One of the greatest Mississippi State baseball players to ever wear the maroon walked off the college baseball diamond less than four months ago. Southeastern Conference triple crown winner Brent Rooker took his hot bat and first baseman’s mitt to professional baseball after being selected in the first round of the amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins. The change of scenery did little to negatively impact his game.
After playing 67 games this past season at Mississippi State, a year that ended in a Super Regional appearance at LSU, Rooker added 62 more at two stops along the Twins’ farm system this past summer.
“Obviously, I played a lot of baseball (this year), and there has been a lot of moving parts,” Rooker told Myraclebaseball.com. “I’ve worked on developing a daily routine in professional baseball…preparing my body and mind to put myself in the best position to be successful.”
Before going pro, Rooker led the SEC with a .389 batting average, in home runs (23) and runs batted in (82) to become just the second SEC player ever to lead the conference in those three categories in one season. He then hit a combined .281 at the minor league level with 18 home runs and 52 RBI in those 62 games played. His consistency was on display as he put up comparable numbers at each of his two professional assignments.
Rooker began his pro career at Elizabethtown (Ky.) in the Appalachian League. He hit .282 with seven homers and 17 RBI in only 22 games in that rookie league before earning a promotion to Fort Myers (Advanced A). The heightened competition hardly altered his hitting stoke. He batted .280 at Fort Myers with 11 big flies and 35 runs driven in just 40 games. His 11 homers were second on the team to former Vanderbilt star Zander Wiel, who hit 13 in 128 games.
Rooker drove in runs in four straight games twice during his time in Fort Myers, and hit homers in three straight games from Aug. 24-28. Hitting in the middle of the order for Fort Myers, he led the Miracle to the Florida State League championship series against Palm Beach, and drove in a pair of runs in the two-game set.
Rooker’s pro career is off to a solid start.
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