Twins outfielder Brent Rooker suffered a fractured right forearm during tonight’s game, manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters. Rooker suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch from Cleveland’s Zach Plesac during the fourth inning of Minnesota’s 8-4 victory over the Indians.
The forearm injury brings a painful end to Rooker’s first MLB season, but the 25-year-old at least made an impressive accounting of himself. Rooker hit .316/.381/.579 over 21 plate appearances since being called up to the big leagues on September 4. Rooker was promoted since Max Kepler went to the injured list with an adductor strain, and in an ironic twist, Kepler is expected back soon and could potentially be the one who replaces Rooker on the active roster.
The 35th overall pick of the 2017 draft, Rooker ranked 98th on Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list prior to the 2018 season, though evaluators in general have considered him to be a step below an elite level prospect due to questions about his defense and the amount of swing-and-miss in his approach at the plate. Rooker is a bit of a “three true outcomes” type, as his strikeouts come with a fair amount of walks and some plus power. Rooker hit .267/.357/.505 with 54 home runs over 1110 PA in Minnesota’s farm system.
Depending on how Rooker’s glovework develops, he could be the heir apparent to Eddie Rosario in the Twins’ corner outfield, or maybe a DH if time ever catches up to Nelson Cruz. With blue chip outfield prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach ahead of him on the minor league prospect rankings, it remains to be seen where Rooker fits into the Twins’ future, though the small sample size of his 2020 debut provided some indication he can handle big league pitching.