FO feels about which to keep, both or neither.  If Rooker is on 2022 Twins it should be as DH.

    Don’t understand why so many keep referring to Kirilloff as a corner outfielder.  He was at first last year and will be the Twins first baseman in 2022 and beyond.

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    Rooker is 27. That is usually old if a player is just emerging as a  superstar. Rooker has plenty of time to have a fine MLB career. He adapts, has a strong work ethic,, and continually improves as a baseball player. I expect Rooker to be someone who hits 30 home runs and doubles; he has power. 

    The skills Rooker has are duplicated by others on the roster and that makes him available as a piece to trade. The NL adding a DH will open up some interest in Rooker as well. The Twins need to get more athletic and trim the number of players whose skills are too similar. DH, 1B/3B, LF/RF: Kepler, Sano, Kirilloff, Larnach, Donaldson, Miranda, Arraez, Garlick, Martin, Gordon, Refsnyder .... who did i miss/this is beyond depth - it's too many.

    I do think Rooker can turn the corner and be a productive MLB player given a full opportunity. Somebody has to go from the excess and Falvine must ascertain which clubs have an interest in what combinations of those players currently on the roster that will bring a return which improves the team for 2022. 

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    Good article. I think the Twins must keep Rooker over Garlick, due to Rooker's outstanding power. However his defense is lacking, and I am concerned about the number of Twins who have similar traits of big power and huge, rally killing strikeouts, when a single punched to the opposite field is needed.,  To be frank, I would like the Twins to adopt a new hitting strategy, which favors more singles and less strikeouts.

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    33 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Good article. I think the Twins must keep Rooker over Garlick, due to Rooker's outstanding power. However his defense is lacking, and I am concerned about the number of Twins who have similar traits of big power and huge, rally killing strikeouts, when a single punched to the opposite field is needed.,  To be frank, I would like the Twins to adopt a new hitting strategy, which favors more singles and less strikeouts.

    We're dealing with SSS at the major league level, but Garlick hit five homers in 107 PAs, while Rooker connected nine times in 213 PAs. My math says Garlick hits it over the fence more frequently. 

    Garlick would appear to be a better defender and he does have great splits against left handed pitching. He is almost three years older than Rooker. 

    Yeah, I suppose if the choice came down to Garlick and Rooker, I would keep Rooker, but honestly I really don't see much future for either player. I certainly agree that the Twins need a bit more variety in their offense who could create runs by other means than hitting the ball over the fence.

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    10 hours ago, roger said:

    Don’t have a clue how FO feels about which to keep, both or neither.  If Rooker is on 2022 Twins it should be as DH.

    Don’t understand why so many keep referring to Kirilloff as a corner outfielder.  He was at first last year and will be the Twins first baseman in 2022 and beyond.

    Kirilloff started 30 games in the outfield, 25 at first base, mostly when Sano was on the injured list. Yes, I agree that AK will eventually be a first baseman, but it would make sense for him to log more than a few games with Donaldson, Sano and Garver as DHs and perhaps Garver and Sano as as first base options. 

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    1 hour ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    To be frank, I would like the Twins to adopt a new hitting strategy, which favors more singles and less strikeouts.

    Based on Falvey's quotes in Reusse's article in the Strib today you will be quite disappointed.

    "We had LaMonte. He was an on-base, line-drive guy and we liked him a lot but what he and the Giants did this year, he looked like a totally different human at the plte. He was standing upright, swinging harder, hitting for power."

    "People complain about the emphasis on home runs, but they win games," Falvey said. "Already in this postseason, teams are 13-1 when they outhomer the opponent."

     

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    12 hours ago, h2oface said:

    So many other teams have players that are 22 and 23 staring in the show........ and we are hoping someone who will be 27 selected 35th overall is finally ready.  I try to find the positive, here, but it is difficult.

    Perhaps to find the positive you have to realize it was an article on a single player not anything really about the team. FWIW the 22 and 23 year old stars are all at home not playing now.

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    Interesting article, but I don't think that there's a binary choice here of Rooker or Gralick. Frankly, I don't either one of them will make the MLB team and I think that's the right answer. By the time you have the 8 starters in the field plus Arraez, Celestino or another 4th OF, Jeffers as the 2nd catcher and 13 pitchers, there's only 2 spots left. I expect Gordon to get one of them - he showed more this year than Larnach or Rooker. I think that last spot on the roster comes down to Mranda (my choice), Refsnyder, Larnach or Rooker (Kirilloff is the LF and I think Astudillo and Cave are gone). I think Rooker finishes no higher than 3rd in that pecking order and I would say 4th. The only way he stays is if we trade Kepler or Sano with high upside MiLB players for starting pitching in the off season. Then, Rooker as a 5th OF/backup 1B/ part time DH might work but even then I'm dubious with the other 3 all better choices. 

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    On 10/17/2021 at 8:01 AM, roger said:

    Don’t have a clue how FO feels about which to keep, both or neither.  If Rooker is on 2022 Twins it should be as DH.

    Don’t understand why so many keep referring to Kirilloff as a corner outfielder.  He was at first last year and will be the Twins first baseman in 2022 and beyond.

    I think the only way Kirilloff is the everyday 1B next year is if Sano or Donaldson is gone. Think about it. Sano can only play 1B or DH.  Donaldson has to DH at least 50-60 games or more if we want 135 games a year out of him and I think that's an absolute necessity to compete. Arraez needs 30 games at DH to save his knees, so that only leaves a max of 70-80 DH games for Sano. He will play every day. I think Sano is your everyday 1B unless either he or Donaldson gets traded and I think that's a low probability.  

