Rooker was hit in his right forearm by an 86 mph changeup from Zach Plesac, the first batter he’s hit all season. Here’s a look:
The combination of that changeup, which breaks in to a right-handed batter, getting away from Plesac and Rooker starting and checking his swing made for the perfect recipe for disaster. It’s actually pretty remarkable things like this don’t happen more often.
There’s no way to spin this as anything but terrible news for Rooker, but all things considered, this will end as a positive season for him.
Rooker proved he was ready for the big leagues by hitting .319/.463/.572 (1.036 OPS) over his final 41 Triple-A games last season. Still, with the 2020 Twins lineup already established, it was going to be difficult for him to find opportunities for playing time.
Max Kepler’s trip to the IL opened the door, and Rooker did not disappoint. It was only seven games and 21 plate appearances, but Rooker went 6-for-19 with a pair of doubles and a home run.
Rooker posted a 14.3 barrel %, 89.1 mph exit velocity and 50% hard-hit rate, all of which are above the MLB averages. He’s one of only four Twins batters to hit a ball in excess of 112 mph this season, joining Miguel Sanó, Nelson Cruz and fellow rookie Ryan Jeffers in accomplishing that feat.
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