STARKVILLE, MS (WMC) - Mississippi State first baseman Brent Rooker has not trapped himself inside a video game, but if you look at his 2017 statistics, you might think he's turned his settings on rookie and cranked the pitching sliders all the way to the left.
The Germantown, Tennessee, native has been putting up 8-bit numbers all season, but he was particularly impressive this week as his Bulldogs took on Kentucky at Dudy Noble Field.
The reigning SEC Player of the Week is probably a safe bet to lock up another weekly award after an impossibly impressive week, including a 4-4 performance on Saturday where he hit three bombs, including a grand slam. For the week (five games), he hit 10-for-16, 6 Home Runs, 13 RBI, 5 BB, 3 HBP, .750 slugging.
Not bad is right.
To say that's par for the course for his season might be a bit of a stretch, but he hasn't done too much worse otherwise: For the season, he's hitting .447 with 15 home runs, 56 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
"I don't know what's going on," Rooker said after Saturday night's win. "I'm just as confused as you guys."
Safe to say SEC pitchers don't know what's going on either. After taking the Wildcats deep three times, Kentucky opted to just intentionally walk Rooker in the 9th inning Saturday night to load the bases. It didn't work…but it might be a strategy pitchers should keep in mind going forward.
By all accounts, Rooker is tearing the seams off the ball in 2017, and it would be difficult to find a player having a better season.
He leads the SEC in nearly every offensive category, and many are not really a race.
The first baseman is a big reason why the Bulldogs are currently locked in a tie for the SEC lead (with three other teams), and why they've gone from unranked, suffering a sweep against Arkansas, to popping their heads into the rankings at 25—where they are sure to climb after a series win over 10th-ranked Kentucky.
After a 2016 All-SEC Second Team nod, it's looking increasingly likely that the righty will add more hardware before becoming a high-valued pick in this summer's MLB Draft—and even become the school's 14th first-round draft pick.