Brent Rooker, Twins outfielder/designated hitter (⬆️ UP)
Sure, not having Nelson Cruz around any more is a bummer. But on the bright side, it’s giving a guy like Rooker a chance to play. Called up after Cruz’s trade to Tampa Bay, Rooker went 6-for-19 (.316) with two doubles and two home runs, including a Ruthian blast which went 460 feet. His home runs came on back-to-back days Sunday and Monday. While he couldn’t make it three straight, he did have three hits Tuesday. No one is forgetting what Cruz did with the Twins but a week like Rooker had helps soften the blow.
Mitch Garver, Twins catcher (⬆️ UP)
Garver left the team briefly to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy. He then returned to the team and went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles Monday and then hit a grand slam – the first of his career -- Tuesday. We’d say that’s a pretty good week.
Andrelton Simmons, Twins shortstop (⬇️ DOWN)
The signing of Simmons in the offseason seemed like a decent idea at the time. A decent enough hitter with a Gold Glove resume who could either help the Twins to a pennant run or be flipped at the deadline if things didn’t go as well. The season, of course, hasn’t gone as planned for the Twins and Simmons’ offense has been non-existent. He went 2-for-24 this past week to drop his season slash line to .217/.288/.283. Yikes. His defense has been decent, but middle-of-the-pack overall in MLB according to advanced metrics. With the trade deadline nearing, the idea of flipping Simmons to a contender now seems remote.
Kenta Maeda, Twins starting pitcher (⬆️ UP)
It’s too late to save Minnesota’s season, but Maeda appears to be turning things around – which bodes well for 2022, perhaps. He allowed three runs in seven innings – with no walks and six strikeouts – in one start and one run in 6 1/3 innings in another this past week. That’s four quality starts in his past five outings. His only other QS came April 7 in his second appearance of the season. Oh, he also scored the game-winning run Monday night. How can’t you love that?
Bill Guerin, Wild general manager (⬆️ UP)
Say this about Guerin: He’s not going to sit still as he tries to improve Minnesota’s roster. Case in point, the NHL draft. With goaltender Jesper Wallstedt surprisingly sliding down in the first round, Guerin traded up to grab the highly regarded Swede. The move drew kudos from analysts near and far, with such terms as “excellent” and “steal of the draft” being used to describe the Wild getting what most feel will be a strong No. 1 goaltender in the future.