‘Trade No. 2 → Release No. 1’ 28-year-old prospect’s antiwar drama, OPS No. 1 + Home run No. 1 ‘Surprise Show’
It’s a life reversal. The prospect, who experienced two trades and one release last year, is sprinting for the top spot in OPS, beating the top star players in the major leagues this season. It’s an amazing twist. The main character is Oakland Athletics outfielder Brent Rooker (28).
Rooker took an unusual path from the major league draft. He attended Mississippi State University where he was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round of the 2016 draft. However, Rooker did not sign a contract and continued attending college. A year later, he was again selected by Minnesota in the 2017 draft. This time, it was the first round (35th overall). It was a great success that the draft was repeated.
Rooker participated in the 2019 Premier 12 US national team during his minor league days and has a relationship with Korea. He hit a solo home run against Hyeon-Jong Yang in the Super Round against Korea, and helped Korea confirm his Olympic berth with a come-from-behind two-run home run against Taiwan in the Super Round.
Rooker made his major league debut in 2020 and went 6-for-19 with a batting average of .316 in seven games. He had one home run and two doubles out of six hits. He showed potential in his first year, but in 2021, he did not show expectations, hitting 2.1 Lee (38 hits in 189 at-bats) and 9 homers OPS of .688 in 58 games.
Immediately after the start of the 2022 season, San Diego pushed for a trade with Minnesota to reinforce its closer. Minnesota sent closer Taylor Rodgers and Rooker and a future pick to San Diego, taking starter Chris Padak and bullpen Emilio Pagan. Instead of giving prospect Rooker a chance, he used it as a trade card.
[Pictured] Brent Rooker in Minnesota. ⓒGettyimages (unauthorized reproduction and redistribution prohibited)
Rooker, who switched teams, didn’t get much of a chance in San Diego. Goes 0-7 in 2 games in the big league and goes to the minor league. Then, at the trade deadline in late July, he was traded back to Kansas City. San Diego sent Rooker to Kansas City while acquiring backup catcher Cam Gallaher. With Kansas City, Rooker appeared in 25 games, batting .16 (4-for-25) with an OPS of .476.
Last year, Rooker failed to secure a place in the big leagues, but in Triple-A, he displayed a batting average of .289 and 28 home runs with an OPS of 1.044 in 81 games. Nonetheless, Kansas City abandoned its attachment to Rooker at the end of the season. After being removed from the 40-man roster, Oakland acquired Rooker, who was on standby.
In Oakland, a major league poor club whose roster was mainly composed of prospects, Rooker settled down as an outfielder. In his spring camp exhibition game, he had a batting average of 3.8 Lee (12-for-39) OPS of .907.
Rooker came out as a pinch hitter in the opening game against the Los Angeles Angels and had no hits. He didn’t seem to stand a chance in Oakland either, but hit four home runs along with a multi-hit streak in four games against the Baltimore and New York Mets on April 12–15.
Rooker gradually established himself and played an active role as a central hitter. He hit 9 home runs in April alone. In the game against Texas on the 13th, in the bottom of the 10th inning, which was behind 6-7, Rooker hit a three-run home run to end the comeback in a chance on 1st and 3rd base. Thanks to Rooker’s walk-off home run, Japanese pitcher Shintaro Fujinami recorded his first major league win with a lucky relief win.
[Photo] Brent Rooker hits a come-from-behind안전놀이터 home run and is baptized in celebration. ⓒGettyimages (unauthorized reproduction and redistribution prohibited)
Rooker went hitless in four at-bats against Arizona on the 16th and has no hits in the last three games. Nevertheless, as of the 16th, in 36 games, he recorded a batting average of .408, .628 slugging percentage, and 1.036 OPS with 11 homers, 29 RBIs and 19 runs in 36 games.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. (batting average, 34.44, 9 homers, OPS 1.024), who is active in MVP mode, and Yandy Diaz, who leads Tampa Bay’s high-flying run with the No. 1 win rate in ML (batting average, 3.21, 10 homers, OPS 1.022) and ranks first in major league OPS. He is also tied for the lead in home runs in the American League.
Rooker might be traded this season as well. If he was traded with the prospect card he gave up last year, if he continues his pace now, there is a high possibility that he will be traded to a contender team to win this summer. Oakland, which sits at the bottom of the major leagues with a 9-34 record (.209 winning percentage), may look to trade Rooker for several other prospects.