Twins agree to terms with No. 35 pick Rooker

Twins agree to terms with No. 35 pick Rooker

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins agreed to terms Friday with Mississippi State outfielder Brent Rooker, who was taken by the club with the No. 35 overall pick in the Draft on Monday. The deal is for $1,935,300, the suggested slot value of the selection, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis.

Rooker, ranked the No. 50 overall Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was the SEC Player of the Year and was selected in the Competitive Balance round. He was regarded as one of the most advanced college bats in the Draft, and the Twins plan to have the slugger start his career in left field at Rookie-level Elizabethton.

"I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to join this great organization," Rooker said. "It's been a fun few days, starting with the Draft on Monday and coming up here for the whole process. Making it official feels really good, and I'm excited about it."

Twins draft OF Rooker No. 35

Rooker, who batted .387/.495/.810 as a redshirt junior, led NCAA Division I in doubles (30), slugging (.810) and OPS (1.305), while his 23 homers ranked fourth. He was also second in average exit velocity among Division I players.

"It was a lot of hours spent in the cage and perfecting my game plan at the plate," Rooker said. "There was a lot of maturity and growth as a hitter that was developed during the SEC and throughout the summer in the Cape [Cod League]. It was a long process and it started to click and I think I'm just scratching the surface of what I can be."

Rooker, 22, was drafted by the Twins last year in the 38th round, but didn't sign and had to give the club permission to redraft him. Rooker, at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, also moves well for a big man, showing average run times out of the batter's box and even more quickness once he gets going. He also stole 18 bases. The Germantown, Tenn., native is regarded more for his offense than his defense, but said he plans to take his defense seriously in left.

"I'm going to try to find a home defensively," Rooker said. "I'm going to do everything I can to become as good an outfielder as possible so I can impact the game both offensively and defensively."

Worth noting

• The Twins outrighted Chris Heston to Triple-A Rochester to make room on the 40-man roster for left-hander Adam Wilk to start against the Indians in Saturday's doubleheader. Wilk will start the first game, according to Twins manager Paul Molitor. The Twins are still deciding whether he'll be the designated 26th man, or if he'll be recalled from Triple-A Rochester.

• Left-hander Hector Santiago (strained left shoulder) was a candidate to start Saturday, but the Twins deemed he wasn't ready after he threw a 31-pitch bullpen session Thursday. He'll throw another bullpen session Saturday, and is a candidate for a rehab assignment, per Molitor.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.