    The good news is that Kirilloff can play LF and play it better than Larnach or Rooker. There's no one else pushing for that spot so Kirilloff in LF makes a great deal of sense to me. That's the only way you can get Kirilloff, Donaldson, Sao, and Arraez all in the lineup at the same time. 

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    19 hours ago, old nurse said:

    Perhaps to find the positive you have to realize it was an article on a single player not anything really about the team. FWIW the 22 and 23 year old stars are all at home not playing now.

    So sorry. I was thinking Rooker was on the team, and the article had quite a bit of Garlick on it, as well as age focus.

    FWIW, there is a 22yr old (Christian Pache) still playing, 3 23 year olds - Brusdar Graterol who just turned 23 in August, and Huascar Ynoa- remember them? -  and Ian Anderson, and Ronald Acuna Jr is 23 too and would still be playing if not injured. Yordan Alverez was 23 at the start of the season and turned 24 in June, and Austin Riley broke out as a 24 yr old this year and Ozzie Albies is 24 but was in the show since he was 20 in 2018, and Kyle Tucker is 24 and played last year at 23. That's not even getting into all the others who were that young when they made the show and are still playing....... If they are in the show, they are staring in the show. And this is just the 4 teams that are left. Up to you whether that makes them "stars". 

    Shame on me for wanting youth for my favorite team, too, instead of possible break outs at 27. But I do pine for it. I bet I am not the only one, either. 

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    9 hours ago, h2oface said:

    So sorry. I was thinking Rooker was on the team, and the article had quite a bit of Garlick on it, as well as age focus.

    FWIW, there is a 22yr old (Christian Pache) still playing, 3 23 year olds - Brusdar Graterol who just turned 23 in August, and Huascar Ynoa- remember them? -  and Ian Anderson, and Ronald Acuna Jr is 23 too and would still be playing if not injured. Yordan Alverez was 23 at the start of the season and turned 24 in June, and Austin Riley broke out as a 24 yr old this year and Ozzie Albies is 24 but was in the show since he was 20 in 2018, and Kyle Tucker is 24 and played last year at 23. That's not even getting into all the others who were that young when they made the show and are still playing....... If they are in the show, they are staring in the show. And this is just the 4 teams that are left. Up to you whether that makes them "stars". 

    Shame on me for wanting youth for my favorite team, too, instead of possible break outs at 27. But I do pine for it. I bet I am not the only one, either. 

    Rookie is on the team  One of more than 40 players. It is rather unfortunate that he is so old that there should be a hole with his name on it. Dug for the inevitable that is so close. Older still is Garlick who is trying to get himself established. Good thing baseball did not jettison Nelson Cruz or Brian Dozier because they were not a star. Where would the Dodgers be without Muncy and Taylor? In terms of age Rooker  still can meet your definition of 22-23 as it shifts to recently 23.   Rooker even matches your definition of stars

    If Atlanta had their injured players instead of who they have, they would have a different team with perhaps different outcomes and the Phillies would be playing or the Brewets

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    10 hours ago, old nurse said:

    Rookie is on the team  One of more than 40 players. It is rather unfortunate that he is so old that there should be a hole with his name on it. Dug for the inevitable that is so close. Older still is Garlick who is trying to get himself established. Good thing baseball did not jettison Nelson Cruz or Brian Dozier because they were not a star. Where would the Dodgers be without Muncy and Taylor? In terms of age Rooker  still can meet your definition of 22-23 as it shifts to recently 23.   Rooker even matches your definition of stars

    If Atlanta had their injured players instead of who they have, they would have a different team with perhaps different outcomes and the Phillies would be playing or the Brewets

    I don't even know what you are talking about, now. Too much conjecture and projection. All yours. Stay tight. Adios.

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    Garlick, coming off an injury, pretty much ahs zero trade value. You can argue keeping him on the 40-man roster. The Twins have 10-12 names that they CAN keep once some prospects are added, all of the dozen names replaceable if you sign a free agent or find someone better, which you hope you can do if there are still ten expendable names on your 40-man.

     

    Rooker is home grown, a power guy, and can play 1st base and the corners. Garlick was the surprise (beating out Broxton in spring training). Rob Refsnyder kept himself in the 40-man roster spot hunt until he collapsed in the final month.

     

    Be interesting to see who goes and who stays. Rooker, as a keeper, could actually be a good throw-in if you do perform a trade during  the off-season and the NL is granted the DH.

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    On 10/19/2021 at 7:36 AM, LA VIkes Fan said:

    I think the only way Kirilloff is the everyday 1B next year is if Sano or Donaldson is gone. Think about it. Sano can only play 1B or DH.  Donaldson has to DH at least 50-60 games or more if we want 135 games a year out of him and I think that's an absolute necessity to compete. Arraez needs 30 games at DH to save his knees, so that only leaves a max of 70-80 DH games for Sano. He will play every day. I think Sano is your everyday 1B unless either he or Donaldson gets traded and I think that's a low probability.  

    The good news is that Kirilloff can play LF and play it better than Larnach or Rooker. There's no one else pushing for that spot so Kirilloff in LF makes a great deal of sense to me. That's the only way you can get Kirilloff, Donaldson, Sao, and Arraez all in the lineup at the same time. 

    Excellent points.

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    I’m actually a big Garlick fan. When Buxton got hurt, he played an adequate CF with a solid bat. He is a plus defender in the corners, albeit not great. Rooker isn’t a plus at anything, although the dude can mash baseballs a long way. I think it’s clear Garlick beats it out, but maybe starts the year in St Paul. You might be able to trade Rooker for something similar to the Jake Cave trade, and hope whoever you get back turns out as good as Luis Gil did. 

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