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Grading the 2020 Twins: Brent Rooker

Because (small sample) size doesn’t matter.

Minnesota Twins v St Louis Cardinals - Game Two
Because you can’t spell “Brent Rooker” without three Rs, two Es, two Os,...
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

As we did last offseason, Twinkie Town writers are grading player who appeared in a game for the 2020 Minnesota Twins. (Last year’s grades can be found here, this year’s here.) Players will be graded individually on an A-F scale based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. I’ll continue the series today with one of 2020’s top Minnesota rookies. My apologies for omitting the introductory paragraph from the Berríos article.

While several Twins rookies received elevations to the roster in a pandemic-altered season, I don’t think many expected Brent Rooker to be among the earlier callups, nor do I think observers were surprised. After all, while Alex Kirilloff and Jordan Balazovic received the most buzz in training camp, Rooker displayed constant power while rising through the minor leagues since his first-round selection in 2017.

Upon receiving the call on September 4 to face the best competition in baseball, Rooker kept it up.

Though he appeared in only seven games, Rooker got a hit in the final six, tallying a sextet of hits in 19 at-bats (21 plate appearances). Those hits included two doubles and a two-run shot off Daniel Ponce de Leon, good for a slash line of .316/.381/.579.

Rooker saw most of his time in right field, a position he did not play often in the minor leagues, but handled all of his chances. Still, Fangraphs graded him negatively for the season, but that was not unexpected given his profile as a power hitter with little range and his placement at an unfamiliar position.

In such a small sample size, Rooker played up to the expectations on him as a power bat, hitting only 14.3 percent of balls softly and rapping line drives on 42.9 percent of balls hit.

Also, his given first name is Terry. Given Twinkie Town’s infatuation with a certain pitcher surnamed Mulholland, why didn’t we latch onto this guy sooner.

Unfortunately, Rooker’s 2020 season ended the same way it began. In his first plate appearance on September 4, Rooker was plunked by Matthew Boyd. Eight days later, a Zach Plesac pitch broke Rooker’s forearm, ending his year.

Seven games may be considered small for a season grade proper, rather than being lumped in with “here’s the guys who didn’t play enough for a full grade at the end.” But given Rooker’s impact during his week in the pros, he earned it.

Grade: Terry

(That’s an A, for the record.)


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